Be a Freelance Writer: Your Writer Platform

Do you want to know the difference between successful freelance writers and all the others trying to get paid to write?

Be a Freelance Writer: Your Writer Platform

You might think it’s a full client list or strong negotiation tactics, but it’s not.

It’s your writer platform.

My series, Be a Freelance Writer: A Step-by-Step Approach, will help you – a SAHM, WAHM, part time worker or burned out worker – become a sought after freelance writer.

Using my approach, I will help you turn your hobby or passion into a full blown business.

In Part one, I give you my first three steps you need to do in order to start your freelance writing career.

In Part two, I give you the hard truth about freelance writing so that you can make the decision to venture further.

And in this post, I will go into detail about the biggest thing you need to make it as a freelance writer – establishing your writer platform.

What is Your Writer Platform?

what is your writer platform?Essentially, your writer platform is a tool to help promote and market your services.

It’s how you reach your readers and new clients. There are many ways to go about building your writer platform, but I will tell you the steps I did to get to where I am now.

But, first, why is having a writer platform important to freelance writers?

A writer platform will help you build:

•Your brand as a freelance writer
•Your credibility
•Your reputation
•Your visibility
•Your audience
•Your authority status as an expert in your field

All of these points are important to future clients.

They want to know they are hiring someone who is reputable (glowing testimonials, transparency online and professional persona), has some authoritative clout (your content is on popular websites and you are networking with influencers in your industry) and has a strong social presence online.

Without a writer platform, you’re going to have a tough time showing new clients you have a successful business (even if you are just starting out. You can portray yourself as if you already “have it.” Fake it till you make it mentality).

Have the Clients Come to You

In the world of freelancing, there’s a phrase that is all too common with everyone: Always be hustling.

This means you are constantly promoting your content, marketing your services, applying to job ads and guest posting on a regular basis.

Wouldn’t you like, though, to not have to constantly hustle your little butt off? Wouldn’t it be easier to have the client come to you?

That’s exactly what your writer platform will help you with – your inbound marketing strategy.

When you have all the little things lined up, you’ll have no shortage of clients contacting you for their content needs.

Now you’re in the position to pick and choose who you want to work with.

Having a writer platform also allows you to quickly raise your rates since you will have more work than you can handle and can choose to work with the clients that meet your rates.

This is the ideal situation, isn’t it? To build your brand as a freelance writer so that you are always in demand.

So, how do you start your writer platform? Here are the steps I took to get Innovative Ink up and running.

The Beginnings of Branding

woman headshotThe first thing you should do is to create a personal brand to maximize your odds of success. Your personal brand is,

[T]he process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal.

So, where can you add a little personal branding to your freelance writing business? Here are three things I did to create my personal brand as a way to stand out:

1. Create a Name for Yourself

Have you picked out a business name yet?

If you do a quick search of  “freelance writer for hire,” the first thing you’ll notice is, many writers use their name and others use a business name like I have.

Are there any advantages to using your name?

  • Future prospects might have an easier time remembering your name, rather than your business name and personal name.
  • You are instantly recognizable in the freelance writing/blogging world.
  • If you wanted to diversify your business (coaching, graphic designing etc…) it could all fall under your name quite easily.

Some examples include:

KristiHines.com

CorrinneKerston.com

KeriLynnEngel.com

SamarOwais.com

But, there are some downsides to using your name for your business:

  • What happens if you get married or divorced? You’re stuck with that name or else you have to re-brand.
  • Off the bat, no one would know what you do. Are you a blogger? Logo designer? Inspirational coach?

You could do a variation of your name by adding writes, writer, freelance, pen, ink etc…

Examples include:

AliciaRadesWriter.com

Katharine-Writes.com

GhostWriterPooja.com

What if you can’t use your name or variation of your name? The next best thing is to use a business name.

There’s nothing wrong with using a business name – in fact, there are some good things about using one:

  • It can make you appear more professional. Maybe a new client may think you are the “real thing” and not some SAHM working in her bedroom.
  • You can expand your business. While this is also true with using your name, using a business name lends you to having more credibility and authority (some people prefer working with a company and not a person – even if it’s just you doing everything).

