This is a guest article by Indiana Lee. If you want to submit a guest article of your own, be sure to read the guest article guidelines.
As a freelance writer, you’re essentially a one-person business. It might not feel that way, especially if you’re just starting out. However, it’s essential to market yourself the right way so you can stand out against competitors. It’s estimated that there are over one billion freelancers across the globe, and the freelance writing market makes up about 204 million of that. Knowing how to market yourself will not only help you find a niche audience but will also build your portfolio and help you find consistent work.
Chances are, however, that you didn’t want to become a writer because you have great marketing skills. If you do, you’re already one step ahead. If not, it’s never too late to learn how to market yourself and your services.
Let’s look at a few ways you can effectively market yourself so you can grow your client base, further your career, and find success as a writer.
As a freelancer, you’re going to spend a lot of your time sitting in front of a computer screen. You can repurpose some of that time and boost your digital marketing skills. A few of the best things you can do to improve your marketing efforts include:
- Building a website;
- Posting your portfolio;
- Getting on social media;
- Writing a blog;
- Networking through platforms like LinkedIn.
You can also join forums and online communities filled with other writers or people looking for writers. As with any other industry, you can find a lot of success in freelance writing based on “who you know.” Networking with the right people, even if they’re halfway across the world, can really help expand your marketing efforts.
It’s also a good idea to have some basic knowledge of social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). As a writer in the digital age, many of your clients will want the work you’re doing for them to be search-engine friendly. Marketing your own website or blog using SEO techniques will let them know that you understand how to perfectly mesh good content with effective marketing. That includes a basic knowledge of keywords, how to write relevant content, and staying up-to-date with search engine algorithms. Not to mention, SEO helps your site rank for relevant search results, improving the chances that you will be found through organic search.
Get involved locally
One of the best things about being a freelancer is that you can work from anywhere for anyone across the world.
However, when you’re just getting started, it can be hard to land those “big” clients if your portfolio is small. Consider starting locally. Almost every community has local businesses, so consider marketing your services to the people and business owners you already know. Don’t be afraid to meet new people by engaging in your community. Try things like:
- Participating in charity events;
- Joining community organizations;
- Supporting local businesses;
- Sponsoring events;
- Holding contests.
The great thing about local marketing is that it benefits everyone involved. You’ll get to build up your portfolio and have more to show potential clients, and the businesses/people you write for will be able to use your work to boost their marketing, too. You can even offer people your writing services in exchange for a good review if you’re trying to make a name for yourself. It’s a great way to network and help your portfolio stand out.
Dig into the data
If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you might not know how to change up your marketing efforts. One of the easiest and most effective ways is by looking at both internal and external data. Numbers don’t lie, so looking at some analytics and existing data will help you determine what’s working and what you could be doing better.
Examples of internal data include production reports, social media impressions, and revenue. External data includes things like engagement and mentions on social media. Utilizing both types of data, you can get a feel for what your clients enjoy and what they would like to see more of.
You might not necessarily see anything you’re doing “wrong” by looking at this data. However, it will offer a clearer picture of the type of writing that’s trending, which can influence the way you market your work.
You can also collect data on a more personal basis by asking your clients for reviews. Word-of-mouth advertising is worth its weight in gold, and that includes digital word-of-mouth. By asking your clients for reviews, you can share them on your website and take any constructive feedback into consideration as you continue to hone your craft.
Can you be a freelance writer without marketing yourself? Of course. However, you likely won’t see as much success or consistency unless you get a lucky break. If you’re writing for a living, that can be a big risk to bank everything on.
You don’t have to be a marketing genius to put these ideas into practice. Start marketing your services as soon as possible, and you might be surprised by how much your client base grows.
About the author: Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.