Freelance writing is an incredibly rewarding career: it’s fully flexible, it’s interesting, it’s fun – and when it’s done right, it’s lucrative. But how do you find new clients as a freelance writer? In this post, I’ll go through three strategies I’ve used to find new clients as a freelance writer.
Whether you’re stepping into the world of freelance writing for the first time, or you’re an established pro looking to find some new clients, I hope you find it useful (if you do, please share it!)
Cold pitching to find freelance clients is all about getting to the right hiring manager at the right time. Keep it short, make it super targeted, and try to establish credibility and add some value upfront. Here’s an example of a cold email I might send that you’re welcome to steal.
I’m Katie and I’m a Content Strategist focused on professional services. I noticed your company has been putting out a lot of great content lately and I wanted to let you know I’m available if you need any freelance support as you expand your audience.
My current clients include KPMG, Roomex and Roundshark, and past clients include Accenture, ACCA and Teneo PSG. You can see recommendations from clients on my LinkedIn page. The most recent one reads: “Katie helped me and my team get around a tight deadline when we had a bottleneck in our content production process. The quality of work was fantastic and she was nothing but professional throughout. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Katie for any writing or copy-writing work you might need done!”
Here’s a blog post I wrote recently about promoting content online – you might find it useful.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions.
It’s tempting to send it off with “Dear sir/madam” to as many email addresses as you can get your hands on, but this isn’t the right approach. Spend a few minutes researching the person online (almost everyone you’ll be targeting is on LinkedIn) and their organisation. Don’t target someone who works in fashion if your niche is finance. Finding the right freelance clients is all about fit – you might be an expert in stocks or stockings but probably not both.
- Colleagues, alumni, and your professional network
When you’re new to freelancing, the people who are most likely to hire you are the ones who are already familiar with the quality of your work. Get in touch with your colleagues from previous jobs and people from other companies you collaborated with at work. If your college has an alumni network, join it and get involved. Reach out to your former classmates too. Let them know you’re in the market for freelance work.
- Your online network
As a freelancer, a digital presence is crucial. Make sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and that your business is searchable on Google. Ask happy clients and former colleagues for reviews and recommendations. Expand your network further by joining groups – Facebook in particular is good for this.
Here are some groups for content marketing and PR pros that I can recommend from experience:
– The Content Marketing Lounge
– Freelance PRs
– Journalism & New Media Jobs (Ireland)
Each of these groups is tightly moderated, making them nice corners of the internet to hang out in. You can ask for advice, discuss industry trends, and – yes – pick up work through them.
- Your family and friends
Ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? Make it work to your advantage. Let everybody in your life know you’re open for business. You never know who’s looking for someone exactly like you: your brother-in-law’s new boss, your best friend’s new beau, or your mom’s godchild. Don’t bore people to tears talking about it; be really clear about what you do and what value you add and create a 30-second elevator pitch for anyone who’s interested.
Content Marketing and Social Media for your business
Content Marketing differs from other types of digital marketing in one key way: instead of pushing your message at your target audience, you bring them to you. You do this by creating useful, informative content online in the form of blog posts, videos, podcasts, and so on. Content Marketing helps attract freelance clients by demonstrating the depth of your expertise to them, establishing your name in their minds, and making a connection with them.
Don’t forget to share your content on your social channels, your email list if you have one, and in groups where appropriate to reach a wider audience. When someone has been following your blog for six months and an opportunity to hire a freelancer for your area comes up at work, you’ll be at the top of their minds.
I can almost guarantee that if you start cold pitching, proactively engaging with all your networks, and producing quality content that you’ll find new freelance writing clients in no time.
Any questions about finding new clients? Let me know in the comments.
About Katie Harrington
Katie Harrington is a Communications and Content Creator based in Dublin, Ireland. Her e-book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November 2016. Katie has worked with global brands including Accenture, EY, Emirates Airline, and Allianz, as well as in the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat.