The online world offers oodles of opportunities for aspiring freelance
writers to showcase their work and find new clients. But you have to know
how to market yourself - and how to avoid online scams.
"Self-promotion is the most loathed, if not the most difficult, part of
being a freelance writer," says Shari Held. She's a writer in Indianapolis
who specializes in doing corporate case studies, white papers and feature
articles. "That said, inbound marketing (LinkedIn, website, etc.) is relatively
painless to do and doesn't require putting yourself out there too much!"
Jodi Quibell offers freelance blogging and editing services. She agrees
that it's important to have a social media presence. She recommends building
a website and joining writer's groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. "It keeps
you top of mind," she says. "It also provides the opportunity for your connections
to refer you - this has happened a fair amount for me!"
But don't expect the offers to come rolling in just because you put your
name out there.
"Prospective clients won't come knocking on your door just because you
have a website or a LinkedIn profile or a blog," says Held. "My tactic is
to connect with people via email and do a soft sell to see if I can get my
foot in the door or to send an LOI [letter of introduction] to the marketing
department of companies I'm interested in. I have considered a LinkedIn ad,
but haven't done that yet. Other people join and attend organizations such
as their local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc."
When starting out, you might be tempted to take any writing job that comes
your way. Tread carefully, though. While there are lots of websites offering
freelance writing gigs, some jobs turn out to be nothing like what the ad
promises. And be wary of content mills - companies that hire lots of freelance
writers to churn out huge amounts of content for atrociously low pay.
"Research the person or company that is wanting to hire you - find out
their reputation for paying freelancers!" says Quibell. "Ask around in the
different groups you belong to. Find out who has worked for them."
"Ask for half the pay up front," advises Held. "And if they want you to
write a 300-word blog post for $25 with the 'promise' of more lucrative assignments
later - or ask you to write for free - just say 'no' and keep on looking for
National Writers Union
Home page for the trade union of all kinds of freelance writers
Make a Living Writing
"Practical help for hungry writers"
Freelance Writing Jobs: How to Find Your First
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