Here are some successful freelance writers that use a business name:

Carrie Madormo – freelance writing tips and working from home

Lorraine Reguly – WordingWell.com

Lauren Tharp – LittleZotz.com

2. Take a Professional Looking Headshot

A true branding element of any business is knowing the people behind it. This is no different for your business.

Having a headshot greet future prospects on your homepage adds:

  • A personal element. Showing your face makes the interaction between a new client and yourself more personable.
  • A level of trust. It’s hard to give away your hard-earned money to someone you don’t know what they look like.
  • Credibility. Having a photo of you proves to future clients that there’s a real person to this business.
  • Another branding element. Use your headshot for everything: your writer website, social media profiles, gravatar, and author bio picture.

So, do you have to spend hundreds of dollars for a professional looking headshot?

Absolutely not!

I’m all for saving your money and boostrapping your business.

My headshot was taken by my husband using his iPhone.

Make sure to find a headshot that you like because this will be a strong branding element of your business. It’s okay to change it, but don’t do it all the time. Once or twice a year should be fine.

3. Create a Strong Social Presence

Are you taking advantage of social media? Your readers, future clients and your clients’ readers all hang out on social media.

This is a great tool to help establish your freelance writer platform by exposing your business to people on social media.

There are other ways to expose your business online. Let’s look at a few ways:

Have Profiles on the Top 5 Social Media Sites

Have profiles on:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest

Some tips to maximizing your social media presence:

  1. Fill out your profile completely
  2. Use business accounts when you can. For instance, Facebook and Pinterest both offer free upgrades to business accounts.
  3. Use the same headshot and image (logo or photo) for every social media profile. Check out my Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to see how I used the same image for each platform.
  4. Make sure your images are optimized for each social media platform. Take a look at my post How Do I Set Myself Apart as a Freelance Writer to see exact dimensions for each platform.

Invest Some Time to Blogger Outreach

What is blogger outreach? In regards to freelance writers it’s forming blogging relationships with other bloggers, influencers and freelance writers in your industry.

People like WAHM bloggers and those who give blogging advice should be on your list for networking.

Read their blog posts, follow them on social media and share their content. Learn from them as well and comment on their posts as much as you can.

It’s also very important to connect with influencers in your industry. Other bloggers like Sue Ann Dunlevie of Successful Blogging and freelance writers like Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing can help you land client gigs, guest posts and build up your authority as someone who is sought after.

How? By being in their radar, they will remember you if they or someone they know needs content services.

And finally, it’s super important to network with other freelance writers. They can:

  • Refer business to you
  • Lend an ear when you have a problem
  • Offer you work (sub-contract work or design work)
  • Help you promote your content
  • Give you testimonials when you first start out

So, spend some time networking with other fellow bloggers in your niche and developing relationships with them.

Spread Your Brand With Commenting

One aspect of blogger outreach is to comment on other blogs. This helps get you noticed and if you end up commenting on blogs that have the Comment Luv plugin, you can leave a link to a blog post.

commentluvbox

This sends traffic to your writer website helping you become more visible online.

Some points to consider when you leave comments on other people’s blogs:

  1. Add some insight in your comments. Don’t comment for the sake of commenting; instead, offer your opinion, advice or story as it relates to the post. This will help build your credibility as someone who knows about the topic on hand.
  2. Try to be the first to leave a comment. This ensures more people will see your comment, especially if it’s a quality comment.
  3. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain. If you see everyone leaving a comment on how great the post is, but you feel otherwise, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. If you do it in a polite way that doesn’t offend or ridicule the writer, you will open up a dialogue. This will get your noticed quickly.

Building Your Writer Platform Takes Time

There are many elements to your writer platform. These are only a few elements to get you going.

As you set up your writer website, logo and decide on a unique selling point, you will be on your way to  landing that first high-paying writing gig.

And, I will walk you through it, one step at a time.

In my next post I will talk about your writer website and how to create a winning website that will attract clients.

Until then, let me know in the comments what you’ve done to establish your writer platform. Or, if you are new, tell me what you will do first.

Please Pin me!

