How Freelance Writers Can Use Simple Addition to Land Great New Clients

Have you ever wanted to get a writing gig, but you didn’t have any clips of the right type to show you could do the work?

Here’s a way to get around that problem. I like to call it the Simple Addition method.

Here’s how it works:

You take one type of writing you’ve done and present it along with another type — or with life experience in a particular area. And together, these different credits add up to qualifications to do the new type of gig.

Example: I had a writer contact me recently. She wanted to get a gig writing articles for a healthcare company. But there was a problem:

All my healthcare writing is on the sales side: case studies, sell sheets, websites.  I don’t have any really “medical” articles or anything.  Can I just send what I’ve written and not call that out, or should I mention it?

So, no healthcare articles. Problem.

But…this writer had written articles about other topics.

My answer: Send the healthcare sales pieces PLUS send her best articles on other topics.

Between the two, she could show she understood medical topics and how to write an interesting article.

The bottom line: You can patch together the expertise you need with two or three different clips and get the gig.

You don’t need a clip exactly like the thing you’re being asked to do.

Maybe you have two pieces that show those skills between them.

Maybe you have some life experience that gives you knowledge of their topic.

Great — send them in and make that case.

I personally used the Simple Addition method just recently. I was contacted by a major government agency in my state that was interested in having a pro writer work on its annual report.

Two strikes against me:

I haven’t done any government contracts.

I haven’t written annual reports.

How did I get this gig?

As a business reporter, I have read, analyzed, and reported on the contents of many lengthy annual reports put out by major corporations (which are a whole lot like big government agencies).

I have written for large organizations — most recently, for a local hospital network.

Finally, I had some personal experience to share about the agency’s activities, which I highly supported. In fact, their work had been a major factor in my moving to Seattle. I was a frequent user of their services, so I understood their mission.

1 + 1 + 1 = I’m qualified.

One more thing you have to add when you use the Simple Addition method:


When you don’t have the exact clips that would be a perfect fit,  you have to simple ooze self-confidence that you can do the job. That’s the final clincher.

Have you ever used simple addition to get a gig? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

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6 comments on “How Freelance Writers Can Use Simple Addition to Land Great New Clients
  1. Nah this is the first time I ever read that we can land a job by ‘simple addition’ 🙂
    Ali’s writer blog recently posted…How To Be A Writer – A 6 Step Process (Without #5 You’ll Be Nothing But An Undiscovered Planet)My Profile

  2. Erika says:

    I recently did that to at least qualify for a gig that I eventually landed. The client was looking for healthcare articles. My healthcare work had been fluffier than what she was looking for, but I had engineering article samples that had more of the technical feel that the client liked, so she gave me a chance.

  3. Carol Tice says:

    I used it this week! I think many writers get a complex and feel unqualified for gigs they see, when they could cobble together some clips that when taken as a group, show the expertise needed.
    Carol Tice recently posted…Writers: Should You Nag That Editor About Your Query?My Profile

  4. M says:

    Nice article! I’ve used the Simple Addition method several times, and it’s always helped me land some awesome gigs.
    M recently posted…An Introduction, a Warning, a Vent…and God Only Knows What ElseMy Profile

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