by Jodee Redmond
The writing leads we post here at FWJ are only part of the job market for freelancers. While I do encourage you to apply for anything you see here that you are interested in, there are other ways to get clients for your business. One way is to find other businesses that offer services that complement, not compete with, yours.
Here are some examples:
If you do web content writing, you could contact SEO consulting companies. These people are talking to site owners as part of their business all the time and they need to keep their sites stocked with fresh content on a regular basis. If they do offer writing services, then the SEO company may hire you directly, and if the SEO consulting company doesn’t offer web content services as part of their basket of services, they might be willing to give your name to their clients. Be sure to offer the SEO company something in return, such as offering to forward the names of site owners you know who may want to hire a consultant.
You could also approach businesses that offer Virtual Assistant services to marketers or web design companies. Once again, they may not offer writing services to their clients, but they are in contact with people who may need to hire writers. Once again, offer to recommend the company to anyone you come across who may need to hire a VA or who are looking to upgrade their existing sites.
You won’t always be able get referrals right away using this strategy, but it is worth considering as part of your overall marketing strategy. The idea here is to develop relationships with people that will benefit both of you over time. When you get to the point where you are getting referrals from other people instead of just from applying for new jobs, it means that your business is moving to a different level of success. And that is a great feeling.
Have you ever tried approaching businesses that complement yours to find new clients? Was this strategy an effective one for you?
Great piece Jodee. I have several relationships like this. A few are with SEO guys. One is with a blog consultant. Another is a recruiter who deals largely in the legal field. I also have a few freelance writing friends I swap contacts with, because these freelancers do different types of writing than I do, and we can often pass work to each other. There have been a few times this sort of relationship has really paid off big time, so I highly encourage anyone who ever comes to me for advice to give it a try. I’ve also found industry contacts to be a big help business wise. For example, because I do some food safety writing I know several high profile people doing various things in that spectrum, and because they know what I do they can often recommend me or use me. In turn, I remember them and repay the favor or offer a percentage as a referral fee when appropriate. I will be interested in hearing how others here have used this type of networking to their advantages. I’m glad you brought it up. 🙂
I cold called a web design company this spring… it has resulted, so far, in two small but fun projects. The best part about this kind of marketing, whether it’s cold calls or tepid e-mail to old contacts, is that I search out companies that fit my skills and experience. Even if work isn’t available immediately, careful targeting gets positive responses.
I’ve hired graphic designers and subcontracting writers, the latter who have different specialties, or can provide additional manpower (or woman power) during crunch times.