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

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68 Comments

Hey Elna, I really love this post and thanks for retweeting me yesterday. I am still on your course and you are such a well of knowledge. You are a dream for me. I am new though I have been blogging just for fun for a while. I am planning on taking it to the next level. I am currently working on my website, it is a hustle but I am hanging in there. PatriciaReply to Patricia
Hey Patricia, You’re welcome and thanks so much for enrolling in the course! I hope you are enjoying it!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, I found your blog searching for post relating to freelance pitching, and I am happy, I did. The post exactly explains the current world problem of freelance writing. I am developing my writer platform and your suggestions are well worth. A freelance companion like you is a great boost to freelancer community.Reply to Abhishek
Hi Elna, I really appreciate all of this information you are sharing about going freelance. I like the tips about figuring out your business name – I’m torn with using my name or going with a variation. At any rate, I’m at the point where I need to stop looking at my to-do list and just finally take the plunge. Your step-by-step series will be a go-to reference for me! I need to really work on my blogger outreach and guest posting. I’ve participated in a couple Twitter chats over the last few weeks and it’s really gratifying to connect online and find other like-minded individuals!Reply to Jennee
Hello, i’m Nigerian. I live in Lagos Nigeria. I’m passionate about writing and it’s one thing I do for fun and that makes me happy. I’ve been thinking of a platform for this and how best to go about it. you know.. what to focus on, my writing style and how to connect to reader?.. but I think your suggestions just gave me a very clear lead and measure of confidence. I’m going to be taking every step with you. Working on what name already..!Reply to seun
Great to hear Seun! You simply made my day hearing that my post really helped you zero-in on what you want your writer platform to be. It’s important to have a clear direction when developing your writer platform. Without consistency, branding and a Unique Selling Point, it’s hard to have a cohesive writer’s platform. Good luck!Reply to Elna
Thanks for the post Elna, some great tips! I took a while to settle on my branding as I coach as well as write but decided in the end to use my name across social media with Writing | People | Poetry as the brand. That way, if I decide to change it in the future I wouldn’t have to change all my social media accounts. My favourite is twitter and I spend most of my time there but I’m learning to use Facebook and LinkedIn more and have just started with Pinterest. Actually, I’m not sure we’re connected across all those, will have to remedy that!Reply to Rachael
That’s great Rachel. I think it’s important to figure out what you want to be known for and stick with it. You’ve included all elements to your professional persona and that makes it very cohesive to your overall brand. I like Twitter as well! Although I’ve been getting some good referrals from FB. ElnaReply to Elna
This article is a great resource. I just updated my profile pictures to be the same for each social media platform and it gives off a much more professional vibe and people recognize me from one platform to the next. Thanks for sharing these tips!Reply to Yanique
Thanks Yanique! Glad you updated your social profile pics. It helps with your brand message when everything matches! ElnaReply to Elna
Excellent advice as usual, Elna! I am working on an author platform for the book series I am working on, rather than looking for freelance work, but so much of your advice is still quite applicable. Thank you!Reply to Kara
Thanks Kara! Good luck on your author platform. Glad to help you out! ElnaReply to Elna
Hey there Elna – another fantastic post! As you know, I totally agree with your thoughts on branding. Having a distinctive style across social media is really important, imo and can make you instantly recognizable. I would have liked to use my name, but it was already taken (plus, not too long ago a search of my name brought up a lot of articles about a woman with the same name who murdered her husband – yikes!). But I’m very fond of my blog name. I think it’s memorable and it fits well with what I do. I think a lot of people also don’t take enough time to clarify their USP – but there HAS to be something makes you different, or why will anyone choose you over all the other people doing the same thing?Reply to Kelly
Hi Kelly, You have a very memorable name and brand Kelly! I know you are the Take Action WAHM!! I love your blog and your advice. Thanks for coming by and commenting. Yes, branding is important if you want to be recognized online. And, your USP is very important indeed. It really does help in making you stand out! ElnaReply to Elna
