There’s really only one question you need to know the answer to when you decide to embark on career as a freelance writer: where are the high-paying clients, and how do I find them?
Okay, so that’s two questions, but you get the idea.
Aside from actually doing the work and turning in stellar projects that will get you recognised and rewarded for your writing abilities, finding clients you want to work with should be an ongoing priority for you – whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started.
Growing your client base
There are a number of methods you can use to continually expand your reach and hunt for clients on a consistent basis.
WriteWorldwide formed after the four founders – Richard, myself, Nick and Yassir – met and connected virtually in a Facebook group for freelance writers where cold pitching was the main focus for acquiring new clients, and we’ve all had varying degrees of success using that tactic as we continue to forge ahead and develop our careers.
The hard labour of cold pitching
Cold pitching is guaranteed to get you results if you’re prepared to do the research involved, develop a strategy, and stick to it – but it doesn’t suit everyone. It can be monotonous, time-consuming and rely heavily on luck.
Even if you contact prospects who you’d consider ideal to work with and are a perfect fit, you still have to enter onto their radar at the exact time they need a freelance writer.
If you manage to hit that sweet spot, then you could be on to great things. If not, it can be frustrating and demoralising to craft the perfect pitch and be met with silence or rejection from your carefully culled prospect list.
The (open) secret network
But it’s not all bad news. What if I told you there’s already a network of clients just waiting for you to find them, and you can tap into it today, right now, for free, and start connecting with them?
You won’t even have to look for their email, find out which company they’re at, or wonder if someone in their position would work with a freelance writer – all that information is already there, laid out in front of you.
And once you join this network, all you need to do is position yourself correctly, let people know a few key details, and help clients find you instead of spending all your time looking for them.
LinkedIn marketing as a viable alternative
If that sounds too good to be true..it’s not! This free network of potential clients does exist, and we’ve written about it before on WriteWorldwide.
It’s a connection platform exclusively for professionals – otherwise known as LinkedIn.
Today I’ll show you exactly how to bulletproof your LinkedIn marketing presence as a freelance writer, starting with your LinkedIn profile.
Bulletproofing your LinkedIn marketing presence
Your LinkedIn profile, much like your website, is your statement of intent to the professional world and your chosen industry. It needs to set out who are you are, what you do, and how you can help potential clients.
It’s therefore vital that you come across as what I like to call P. A. A. – Professional, Approachable, and Available. When you’re actively engaged in LinkedIn marketing, that’s the formula you need to master for success.
As I’ve recently updated my own, let’s take a look at some of the critical elements that comprise a solid LinkedIn profile. Starting with…
1) Your cover photo and headshot
These are important, and you need them both to look good. They are likely people’s first impression of you visually in the business world, so go for professionalism.
Make sure your headshot is not a selfie or a snap of you on a night out with the gang. It’s perfectly fine to let your personality come through – you don’t want to look miserable or boring – but it should be just you in the picture, with your features clearly visible. It’s not necessary to go for the ultra smart luck if that’s not your thing, but don’t look like you’d get kicked out of a boardroom meeting either.
For the cover photo, don’t use a picture of your cat, a still from your favourite Netflix show, or a generic inspirational quote with a photoshopped background.
Design a strong graphic using Canva with a link to your website or some client testimonials, or use a blank but tasteful header. Basically, keep it professional and clean – my current cover photo is promotional branding material for MSI, who hired me after viewing my LinkedIn profile.
Here’s a screenshot of my cover photo and profile picture to give you an example:
2) Your headline
Your LinkedIn headline is the first place prospective clients will see what you do and what you’re about. Think of what you put here as an electronic version of a business card.
On LinkedIn, you get 120 characters for the headline and 2000 characters for your summary, and it pays to keep them both short, sharp, and simple.
LinkedIn runs on SEO, so it’s also a good idea to include relevant keywords – so potential clients looking for freelance writers will see you when they search for one – with a clear statement of your Industry, title, and jobs. Dividing the text in your headline helps to create a sense of precision and focus.
Here’s a screenshot of my LinkedIn headline to give you an example:
3) Your summary
Your summary is the heart of your LinkedIn profile. An effective LinkedIn summary will successfully balance the following elements: your job, your skills, your personality, and your professionalism.
The summary is also a vital place to include more keywords to ensure your profile is visible and easily found. When potential clients are looking for people in your industry with your skills, using the right keywords will mean yours is the profile they see first.
Take care not to clump all the text together – just like a blog post, spacing out the text makes it easier to read. If your summary is not split into easily digestible paragraphs then a) prospects won’t stick around to read it and b) you look like you can’t write.
That’s not a good look for a self-promoting freelance writer!
Here’s a screenshot of my LinkedIn summary to give you an example:
I hope you’ve enjoyed part one of this series on how to bulletproof your LinkedIn marketing presence as a freelance writer.
Next time, we’ll be looking at growing your network, and the best ways to attract the right type of clients for you.
In the meantime, check out this article for a quick rundown on LinkedIn’s All-Star profile status – and what you need to do to achieve it. You can also take a look at Yassir’s post on doing potential client research on LinkedIn. He has some great tips so you can start taking action right away.
Has LinkedIn helped you on your freelance writing journey, or are you thinking about utilising it now? Share your experience in the comments below.