I’ve been coaching freelance writers for nearly 7 years now and I have spoken personally to hundreds of aspiring writers…
Do you know the ONE thing that 90% of them ask me to help them with?
I’m sure you know the answer already because it’s probably one of your biggest issues as well.
It’s… finding good freelance writing clients!
I mean, without clients there is no money, right?
Securing direct clients is the key to making a great freelance writing income, but so many writers don’t how to do it – especially those just starting out.
I’ve been there, and I know the struggle all too well. Thankfully, I quickly learned how to turn my struggles around and find some great clients. And now I want to help you do the same.
There are dozens of ways to find valuable freelance writing clients and I would be lying to you if I told you I could easily list all of those strategies in this one blog post. It would be a book!
So I condensed it into 4 surefire ways I have found to secure work from private clients. These places never fail me.
LinkedIn offers writers the perfect way to connect with prospective clients. A career-oriented social networking site that has grown in popularity in recent years, LinkedIn allows people to “link” with other professionals across the globe.
If you are not already on LinkedIn, the first step is to visit Linkedin.com and create a free profile.
Add your expertise, company name and complete the profile as if you were writing a resume. Be aware that you’re using this site as a vehicle for clients to find you, so write any and all information that would appeal to them. Upload a few samples, too!
Many people aren’t aware of the hundreds of groups you can join. On the top of your profile page, when you hover over “interests,” you will see “groups.” If you type in “writers” on the Groups page you will see a few thousand results that include writers’ groups and interests.
LinkedIn also has an area for job seekers. This is where you’ll discover many jobs that might be perfect for you.
Go to the top of the page once again and click on “jobs.” When you arrive on the landing page, type “writer” in the search bar. This delivers thousands of results with all types of jobs available for writers.
When you see jobs you want to apply to, contact them right through LinkedIn. You can also Google them or contact them through their website.
For more information on the “Dos and Don’ts” on how to use LinkedIn to attract writing clients, read my article here.
And if you are still unsure of how to get started with LinkedIn, grab my Free eBook, “The Freelance Writer’s Complete Strategy Guide to Winning High-Quality Clients.” In it, I teach you how use LinkedIn to attract and land high-paying clients and how to set up your profile the right way even if you have no experience.
Twitter also provides a great opportunity to find writing gigs.
Joining Twitter and creating a profile is free, and in addition to helping you locate potential jobs and clients, it can also help you develop your brand and your professional reputation.
If you don’t’ have a profile, go to twitter.com/signup and fill out the information required.
Twitter will ask you what you want for your Twitter username. You should give this some thought. Try to match your website domain name with the usernames on your Facebook Page and Twitter profile (or at least make them similar).
When using Twitter, the most important question you have to ask yourself is “Whom am I trying to attract?”
Since you are trying to attract private clients, tweeting links to your blog, your website, and other links that can showcase your work, is a good idea. You can also tweet about writing tips, valuable writing websites and other information that would make people want to follow you.
With Twitter, the keyword is “consistency.” If you continue to share and follow writers and prospective clients, they will follow you back. If they see you tweet, comment, interact and offer great advice and tips, they will get to know you. That familiarity could land you a job!
Now, when using Twitter… subtlety is important. Get to know people before you ask them for anything. Respond to their tweets. If they post blog links, go there and comment on them. Make yourself known and well-liked – particularly with the movers and shakers in your niche (if you have one!)
Once you are firmly planted on Twitter and you’ve followed some prospective clients, you can then ask a non-offensive question like “Do you have an email where I can send my portfolio?”
A work-related question is always best sent as a “direct message” on Twitter, which allows for greater privacy. You can only send a private message if you are following that person and they are following you back. If that’s not the situation, then you could always email them on their website and remind them who you are on Twitter.
Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get a response. Keep trying. You will get responses that just might turn into some lucrative, long-term gigs.
So, what are some good tweets?
- Tweet about projects you’ve completed. Tweet about a new blog post with the link.
- Tweet interesting facts about your specialty. The strategy is to get followers engaged, following you and retweeting your posts or commenting on them.
- Retweet posts liberally. This shows followers you are also interested in their content.
