Posts Tagged ‘writing clients’

How to Land International Freelance Clients for 2015 — Now

Posted in Blog on July 23rd, 2014 by Carol Tice – 20 Comments

Young successful woman looking at worldmap with profile photos oBy Amy Dunn Moscoso

Are you losing out on local freelance clients because they don’t have the budget for freelancers or because other writers work for less?

You don’t have to limit yourself to local clients. Start thinking globally.

You can build a rocking list of international freelance clients — and secure work for 2015 — with a few simple steps.

Generate leads with global trade shows

Want to break into a new industry? Beef up your client roster? Targeting global trade shows can help you land awesome clients.

My past experience as an agency trade show publicist taught me that companies have:

  • robust trade show marketing budgets
  • urgent need for written marketing materials and press kits
  • time-starved employees who can’t write and work

Recently, I generated red hot leads by pitching global trade shows. I found a Siemens site listing energy tradeshows, selected three and pitched blog articles, brochures, LinkedIn profiles, and media kits to:

  • show managers (the person who knows everyone)
  • sponsors (with juicy budgets)
  • exhibitors (who want to get the best return on their investment)

How I’m getting gigs for 2015: Tradeshows often run a fall and spring version. I offered to handle both. Two leads have emailed their fall and spring requirements, and one even asked if I’m able to write up an industry awards submission in February.

Act as a Local Contact

Does your city, region, or country dominate an industry?

Here’s your chance to activate your PR knowledge. Pitch yourself to international companies attending events, meetings, or conferences as a local contact who writes appropriate:

  • press kits
  • social media campaigns
  • marketing materials

I recently landed a CEO speaker package with a CEO in France, who is presenting in Toronto. I also provided cultural dos and don’ts and Canadian references to help him connect with the audience.

How I’m driving work for 2015: I pitched myself as a Canadian Special Projects Writer. This company has work for year end in March and needs to communicate “in Canadian.”

Position Yourself as a Cultural Consultant

Are overseas companies setting up offices in your town? Here’s your chance to grab work before the local competition descends. Send an LOI that pitches:

  • city guides
  • a package on business etiquette
  • a family resources kit

I’ve landed this kind of work through an agency. During the research, I interviewed local business and government experts which resulting in landing these contacts as clients.

Lining up work for 2015: My family is moving to China, so I’m researching how to settle small children and import Ziggy, our mini-poodle, sans quarantine. I pitched an ongoing ex-pat life blog to five Fortune 500 companies in my new city that recruit North Americans. So far, I have one hot lead.

Secure your 2015 Income

Put an end to the freelancer feast-and-famine cycle and fill in your fall and spring schedule by going global. You may find that once you’ve added international clients to your portfolio, local contacts start banging down your door, too.

How do you target far-flung companies? Share your top tips in the comments below.

Amy Dunn Moscoso is a Canadian B2B writer who works with IT, SaaS, and small business-focused companies, publications, and entrepreneurs around the world. Drop by her blog to talk content marketing.

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How I Found Great Freelance Work on My Doorstep

Posted in Blog on July 13th, 2014 by Carol Tice – 29 Comments

Freelance writing work comes to your doorBy Gwen Boyle

As a beginning freelance writer, finding your first clients can be overwhelming.

Should you start with publications or companies? Big or small? What’s your niche? How on earth do you reach out to these people?

It’s enough to make you crawl under the bedcovers and pray that clients find you there. But you know that’s not going to happen.

Earlier this year, after getting a couple of pro bono clips, I was figuring out how to find paying clients.

I joined the Freelance Writer’s Den, and discovered a bootcamp: The Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success, which teaches writers how to start from zero, build a portfolio quickly, and start finding good first clients.

The first exercise taught me exactly how to start finding clients. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to look very far for freelance work.

I reconsidered my experience

I thought that freelancing was a chance to leave my resume behind. As a writer, I could write about anything! What did my experience matter?

However, I learned that it makes sense to start with what you know. The first exercise, identifying “low hanging fruit,” encouraged me to reconsider my experience, education, and passions.

After making lists of every job I’ve had, every course I’d taken, my hobbies, and my interests, I pinpointed the intersections between these lists and areas where I might find good clients.

