Freelance marketing might feel like a chore. But it’s kind of important. If you don’t do it, you don’t eat. The good news, you can learn to love freelance marketing like I did. Enjoy!–Carol
When I first got back into freelancing after years of being a staff writer, I didn’t have to do much freelance marketing.
I called many sources at companies I’d covered at writing for a local business journal, let them know I was freelancing, and it kind of rolled from there.
I called a couple local magazines, pitched them, and got assignments. I answered an ad and found myself writing Web content for a $1 billion corporation.
Looking back, it was a golden time. My career ran easy, like water flowing downhill.
But if you’ve ever sat back and done little to no freelance marketing, you know it’s not a sustainable way to stay fully booked.
It’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way. And I don’t want you to end up in the same situation. Here’s how I learned to love freelance marketing to move up and earn more:
Some things never change, like the need to find great writing clients. But marketing doesn’t have to be a grueling, stressful, or frustrating chore. Check out these two fun and easy ways to find writing clients. Enjoy!–Carol
One of the questions freelance writers ask me most is, “How can I find better-paying clients?” Another one is “Where are all the good-paying clients hiding?” A third one is, “Why can’t I find any good writing clients?”
I’m sensing a theme here, that people want to know more about how to connect with great clients.
There are many ways to hunt these elusive good clients, but today I want to talk about two of my favorite in-person techniques for connecting with good-paying clients.
That’s right, these methods involve leaving your writing cave, going out, and meeting live humans.
Don’t be scared!
Once you get the hang of it, networking is actually a lot of fun. Or it should be — so remember to have fun with it.
Here are two techniques that are pretty fail-proof and simple for maximizing your networking time:
Maybe it’s your first client meeting ever, and you’re petrified that you don’t know what to say. And you’ll come across like a dummy.
Or maybe you’ve taken scores of client meetings as a freelance writer — but you keep shooting blanks, and walking away without an assignment.
If you’re an experienced freelance writer, perhaps you’ve left too many first client meetings with the sneaky feeling that you’ve just been milked for an hour of free consulting. You could have charged hundreds for the advice, but you just gave it away, in hopes of impressing your prospect — and still didn’t get the gig.
If you’re any of these writers, I’ve got a piece of advice that’s going to save you time and help you land more clients.
You see, there’s a balance you need to strike in first client meetings between impressing the prospect that you’re smart, and being too helpful. So helpful that they get all the info they need in the meeting, and don’t have to hire you.
How can you impress clients fast, without giving away all your secrets? Here’s my approach:
When I became a professional writer 5 years ago, I had no idea what I should charge. I had an inkling that I needed to raise my rates, but how?
Then I joined Freelance Writers Den. I hadn’t been a member for a week before I realized that I was vastly under-charging. That was easy enough to fix for new clients – I would start quoting appropriately for new work.
But how could I apply what I’d learned about rates to existing clients who were paying me $45-$55/hour for ongoing work of varying types–emails, websites from scratch, blogs, newsletters and more?
I felt especially resentful of my $45 per hour client. I knew I needed to ask for more money, but I didn’t know how to ask for a raise.
Every time I tried to imagine how this conversation would go, it became an ultimatum, which I knew I wanted to avoid.
Then, I searched around the Den and found three key pieces of inspiration that enabled me to craft emails that got me the raises I wanted. Here’s what I did:
Ask any writer about their worst writing job — and they’ve got a story to tell.
If you’re a freelance writer for any length of time, some gig will go sideways on you. That’s just how it is.
The key is not to see that worst-case experience as an indicator of your skills, or a referendum on your future potential as a writer.
It’s just…business. Things go wrong. Misunderstandings happen. Everybody has a bad day.
Because so many writers seem to be devastated when they bomb at a gig, I thought it might be useful to collect worst-client stories and let writers compare notes. I thought we could collect them in the comments on this post.
So I’m having a contest! Details are below. But first, I thought I’d kick this off by sharing my own worst writing job stories.
I’d only been a freelance writer for a couple of months when I scored a regular gig with a large web design firm.
The pay was decent, I loved the assignments, and the editor was a breeze to work with. It seemed like my fledgling career was ready to take flight.
Then my son got sick.
Because of a chronic medical condition, we need to check on him every two hours at night when he’s ill. My husband couldn’t cover, so I was on duty for the entire ordeal. All alone. Seven Days. No sleep.
Of course, this was when my client called with an emergency assignment. The previous writer had flaked, and he needed me to step in and write two pages of automotive content ASAP. Against all logic, I took the job.
Unfortunately, my fatigue got the best of me. My writing was garbled, and I made mistakes that could have led to a lawsuit.
To say my editor was pissed would be an understatement. I was on the way out the door.
I turned to the Freelance Writers Den for advice on what to do about it and how I could save what I felt was a floundering career. I got some great tips and loads of supportive sympathy. I came up with a plan to win my client’s trust back.
Here’s how it went: