If you’ve decided to earn money online as a freelance content writer, one of the fastest ways to start generating income is to write for clients. Use these simple steps to get more clients for your freelance writing business.
1 Know your writing and business strengths
As a freelance content writer, focusing on your strengths is a powerful way to make more money. If you are writing for an insurance company today and a video game company tomorrow, you will constantly start from scratch. While some variety keeps life interesting, staying focused means you can save time on research. To determine your strengths, answer the following questions.
- What jobs have you held in the past?
For example, you may have previously worked as a business analyst at a technology company. In that case, you probably have a deep understanding of complex business technology. You could start by looking for clients directly related to job experience.
- What subjects did you enjoy studying the most in school?
Your school studies and student activities may give you clues about your strengths. For example, you might have worked with non-profit organizations as a volunteer. In that case, you might focus on working with non-profit organizations.
- What topics are you excited to learn more about?
As a freelance content writer, you will constantly be learning about new topics. Therefore, it is worth asking which topics you would like to research better. For example, you might have a passion for cameras and video equipment. Many companies create video software, cameras, accessories, and more to benefit from your skills.
Before completing this step, write down at least three topics you are interested in or desire to learn more about.
2 Ask for referrals from people you already know
Start your business by connecting with people you already know and like. For example, take a look at your social media accounts. In addition, take note of people you regularly text, call or meet in person. Instead of directly asking people for business, ask for an introduction instead.
Your networking efforts are more likely to succeed when you make a specific request. It is better to say something like this: “I work with video production and equipment companies who need blog posts. Do you know anybody in the video industry I should meet?”
3 Join writing groups and associations
As a freelance writer, you might feel alone because nobody you know has a similar business. Fortunately, there are multiple online communities you can join as a writer. You might consider two kinds of organizations: writer groups and business organizations. To get you started, here are a few examples of each group.
- American Medical Writers Association. A professional organization for writers in the medical field. The association also has an online jobs board for freelancers: AMWA Jobs Online.
- Editorial Freelancers Association. Based in New York, this association is focused on freelancers who write for newspapers, magazines, and other publications. The association also has a Member Directory and Job List.
- Public Safety Writers Association. This specialization group brings together fiction and non-fiction writers and publishers interested in public safety, policing, and related topics.
Nearly every organization has a trade group or association. Attending an organization’s event will help you to meet potential clients.
- List of Trade Associations & Trade Shows. This curated listing of associations is a great place to jump off and find gatherings related to your interests. Did you know that more than ten associations are dedicated to animals and pets? Those companies could be a great starting point for finding potential freelance clients.
- Directory of Associations. This database has more than 30,000 organizations! The best part is that you can filter the directory by category, US state, and size. Another good starting point for finding your freelance clients.
4 Sign up for freelance platforms
Freelance platform website can be a helpful way to find clients quickly. The good news is that these platforms attract a steady flow of potential clients every week. The bad news is competition – there are many other freelance writers active on these platforms. You can cut through the competition by emphasizing your experience (e.g., you might have worked in the insurance industry and therefore would be a good fit for an insurance client) and sharing samples of your past work.
Sign up and create a profile on each of the following platforms to find potential freelance clients:
As you consider these platforms, keep in mind the advantages and disadvantages. A key disadvantage is pricing and fees – the client might offer you $1000, but the platform may take $200 in fees before you see a dollar. On the other hand, these platforms usually make it easy to get paid and have standard contracts you can use.
5 Use your network to find freelance clients
Your network of connections is one of the best places to look for clients. Take your time in choosing which people to approach as potential clients. Use the following steps to make the most of your network to grow your freelance content business.
- Make a spreadsheet list of people in your network.
Using Excel or Google Sheets, make a list of the people in your network. List their name, email, and the relationship (e.g., friend, family member, professional contact). Aim to list out at least 20-30 people. Check your social media and email accounts for ideas.
- Identify high likelihood individuals.
To save time, focus your outreach on people in your network who most likely need a freelance content writer. That means focusing on either business owners or those with a marketing job title. In contrast, people in your network who are retired or students are less likely to be able to offer you freelance projects.
- Look up people on LinkedIn.
Before contacting anyone in your network, look them up on LinkedIn. This step is critically important because it will give you up-to-date insight, like if the person recently changed jobs.
- Start a daily outreach habit.
A steady outreach effort is the best way to start conversations. To keep life simple, give yourself an easy to manage goal at first, like “send out one email to people in my network each business day.”
6 Create a business website to promote your services
Creating a business website is an excellent way to demonstrate your credibility to clients. You only need to create a few pages when you first get started. Start with creating the following pages.
An about page is an opportunity for you to introduce yourself to clients. You can talk about your experience but relate it to clients. For example, you might have experienced as a personal trainer. In that case, you can explain you can use that experience to work with fitness companies.
Post at least three portfolio samples related to the type of work you would like to offer. If you have never had clients before, don’t let that stop you! You can write a blog for your business and contribute guest blog posts to other websites.
Interview past clients about their experiences working with you for your testimonials page. When possible, it is excellent to ask for business metrics and numbers. For example, a client might have increased their website traffic due to the content you created. If you don’t have any testimonials yet, work extra hard on your first few projects and ask for a testimonial after completing those projects.
- Services and Pricing
Describe how you plan to work with clients by creating a services page. There are two general ways to approach this page. You might decide to offer pricing directly on your website. Alternately, you can direct clients to contact you for a quote. As you gain more experience, you can increase your prices over time.
Writing blog posts is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise as a freelance content writer. That said, it can take a lot of time and effort to build online traffic. Don’t assume that publishing a handful of blog posts will drive leads. Instead, the blog posts you publish are a way to demonstrate your abilities for clients. In the short term, directly reaching out to potential clients is the fastest way to get clients.
7 Use social media to find freelance clients
Once you have your business website set up, social media is the next step to get clients. There are a few ways to use social media websites to get clients. It is best to choose one platform to focus on at a time. For example, long-form content is commonly found on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Medium. On the other hand, Twitter is useful to promote links to your content.
- Search social media websites
There are freelance content project postings regularly posted on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Search for keywords like “Content marketing” or “blogger” to identify potential opportunities.
- Engage with potential clients.
Take some time to get to know potential clients by engaging with them. That means reading their updates, liking posts that stand out to you, and sharing content you like. When you start engaging with someone new on social media, it is best to take it slow. Specifically, limit yourself to one interaction per person per day.
- Send direct messages to potential clients
The next step is sending a direct message to a prospect on social media. The message you send should relate to what the person has posted. Suppose the person has posted about needing a freelancer or marketing support, reference that need in your message. If the person has not mentioned a specific need, offer suggestions on what kinds of content you would recommend creating for the company.
8 Produce a freelance content proposal
A proposal is a sales document that describes what you will do for clients, the prices you charge, and the schedule. If you need additional information from the client, such as graphics, access to Google Analytics, and so forth, specify those details in your proposal. In your proposal, it is also smart to share links to some of your writing samples in the proposal to remind clients of your writing expertise.
Many freelancers and consultants recommend offering multiple options to clients with different prices and services. This approach to proposals means you have a higher chance of the client finding a price point that works for them. For example, you might offer a “basic” content package of 10 social media updates and a “premium” content package including ebooks and blog posts for a higher price.
For additional guidance on developing a freelance proposal, use these resources.
- How to Write a Freelance Writing Proposal: Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide (Medium)
- How to Write a Freelance Proposal: 8 Expert Tips to Get Clients (Make A Living Writing)
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