Your freelance writing success depends on your ability to market yourself to land freelance writing jobs. Otherwise, you risk scraping pennies off the sidewalk.
Thankfully, there are many ways to get more writing jobs, even if you’re a total beginner or don’t have a writing degree.
To get you started here are nine proven techniques. They cover the conventional such as cold-pitching, and less conventional, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
They work because many freelance writers have used them to land writing gigs worth thousands of dollars. I even used one technique to get a gig worth $6250. It’s also proved instrumental in growing my freelance writing business. Only this month I broke the $3000/month mark!
Use these methods, and there’s no reason why you can’t achieve similar success. You just need to put in the hard work and take action. The only thing holding you back is yourself.
Now, let’s dig in.
#1 Cold Pitching
I used this technique when I started freelance writing. I’m a strong advocate of it. With cold pitching, you search for clients, build a prospect list, find the decision maker and send a pitch.
It’s a numbers game. Response rates will be low, but the more you pitch, the better your chances of finding work. When I started freelance writing, I sent 80 cold pitches. The return? 2 clients who are still clients today.
Don’t forget to follow up. On WriteWorldwide we recommend using the 3-7-7 formula. Send a pitch and if you hear nothing follow-up three days later, seven days after that, and finally again seven days after the last. If you still don’t hear anything, kill it.
But this isn’t the only formula as research on Quora shows. One person recommends only sending two follow ups.
Regardless, you should choose a follow-up strategy and stick to it. Clients are often busy and will only respond to follow ups.
Here are a few articles to get started with cold-pitching:
- For prospecting: Earn Your First $1000 as a Freelance Writer: Prospecting for Clients.
- For finding an editor’s email: 5 Simple Techniques for Finding The Editor’s Email Address.
- For crafting the perfect pitch: The Cold Pitch That Made me $5025 (Or How to Craft an Irresistible Cold Pitch)
- For different pitching templates: 3 Pitching Templates That Will Help You Land High-Paying Freelance Writing Gigs.
- To see this in action read How I Landed a $6250 Freelance Writing Gig (As a Beginner).
#2 Cold Pitching With A Twist
Prospecting for clients takes time. It’s also difficult to weed out low-paying jobs from lucrative ones. The solution? Target writers instead of clients. Find writers in your niche, see who they write for, and pitch those companies.
I provide a detailed case study of how I used this technique to land my highest paid blogging gig – $250 for a single blog post.
#3 The No-Risk Pitch Method
Jacob detailed how he pitched for a job on the ProBlogger job board. The prospect responded saying he wanted articles with detailed case studies and asked Jacob if he had any samples. He didn’t.
What did Jacob do?
He used the No-Risk Pitch Method.
He told the client that he hadn’t written such articles, but he was willing to write a risk-free article at an agreed rate. If the client liked Jacob’s article, he paid, if not, he didn’t.
The client enjoyed the article he wrote, and the rest is history.
I used this exact technique when I started my writing career. Although my prospect didn’t like my final article, I submitted it to a publication that did. They paid me $50 for it.
So why not try this technique? It’s ideal if you’re a new writer without samples; it gives you a foot in the door.
#4 Setup a Call With a Client
The method involves first contacting a client, whether by email, referral, or other means. It’s important to ask the client if he wants to have a call. For example, ask the question at the end of a cold pitch to encourage action. A simple, “Would you like to jump on a Skype call to see how I can help your business”, works.
Client calls allow you to build trust and you’ll stand out; many freelance writers fear them. That’s not to mention that the potential rewards. I used the technique to land that $6250 writing gig, calling a client in the states via telephone.
#5 Cold Calling
An alternative to client calls is cold calling. Like cold pitching, cold calling is a numbers game. Sarah Maurer used cold calling to significant effect and shared her experience on Carol Tice’s blog.
And seriously, if you’re concerned about your accent, take the leap. You only displace those fears by taking action.
#6 Warm Pitching
Cold pitching works but isn’t for everyone. Finding hundreds of prospects to pitch, and then altering the pitch slightly isn’t appealing for some. That’s not to mention it’s impersonal.
Some prefer warm pitching. It involves more research before pitching, creating personal pitches and, – in some cases, even making contact with the client first.
It’s an approach that – if done correctly – can lead to higher response rates and more lucrative writing jobs. Freelance Writer Heidi Medini, who we recently interviewed on WriteWorldwide, stands by this method. She sums it up in this quote:
“For me, writing a nice cold pitch letter and changing a few details to match the new potential client, then sending out hundreds of letters, doesn’t work. I’m more of a personal contact person. I research the client thoroughly, which allows me to write more personal pitch letters. I also tend to make contact with the potential client before even pitching them now, which allows me to warm pitch when I do. It’s a little more work, but I find that I’m able to gain higher paying clients much easier because they’ve gotten to know me, and what I do, before hiring me.”
