Posts Tagged ‘networking’

5 Ways Freelance Writers Can Earn More Without Marketing

Posted in Blog on December 5th, 2013 by Carol Tice – 19 Comments

Happy writer gets more moneyHands up, writers — who loves to do marketing and reach out to new prospects?

Yeah. I thought so.

Well, here’s a piece of good news. You can earn more without having to talk to strangers, if you have a great client or two already. Or even a medium-good one.

I even have one tip you can use if you don’t have any freelance clients yet.

There are plenty of ways freelance writers can get more money without having to find any new clients. Here are my five favorites:

1. Ask for a raise

I recently got a heartbreaking email from a writer who had been writing for a business client for 12 years at $25 an hour. She had finally figured out that wasn’t a professional rate, and wanted to know how she might now broach the topic of getting a raise.

I wanted to cry. After 12 long years, it would probably be hard to talk this client into a higher rate now. Don’t let this happen!

Don’t ever go more than a year with a client without asking for a raise, at the very least a small one. I try to set up initial contracts to expire in 90 days so that I can ask for a raise in three months.

Remember, you are learning more about that publication or business as you go. That expertise makes you more valuable. It saves your client time and money not having to train up someone new on their audience or business all over again.

As it happens, November is the best month to ask for a raise — so go for it.

2. Get introduced around

You’ve got a contact at your client…but they may not be the only person who assigns work. Ask your editor or marketing manager to introduce you to others in their organization who might need a writer, and you could hit a gusher of additional work.

If you’re writing for a magazine, ask about other editors who assign for other parts of the magazine, or for that magazine’s website. At a big magazine, there might be a half-dozen editors or more. This is how I ended up blogging three times a week for several years for Entrepreneur — I was writing for the magazine editor, but asked around and found out another editor needed a blogger.

Even if your editor doesn’t provide an introduction, reach out and introduce yourself as a current writer for the magazine.

Also, most publications are owned by a publisher with more than one title. See if you can reach out to editors at sister publications. It’s an easy entree in the door when you write a query that starts, “I write for your sister pub X and have a story idea for you…”

On the business side, even medium-sized enterprises may have multiple silos, divisions, departments, affiliates, or marketing partners. See who your contact touches who might also need a writer and ask if you could get an introduction. If your contact likes your work, they’re often happy to oblige.

3. Up-sell your client new projects

If you’ve been blogging for a business for six months or more, it’s time to analyze their marketing and find more lucrative writing assignments they need done. Look for something that would help drive more sales.

Perhaps they should launch a newsletter, or their team bios need refreshing. Or you’re writing that newsletter, but they don’t have a blog, or should add videos you could write scripts for. Or the CEO needs speeches ghostwritten.

For instance, one business-finance company I was blogging for didn’t have a free product to give its blog subscribers. So I sold them a $1,500 white paper on how to find money for your business. Win-win — a stronger signup offer for the client that grew their blog readership, and more pay for me.

4. Expand your ongoing role

Clients with regular, recurring work for you are a great situation that you want to keep growing. For instance, if you’re blogging once a week for a client, maybe it’s time for them to up their frequency now that they’ve got some readers.

Remember my Entrepreneur blog? After a while, I sold the editor a new weekly column where I blogged about business-related reality TV shows.  Presto! Another several hundred dollars a month of ongoing revenue.

5. Publish your own products

Every freelance writer should be thinking about ebook topics they could publish. A short ebook on a topic you know can provide another income stream that helps you avoid desperation and taking crummy clients. If you have a strong title, Amazon may find you some sales without a lot of effort.

I’m trying to get more into this myself — have one short ebook on writing productivity I cranked out with Linda Formichelli that’s done fairly well. And I’m working away on more, including the replacement(s) for my old Make a Living Writing ebook, which I’m splitting into three new ebooks.

How have you earned more without marketing? Leave a comment and share your technique.

The Laid-Back Method That Grows Your Freelance Business

Posted in Blog on November 27th, 2013 by Editor – 44 Comments

A freelance writer grows their business like a thriving plantBy Daryl George

Have you ever labored over writing the perfect guest post or pitch, only to be greeted by silence or rejection?

Or maybe you’ve hit a roadblock, with your freelance writing business spinning its wheels while the mud splatters in your face as you desperately try and fail to get things moving.

Guess what? There’s an easy way to solve these problems.

It’s something that’s even more important than great writing. Something more important than a strong idea, killer headlines, or a perfectly SEO’d website.

What is this secret?

It’s who you know

The power of relationships to boost personal and business success is often understated. In fact, career experts say up to 80 percent of jobs are found through personal relationships.

The benefits of relationships, however, extend far beyond a paycheck. For example, relationships with Jon Morrow and Derek Halpern have helped Carol learn more about blogging and connecting with readers.

However, for many new freelance writers, there’s still a problem: How do you go about establishing relationships with people you’ve never met before?

