Are you stuck trying to figure out how to attract customers to build your freelance writing career?
If you’re taking any old gig, it’s hard to get any real traction. You have to constantly market yourself, and never acquire expertise that helps you raise your rates and grow your income.
The solution: Learn how to attract customers who give you clips that will impress the best clients in your chosen industry niches, like I teach my Den 2X students.
Do this: Sit down right now and make a list of your 10-20 top prospects. What great-paying markets would you write for? Think big! For me, this list includes Vanity Fair, Costco, and American Express (wrote for the latter two in the past, but would love to get back in!).
Once you have that list, you need to figure out who you could write for now. Do this right, and those great clients will be contacting you. Wouldn’t that be sweet?
It’s one of many strategies I teach in my Freelance Writers Den 2X Income Accelerator mastermind program to help students identify who to pitch now to land dream clients, often in 6 months or less.
Here are 15 different approaches I’ve never shared outside of Den 2X before, to help you build the portfolio your ideal clients will love:
15 ways to attract your ideal client
I want more writers to build their business for success, grow their income, and land those great clients. And it can be done.
In my Freelance Writers Den 2X Income Accelerator mastermind program, students work my system for identifying who to pitch now, in order to impress your ideal client. Some have landed one of their dream clients before their 6-months in Den 2X are even over. Here’s how to make it happen:
1. Ask yourself: What does this prospect read?
What competing publications, industry magazines, or popular websites would they follow? Target those. Appearing there may just get you poached by your dream client (happened to me with Forbes).
2. Who’s on board?
Find out who is on the executive or advisory board of your target company, magazine, or organization. See what companies they work for — and pitch them.
3. Go friend-surfing
Take your list of board members and check them out on LinkedIn. What companies are they connected to, where freelancing might get you a referral to your target?
4. Attend conventions
What sort of conclaves might your dream execs attend? Consider going — learn more about their industry, and see if you can connect in person.
5. Get in their circle
Learn about who your ideal client’s vendors, partners, and top clients are — they’re all great prospects for you who might refer you to your target.
6. Start small
Trying to get in with, say, a top-drawer agency? Find a small, boutique agency to do a project for, so you gain some agency experience. The big guys all want that.
7. Competitor research
Editors read all their competitors’ publications and websites. Companies have eyes on their top competitors, too. Target them — you may be able to work for one of them. Based on what you learn from that research, you could also pitch your ideal client with the news that all their top competitors are doing X form of content marketing — but they’re not.
8. Go for growth
Fast-growing companies or publications in your target client’s sector will be on their radar, so these smaller companies are good prospects for you. Fast-growers often don’t have time to hire staff, or need to supplement with freelancers while they’re hiring.
9. Startups on their radar
Know that venture-capital funded startups in your target business’s industry will be on their radar as possible acquisition targets. That makes them good prospects for you to pitch, because those names will be familiar to your ideal client.
10. Similar groups
If you’re targeting the biggest association in a sector, break in by working for smaller local, regional, or state associations in the same niche.
11. Find the thought leaders
Who does your target look up to or admire? Who do they think is innovative? These are prospects for you.
12. Link up on LinkedIn
Go on the company page of your ideal client on LinkedIn. At the top of the page, you should see if anyone in your network connects you to that company, either directly or through others. See if you can get an introduction! Or check out the people who are connected, and target their companies.
13. Google alerts for story ideas
If you’re serious about writing for a top publication — then get serious about coming up with AMAZING story ideas for them. Collect ideas until you divine a trend — then, pitch it. When you bring a publication a trend story none of their competitors have yet, they have got to buy it.
14. Google alerts for news on your targets
Plug in all the company names of your ideal clients, and watch for news of upcoming product releases or other inflection points that might mean a marketing campaign is getting under way. (Thanks to freelance healthcare copywriter Nick Daniel for this one!)
Think you don’t have any clips for X magazine? Write a story on the topic you want to pitch them for a different type of magazine, that you can use as a good clip for your ideal target.
How to attract customers to land dream clients
Hopefully, this gives you some solid ideas on how to attract customers who would be dream clients for you. Remember, don’t just market yourself to anyone and everyone, or take whatever gig comes along. Instead, make every gig you take a building block that paves the road to your ideal clients.