If you have a talent for spinning words and the desire to go into business for yourself, working as a freelance writer is a natural choice.
The good news is that as quality content becomes an increasingly important part of modern marketing, the demand for talented freelance writers will only continue to grow.
If you’re ready to start your career as a freelance writer, follow these steps and tips to ensure that you get off to a successful start.
Develop an Online Presence
In order to succeed at finding clients, you are going to have to develop a solid online presence. Start by creating profiles on popular sites that connect freelancers with clients, and be sure to be thorough in the profiles you create.
Write an intriguing bio, detail your past work history, and provide samples of your work.
Remember that, as a writer, you’re being judged on everything you write, so take the time to create profiles that are a reflection of your writing abilities in and of themselves.
From there, you may want to create social media profiles for your business, especially on professional sites such as LinkedIn. Some freelance writers even create their own websites that they are able to direct clients to. Whatever resources you use to develop an online presence, make sure it is as professional and broad as possible.
Focus on Your Expertise
When you first start your freelance writing career, the number of jobs and projects you have available to apply for may almost be overwhelming. No matter what the topic is, chances are there is someone out there who is willing to pay someone to write about it.
Of course, some topics are more popular than others, but the fact remains that the range of freelance writing projects posted online is vast.
So how do you choose which jobs you should apply for? Especially at the start of your freelancing career, you should try to focus on your expertise. Apply to writing projects that deal with topics that you are already experienced in.
Starting out, one of the biggest challenges for freelance writers is getting up the confidence to take on a project and write an article about it. If you start by sticking with what you know, though, this confidence will be easier to come by. Later on, you can begin picking up projects that are a little less familiar and require a little more research. For now, though, focus on your expertise.
Hone Your Pitch
Once you’ve found a job you want to apply for, it’s time to send in your application, otherwise known as your pitch. Often times, it is your pitch that will earn you more jobs than any other tool you have at your disposal.
You’ll want to spend a little time crafting a basic format for your pitch that you can use for each project you apply for. For example, you may start with an introduction, followed by a description of your experience, followed by an explanation of why you are a good fit for the client’s project.
Beyond following the same basic format for each pitch, though, you’ll be better served if you customize your pitch to each project and client. Clients can most often see through copy and paste pitches and don’t normally find them nearly as impressive as a writer who takes the time to create a customized pitch.
Starting out, it’s a good idea to test different styles, approaches, and formats for your pitches to see which ones perform best. This way you can eventually hone your pitch to one that will give you the best chance at landing the projects you apply for.
Brush Up on Content Marketing
Freelance writing and content marketing aren’t exactly the same, but they are similar enough that you’ll have a hard time excelling at one without being extremely comfortable with the other.
Content marketing is the practice of using written content as a marketing tool. To become a great content marketer, you need to learn how to create content that sells. Not only does your writing need to sound good, be informative, and be mistake-free, it also needs to engage readers and inspire them to perform whatever action the client who hired you wants them to perform (i.e. buy a product, sign up for a service, and so on).
On top of this, your content also needs to incorporate good search engine optimization (SEO) practices so that it will be useful in helping clients get their website closer to the top of the search results.
Keep in mind that clients almost always pay for content in the hopes that the content will eventually earn them more money than they paid for it. In order to succeed as a freelance writer, you need to learn how to create content that is able to accomplish this purpose.
Hustle Hard and Aim to Please
Freelance writing may seem like a career that is built on inspiration, but when you are starting out, perspiration is often the bigger key to success. Finding quality clients always takes a lot of hustle, but this is especially the case when you are just beginning your career.
Apply for everything that catches your eye, and put effort into those applications. Constantly hone your pitch, your profile, your methods of searching for jobs, and more.
At the beginning of your career, you’ll likely want to take any job you can get even if the pay is lower than you’d like. These types of jobs are often a form of low-hanging fruit for new writers to use to build up a reputation and reviews, and once you have just a few projects and reviews under your belt you’ll have a much easier time finding jobs that pay better.
Speaking of reviews, once you are selected to work on a project you should always go above and beyond expectations in every way you can. There’s no overstating the value of good reviews, and doing whatever it takes to please your clients is a great way to ensure that you get them.
Working as a freelance writer is a rewarding career full of exciting opportunities. Best of all, you don’t need a ton of education or expensive equipment to get started. Anyone with a talent for writing and a laptop can start picking up freelance writing jobs and quite possibly turn it into a well-paying career. By following the steps and tips in this guide, you will be well on your way to starting a successful career as a freelance writer.