tools starting out as a freelance writer - laptopYou may have razor-sharp writing skills, a passion for words, and relentless determination—but if  no one knows who you are, these traits won’t form a winning recipe for success.

In today ’s high-tech marketplace, raising online awareness is key to launching a thriving freelance writing career!

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to transition from print to web writing, check out these tips for building a strong—and profitable—online presence.

Register a unique domain

While it’s possible to set up a website for free, the caveat is that you have to “piggyback” on the provider’s domain. For instance, your URL would be www.[bizname].wordpress.com or www.[bizname].blogspot.com. For a few extra bucks, you can purchase your own unique domain, such as www.[bizname].com.

customdomain

There are a few key benefits to owning a unique hosted domain:

  • A more professional identity. A writer who has made the effort to purchase her own online space will be taken more seriously than one who has just thrown up a quickie free site.
  • Access to countless themes. There are thousands of professionally designed templates available for hosted sites, at no extra charge. WordPress.org’s Free Theme Directory is a great place to start, but there are plenty of other sites offering template directories.
  • Access to a built-in CMS. Most of the popular hosting plans offer content management functionality, making it easy to add and update copy, layouts, and other site elements on the fly.

Create a simple online portfolio

When potential clients come to your site, they want to see samples of your work without having to click through a maze of links. They should be able to find what they’re looking for within 10 seconds of landing on your page. Choose a few of your strongest pieces and use a clean, simple interface to present them. There are dozens of free or cheap portfolio tools you can use to showcase your work.

portfolio

Get on the blogging bandwagon

From hairstylists to hardware stories, virtually every modern business has a blog—and it’s especially important for freelance writers to follow suit. After all, writing is your forte, so blogging is an easy, cost-effective way to market your services AND your skills. Still not convinced?

Here are a few reasons to add blogging to the top of your to-do list:

  • You’ll get more leads. Companies that blog get considerably more visitors than static sites. The steady stream of fresh content and strategic use of keywords will increase your visibility and attract more clicks from potential clients.
  • It’s free (or cheap). There are plenty of free blog platforms out there, including blogger.com, Tumblr.com, and WordPress.com. If you’re marketing on a budget, you can have a blog up and running in minutes without paying a penny. Plus, as an inbound marketing strategy, blogging is cost-effective with a high ROI. Inbound marketing costs up to 62 percent less than outbound marketing.
  • It shows off your personality. Most clients don’t want to hire a faceless business—they want to engage with a real person. A blog allows you to share your writing style, professional philosophies, and opinions on industry developments. Readers will get to know you, not just your prices and services.
  • Engage with clients. Use your blog to provide timely information, ask questions, and encourage clients to share feedback. Unlike your regular web pages, a blog is more like a conversation—a venue for two-way communication.

Get your content out there

As a new freelance writer, it’s a lot easier to get paying gigs when you have a portfolio of published content online—but are you supposed to publish content if you’ve yet to land your first client?

There are a number of reputable article directories—HubPages.com and EzineArticles.com are two of the biggest—where you can submit your own copyrighted articles to be published under your byline. Visitors can read your bio, view your photo, and click to access your business website or blog.

Ezine-Articles

Because these sites are so massive in terms of pages and content, they hold a lot of weight in search engine rankings. When writing your articles, use keywords that are relevant to your expertise and target audience. For instance, if you specialize in writing sales letters, you can weave in variations of “sales letter copywriter.”

Do you write for a specific niche? Seek out sites that publish content in your specialized area. For instance, if you write fitness articles, you can submit to a site like http://www.fitnesshealtharticles.com.

Get social

When clients need freelance writers, social media is one of the most popular places to look.

If you’re already using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social networks, it should be fairly easy to set up business pages on these sites. If you’ve yet to dip your toe into the social media waters, this will take a bit more research and experimentation to get your pages just right.

twitter

For more information on this topic, check out my quick-start guide on how to set up your writer social profiles.

LinkedIn is a veritable treasure trove of potential gigs and clients. Create a professional profile that highlights your most marketable skills, samples, and experiences. Remember to create a keyword-rich bio to boost your page’s search engine ranking.