I reached out to likely prospects

With helpful feedback from Den Mother Carol, I found two likely areas to focus on: education and environmental organizations.

I had resisted the idea of having a niche. However, picking a couple of areas made it easier to start sending letters of introduction (LOIs), rather than just thinking about it.

Concentrating on education first, I drew up a list of prospects. I started with the most daunting: large higher education publishers. While it felt great to start contacting people, I realized there was one little thing on my list that I hadn’t tackled.

There was somewhere that used freelance writers: somewhere that was local, and that I knew inside out.

I found a great client in an unexpected place

I had scribbled down “Alumni Office?” on my list, identifying my former university as a prospect. But I kept overlooking it when making my way through my LOIs.

I had spent nearly nine years at a university I loved, finally leaving with a PhD last year. I was keen to make a fresh start in freelance writing – but why had I ignored a potential source of work?

I’m not sure why it took me so long to see a client in my own backyard, but I bit the bullet and sent an email. To my delight, I got a positive response, had a lovely meeting, and landed some writing work with my old university!

I’m looking forward to working with them, and I’m amazed by my blind spot when it came to finding a local source of work.

Clients can be a lot closer to home than you think.

Have you found a client from your past experience? Let me know in the comments below.

Gwen Boyle is a freelance writer from Cork, Ireland. Discover resources for inventing your own job at Versatile Creatures, her blog dedicated to alternative and creative ways of making a living.
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The Simple Email Marketing Tactic That Tripled My Response Rate

Posted in Blog on July 2nd, 2014 by Editor – 38 Comments

emailBy KeriLynn Engel

When I first started freelance writing full time, I was sending out email letters of introduction (LOIs) left and right, sometimes dozens in a week.

Some writing gurus will tell you email marketing is just a numbers game. But if you’re sending out a ton of LOIs and still hearing crickets — like I was — you need a new strategy.

So I created a more targeted and streamlined LOI strategy. Now I spend only a couple hours a week sending LOIs, and my response rate has more than tripled, from less than 5 percent to 15 percent or more. Here’s what I did:

Get prospects in your email inbox

The first step is to save time by setting up a system where prospects are sent to you automatically — prospects with a high likelihood of needing a freelance writer.

Press releases are a great source for finding those prospects, so I started by subscribing to them via RSS feeds. Try VCAOnline.com for venture capital and private equity news, or PRWeb for press releases organized by industry. Companies that just got VC or angel investor money are often ramping up marketing, and companies that put out press releases have a marketing budget — and those releases often bring news of company expansion that might trigger more marketing needs.

Copy the URL of the RSS feed by right-clicking on the RSS symbol and choosing “Copy link URL.” Now head on over to Blogtrottr.com, a free RSS-to-email service. Paste the URL into the field, fill in your email, and choose “Daily Digest.”

To prevent inbox clutter, I have a filter set up in Gmail that labels all my press releases “Prospects” and sets them to skip my inbox so I can look at them when I choose.

Qualify your ideal prospects

Now you’re rolling in prospects! A few times a week, you can peruse them for ones that seem like a good fit.

The ideal prospect is a business in your target niche that just got millions in new funding, because you know they can afford to hire you. If the press release says they’re spending the new funding on marketing, that’s a bonus! Mention it in your LOI, and point out how you can help them.

Sleuth out contact information

Find the name and email address of the person in charge of marketing — it may be listed right on that press release. If not, go to their website and look for their management team. Look for the marketing manager, chief marketing officer, or anyone with “marketing” in their title or job description. Next, you’ll have to hunt down their email address, if it’s not listed on the website.

Write a short & sweet LOI template

A person is less likely to read an email when they don’t know the sender, so you want to get right to the point. Here’s my super-short, no-pressure template:

Hi [Name],

Just saw the press release about [some good news]- congrats!

My name’s KeriLynn Engel, and I’m a professional freelance writer specializing in [niche]. I wanted to reach out to see if you have a need for any written marketing materials like [list examples]. (Optional short sentence here about your experience in the industry or suggestion about what their marketing is missing that you could provide.)

Let’s chat if you’re interested. Just hit “reply” or call me at 800-555-5555. Thank you,
[Name]
[Email signature with your portfolio URL.]

Consider providing a phone number

Including a phone number in my LOI boosts credibility: not many spammers provide phone numbers! But I don’t want unknown callers using my personal number. Instead, I use a free Google Voice number. They can leave a message, and I can call back at my convenience.

By spending just a few hours a week on this strategy, I’m in constant negotiations with new freelance writing client leads. Last month, I signed a couple of new contracts and was able to let go of my lowest-paying client, which feels great.

What do you put in your LOIs? Leave a comment and share your tips.

KeriLynn Engel is one of those rare freelance writers who actually loves marketing. Her writing niches include history, education, WordPress, and crafts/DIY. Connect with her on LinkedIn

How to Reel in Great Freelance Writing Clients with a Bait Piece

Posted in Blog on March 13th, 2014 by Carol Tice – 16 Comments

Freelance writers can hook clients with a bait pieceBy James Palmer

There are many ways freelance writers can get new clients, but few are more effective than a bait piece.

Write it once, then post it on your site and it’ll go to work for you all the time to grab new clients.

Curious about what a bait piece is, and how to create one? Read on:

What’s a bait piece?

According to copywriter Bob Bly, a bait piece is “an informative booklet, white paper, or special report addressing some aspect of the problem your product or service helps the reader solve.”

In this case, the service is your writing. You are not just a writer, but a problem solver.

Your bait piece could be anything from a white paper or case study to a helpful checklist or video.

Why bait pieces work

A good bait piece is effective for several reasons.

First and foremost, it establishes you as an expert in your prospect’s eyes not just another freelance writer. Many clients think writers are a dime a dozen, but they’ll gladly pay your fees if you approach them as an expert in the problem your writing solves.

Second, a bait piece acts as a sample of your writing, so make sure it looks professional and every word is spelled correctly.

Finally, it builds confidence and trust in you and your services. A strong bait piece makes the client think: “If her free information is this good, just think what her paid services can do for me and my business.”

The bonus? By having a high-quality bait piece, you’ll tend to attract higher-quality clients. Your bait piece can make the difference between dealing with lowballers and getting name-brand businesses in your client stable.

How to create a solid bait piece

If it sounds overwhelming to you to create one of these, trust me, you can do this. My tips:

  • Keep it simple. A short report with an evocative title works best. “10 Tips for…” “7 Secrets to….” Checklists also work well.
  • Solve a problem. A good bait piece tells a client how to solve a problem they have related to your writing niche. Don’t worry that you’re giving away all your secrets for free; the object is to show them that you’re the best person for the job — and convince them to hire you.
  • Make it valuable. Work hard to make your free report really valuable to your client. Study their industry and your competitors to come up with a report your prospect hasn’t seen before.
  • Target it. Depending on your niche, something industry specific, such as “12 Ways Restaurants Can Get More Clients from Social Media” can be much more effective than a generic writing-related topic like “How to Create Web Copy that Sells.”
  • Price it. You can also give your free report high perceived value by putting a price on the title page. Then you can say something like, “Click here to get my FREE report, 10 Facebook Marketing Faux Pas and How to Avoid Them (a $29 value).” You can even sell it elsewhere on your website.
  • Think outside the page. Your bait piece doesn’t have to be words on a page. You could also create a video and make it available for streaming on your website. All you need is PowerPoint, a microphone, and some screen capture software.
  • Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Offer your bait piece in every email you send to prospects with a strong, benefit-rich statement that makes them want it and tells them how to get it quickly and easily.
  • Go hard and soft. When crafting your prospect email, give them a hard and soft offer. Your hard offer is to contact you for more information about you and your services, and can include things like a free consultation, while your soft offer is for the free report. Those who need your help right away will go for your hard offer, while those who don’t need your help right now but might somewhere down the road will respond to your soft offer of the free report.

If you need formatting help to create a white paper or checklist report that looks great, partner with a designer who needs a portfolio piece of the type you’re creating and you can probably do a swap or get a good price.

Got questions about creating a bait piece — or got a bait piece to share? Ask in the comments, or feel free to give us a link to your piece and tell us how you created it.

James Palmer is a freelance content marketing writer, fiction author and independent publisher. He is the author of The Secrets of Six-Figure Freelancing: Make More Money and Have More Fun as a Freelance Writer.