The Very Best Place Online for Freelance Writers

Freelance Writers Marketing LensEarlier this week, I wrote about the many ways being fully booked helps your writing business. Obviously, I had a decent stable of clients…but I wasn’t at capacity. Finding a few new clients put me there.

Several readers asked if I could discuss the marketing strategies I used to help fill up my schedule. I’m happy to do so. I think many writers are wondering what the best marketing methods are, particularly what Web sites and online strategies are really useful.

So I will now reveal the single best place online for freelance writers.

First, the raw data: Below is a look at how I got each of the new clients I’ve landed over the past six months or so, which led to my being fully booked.

1.  Major TV network’s business blog — I found this gig through my weekly Gorkana alert, which offers job listings for a few specific areas in business, including finance and healthcare.

2.  Agency through which I blog and develop Web content for lawyers — I answered a Craigslist ad… I don’t exactly recall where, but I must have either seen it on About Freelance Writing (thanks Anne!) or on Writer’s Weekly (thanks Angela!).

3. Two small-business blog clients, both in business finance niches — These both found me through reading my blog for Entrepreneur magazine.

4. Fortune 500 company — They found me on a Google search for “Seattle freelance writer.”

There you have it. Have you guessed what the best place is to be for freelance writers? That’s right — it’s everywhere. As many places as you can be. Each place you are, each strategy you use, increases your odds of success.

Niche job lists are good sources of leads for specialized writing jobs.

Craigslist is full of junk, but if you keep scanning those ads, every once in a while you can find a very solid client.

Your great bylined work online is out there, marketing your business, 24/7.

Companies are finding writers through natural search on Google.

If I hadn’t had a broad-spectrum approach to marketing online — checking a lot of places, and really making the effort to make all my current online clients’ work shine — I wouldn’t have found all these clients. Just one important caveat: Be a skimmer, and don’t spend all day poking around the Internet looking for leads. I try not to spend more than 2-3 hours a week looking for job leads online.

I’d also make the observation that four out of five of these clients are on the copywriting side. My observation is that while publications are still tough to break into right now, copywriting is booming…so it’s not just where you’re looking online, but what you’re looking for, that’s important. Keep an open mind. Try new types of clients — you may find whole new areas of writing you discover you really like. That’s definitely my story.

Where are you finding good writing-job leads? Leave a comment and let me know. I’m sure I haven’t found all the great ways to market online yet!

Photo via Flickr user jared

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9 comments on “The Very Best Place Online for Freelance Writers
  1. Navendra says:

    nowadays things are just getting harder cause so many online freelance writers are growing so guess a new technique should be followed if you're to be chosen for high paid jobs.

    Navendra
    Quarite.com

  2. I'm going to Seattle next week and the info from this blog will really come in handy.I really appreciate your effort your hard work and diligence in writing this article!

  3. Gracie says:

    Carol, I really love that you mention how you were able to pull some sparkling gems from the usual junk overrunning Cragigslist.org and many job boards. Many writers have completely given up on these job sources, and I get frustrated with them at times too; but I won’t give up on them entirely because I’ve uncovered some very good clients from those sources as well. Thanks so much for sharing your tips.

  4. Carol Tice says:

    Irene!

    You should always know where clients came from. How can you apportion your marketing time if you don't know what's paying off for you? Why would you be embarrassed to ask how a prospect heard of you? That's one of my first questions — I'm like "Awesome, would love to hear about your project…may I ask how you found me?" I've never hit anyone who isn't happy to tell you.

    As this natural-search story I posted on WM Freelance shows, you can't assume you know how a client heard of you. http://www.thewmfreelanceconnection.com/2010/06/h

    Could have been from natural search — or another client, or an association you belong to, another writer, or they read an article of yours they found interesting. I had one VERY interesting nibble I probably should have included above, but they ended up priced too low for me and I passed…but they called me just off seeing an article I wrote on Yahoo!Hotjobs.

    You NEED to know how people are finding you! It also helps you see if you have a client that may be lower paying than you'd like, but maybe is worth it because they provide good exposure and you get prospects through them. I've got a couple of situations like that, personally.

    I personally just took the writer-friend who turned me on to Gorkana out to lunch to thank her for that piece of information, which led to a great, steady new account for me. You need to put more effort toward what's working, AND also reward people who have helped you find new clients, however indirectly. That good will really goes a long way…and it's just the right thing to do. But you can't do it if you don't know who to thank!

  5. Irene says:

    I've had a few very solid, very well-paying clients, and I don't even know where they came from! They just contacted me out of the blue and I felt a bit embarrassed to ask. Had to be this natural search thing. I look forward to more of the same! 🙂

    Thanks a lot!

  6. Kimberly says:

    That's so true, Carol. I recently ghost wrote a large ebook for an Internet marketing firm providing online and offiline marketing tips for small businesses. Their content outline covered free advertising sites like Craigslist, so I don't think we can afford to count them out just yet. Checking back and sifting through the ruble from time to time can certainly get tedious at times though. Lol

  7. Carol Tice says:

    I wish they could pass some kind of law where real, legit companies were barred from using Craigslist! Would save us freelance writers a lot of time. But very solid companies are experimenting with using it…so we gotta keep checking.

    I'm still very selective on which Craigslist ads I'd take the time to answer. I used to advise writers to ignore all Craigslist ads …but had to soften my stance on that, as I discovered you can occasionally score something real there.

  8. Kimberly says:

    Carol, I really love that you mention how you were able to pull some sparkling gems from the usual junk overrunning Cragigslist.org and many job boards. Many writers have completely given up on these job sources, and I get frustrated with them at times too; but I won't give up on them entirely because I've uncovered some very good clients from those sources as well. Thanks so much for sharing your tips.

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