Elna, You certainly laid out a comprehensive list of steps in a concise way. In just a few minutes I picked up several great tips. I think that’s the name of the game…lots of reading and reaching out for help as you move towards your goal. I’ve been chipping away to build my writer’s platform and do have a blog and website. My website is still a work in progress, but this summer I plan on devoting lots of time to establishing myself as a freelance writer. Glad I found your blog. I’m sure it will guide me along the way.Reply to Rita
Hi Rita, Way to go for deciding to be a freelance writer! Be sure to bookmark this series! You have your base of your entire business already – your writer platform. Don’t feel you have to build it in one day. Building your writer platform is an every day thing. I will talk more about your writer platform, or at least, elements to help build your platform, throughout my series on Getting Paid to Write! ElnaReply to Elna
These are great and I think these apply to a lot of businesses. I am working hard to establish my brand as a designer. Thanks so much for this post it helps a lot.Reply to Michelle
Hi Michelle, Thanks for stopping by! Good to know that you are working hard on establishing your brand as a designer. I hope my tips can help you with your brand signature and messaging. I only offer the beginning tips for branding as there is lots that goes into creating a memorable brand. I don’t want to overwhelm SAHM’s or bloggers where this is a new venture, thinking they have to spend hours creating a unique brand for themselves. I’m still working on my brand. I updated my look in January and so far, like it very much. I might, however, change my URL to make it more SEO friendly, but that might be later this year. ElnaReply to Elna
I did not know about the upgrading on FB & Pinterest! Those are great tips! As always you have fabulous advice!Reply to Crystal
Hi Crystal, Thanks for your comment. FB and Pinterest have great ways to upgrade to a professional platform – if that’s what you want. I find it helpful in marketing my business! ElnaReply to Elna
Hi Elna, While freelance writing isn’t my forte, I really admire the expertise you have in your field. And, I still glean useful nuggets from your posts that I can use in my niche. Thanks for sharing.Reply to Karen
Hi Karen, Glad you enjoyed my post. It’s good to know that you find this useful even though you aren’t technically a freelance writer. Thanks! ElnaReply to Elna
There’s so much great advice here I know I’m going to keep referring back to this. Thanks!Reply to annabelt
Thanks Anna! I hope my advice will help you succeed as a freelance writer! You can contact me, [email protected], if you ever need some one-on-one coaching. ElnaReply to Elna
Great post, thanks for the tips. I’d love to freelance when the time is right!Reply to Ashleigh
Great to know Ashleigh! I hope my step-by-step series will help you out! ElnaReply to Elna
These are all excellent pieces of advice. I love your branding advice and tips to stand out from the rest of the blogging pack. I also agree…blogging outreach is the key to success! Jacquelyn http://www.diydesignmom.comReply to Jacquelyn
Hi Jacquelyn, Yes, blogging outreach is integral to getting your name and brand out there. You need a network of other bloggers and writers to help you land better and better clients. Thanks for coming on by! I hope you enjoy my getting paid to write blog series. ElnaReply to Elna
Wonderful post, great tips.. I’m going to have to install a few new features! Thanks for sharing!Reply to Jenn
Hi Jenn, Thanks for stopping on by and leaving a comment. Glad you enjoyed my post! Hope to see you around till the end of this series! I have a feeling it’s going to be a long one! ElnaReply to Elna
These are great tips, thanks so much!Reply to April
Thanks April! Glad you liked my post. ElnaReply to Elna
Thanks for the info! I’m not a SAHM or WAHM, but am going to school and working part-time while my other half is working. I’ll have to adopt some of this and pin it!Reply to Marissa
Great Marissa, This step-by-step approach is totally adaptable for your lifestyle. If you are a part-time worker, you can definitely incorporate these steps to get your freelance writing business up and running. Thanks for stopping by! ElnaReply to Elna
Thank you for this post! It contains a lot of valuable information and links for those of us making “a go at it” at home. I will be bookmarking for future reference.Reply to Allison
Hey Allison, Glad you enjoyed this post and series. That’s great that you are going to make a go out of this freelance writing thing! Thanks for bookmarking this for later! ElnaReply to Elna
This is great info!! Pinned for later to focus while not in the midst of kid chaos (;Reply to sara
Thanks Sara! Glad you liked my post and thanks for pinning it. ElnaReply to Elna
Thanks for sharing this information with us. There is wonderful stuff in here that I will surely use.Reply to Kimberly
Kimberly, Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you found some tips to helping you get on the road to getting paid to write! I love working from home and being able to raise my children! ElnaReply to Elna
Great tips! I am working on taking these steps. Thank you for giving me some clear steps to reach my goals.Reply to Rosevine
Hi, Glad to know my post will help you aspire to reach your goals as a writer for hire! Good luck and you can contact me anytime if you need coaching assistance! [email protected] ElnaReply to Elna