Thankfully, there ways to develop new relationships that will help your freelance business grow without having to make expensive investments.

Here are four easy ways for freelance writers to establish new relationships:

1. Leave comments

Commenting on other blogs is one great way to establish relationships with new people. The truth is, even the most popular of bloggers love it when people comment on their blogs and enjoy engaging with those who take the time to post thoughtful comments.

Don’t just comment for commenting’s sake, but make sure every comment is valuable and adds something to the discussion.

2. Offer help

Maybe you’re knowledgeable in WordPress, and you see a fellow blogger with a design flaw that can be easily fixed. Or you could be an SEO expert and you see someone whose content would benefit with a few minor changes.

By offering just a bit of help or advice, you can quickly form an immediate and long-lasting bond with the person you’re advising.

Of course, nobody’s telling you to offer a full package of services for free — but a few words of advice can go a long way in initiating a new relationship.

3. Be authentic

It’s easy to see when someone is trying to develop a relationship with an ulterior motive, such as just to secure a writing gig. Instead of trying to establish relationships purely to make a dollar, understand that connecting with others who share a similar experience to you is in itself a reward.

When you become authentic in your interactions, you will notice that opportunities begin to present themselves as you develop a deeper connection with your new friends.

4. Build your own community

Don’t always let someone else form a group — instead, build the community you want to be a part of. This could take the shape of a LinkedIn group, a mastermind group, or anywhere else people can engage with each other easily and quickly.

Developing new relationships can provide powerful benefits for any freelance writer. By building relationships with new people, you are developing a critical resource which can launch your freelance writing businesses to higher heights of success.

How do you network? Leave a comment and tell us your approach.

Daryl George is a writer and freelance blogger for hire who specializes in using the written word and psychology to help small- and medium-sized businesses connect with customers and increase profits. He tells his own freelance story at freelancewriterstartup.com.

 

3 Simple Ways to Find Better-Paying Freelance Writing Jobs

Posted in Blog on September 27th, 2013 by Carol Tice – 52 Comments

Surprised freelance writer earning great money onlineDo you feel like it’s a pipe dream to make a living as a freelance writer?

I hear a lot of comments like this from writers who are about ready to give up on their writing dreams.

They write me to say:

“It just seems like there aren’t any good-paying freelance writing jobs anymore.”

Have to say, I disagree. But whether you think freelance writing is a land of unlimited opportunity or a field no one can earn a living at seems to depend on your personal experience.

Just this past week, I referred a $150-a-post finance blogging gig to my Freelance Writers Den Junk-Free Job Board. And heard from a writer who’s found daily papers that still pay $1 a word. Another writer let me know she dropped a $30-a-post client and replaced them with one that pays $175.

My experience is that if you have the mindset that lucrative writing jobs are out there and you’re not going to stop until you find them, you can end up earning a nice living.

If you buy into the negativity that all articles are now worth $10, you won’t earn more. So ditch your pre-conceptions for starters.

Now, you’re ready to look for better pay.

What can you do to locate the better writing gigs? Here are three tips:

1. Swim in a smaller pool

Are you looking at mass job boards such as Craigslist, just like 10,000 other writers? Stop.

Instead, find niche job boards that fewer writers see, with jobs not all writers could do. For instance, I found some great business-finance gigs with Gorkana alerts. This marketing consultancy also puts out healthcare and media writing job alerts, too.

These more exclusive job listings can take a little sleuthing to turn up — they might lurk on a professional association website, or run on the back page of an industry trade publication. But it will be worth the effort, as the quality of the jobs offered will often be worlds removed from what you see on Craigslist. I got a gig writing for a major TV network’s website through a niche board.

2. Ask around

Get on a local writer listserv or go to local writer networking events. For instance, I’ve attended local Media Bistro live events in my town, and belong to a Seattle listserv, Women in Digital Journalism, that’s a gold mine of info about markets in my town. (These are also great places to get referral business, too.)

Especially for local markets, other writers in your town are the best sources to get the real dirt. Who takes six months to pay you? Who pays $1 a word?

Who’s growing, and who’s about to fold? Other local writers can be a great source and save you a lot of time. So find your local equivalent of these types of networking groups, whether virtual or in-person.

3. Think bigger

Instead of guessing who might be able to pay a decent rate, do some research to identify prospective markets that are likely to pay well. Remember, most writer jobs are never advertised — the business owner or editor is too swamped to wade through resumes or to even write an ad!

Many good gigs happen when you tap into the huge pool of hidden demand for writers.

How can you tell if a market can pay well? Your clue is that the organization has money.

Many startup online job sites have little or no revenue. To earn more, you need to move beyond these shaky operations to find more established, successful markets.

If you write for publications, get The Writer’s Market with online support, dial their search engine up to five dollar signs (the highest pay rate), and see what comes up. Make that your pitch pool, instead of whatever magazines you happen to see on your local newsstand.

