50 Ways to Get a Freelance Gig

When freelance writers tell me they’re having trouble finding gigs, I often find what they really mean is “I’m sending out lots of resumes to online job ads I find on Craigslist and not getting any bites.”

But there are many, many other ways to land a freelance-writing job.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you are likely to get the same result you’re getting now. If you want to find more clients, it’s time to get proactive and try new marketing strategies.

Here are 50 suggestions for other ways to market your writing:

  1. Ask friends if they know anyone looking for a writer
  2. Ask former coworkers if they know anyone looking for a writer
  3. Ask former bosses if they know anyone looking for a writer
  4. Find former editors — reconnect and see if they have any current writing needs
  5. Find former editors and ask them to refer you if they hear from other editors who need a writer
  6. Call all your previous clients and see if they have any writing needs now
  7. Check in with previous clients and ask them to refer you business
  8. Ask current clients to refer you business
  9. Ask current clients if they have any additional writing needs
  10. Analyze what your current clients are doing and actively propose new projects
  11. Bid for jobs on freelance bidding sites — especially on jobs that seem high-quality and have few bidders
  12. Put your profile on freelance bidding sites, then just lurk and let clients find you
  13. Have a profile on MediaBistro, the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, or other professional sites prospects might check to find writers
  14. Develop story ideas and send query letters
  15. Make cold calls — identify prospects, call them on the phone and simply ask, “Do you use freelance writers?”
  16. Send a direct mail pitch to prospective businesses
  17. Drive the industrial parks of your town and write down business names — then check out their websites and call them.
  18. Go to in-person networking events
  19. Create a new in-person networking event and serve as the host
  20. Go door to door on your main street and meet business owners
  21. Send InMail on LinkedIn – they have a high average response rate, and LinkedIn now guarantees you’ll get a response
  22. Troll the full-time jobs on LinkedIn and apply, asking if they might also need freelancers
  23. Check “Who’s viewed my profile” on LinkedIn and reach out to people who’ve looked at your site
  24. Hold a free or paid in-person class about how writers can help businesses succeed
  25. Hold a free or paid webinar or teleclass for prospects
  26. Do a podcast about the benefits of your type of writing to clients
  27. Start a blog with tips for your target audience
  28. Create a free ebook or report that can be downloaded or emailed to prospects
  29. Make your website rank high on Google for key search terms, ie “freelance writer + your city”
  30. Take out an ad online — on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or a popular site for your niche
  31. Take out a print ad in a publication your prospects read
  32. Place ads on Craigslist (instead of just answering ads on Craigslist)
  33. Find niche job boards with better-quality jobs you can apply for
  34. Look at newspaper classified ads
  35. Send an unsolicited article to a magazine or online publication
  36. Inquire about guest posting on prominent blogs your prospects would read
  37. Send an unsolicited guest blog post to a prominent site
  38. Write promotional articles on Biznik with useful tips for your prospective audience (they can be emailed to everyone in your market) or offer a free or paid event for members only [NOTE: Biznik has closed.]
  39. Refer other writers so that they in turn refer you
  40. Tweet about the type of work you do
  41. Look through the job offers on Twitter
  42. Use the Writer’s Market online to identify new markets you could approach
  43. Join business and writing organizations and take advantage of their events and forums to find new prospects
  44. Call relevant organizations your prospects might belong to, and ask if you can be listed in their online resource guide for members
  45. Join writing communities such as A-List Blogger Club, where lots of other writers will get to know you and might refer you
  46. Put a bumper sticker or door sign on your car that says you’re a freelance writer
  47. Wear a button everywhere you go that says you’re a freelance writer
  48. Create business cards that make a special offer for prospects and hand them out everywhere you go
  49. Put a tagline about your writing business in all your outgoing emails with a link to your URL
  50. Write a substantial ebook or print-on-demand book that would build your authority as a pro writer

How do you find freelance writing clients? Leave a comment and let us know your approach.

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Photo: Flickr – FOTOCROMO

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