Have you heard the news yet: you can be a better freelance writer… starting today.
Let me first explain what I mean by better freelance writer.
If you are new to freelance writing, there are three things that I’m sure are always on your mind (and are still on my mind):
- Branding yourself as a freelance writer
- How to generate more income for your business
- Growing your business so that you don’t have to worry about constantly hustling
Yup, I believe if you can create a powerful brand, you can grow your business and not worry about the next time you’ll get paid.
And if you have these three skills, you will become a better freelance writer. So, where do you start? By becoming a better marketer.
I can already hear the grumbles and the curses under your breath.
But I’m not a marketer. I’m a freelance writer.
Don’t worry, my marketing tips are so foolproof that any new freelance writer or someone interested in becoming a freelance writer can use them and not fail.
In this post, I won’t be talking about using direct marketing tactics to make it as a freelance writer, such as emailing your pitch to a few prospective clients and using social media to build awareness of your business.
No. What I will be talking about is how to utilize soft marketing strategies in order to brand yourself and grow your business.
Soft marketing strategies are indirect ways to attract businesses. They are easy to do and usually don’t cost you any money. So what are the steps to becoming a better freelance writer?
I’ve assembled 6 foolproof marketing tips that you can start using today. You don’t have to be tech-savy or a social media maven to use these marketing tips either.
All you need is the desire, confidence and motivation to become a better freelance writer.
So let’s take a look at how you can use soft marketing strategies in your business.
1. Collect Clips
For those of you who don’t know what a “clip” is, it’s a published article of yours that’s on someone else’s blog. They’re also called guest posts.
Guest posting is by far the easiest way to gather writing samples and at the same time promote your brand and your services.
You ultimately choose the topic you want to write about and pick the website you want your article published on. Sometimes you have to pitch your idea to the editor of the website of interest, but oftentimes, you can submit your whole article for review.
One of the incentives of guest posting is having an author byline on your article. This short byline is usually 2-3 sentences with a link back to your website or blog.
You’re probably thinking,
Why would I give away my writing for free?
How do I make a living being a freelance writer if I keep giving my work away for free?
Because guest posting can help your business grow by accessing a wider audience.
How does a guest post do this?
It Provides a Link Back to Your Website
Your author byline will have a link back to your website. This is a great soft marketing strategy to alert new readers that you are a freelance writer for hire. When this happens, you drive new readers and potential clients back to your content, which can mean a new gig and a chance for your business to grow.
You Can Create Original and Quality Content
I don’t know about you, but I only choose websites to guest post if:
- They are in my niche
- The sites are well respected and highly regarded within their niche
- They are well established
When I have a guest post featured on a website within my niche, it brands me as an expert. You can write for more than one niche to show potential clients that you are adept at writing on a variety of topics.
I write on a variety of niches including, but not limited to, parenting, career advice, health, education and lifestyle.
You’ll Impress Potential Clients
When you include your best content in your guest posts, it brands yourself as someone who creates quality content that’s engaging and informative.
Having published articles from different websites in your portfolio is much more attractive to small businesses interested in your services, than having your blog as proof of your writing ability.
It Elevates Your Pitch
While new freelance writers are providing samples from their blog, you can provide external links to your guest posts. And if your links are to high authority websites, then it shows potential clients your credibility as a freelance writer.
It Reaches a Larger Readership Through Social Media Sharing
When a guest post of yours is approved by a high authority website, you can guarantee that more people will see it and more people will share it. I recently had Social Media Today and Psych Central, two high authority sites, publish my articles, and each of my articles already have more than 300 social shares.
When your writing reaches a wider audience, there’s a great chance a potential client will see it and consider your services for their business.
2. Keep on Blogging
Okay, so I know I just mentioned what a great marketing strategy writing for others is. But now I want to switch focus and talk about writing for yourself.
Now if you’re in the process of building your portfolio with external links, updating your blog can also help create more business and is actually another great soft marketing tool.
But I know what you’re thinking,
I’m wasting time writing for myself and not getting paid for it.
I’m here to tell you that even though you aren’t directly getting paid for blogging, you will benefit in other ways. When you provide fresh new content on your blog, search engines will index your post and start to rank you for long-tail phrases. When you rank in Google, it’s much easier for potential clients to find you.
I have to constantly update my blog even when I don’t have time.
As long as you provide original and engaging content to your readers, they won’t mind if you take a month off or longer because of pending work or personal issues. Stay up-to-date on social media, at least, and use that to connect to your readers.
No one has viewed it anyways, so what’s the point?
Trust me, people will start to read your posts and eventually comment. It just requires a bit of direct marketing tactics like sharing it across all your social media channels.
And you never know, your blog could land you clients. A prospective client might land on your blog and if you have a current and updated blog, they will be more inclined to contact you for your writing services.
