One of the things I often hear from people who want to make money online with their writing is that they just want to write. They don’t like the idea of having to go out and find clients, or find ways to get the clients to come to them. Many writers don’t really want to market themselves, they just want to write and make some money doing it.
While there is nothing wrong with wanting that, it isn’t typically going to happen. So, it is time to step out of the world of fiction and accept the reality that if you want to be a freelance writer, you also need to be able to market yourself. The following ten tips will help you to learn how to market yourself, so you can turn the dream of writing for a living into a reality.
1 – Join Freelance Writing Groups
Keeping in touch with other writers is a great way to help market yourself. I belong to several LinkedIn groups, some Facebook groups, and generally try to communicate with writers whenever possible. Every once in a while, a writer will recommend a client come to me for writing because they are too busy or don’t like writing about the topic the client needs. In addition, groups can share information about what is working, and what isn’t, which helps everyone.
2 – Have Your Own Website
Creating your own website is extremely important if you want to take your freelance writing business to the next level. You can set up your site to be 100% professional, only discussing the services that you offer, or you can set up something like mine where I have a section for people who may want to hire me, and the rest of the site is about freelance writing. Whichever you choose, make sure your site is easy to navigate, and people can easily see where they need to go if they want to hire you.
3 – Interact on Social Media
If you don’t already have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social media sites you can think of, you should set them up ASAP. Creating a social media presence to promote your business is essential. As you slowly build up followers, make sure you’re interacting with them on a regular basis. Even simple status updates can keep you and your freelance writing on their minds, so they will know where to go when they need to hire someone.
4 – Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Work
Unless you’ve built up a strong reputation as a writer, you won’t often get people who just approach you to write for them out of the blue. With this in mind, you need to reach out to different places you’d like to write for. You should have a general ‘template’ that you can follow when reaching out to potential clients. When asking for work, make sure you explain why your skills can help them with their business.
5 – Build an Authority Site
If you don’t already have a website that you contribute to that is seen as an authority, in any niche, you should start working on that. It doesn’t much matter what niche it is in, as long as it is a good site that gets plenty of traffic. Ideally, you should write for at least one site that has a page rank of 3 or higher. This way you can use that as a sample of your work. Potential clients will see that since you’re good enough to write for a large, successful site, you must be good enough to write for them.
6 – Include All Skills on Your About Me Page
Whether you’re making the About Me page of your own site, or it is your profile on some forums you frequent, or even just on eLance, make sure you list all your skills. You’ll see, for example, that I have several IT certifications (CNA, MCP, A+, ITIL). While most of my clients don’t have me writing IT related content, some of them do and my certifications help ‘sell’ me as their writer of choice. If you’ve worked in a retirement facility, you can include that. If you have experience taking care of kids, that may be relevant. Just about all skills and experiences are important to someone, so don’t leave them out!
7 – Always be Guest Blogging
Google claims that guest blogging is not going to be beneficial for SEO anymore, but that doesn’t really matter. Guest blogging is a great way to get your name out there, and attract new clients. Whenever possible, include a call to action in your bio box asking people to reach out to you if they need a freelance writer!
8 – Pay for Traffic
If you are getting really serious about this, you can run ads on Google AdWords to attract traffic. Make sure you are targeting ‘buyers’ keywords only. For example, if you run an ad that shows up when people do a search for, “Where can I hire a freelance writer,” it is a safe bet that the traffic you get to your site will convert quite well. Experiment with small investments into lots of keyword options at first, and then start to narrow it down as you find out what works best.
9 – Referral Discounts
The best type of marketing you can get is that of a referral from a happy customer. Offer your existing customers a onetime discount if they bring you a new client. If your clients are happy with your work, they will be happy to recommend you. Sometimes all it takes is you reaching out to them to see if they know anyone else who is looking for a writer.
10 – Always Be Marketing
You should be looking for new clients all the time. Even if it is just sending out one new proposal per day, or pitching one website on your services, this should be a key part of your business. Over time, you’ll end up attracting enough new clients that you can easily earn a full time income from your freelance writing.