It’s a big, wide world of freelance writing out there in our shiny 21st Century. Global, even. I’ve had clients in Australia, the U.K., Canada, and states all over the U.S.
But if you’re just getting started, it can be a good move to start close to home. A local focus will help keep you from getting overwhelmed by all the possibilities out there.
Here are four ways you can connect with local prospective writing clients. The first one involves one of my favorite strategies — helping those clients find you.
1. SEO your website and LinkedIn profile. Hate marketing? Spend a few minutes on these two tasks and then let Google and the LinkedIn search bar send you clients. Stuff your LinkedIn bio with every sort of key word prospects might search on to find you. Add key words to your LinkedIn skills, too.
If your writer site has your name as the URL, add a descriptor to your tagline — mine is “Seattle Freelance Writer.” Fortune 500 companies have called me because of it. Using these descriptive phrases can help kick you to the top of the first page for the sort of thing clients might search. Also consider giving up a location and getting in Google Places — that’ll help, too. Keep updating your site and using your key words to get Google’s attention. Do key word research and target the searches that are right for your niche or location.
2. Meet other local writers. Do a search for “freelance writer yourcity” and see who comes up at the top. Get to know those writers. They’re smart. Where do they hang out? Hang out there, too. I know a writer who got referred a book contract from another local writer who didn’t have time. Knowing other writers is really, really worth it. Too many writers think of other writers as “the competition,” instead of as a vital support network. This is especially important if you’re focused on local publications — who else is going to tell you who’s great, and who pays on the schedule I like to call “half past when the messiah comes”?
3. Go to local networking events. I may have mentioned this before, but meeting live humans rocks for getting gigs. I met both the editor of Costco Connection and the editor for Microsoft Office Live at in-person events…and a few other editors who even hired me, too.
4. Teach a class. I know one blogger who gets all her clients from teaching a free class. Some seem to do better with a cheap but paid class. But either way, get out there and offer something of value. It can be simple — something like 10 tips for better business writing. Anything that shows what you know and how you can help clients. Teaching is a proven way to present yourself as an expert in your niche, and attract good clients.
How do you find local clients? Leave a comment and let us know.