You’ll find national publications with big circulations tend to pay better. Also good are niche publications that have a well-heeled readership (CEOs, doctors, lawyers, etc.)

If you write for businesses, research revenue and target bigger companies. Move up from whatever you’ve been focused on — if it’s been solopreneurs, find companies with a few employees. If it’s been $1 million businesses with one store or office, try $10 million ones with multiple locales.

The best pay is usually with companies with $10 million or more of revenue. My best client ever in terms of hourly rate was a $1 billion privately held consulting firm. It’s a myth that the Fortune 500 don’t hire freelancers — I’ve written freelance for several of them, so I can tell you they do.

I like to look for companies that sell a physical product or valuable service that they deliver in the three-dimensional, real world. Steer clear of websites whose only revenue is online ads and the only “products” are your articles. That model isn’t succeeding for most of the businesses that try it.

Also look for longevity. If they’ve been around five years or more, they’re likely profitable, and serious about marketing. And that means opportunity for you, at professional rates.

How did you find your best-paying freelance writing job? Leave a comment and tell us.

 

How I Found 488 Red-Hot Freelance Writing Prospects

Posted in Blog on August 14th, 2013 by Carol Tice – 47 Comments

Leads to big business clientsBy Ayelet Weisz

What is the most urgent need for every new freelance writer? Clients.

And finding them isn’t always easy.

They may not have the desire or budget to hire you right at the time you pitch. It ends up being a numbers game — the more potential clients you pitch, the more likely you are to find the right one at the right time.

Recently, I did a lot of research to find good businesses to pitch. I ended up with nearly 500 leads! Here’s how I did it:

  1. Let prospect news come to you: Set up Google Alerts, and industry news — funding, acquisitions, expansions and other changes — will wait for you when you log in to your inbox.
  2. Stay curious and keep looking: Check out Google News and search for “Top 10″ lists, like the “10 fastest growing pet product companies in 2012.”
  3. News sites and business magazines: They often feature business news in a variety of industries. Sites of local papers where your niche is most dominant might even have a designated tab just for news about this industry.
  4. Niche news sites: Working like trade publications, these sites allow you to cut through the distractions more general sites offer. I found one site for my chosen niche that’s more effective than Google Alerts and newspapers combined.
  5. Low-ranking companies: If they’re on the 20th page of a Google search for their industry, they need your help. That’s how I found my first business client. Plenty of companies are inundated with to-do lists and will gladly pay you to help them up their marketing efforts.
  6. Watch Google ads: These ads represent companies that are actively looking to grow their client base. Click through and brainstorm ways to help them create a more long-term marketing strategy, like blogging.
  7. Conferences and contests: They list speakers or judges and participants — plenty of potential clients. To discover even more prospects, find a Twitter hashtag and follow the buzz on social media, or search for forum talks about these events.
  8. Tap into your network: You never know who the people in your network know, so make sure to share your journey with them. I found that great niche news site because I talked to a friend who shared our conversation with her husband.
  9. Think beyond your geographical area: Being local might give you an advantage with some prospects, yet there’s no need to limit yourself to one city, state or even one country. Companies everywhere need English copywriting to attract a global audience. I’ve personally written for websites from four continents.
  10. Look beyond your niche: Look for peripheral industries and organizations. If you initially looked for startups, you also have venture capital firms, computer science schools, branding agencies, business coaches, organizations that promote women and minorities’ participation in the tech industry — and the list goes on.
  11. Pay attention to your surroundings: From sponsored ads on your Facebook feed to friends who casually mention a business to consumer magazines that profile or mention companies…. opportunities are everywhere.

How I organize my leads

I like using Excel to easily sift through prospects. Unlike Word, Excel will alert you when you’ve already included a prospect in your list. I write down prospects’ names and websites, then divide them into categories (such as niches, industries or locations, depending on my needs).

I also write down where I found them, which is usually somewhere online that contains information I can use to warm up my pitch. Additionally, I leave space for random comments and for tracking responses.

How I pre-qualify leads before I pitch

To save yourself mistake time, pre-qualify prospects. Carol recommended to me only approaching prospects that earn at least $1 million a year, as they’re big enough to have a marketing budget yet small enough that they don’t have a marketing team. When it comes to startups, you can approach companies that raised venture capital funds of $1 million or more.

Check out Manta.com, business sections of newspapers and niche sites to find this information, or simply run a quick search on Google. You can also check companies’ blogs, news or press sections on their sites, as well as their social media accounts.

If you can’t find financial information, see if the company advertises the pricing of its products or services and “guesstimate” whether those prices indicate the possibility of a marketing budget.

Still coming up empty? If you think the prospect and you can be a great match — pitch anyway. Sometimes interest comes from the most unlikely prospects.

How have you found your best clients? Tell us in the comments below.

When she’s not writing about travel, business, technology or gender issues, Ayelet Weisz relishes re-discovering her home country of Israel.