Write a guest post for free? When you’re trying to make a living writing, it might seem counterintuitive to give your best effort to a piece that won’t put any money in your pocket.
But you can’t look at it that way. One of the first things I tell writers who are new to the freelancing world is that opportunity is unpredictably predictable.
You never know where writing opportunities will pop up. But if you cast enough lines in the water, you will inevitably reel something in. Some good marketing strategies you should be using to land freelance writing gigs include:
- Send query letters and LOIs
- Make cold calls
- Create a direct-mail marketing campaign
- Introduce yourself to prospects using social media
- Use LinkedIn to connect with prospects
- Attend in-person networking events
When you focus your efforts on marketing and do it consistently, you’re going to get results. But there’s at least one marketing strategy that sometimes gets overlooked:
Write a guest post. For free. For a popular blog.
If you’re looking for a way to throw new lines in the water, start pitching and writing guest posts, even if you won’t be paid. It’s a smart marketing strategy that can help you land new clients and lucrative gigs.
Here’s how I turned an unpaid guest post assignment into a $4,000 per month contract in three steps.
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Are you taking advantage of in-person networking opportunities to find freelance writing clients?
When I wrapped up a phone call with an agency that hires freelancers to write content for Portland-based sports and athletic companies, I got an invite to a meet-and-greet with people from these companies.
The after-hours meeting fit my schedule, so I decided to go and see if networking opportunities like this could help me find more prospects and clients.
You don’t have to be an extrovert, gifted sales pro or marketer, to benefit from in-person networking opportunities that can connect you with potential prospects and clients. But you do have to open your mouth, ask questions, share contact information and follow up.
I walked away from my client’s networking event with some new contacts, and scored a few referrals from the effort since attending.
That got me thinking about the many free in-person networking opportunities available for freelance writers. If you’ve stayed away from in-person networking because you didn’t want to pay hundreds to join a group, good news — there are plenty of free opportunities.
Here are my tips for in-person networking success, and a list of free places you can find in-person connection opportunities:
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If you’re a writer who hopes to make money blogging, you’ve probably heard the conventional wisdom: Comments are important. You need to attract lots of comments and respond to all of them.
That builds rapport — it shows you’re engaging with your audience and you’re accessible to them. Also, responding to them all doubles your comment count, and makes your blog seem popular and interesting!
That worked, for years. You could write a great, controversial or highly useful post and easily rack up 100 comments. But not so much anymore.
Over time, my feelings about comments have changed, because the comments you get have changed. Which is why this is the last post on my blog that will allow comments.
Here’s why I’m killing comments on the Make a Living Writing blog, and what I’m doing instead:
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If you want to earn more as a freelancer, you need to sharpen your negotiation techniques. Seriously. When a prospective client makes you an offer, your ability to negotiate the scope of work and your fee can pay off in two important ways.
First, negotiation techniques can help boost your cash flow. Second, and more significantly, negotiation techniques can help you establish a higher rate for each subsequent piece you write for a client.
Let me share an example with you that went particularly well.
I’d been wooing a potential content marketing client in one of my niche areas. We discussed a project on the phone for a while, and then the editor made me a low-ball offer of $300 per piece. Based on the time it would take me to deliver what we’d discussed, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do the work quickly enough for it to be worth my while.
I wanted to work with this client, so I countered the offer by using a couple of key negotiation techniques. The result: I managed to get a contract for $750 per piece — more than double the initial offer.
Want to know how I did it? Use these proven negotiation techniques to get paid more:
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NOTE: Ever wonder what the secret sauce is to writing a guest post pitch that gets accepted? This was a popular topic on my blog five years ago, and it still is. Study these examples to learn how to pitch a guest post and land an assignment. Enjoy! –Carol.
A few weeks back, I talked about bad guest post pitches I’ve received, and outlined some of the elements of a good one.
One writer asked if I would show some examples of pitches that were accepted here — so here are three.
One needed a little back-and-forth and refining before it was accepted, as you’ll see.
I also noticed that each of these pitches had weaknesses to them, too. Guest post pitches don’t have to be perfect — but they do have to convey that you have a strong, unique idea, know how to execute it, and have some experience in freelance writing.
The idea also needs to be something I haven’t written about before, and probably wouldn’t have thought to do otherwise.
Want to learn how to write an effective guest post pitch? Here’s what you need to know.
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