Another great way to use Twitter is to become a “troll.” I know that word has a negative connotation, but in this case, it’s smart. Troll all of the job listings on Twitter.
Many job posting sites put their listings directly on Twitter. Some of these accounts include @freelancewj, @writing_jobs @mediabistro and @jjob_tweets which is the website, journalismjobs.com. Although they don’t have a huge amount of followers, the jobs they post are quality.
Here is a sample tweet from JournalismJobs.com.
Don’t forget to check hashtags. A hashtag is the pound sign on your keyboard. Using hashtags can direct you to many nice writing gigs. Use #freelancer, #WriterWednesday, #writechat and #freelancewriter, and search for other variations. If you’d like more ideas, go to ProductiveWriters.com. They posted a long list of hashtags for writers.
If you spend 10-15 minutes every day on Twitter, you will gain many followers and connect with other writers and clients that can help you find writing gigs. Although gaining a huge amount of followers is not necessary, it’s important you find the “right” followers that can help you earn your desired income as a freelance writer.
Want to learn more? Check out my blog post on how to brand yourself and find writing jobs on Twitter.
Free and easy, Google can be a great route to direct clients. Simply search for “high paying guest blog post” and you will find millions of results.
Peruse the first 5 or 6 pages and you will find a number of sites that list blogs, companies and websites that will pay for guest posts. Let’s take one Google result as an example…
On the landing page you will see that there are several sites listed that regularly pay at least $100 for each guest post.
After clicking through to these sites, each one will give you a set of guidelines to follow to submit your blog post.
Once you land a few blog gigs, you can develop a relationship with the blog owner and they might ask you to do several blogs a month. If you have several of those on a continual basis, the money starts to add up.
4. Cold Calling (or Cold Emailing)
Some people find this a bit intimidating…
Just hearing the words “cold call,” can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. I understand my fellow introvert!
But if you understand that these clients are looking for you, it will put the fear in perspective. And today, cold calling isn’t so scary anymore.
Cold calling in any market is a number’s game. The more you contact, the more chance you have of landing a great gig.
Years ago, you had two choices when you were cold calling: You called the client on the phone or visited them in person. With the advent of the internet, cold calling clients is simply an email away. I told you it wouldn’t be that hard!
Tailor your emails toward the person and the company you’re contacting.
Include your website and portfolio links in the email. Make the email short and personable. Write it with a smile on your face and it will translate in your writing. If you don’t hear from them in two weeks, email them again with a brief “remember me” note. If you hear nothing after that, move on.
To find companies to cold call, Google the topic you specialize in or a topic you regularly write on and search for companies. For example, I might search for the phrase “internet marketing companies.” These companies may be able to use your writing services and you can find that out once you contact them.
You can also contact clients through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and by visiting high quality job boards. And I stress the words “high quality” because there are thousands of job sites out there, but most of them are junk. As you submit to clients, you will learn to weed out which ones work for you and which ones don’t.
Before you begin contacting clients directly, make sure your website is professional and has your best samples posted. It should have a clean design and point to the type of writer you are. Your contact information should be visible, and it should include an inviting photo of yourself.
If you want to find more places to find writing work, check out my Ultimate List of Freelance Writing Jobs and 100+ Paying Websites.
It’s Worth the Work
Developing your freelance writing business to reach a solid income takes time and diligence, but it is time well spent. You are building toward something that will change your life.
I remember the first house my parents built. From the perspective of my young mind, that house took forever to build. It seemed like every day just a few boards would be added, until one day we pulled up in the driveway and the whole shell of the house was in place!
Over the next couple of weeks, the entire house came together and eventually, we walked inside. I could hardly believe my eyes. I really thought it would never happen. As I ran into my new room, I realized it was worth the wait!
I learned a great lesson that day that has helped me in life and in my writing career. The foundation of anything worthwhile takes time. But if you keep striving at it, in what seems like a moment, it’s finished and you see the benefits of your hard work.
It’s the same with your business. Keep at it.
Connect on LinkedIn. Follow people on Twitter. Google for high-paying blog
posts and knock on client’s virtual doors.
If you keep at it, one day your business will be built and your dreams will become a reality. Then you will realize it was all worth it.
I believe in you!
Here are some other helpful posts on freelance client management.