Setting yourself apart from other freelance writers in the
world is a challenge, but not impossible. No matter how many guides you read,
mistakes are something you have to be wary of, prepare for, and learn to
overcome. It’s all part of the freelance writing learning curve and what will
strengthen you as a writer. However, it’s critical that you keep reading,
learning, and implementing new strategies. That’s where this guide comes into
I’m going to talk about marketing yourself as a freelance
writer because it’s more than launching a blog.
But . . . Don’t forget to launch the blog!
1: Website Presence
The first place to begin is with your website. Some
freelance writers believe a website is something they can place on the backburner.
Your website presence is where you’ll be listing:
Who you are (The “About Me” page.)
Your services (A “Services” page or section.)
Where you can be contacted (A “Contact” page, as
well as “Call to Action” on each page.)
Portfolios (Where can your work be found? Create
a page for that.)
Testimonials (What are others saying about you
or your work? Put those quotes in a sidebar or separate page.)
If you receive frequently asked questions, then you can also
include a FAQ page on your site as well. Your website is your landing zone, and
the first place potential clients will look for examples of your work. They’ll
be looking for a contact page, blog, and any other relevant information.
2: Create a Network
How strong is your network presence? Do you have one?
I’m not talking about how many friends you have on Facebook.
I’m talking about setting up a business page on Facebook. You’ll also be
setting up a Twitter following, a LinkedIn profile, a Pinterest page, and an
Instagram profile. That seems like a lot, right. Well, that’s part of what you’ll
Networking is more than setting up these profiles. It’s also
Joining and participating in groups.
Keeping your networks up-to-date with more than
Being consistent with updates.
Re-sharing posts from those in your network.
Answering comments and messages quickly.
3: Develop Profiles
A sticking point with many freelance writers is how to
create a portfolio. The main reason is they don’t know where to begin, how to
set one up, or which website to use. One of my strategies is to use as many
portfolio sites as possible. That way, potential clients have many opportunities
to find me. I keep each portfolio in a bookmark folder. That way, when it comes
time to update them with new clips, I can go down the list at the same time.
Throughout my career, writers would tell me not to do this. They
told me it was taboo, I wouldn’t see any earnings from my efforts, and time
would be wasted. However, other writers have come to me expressing their positive
experiences with writing on-spec.
What is writing on-spec?
The short answer is—when you’re writing a piece whereby you
choose the topic and complete it without knowing whether or not you’ll receive
payment. One could say using Medium’s Partner Program is writing on-spec.
Many other platforms are using this system, including:
Why should you write on-spec? It’s another way to get your
work in front of a potential client’s eyes. You’ll find this is beneficial when
you’re a ghostwriter and don’t have a lot of clips with your byline—OR—if you’re
a new writer trying to create a name for yourself.
5: Write a Book
Are you knowledgeable about a particular topic? If so, there
are many opportunities for self-publishing that information into a book. You could
consider writing short ebooks and giving them away when people sign up for a
newsletter on your website. Another option is writing paperback and Kindle
versions as a way of earning passive income.
These opportunities are ways of showcasing your talent, as
well as your ability to get your work in front of an audience.
Be sure your work:
Is unique, solves a problem, and has long-term
value to your audience.
Isn’t “gimmicky.” (For example, make sure they’re
purchasing content that’s more than bold statements and sales pitches.)
Features a professionally designed cover.
Is edited—professionally, with the help of other
writers, using beta readers, or any combination of the three.
You may have noticed I didn’t include anything about e-mail marketing. I did that intentionally. The main reason is that email marketing is a topic that requires more than a subsection. It’s an involved subject whereby freelance writers need more information than something glossed over in a paragraph or two. So, we’ll talk about that in the future. In the meantime, I hope these tips help you market yourself as a freelance writer.