Even successful freelance writers find themselves in lulls at times, their pitches readily declined. By making some simple choices, however, writers can access long-term clients without competing with a large pool of freelancers on a job board. By following these five steps, you can gain clients by showing them how your services will benefit them before they even know they need you.
1. Find businesses – The ideal company will either have a small, underdeveloped blog or no blog. Select businesses you already care about: brands you love or businesses operating locally. Consider businesses connected to your writing niche as well. If you know someone personally at the company, take advantage of that connection. In the past year, I pitched a start-up health and fitness company, a phone application company, and a local brewery for blogging work.
2. Make first contact, but expect mixed responses – Search the website for a contact form or email. Send a quick, clear message stating that you avidly use the product or service. Mention you are a freelance writer and link to some of your closely related published work. Occasionally, you will catch a company at a point where they want to expand their web presence but don’t have a ready candidate. Your offer will come before they’ve set up an application or a job board post, which means that they save valuable time by choosing you rather than starting a longer search.
3. Bring up topics, then money – If you do receive a positive response, tailor your return email to the content of that response. However, show that you have ideas for content, if they don’t immediately provide you with topics, and ask what they pay while mentioning your usual range.
4. Know how much you are willing to accept– Your typical pay range may be too high for some, so recognize your bottom line. This amount can change over time as your experience grows. For instance, I took $40 a post for a job writing 500-word blog posts, but I also accepted $40 for a 1000-word blog post on a topic I enjoyed researching. You decide how much you want this particular job, so value yourself while also acknowledging that small companies may not have much budget for writing. The site Who Pays Writers? also offers an idea of what freelancers charge for different lengths of articles at different kinds of publications.
5. Do your best work to become indispensable – Requesting blogging work using these steps doesn’t guarantee that the client will keep you around forever, but in my experience, these clients provide a steady stream of work. I now have five long-term business blogging clients who give me two or more projects a month. One client in particular, a start-up marketing company, specifically chose to continue working with me even after a more prestigious writer queried them, because the other writer wanted more money and didn’t want to work within their organizational structure.
Using these steps, you can gather clients without competing with other writers, while building long-term relationships with businesses you enjoy.
BIO – Laura Marie is a writer and teacher in Ohio; her blog about organization, growing up, and planning for the future is called Messy Mapmaker. She has also written for The Billfold, The Financial Diet, and Roads and Kingdoms.