Marketing yourself isn’t just a useful skill to have if you want to see any kind of success as a freelance writer – it’s become an absolute necessity. Below are ten tips on marketing yourself as a freelance writer online (without the need to sign up for a marketing degree down at the local university).
1. Get to grips with inbound marketing by writing your own blog
Yes it’s hard work, but marketing yourself via a well-written, resourceful and consistent blog can do wonders for drawing in leads. You can set up a free and easy to use blog on Blogger or WordPress.com, or you can go the whole hog and host your very own.
2. Don’t just be present on social media – engage, share and network
Like blogging, keeping up with all your social media accounts can be time consuming but social media really is key to marketing yourself and your freelance writing skills online. Be active, share useful content and instigate a bit of networking. If you need help keeping on top of all your different social networks then this Hootsuite post might be of some help.
3. Be overly useful in forums and online communities
Answer relevant questions on Yahoo Answers and Quora. Find out where potential clients are interacting online and be active in those communities. As long as you don’t become annoying and spammy in your marketing efforts, people will appreciate your engagement and advice – and this might just lead to a few new clients.
4. Learn the basics of SEO
Whether you’ve got a blog or a simple website promoting your freelance writing services, optimizing your webpages to make it easy for the search engines (and therefore potential clients) to find you is a no-brainer. The fundamentals of SEO are not hard to understand either. (Read How to Make Your Writing Search Engine Friendly if you want to learn the basics of SEO in non-technical plain English.)
5. Perfect your pitch
The above points so far are all well and good but what about taking the bull by the horns and just pitching directly to a client for some freelance writing work? This is the ultimate in marketing yourself so you need to get it right. There’s loads of advice online about this sort of thing but the main things to consider when pitching for work are to research the publication and to keep your pitches relevant and brief.
6. Get guest blogging
If you have something useful, insightful and perhaps entertaining to offer readers of other blogs, then guest blogging is another good way of marketing yourself and your services. This is not an opportunity for you to blatantly self-promote however. Concentrate first and foremost on giving value and writing the best piece you can write. Most blogs will give you a link back to your own website or blog at the end of the piece and if it’s good enough you may just get some highly targeted new business leads.
7. Use email marketing
This is particularly effective if you blog regularly, but still works even if you don’t. Setting up an email newsletter to keep people up to date with your freelance writing activities can be an effective way of marketing yourself and remaining at the forefront of people’s minds. It’s free and ridiculously easy to set up an email newsletter. I use Mailchimp myself – mainly because it’s free and simple to use, but also because it’s fun and easy on the eye too.
8. Pay for targeted advertising
All the ideas so far have been completely free of charge but there’s nothing wrong with spending a little to make a lot. Google Adsense campaigns and Facebook advertising can be as inexpensive as you want them to be and, if done effectively, can be highly targeted ways of marketing yourself as a freelance writer.
9. Set up a referral discount for your happy clients
Got a few happy clients under your belt already? Great – don’t let them go to waste then! Use your happy clients to spread the word and do your marketing for you by setting up a referral discount for them when they recommend somebody that goes on to become a new client. People love discounts and you love new clients – it really is win-win.
10. Team up with other freelancers
They say there’s power in numbers (or is that ‘safety’?). Either way, by teaming up with other freelancers you can market yourself while helping others too. This can be as simple as swapping adverts on your website with a graphic designer, or as involved as working together to bundle each other’s services into packages to offer out to clients. Find fellow freelancers that are game for this type of thing in forums or on social media. Hint: Linkedin groups are particularly good for this.
It can be tough out there for freelance writers – mainly because the ‘freelance’ part of that job title means you need to constantly market yourself along with knowing how to form a sentence or two. While that can be hard work, as a freelance writer online you're inundated with different ways of marketing yourself and your writing services.
It's just a case of choosing how many of these methods are right for you.
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photo credit: Will Lion via photopin