Do you hate marketing your freelance writing?
Do you agonize over letters of introduction without ever sending them out?
I can relate. I’m shy when it comes to marketing myself to new clients.
But last September, I managed to (almost) skip marketing and still get high-paying writing gigs, with an easy LinkedIn marketing strategy.
I call it LinkedIn Peeping — and it’s ideal for online lurkers.
In three months, it’s landed me $7,500 in assignments, plus weekly red-hot leads. Not bad for a writer who was pulling in a big $200/month in 2013, writing for content mills and agencies.
Here’s how I used LinkedIn to land great freelance clients:
Three easy steps to get noticed by prospects
1) Do a LinkedIn search for ideal customers in your niche. In companies, people who hire freelancers include the:
- Vice president of sales/business development
- Marketing director
- Communications director
I’ve had CEOs personally reach out or pass my profile on to marketing directors. A website project converted in days, since I was CEO-approved.
2) Peep at similar people, once you’ve found a good prospect.
- Use the same titles and industries with different cities and countries. Go for world domination!
- Visit your client’s profile. Look for “People Similar to Ideal Client.” This is a listing of people in similar industries and similar job titles on LinkedIn.
- Also look at the “People Also Viewed” section. This will show you the people other users think are similar, which can be a broader group than what LinkedIn finds.
If you and your dream client have mutual connections, request an introduction.
3) Join your ideal client’s groups and make contact with those inside. You never know — you might be the only writer in there.
- Look for discussions between CEOs and decision makers.
- Like or comment on their discussions and see who’s viewed your profile.
- Identify problems you can solve and share solutions.
Why peeping works
When I was new to living in China, I was poking around on LinkedIn — and avoiding letters of introduction. Thinking I was anonymous, I checked out the profiles of CEOs in renewable energy and manufacturing in my new city, Tianjin.
But I wasn’t anonymous — and my name popped up in all those CEOs’ “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” lists. And it turned out to be a good thing.
The next morning, a CEO I’d peeped at sent me an InMail, requesting a meeting to discuss a brochure for one of his companies. I wrote it, the brochure helped secure millions in venture funding for the company, and I landed an ongoing position with them as a marketing communications consultant.
Engage to get even more work
In China, I’m in demand as a writer in a town full of engineers, architects, and manufacturers. But I wondered: Could rarity be independent of location? I joined a manufacturing group and liked a CEO’s comment.
The next day, he sent me an InMail. He was thrilled to “find” a writer on LinkedIn, and he also needed a brochure to proceed with a deal worth millions.
I’m now a convert to using LinkedIn to help clients find me, wherever they’re based.
Are you shy? Tell us how you find clients in the comments below.
Amy Dunn Moscoso is a Canadian B2B marketing writer based in Tianjin, China. Learn how to enhance your LinkedIn marketing by visiting her blog Killer Key Messages.