How Bloggers Can Attract Client Referrals on Autopilot

Attract freelance writing clients

By Tom Ewer

For the last two years, I have made a living from freelance blogging.

I make a few thousands dollars a month from my freelancing efforts, but I haven’t sought out a client since 2011 — they have all come to me. They find my services through my blog’s Hire Me page and via bylines on the sites that I write for.

Writing your bylines with the explicit intention of gaining clients is smart, yet not often practiced. If you’re looking to attract more clients and/or raise your rates, embracing this strategy will be a great first step that can drive clients to you without extensive work on your end.

Converting visitors to clients

An effective Hire Me page will exercise a massive influence on what kind of work you do, so you should have a keen awareness of your intended client base. That is, you should remember that you’re not writing to the general public about how you’re an awesome writer. Your goal is to persuade a specific group of people (i.e. prospective clients) that they would gain specific benefits from paying money to you in exchange for a service.

Of course, you need a compelling headline (just like you would have on a blog post). It should clearly summarize the benefits of working with you. Here’s an example from my own site, Leaving Work Behind:

hire-me-page-header

You do not exist in a vacuum with your skills; because you’re trying to form a client-bloggerhire-me-page-samples relationship, you need to show how your services will positively impact their bottom line. I cannot stress this enough.

One way to emphasize the solution you provide is to show samples from a variety of sites you’ve written for. These samples need to be on the topics that you want to write about. My rule of thumb is to have three examples of your work per topic.

Include testimonialshire-me-page-testimonials

Testimonials are another great way to cement your credibility.

If you’ve done guest blogging, the owners of those blogs are a great source of testimonials.

Including a live link to their site and a small head shot makes testimonials more compelling, as you can see here.

Getting clients to your hire me page

Posts you write on client sites will usually have a byline attached with your name and links. This is where you need to work some magic.

You should write your byline specifically for driving potential clients to your site. For example, refer to yourself as a “freelance blogger for hire” and link directly to your Hire Me page. Here’s an example:

Tom Ewer is the founder of Leaving Work Behind and a freelance blogger for hire who works with web startups and bloggers.

Again, this strategy necessitates an awareness of your goal — you’re not trying to convince everybody and anybody to visit your blog. Your goal is to get potential clients to click on the link.

You would be amazed at how much more effective this is than simply linking to your blog. Most prospective clients do not have the inclination to go in search of writers — they need the opportunity to slap them in the face. Stating your availability as a freelance blogger in your byline is about as blatant as you can say it.

Why it matters

Your Hire Me page is important because it will convince clients to work with you. Your byline is important because it provides a flow of prospective clients to your Hire Me page.

One leads to the other, and best of all, your growth will be exponential. The more clients you get, the more bylines you have, the more prospective clients you drive to your Hire Me page. Keep that motor running with a targeted byline and an effective Hire Me page!

Do you have a hire me page on your blog? Tell us how it’s working for you in the comments.

  1. My hire me page has helped gain some clients without marketing. I am still in the marketing phase though. 2014 will be my year to change all that–I’m setting up the plan to make it happen.
    Alexandria Ingham recently posted..Making Money Writing: My Great Content Review

  2. Jawad says:

    Hi Tom,
    Great piece!
    I get a several opportunities for byline as well as author’s bio in all my published pieces.
    However, the dilemma here is the fact that I hold a full-time day job and cannot actually openly or bluntly ask potential clients for writing projects.
    For this, I think all I need is subtle indication or hints to let the potential clients know that I am open to or willing to consider new writing projects. Any ideas how to word the byline and author’s bio along those lines? In fact, I would also like to include these subtle hints on my LinkedIn profile, as I get lots of profile’s visits everyday.
    Thanks.

    • Tom Ewer says:

      Thanks Jawad!

      At first glance, this is an issue of practicality. First of all, why can’t you market yourself as a freelance writer? Do you have an exclusivity clause with your current employer?

      Second of all, what are the chances of them stumbling upon your byline? And if those chances are high, have you considered writing under a pseudonym?

