Most days, what I have to do from the time I get up until the time I go to bed leaves very little time for getting back to queries in a timely manner. But, one thing I do is keep all of the questions that are sent in a folder to answer at later dates in posts like this one. So keep’em coming. You may have to wait a while for me to get back to you, but I almost always do at some point.
Note: A new freelance writing job was posted to Inkwell Editorial today. Check it out!
Following is the latest email I received from a new freelance writer … it’s about marketing (the thing I’m asked about the most often I have to say):
Hi, i saw your post at copyblogger and you mentioned that “copywriters who know how to market themselves always have more work than they can handle.” Could you please expand on this? I’m currently trying to find out how to get copywiting projects and i have a website at [he listed his website] and I’ve been quite stuck as to how i should go about it. Thank you~D
Many newbies have this problem, by the way.
Getting Freelance Writing Jobs: A New Way to Market Heading into the New Year
When I started to write this post, I was gonna entitle it something like “5 Quick Ways to Land Freelance Writing Jobs.”
I’ve written so much about marketing in the past, that I could easily tell you a dozen ways I’ve gotten jobs in the past. But then I started to think, “The market is changing. What’s a freelance writer going to have to do moving forward to really succeed?” And in a phrase, for me it means shutting out the noise; or, doing what I call …
Zen Marketing: Why It Works
One reason I think it’s so hard for new freelance writers to get their careers off the ground is that there’s sooooo much information out there that it can be paralyzing. And when you do start, you wonder if you’re doing it right, so you flit from thing to thing, trying to find a “recipe for success.”
Only, most times you don’t because you don’t give anything time to work; to bear fruit (ie, writing jobs). For the record, in my opinion, social media is only making this worse.
First there was MySpace – you purportedly “had” to be there; then came Facebook (another site you had to be on); then Twitter (what, you don’t have a Twitter account?); then Pinterest (what do you mean you don’t pin?!); then StumbleUpon (oh my gosh, you’re missing out!) – and Now Instagram is all the rage, etc., etc., etc.
Stop the madness! I know I did.
I was updating six social media accounts one time, but a few months ago, I scaled back to just two – Facebook and Twitter. And I don’t even update those daily anymore. Why?
Because it was driving me crazy and eating up my already limited time – which needs to be filled with writing (I’m doing a lot more fiction publishing (my own projects) and completing client projects (mostly social media account management these days)).
This trying to be on every major social media outlet and blogging incessantly, etc. is fear and desperation at work in my opinion. And it’s totally understandable. I know, I’ve been there and done it – many times.
If you know my story, you know that I’ve been freelance since 1993 – that’s 21 years. In those two decades I’ve learned a lot, but perhaps the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in the last few years is how to focus. And this means doing less instead of more.
What do you need to do exactly? It’s all outlined in this post on how to get started as a freelance writer. And that’s it. It really is that simple.
DON’T open a social media account – until you get your first client.
DON’T start blogging – until you get your first client.
DON’T start sending out newsletters – until you get your first client.
DON’T start an article marketing campaign – until you get your first client.
DON’T do anything after you get your website set up – until you get your first (or perhaps your third or fourth or fifth) client.
Because all of these things can be time sucks, ESPECIALLY in the beginning of your freelance writing career simply because they can make you feel like you’re working on your business, but all you’re really doing is procrastinating.
NOTHING happens in business — and as a freelance writer, that’s what you are, a small business — until a sale is made. So once you have the basics set up (your website), all of your energies should be directed towards reaching out to prospects for writing jobs.
A Little Secret Many Successful Freelance Writers Never Talk About
Many of us have terrible, out-of-date websites, blogs, etc. And if they’re not terrible, they’re terribly simple — not fancy and expensive (and they don’t need to be).
Speaking of terrible, my SEO writing company’s website is in bad need of an update (really bad). I haven’t had time to get around to doing it, but you know what, I’m still busy – and that’s because I stopped trying to be do everything, and stayed focused on what’s making me money. And what has always paid the bills is consistent marketing to clients — sharing with them the BENEFITS my writing firm can provide to their bottom line, not how pretty my website is.
In fact, I had one freelancer email me and say he didn’t even have a website. He focuses all of his energies marketing on LinkedIn (and was landing clients); and, he’d just never gotten around to getting a website.
Now I’m not saying you should not have a professional website and all of that. I just put that out there to say that if you stay focused on the “engine” of your freelance writing business (marketing), you can still land jobs, even with crappy (or no) peripherals like a website/blog.
Landing Freelance Writing Jobs in 2015
Will it be harder or easier? There’s no one-size-fits all answer to this because it all depends on the individual, how they market, niche they’re in, rates they charge, how hard they work, how good their writing is, how smart they are, etc. Notice I didn’t say “competition.” I don’t really believe in it – not for our profession. Why?
Why I don’t Believe in Competition as a Freelance Writer
I’m starting up a new division of Inkwell Editorial – Inkwell Editorial Publishing. I placed ads on a few sites, and have been blown away by the quality (and quantity) of writing samples I’ve received. Also by perusing job boards, I’ve seen so many different types of writing jobs out there. It’s simply astounding the number of ways there are to make money as a writer these days!
So choose a niche; one of the things I definitely recommend that freelancers do when they first start out. While competition is part of the success/failure formula of freelance writing, to me, it plays such a minor part in whether or not one succeeds that it’s negligible.
An Easy Way to Find a Popular Freelance Writing Niche
If you don’t already have a defined niche in mind, peruse major job boards to see what types of writing jobs are in demand. Select one that appeals to you and/or that you think you have the skills to be successful at. Then, create some writing samples and go from there.
That’s how I got started in SEO writing, which I detail in my ebook on how to start this type of freelance writing career. I kept running across ads for “seo articles,” “seo content,” “article writers,” etc. Once I did a little digging, I knew I’d landed on a gold mine – and the rest is history as they say.
Related Post: Become an SEO Copywriter: How to Teach Yourself
What Clients Really Want from Freelance Writers These Days
Results! With the rise in popularity of SEO, it’s easy for clients to quantify results. They can tell how many reads, click thrus, page views, etc. a piece of content garners. So they want writers who can deliver. This is another reason to specialize in a niche; you become the expert by learning a market – what they want, need, desire, will pay for, won’t pay for, etc. When you learn a market and put that skill to use in your writing, it produces results.
And trust me, when you’re getting results for clients, ie, more subscribers to their newsletters, more visits to their websites, more signups for their webinars, more opens of their e-campaign offers – they’ll pay you handsomely for it.
Clients aren’t looking for content hacks any more, eg, writers to just churn out content to keep Google bots happy. No, they want content that engages – and encourages readers/visitors to their web sites, blogs, social media accounts, etc., to take action. And if your content (articles, videos, cartoons, infographics, etc.) is the one moving them to do so, then making good money is a given.
It’s not a pipe dream. But your skills have got to be up to par – and you gotta be on the marketing grind – from day one.
How to Market for Freelance Writing Jobs: More Help
FYI, I’ve written plenty of in-depth posts on marketing that are buried here on this blog. Here are a few to get you started.
Freelance Writing Jobs Report (Insightful report on how to capitalize on niche markets)
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