So how can I use blogging as a marketing tool? By making sure your blog has these 4 elements:
- Strong headlines to hook your readers in
- An engaging voice
- An easy to read and easy to scan structure
- A “hire me” tab or a byline on your posts alerting your readers that you’re a freelance writer for hire.
3. Create an Email Newsletter for Your Readers
If you don’t already know, email is the biggest social network online. Who doesn’t have an email, right?
And I can bet you that you had that same email account for many years, and will continue to use that same email for many more years to come.
That’s why email marketing is a huge market–not many people close email accounts or stop using their email.
So, creating a newsletter for your readers can help with branding yourself as a freelance writer. How?
- It shows you are an expert in your field
- It can reach more people other than those who read your blog
- It can help you develop a relationship with your subscribers, which in turn creates loyalty.
- It demonstrates your values and knowledge, while showing your personality.
Having a newsletter for my blog gives me an opportunity to practice my writing and provide useful information that wouldn’t necessarily be on my blog.
You might be wondering how often you should provide a newsletter. That’s up to you. For me, I opted to do monthly newsletters so that I can focus on a core theme and provide relevant and useful information.
If you are interested in setting up an email subscription form and newsletter, The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Newsletter and Email List, is comprehensive and useful.
4. Provide a Freebie
Who doesn’t like something free? I certainty like anything that’s free, even if I don’t need it (I can always give it to someone who does need it).
One of the best marketing tips out there for bloggers and freelance writers is to create a freebie for new subscribers. It follows the reciprocity principle: if you give me your email, I will give you this free guide in return.
Providing a freebie for your new subscribers is a great marketing tool and helps you become a better freelance writer by:
- Sharpening your marketing and writing skills.
- Branding yourself as a freelance writer with expertise in a particular area (SEO, cold emails, quality content tips, marketing strategies, copywriting)
- Growing your business. Once you have subscribers, you can create a connection with them and, for some, eventually market your services to them.
What sort of free incentive should you give your loyal subscribers? Something that peaks their interest, solves their problem or tempts them.
If you want to learn more about types of incentives, check out these two posts that I found quite useful when coming up with my free guide.
- 9 Irresistible Incentives That’ll Grow Your Email List Like Crazy
- 21 Free Gifts for Email Subscribers to Boost Your Opt-In Rate
5. Build Followers on Social Media
Do you think social media is a big waste of time? Do you have better things to do with your time like write and pay the bills?
Well, I’m going to tell you social media is a goldmine for building your business. And if that doesn’t convince you, social media skills might make the difference between a freelance writing business and a freelance writing hobby.
Businesses today know they must provide better content and push social media marketing if they want to rank in Google. And they are going to look to freelance writers that have a social media presence to help them with their content needs.
So, how can you use social media to expand your business? The key is to become a savvy social media marketer.
Not sure how do to this? In my complete course, Write Your Way to Your First $1k, I show you how you can use social media to land high-paying clients.
Although becoming adept at marketing through social media can take time to master, you can do 6 things to get started:
- Learn how to navigate the big social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
- Regularly update all your social media accounts.
- Share and tweet other people’s blog posts.
- Share and tweet your latest blog posts and guest posts.
- Re-tweet useful information
- @Mention other writers or businesses.
When you take 15 minutes a day to update your social media accounts, not only will you gain a following, but you can source future blog posts and find potential clients.
Tweeting a short and causal introduction to editors on Twitter may give you the upper edge of the standard letter of introduction other freelance writers use, and potentially land a gig.
6. Create a Website That Sells “You”
If you’re new to freelance writing and you have a website and blog, I challenge you to take a hard look at your landing page and About page.
Most new freelance writers knock out a website without thinking about taking advantage of this strong sales tool.
Let me ask you this, does your landing page have:
- A contact number?
- Information on how you can help businesses?
- A picture of you?
Think of your landing page as your business card. You want to provide the best sales copy you can to convince a person who clicked on your link, why they need you to help them.
Use this approach for your About page as well. Many freelance writers don’t realize that the About page is another opportunity to tell people why they should hire you.
Of course, you mention a little about yourself and how you stand out amongst other freelance writers. If you like tattoos and cats, then mention this. Or if you’re a mom of twin toddlers, use this information or any other unique qualities as a springboard as to why they should hire you.
Discover Your Marketing Maven Arsenal
So are you ready to tackle the marketing side of freelance writing?
If you find these 6 marketing tips to be too much, then start using 3 core soft marketing tactics like:
- Guest posting like mad
- Blogging as much as you can
- Selling your ass off with your website
And for those who want more marketing tips, my December issue of the Innovative Ink Newsletter offers some great ways to market yourself over the holidays. So sign up today!
I certainly don’t know all the marketing tips out there, so tell me, what marketing strategies do you find to be the most effective in growing your business or scoring gigs?