Excellent article!! I found you from the CBNgroup via the Facebook group. I thought that I came to read your article and it made me considering about getting the comment luv plugin in my blog. I’ve pinned yours in my Pinterest. Thank you for sharing. 🙂Reply to Joyce
Hi Joyce! Thanks for coming by and commenting on my most recent blog series, Getting Paid to Write. Glad to know that you are considering having a Comment Luv plugin. I love this plug in and it’s probably the only reason I comment, although I do comment on blogs that don’t have Comment Luv! ElnaReply to Elna
This is great, so much good info on freelance writing 🙂 sharing this so it can benefit others.Reply to Julie
Thanks so much Julie! Any SAHM, blogger, WAHM or part time worker might be interested in getting paid to write! Setting up your brand and website isn’t difficult if you do it one step at a time! ElnaReply to Elna
Thanks for some useful information. I have been freelancing for a few months and it is going pretty well. I am still working on the headshot though- I had professional headshots taken and I hate them! Maybe I need to try my husband taking photos with his phone.Reply to Michele
Hi Michele, Glad you took the plunge into freelance writing! I hope you are enjoying your time at home? Sorry to hear you don’t like your professional headshots. It might be best like you said to have your husband take some and then you can choose on the best one for your brand. I have professional family pictures that I took two summer’s ago, but decided not to use those and just had my husband take a few shots in the summer. Thanks for stopping by! ElnaReply to Elna
Elna, thanks for the mention. As usual, great post!Reply to Lorraine
Thanks Lorraine, Glad you liked it and how can I not include you in a list of the top freelance writers with a business name? 🙂 ElnaReply to Elna
Great blog, Elna! Thanks for splitting some things up so nicely. I am kind of behind in my keeping track of certain sites and blogs like yours because I have had my head stuck in a book on SEO for my site but your advice and the book really nicely complement each other. I have been writing and publishing for some years now but now that my kids are a little bigger this is the time to really build up my brand and I thought about what to use my name or a business name for a long time. I decided to go with a business name because my own is long, can be misspelled so easily and I usually go by my nickname ‘Mel’ so to avoid having to explain the discrepancies every time, I thought a play on words with both would work best. Thanks for all the great links to other bloggers and everyone commenting with great advice.!! I have a lot of catching up to do ;o)Reply to Mariken
Thanks Mel, Yeah I’m thinking about my URL and changing it up. Your URL is catchy and easy to remember! What SEO book are you reading? Thanks for stopping by and contributing to Freelancer FAQs. I’m managing three blogs, including mine, and it can be overwhelming coming up with regular content! Glad you liked this post and the rest of the posts in this series. ElnaReply to Elna
Oh and I LOVE the comment luv plugin that you mentioned! I’m going to go and install it on my own blog. Thanks for the tip!Reply to Reese
Isn’t Comment Luv the best! And it’s great when you can leave a comment on a blog that uses Comment Luv or Disquos as it leaves a link back to your site or blog. I’ll be sure to read your post on making your own graphics with no budget! ElnaReply to Elna
Elna, I love how you’ve created this value packed blog series on how to get paid to write. This is not just helpful for copywriters but for anyone starting a business. It’s totally transferable. Also, well done on linking up to so many different resources in this post! You could also teach your readers about SEO since you clearly understand how to rank!Reply to Reese
Thanks for the tips Reese! There is a lot to cover. I do want to write a post on how to write a blog post as I find many people don’t know how? I could talk about SEO at that time as well as other important aspects of blog writing. I’m glad you are enjoying my series! I wasn’t sure if it would be a hit, but from the response I’m getting, SAHM and other bloggers are interested in learning how to get paid to write. ElnaReply to Elna
Great post! I’m just starting to get my feet wet with freelance writing. It’s slow-going transitioning from being a full-time working mom to being a WAHM. I’ll have to read the rest of this series. Thanks so much for sharing your insight! Have a great week!Reply to Cristi
Thanks Cristi. Hope you read my first two posts? I see you have a Gravatar and that’s my fist step to breaking into freelance writing! You’re on your way. You’re probably right transitioning from a full-time working mom to being a WAHM would be tough – having a different schedule, lots of distractions and motivating yourself to work are things I struggle with daily. I know some freelance writers who do this as a side hustle and it can be draining on your mental health. Good luck transitions and if you ever need some coaching, you can reach me anytime at [email protected] ElnaReply to Elna