#7 Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the best ways to land freelance writing jobs online. Though I don’t use it, Richard Rowlands swears by it. And with reason; the platform eliminates the time it takes to build a prospect list. LinkedIn is your prospect list.
You don’t have to look for a person’s email or find out where they work. Send them a connection request, and, once accepted, a pitch.
And, if you don’t want to spend time searching for connections, update your profile so prospects can find you. Includes a quality photo, tweak your headline and write your summary. Make sure you include relevant keywords.
In the same way, you use keywords in Google, prospects in LinkedIn use keywords to search for writers. So, if you’re a technology writer make sure you include those keywords in your profile
We’ve written several posts about how to use LinkedIn to find writing jobs:
- For creating an all-star profile: How to Bulletproof Your LinkedIn Marketing Presence: Part 1.
- For finding writing jobs: How to Find Freelance Writing Clients on LinkedIn (A System That Works).
- For crafting the perfect pitch: A Deep Dive Breakdown of my Winning LinkedIn Pitch.
#8 Use Facebook
A guy recently contacted me via Facebook asking about my writing services. We Skyped and I soon discovered that he didn’t have the budget. We did, however, have a great chat about online marketing. Towards the end of the call, I asked him a question that I’d been dying to know the answer to: “How did you get my details? What prompted you to reach out to me?”
He said that he saw my comment on a writer’s post. That writer had written for him before. After doing some research, he liked what he saw and reached out to me. The whole process made me think: “How can you ensure those situations happen more often?” I did some digging. The advice and tips I share here are a result of that.
But first, do take note that using Facebook to find writing jobs is a long-term strategy. If you’re new to writing, I wouldn’t recommend it. I’d recommend strategies like cold pitching that will help you get results now.
Also, avoid self-promotion. Rather see Facebook as an inbound marketing tool to get prospects to contact you.
How exactly do you do that? Here are a few pointers:
- Create a separate Facebook page for your writing business
- Build your presence on the social network by liking pages in your niche. If your niche is the cooking niche, find cooking companies.
- Start commenting on their posts (remember no self-promotion). Give insightful answers to show expertise; simple one-word answers won’t suffice. The idea is simple: get prospects to visit your Facebook page and inquire about your services.
“The marketing manager of a major European airline once sent an email out of the blue, asking me to write a few issues for their newsletter. When I asked him how he found me, he said, “I saw your comments on Ask Aaron Lee’s Facebook Page. I clicked on your profile, and learned about your services from there.”
Beyond that, form connections with other writers on Facebook writing groups. Partner with designers, developers, social media managers, and even programmers. Share their posts, build a relationship, and soon, they’ll refer work on to you.
Kelly Clay, a contributor on the WriteLife shares a detailed post on how you to Facebook Writing Groups to find writing jobs.
#9 Use Twitter
I have limited experience using to Twitter to land gigs. But many writers such as Jorden Roper, have achieved success with the platform.
Jorden breaks down how she uses Twitter to land clients in her post Twitter for Freelance Writers: Exactly How I Use Twitter to Attract and Land Clients (+Case Study).
Coming from Jorden, I’d listen. It’s not every day someone’s fired from their job, only to earn $5000/month four months later from freelance writing.
The effective use of Twitter requires that you understand your niche and target clients. To find writing jobs using Twitter here’s the simple three step process Jorden uses:
- Set-up your profile with a quality photo. Mention that you’re a freelance writer, include your niche, and add a link to your writer website.
- Follow and interact with businesses in your niche. Like, and retweet their content to build a connection.
- If your niche is software, search for software companies. It’s an approach that puts you in front of your prospect.
- Once you’ve built a relationship – send them a pitch. Let them know you’re available if they need help with their content.
Another approach is to find writers in your niche and view their connections. You’ll often also find that they’re connected to editors and content managers. Connect with those decision makers and save time searching for them.
Also be on the lookout when people follow you. Although I haven’t used Twitter to land clients, yesterday I gave it a go. I viewed the profile of a new follower of WriteWorldwide.
I read the Twitter bio, visited their website, and discovered that they have a blog, but don’t have much content. I sent them a pitch. I referenced that they recently followed me on Twitter and that I had researched their company.
I’ll see how that turns out.
In the meantime, why don’t you give it a try and share your experience with us at WriteWorldwide?
The Bottom Line
To become a successful freelance writer you need to market yourself. There are many methods you can use to do that and find those well-paid writing jobs.
It’s important to find techniques you like, implement those methods and take action.
No one is going to do the work for you.
Are you ready to grow your writing business? What techniques do you use?