So, you’ve decided to set yourself up as a freelance writer. You’ve zoned in on your niche, created a website, and now you need to find clients.
But there’s just one problem – you have to convince them to hire you. You might have a few good writing samples, but if they’ve never heard of you, and there are so many other freelance writers out there already, why should they take a gamble and pay you to write their copy instead of the other guy?
The handy shortcut to success as a freelance writer
Luckily, there’s a handy shortcut you can tap into to practically guarantee you’ll get hired over anybody else, and the good news is it’s hardwired into the brains of every human on the planet. That’s a lot of potential clients! It’s no magic trick, and it exists all around us in everyday life, but in the world of freelance writing it can act as a powerful force to propel you to the front of the queue when it comes to getting hired for those all-important highly paid freelance writing jobs. So what is this secret technique, and how exactly can you harness it? To understand how it really works, you just need to picture one thing in your mind: traffic lights. Think back to the last time you crossed a road. We all know we’re supposed to wait until the light turns green, and in most cases, that’s what we do, without fail. There’s no way we’d risk our personal safety and get hit by a truck, or run the risk of looking stupid if we step out just as a car comes speeding around the corner even if the road is clear. Well, that’s what we like to think anyway.
You already know how it works
There is one exception to this rule, and it demonstrates how simple and easy it is for you to position yourself ahead of other freelance writers: We’ll do it if we see someone else do it first. Okay, so you weren’t going to cross the road before the light turned green, but if those five people in front of you think it’s a good idea, it must be safe to do it, right? And if the whole group of you get hit by a truck, at least it’s not just you looking stupid: you were only doing what they did before you. It’s the same with freelance writing: people are much more likely to hire you if they’ve seen that someone else has done it before, and they have evidence that you’ve done a good job. This concept is known as social proof, and it’s the reason why testimonials are so important on your quest to become a freelance writer. Think about it – it works on you too. If you go to one website selling cheeseburgers that simply lists the types of cheeseburgers they sell, and another website selling the same thing with a banner at the top that says ‘These are the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever eaten in my life – John Smith, National Cheeseburger Eating Champion 2017’, which website are you going to buy from? The second one (provided you don’t think too much about what the cheeseburgers are going to look like by the time they get to your house).
How to build social proof as a freelance writer
If you’re just starting out you could offer to do some unpaid – also known as pro bono – work in return for a testimonial on your website. Make sure you don’t go overboard with these though, one or two freebies for some great quotes about why people should hire you is enough. After that you want to get paid! You can also engage with and share content from people in the freelance writing industry, and in your niche, that you’d love to be associated with. If you’ve seen a particularly helpful article or blog post by someone, or read their newest book that you really thought was great, reach out and let them know – in the world of freelance writing, naturally building up a relationship with your mentors and peers can be a great way to leverage social proof. Try these techniques out for yourself, and let us know how you get on by leaving a comment below. Good luck!