And while you may have assumed that Pinterest is just for crafting, décor, and recipes, the electronic bulletin board can actually serve as a great visual writing portfolio

Promote your profiles

Once you have a website, blog, and/or portfolio, boost their visibility by sharing them on your marketing collateral, business cards, resumes, and email signatures. When you comment on other blogs or forum posts, include your links. Not only will this show potential clients that you’re plugged into the tech scene and demonstrate confidence in your business brand, it will also increase the inbound links going back to your web presence and boost search engine visibility.

signature

Build a community

Creating a strong online presence isn’t just about pushing out your own content—it also means cultivating relationships with like-minded people whose goals complement yours. Make a list of freelance writing blogs that interest you (or that see a large volume of traffic), and spend some time every week reading posts, commenting on them, and interacting with the writers and other commenters.

Social media is another prime opportunity to interact with the writing community. Follow other writers on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and reply to their posts.

The key is to get your name out there as much as possible—ideally along with a link back to your website or blog.

The Importance of Strategy

It’s important to tie all of these content techniques together with an underlying strategy. Before you start writing, figure out what your message will be, what tone or style you want to use, and how you want people to perceive you. Whether it’s a tweet, a blog, or an article, every piece of content you put out there is a reflection of your personal brand—so use them thoughtfully and wisely.

Check out my other posts related to setting up your writer’s website.

ATT FREELANCE WRITERS:
LEARN MY SHORTCUTS TO ATTRACTING, FINDING AND
LANDING HIGH-PAYING WRITING CLIENTS & JOBS
The best clients are out there waiting to pay YOU. You just have to know where to find them!
100% Privacy. I hate spam too!
Download this FREE eBook right now and discover:
3 proven emails you can use to land these “dream clients” without cold calling
My 4-part formula for identifying “dream” clients on LinkedIn (watch how I find awesome clients in 1 minute flat!)
3 "secret backdoors” to finding well-paid jobs and awesome clients on Craigslist
And more...
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Enter your email below and get your FREE client-winning strategy guide today!
2 done-for-you email reply templates to win more clients with a “knockout” first impression

Maggie

Maggie Linders is the author of "Freelance Writing Riches," an income-boosting blueprint for freelance writers. She is also the creator of the popular "Freelance Profit Academy," an information-packed, coaching-focused membership program that teaches freelance writers how to start, build and maintain full-time, high-earning freelance writing careers.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Eye-opening, Maggie, thank you. I have been thinking about getting a personal branded website created but not sure I have the technical know-how to pull it off. You said Freelance Inner Circle offers a WordPress theme specifically for this purpose? Please let me know if you think a total newbie like me could (and should) use it to create my writer’s website.

    1. Hi Adam, thanks for posting your question. To answer your question, yes, Writer’s Theme is a WordPress theme that we include inside Freelance Inner Circle. And yes, it’s perfect for those new to building a website. Inside the membership we also include step-by-step videos showing you how to use Writer’s Theme. Anyone, regardless of experience level, can use it to create a fantastic branded website. Good luck!

  2. WOOTWOOT – yep, I should create my website sometime this year, but social media is indeed a hotbed of clients. Form trust-based relationships to not only land high-quality paying jobs, but to collaborate with soulful visionaries who care about making a positive impact on this world.

  3. Hi Maggie, is there any way to get your CD’s sent here to the UK? I’m happy to pay the extra postage charge, I just really want to see the content!

    1. Hi Andy,

      We just finished a new order system that will allow us to send the CDs content electronically to non-US people. If you are a subscriber to my list, you will receive an email with the information very soon!

      Maggie

  4. Hello – I purchased for customers outside the USA….being Australia at a cost of $1, where you would send me the info via email. This has been debited twice from my account, yet no forthcoming info and your site says declined. Please fix this. I know it is only a dollar + conversion, but I made this purchase with good intent, only to have it not come to me and yet you have been paid. Disappointed.

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My 4-part formula for identifying “dream” clients on LinkedIn (watch how I find awesome clients in 1 minute flat!)
3 "secret backdoors” to finding well-paid jobs and awesome clients on Craigslist
And more...
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