By Behlor Santi-
Recently, I had an impasse in my writing career. So I read more books on technique, critiqued other writers’ works when I could, and continued to fine-tune my query-writing skills. But I wasn’t attracting the assignments that challenged me and filled my bank account.
That is, until I got personal.
Do Your Research
I took to heart Dale Carnegie’s defining advice. In his seminal book, How To Win Friends and Influence People, he emphasizes the importance of knowing names. People love to hear the sound of their names. Businesspeople who act warm, according to Carnegie, are more successful. Acting on this advice, I learned that studying potential clients’ professional and personal triumphs does give you an advantage.
For example, I wanted to write for a consumer magazine, and I learned through social media that the editor graduated from Stanford. My article talked about hotels near Ivy League colleges, so I mentioned Stanford in the query I sent. Even if the editor rejected my first query, knowing about his education makes future queries on similar topics a surer fit.
Don’t Give Up
Yes means yes, and no means no, but in freelancing those yeses and nos may give you options.
I contacted a potential client who previously had rejected one of my magazine-article queries. Her magazine only accepted advertorials, but I didn’t accept that declarative answer. At her LinkedIn profile, she stated that another one of her companies operated inspirational retreats. I have written about my struggles with poverty and depression.
“So,” I asked in another email, “are you looking for speakers for your retreats? I’ve written essays about how I overcame struggles in my life.”
“Send a one sheet detailing your biography, as well as testimonials from other clients,” she emailed me back.
I didn’t write an article for this client, but I gained another opportunity as a public speaker.
Ever wonder why comedies sell more than dramas? It’s human nature to laugh. The world can be scary, and people make sense of the world by humor. Make people laugh, and usually you build connection.
Here in New York City, it’s cold — too darn cold. I contacted a new LinkedIn connection who lives in sunny Southern California. I could have just asked about writing opportunities. But I greeted him by saying, “Greetings from COOOOLD NYC.”
My risk paid off. Less than an hour later, the client contacted me back, mentioning how much he adored New York — except for the winter cold. I also received a referral to a web editor who wants to read my clips.
The next time you’re networking with potential freelance clients, add personal touches. Use influence to land yourself into a new gig.
How To Win Friends and Influence People on YouTube:
Jenna Glatzer’s Guide For Newbie Freelance Writers
Marketing 101 for Freelancers on Social Media
Email Template for Potential Freelance Clients
Mistakes to Avoid on Social Media
Using Humor In Business Communications
Behlor Santi regularly contributes to fundsforwriters.com. Email her at email@example.com.