      Cheers,

      Tom
      Tom Ewer recently posted..Why You’re Not Special (And Why You Should Embrace It)

      • Jawad says:

        Tom,
        They already know that I write for various publications. They also know that in all my byline and author’s bio, I use my current designation in the company and company’s name! They are okay with all this, in fact, they are proud of it, as my published pieces give global visibility to the company. I recently wrote a 1,000 pages technical book in my niche area, which became an instant bestseller (currently ranked second bestselling book among top 10). Now they tell all the current and potential clients about the book (and that also with pride!) :-)
        However, they are not aware of the financial intricacies involved in writing all these pieces. Neither have they asked me about it ever.
        Asking overtly and covertly for writing projects and even aggressively promoting it, while holding a full-time day job brings a sense of “conflict of interest” that I wish to avoid.

        • Carol Tice says:

          Why don’t you just write on other topics and industries, Jawad, and start using your byline on those guest posts to go to your own writer site? If they aren’t sites your bosses would read they’d probably never figure it out.

          Full-time employers don’t own you — it’s not indentured slavery. They own X hours of your time. You are free to do other work on your own time, for other people.

          Usually the way to stay in the clear about it is to be upfront and let them know you freelance on the side, so it’s not a surprise. Play it down like, “Oh, just want you to know occasionally I write for a few blogs online. I do this writing outside of work hours.”

          When I was a staff writer, I freelanced on the side, and that’s exactly what I did — told them who I was freelancing for and ran it by them so they knew about it and it was all aboveboard. Conflict of interest averted!

          Glad I did, since that freelance client formed my base of income when I ended up freelancing full time. ;-)

          Sounds to me like you’ve been providing a free source of marketing to your company with these bylines. If they don’t reward you financially for what is essentially marketing writing with that tagline, I don’t know why you don’t make those link to your own site.

          • Jawad says:

            Hi Carol,
            You are spot-on, on just about everything you said (no wonder, why I LOVE your blog)!! :)
            I think I just need to “come out of the closet” and be bolder in letting the world know that I am willing and available for writing projects! As of now, either I or the potential client “silently” approach each other. We work out the details including timelines, compensation and deliverable. Then, one fine morning, my piece (article, quick tip, video, blog post etc.) just appears for the world to read and appreciate! The client is happy with my work (and gives repeat projects), I am happy to have made some GOOD bucks, and the company (if it stumbles upon the piece) is happy to see its global visibility! The cycle starts all over again! ;)
            I am also going to re-word my LinkedIn profile to encourage potential clients to approach me with writing projects/opportunities! ;)
            Thank you so much!
            Jawad

            • Carol Tice says:

              Glad I could help. You really don’t want to be skulking around doing side projects and worried that you might get fired.

              I think this company has gotten a great deal in that you’ve used some of your freelancing to promote them. Now it’s time to make them understand that not all of your side writing projects will work that way. I’d think they’d be pretty pleased with the free marketing mileage they’ve gotten from you, and hopefully understanding that you’re branching out a bit.

  3. J says:

    Unfortunately, my hire me page needs work. I will use your suggestions and create a new one.

    • Carol Tice says:

      At least Tom has provided some good tips here for how to create a successful page! I’ve actually used his Hire Me in presentations I’ve done on how to get hired online — it’s got everything you want.

      It’s amazing how much headshots make testimonials more compelling.

  4. Great article! I especially like your point about writing a byline specifically for bringing in clients. Though I do a small amount of guest blogging, I’ve never thought to structure my bio links this way. I’m going to try it out next time and see how it goes!
    Ashley Brooks recently posted..For the One Who Hates Blogging

  5. Holly Bowne says:

    Great post, Tom! Although I don’t have a specific “Hire Me” page (since I have a “Contact Me” box in my sidebar), I’ve started including your great tips on how to handle my byline. Thanks so much!
    Holly Bowne recently posted..How Safe Is Your Heart From Attack? (Part III)

  6. It’s not working for me for paid gigs…at all, but I don’t think I share my website enough. I’m always constantly tweaking it. I keep forgetting to add photos to my testimonials (and to get more), so thanks for the tip, Tom.
    Williesha Morris recently posted..Reader Q’s: “How Did You Find Your First Client?”

  7. Excellent post Tom,

    I have to agree with you on testimonials there’s no content that is more valuable than a recent real recommendation.

    This is the heart of relationship marketing, once people see others sharing a positive experience then they feel more comfortable opting in to your list or buying your product or service.

    What I’ve learned is the point is to make the product or service so good that they can’t help but recommend it to others.
    Darnell Jackson recently posted..How to Generate Traffic and Leads for Your Business starting from Scratch

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