This is definitely one of the questions I get the most.
While a small number of freelance writers have found their own specific ways to land high paying clients for their writing business, many more are still scratching their heads wondering how the heck they will ever be able to make this work.
Is that the sign that you’re not a good writer?
No, the fact that you land clients or not, in most cases, has less to do with your writing skills than your marketing skills. If you don’t know where to go to meet potential clients or introduce yourself to them, you’ll find it hard to every land a high paying writing job. It’s all about finding ways, or even finding A WAY that works for you.
Maybe the real secret to finding clients for your freelance business is to use your own brain and imagination and come up with ideas that no one had thought of before. But most of all, whatever you do, you need to keep doing it over and over. Never give up. Keep doing it until you get results.
The main reason why many freelance writers fail is because they just give up or slow down when they should simply keep going.
This said, in response to all the emails I’m getting asking me how to land high paying clients as a freelance writer, I’ve put together a few tips. And remember, I’m just like you, I’m still trying things out, but here are few things that I’ve learned.
Step #1 – Polish your Portfolio
Just like a well written resume will help you get the job you want, a well written portfolio will help you get the clients you want. A portfolio is not everything, but it certainly is a very important starting point. Even freelance job boards will ask for your portfolio that you can either write up or upload. If you don’t have one, it will work against you. So, let’s start here.
- If you don’t have a portfolio ready yet, you need to create one. If you don’t have the content to create your portfolio yet, it’s time to go to work and create it. For example, you could request guest posts on other blogs by pitching blog owners you know. If you have no idea how to write a good pitch, check this previous blog post that will give you a step by step.
- Another easy thing you could do to create a portfolio is selecting a few good article directories and start writing some knock out articles for them, so you could feature them on your portfolio page.
- You could also create short reports or eBooks that you could give away or even sell for a couple of dollars on Amazon, and request that some friends give you positive reviews. Of course, you don’t want to bribe good reviews without putting the work first, so those reviews will be honest and true.
These are just few examples you could use to create your portfolio, if you don’t have one yet.
I know this calls for work, but if you want to land good clients, your portfolio is the place where you need to start. Once it’s done, it will be there to stay, and all you would have to do is update it as your writing career grows. The more it will grow the easier it will become to get more clients.
Step #2 – Look where the Money is
Now, it’s very important that you look where the money is. If you have a blog like me, don’t expect your blogger friends who write their own blog posts to hire you to write for them. Most of those bloggers are just like you – trying to build their own business – not looking to spend money on someone to do what they do fine themselves. The readers of your blog, for the most part, are NOT your target market.
So, why do I need a blog in the first place, you might wonder? Because your blog is your showcase for potential clients, the ones that will look for your writing skills and want to hire you if they like what they see. It’s also the place where you are going to have your contact information, your portfolio, and any other bells and whistles you might use to attract potential clients.
However, don’t expect them to just drop in your inbox just because you do have a blog – for the most part, they won’t. What you’re going to do is go after them, and show them your blog as proof of what you do.
Start figuring out where you could find the companies that have the money and willing to spend some of it for their content. There are out there. Those guys are the opposite of your blogger friends, they don’t want to write, because they’ve got other things to do. What you need to do is look for them. that’s what I call, look where the money is.
Since they won’t just start to appear in your inbox on their own, there’re a few things you need to start doing.
Step #3 – Job Boards
Truth be told, companies that are spending big bucks on writing orders are rarely to be found on job boards, but it doesn’t hurt to check them out on a regular basis, just in case.
Even though it’s not going to happen every day that you’ll find someone willing to pay you $150 for an article on job boards that still can happen at times.
Some of those job boards require you to register for free, some have a registration fee, and some don’t require any type of registration at all. The more job boards you join, the better, as long as you use them wisely which means to get good writing deals.
Here is a handful of job boards you should look into:
In your job board hunt you should include freelance writing groups such Facebook and Linkedin Groups.
Step #4 – Look into your Junk Mail
Yes, that’s right!
I don’t know about you, but I receive lots and lots of junk mails. Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, those guys don’t write their own emails, but would rather pay someone to do it for them?
Let’s note here, that what I refer to junk mail is not necessarily what ends up in your actual spam folder; I’m talking about the marketing type emails you’re getting in your inbox each day.
Start reading those emails (most of which you probably opted for), and see if you can spot some weaknesses in the writing. If you find that you could have done a much better job, why don’t you reply to the sender and explain how you could help them with their email marketing?
Even if the email sound find, what don’t you contact them anyway to let them know that you could write their email campaigns for them.
No, it’s not going to work every time, but you might be surprised. I know about this tactic because I know some people for whom it has worked, and I will give it a try myself.
Step #5 – Spend Time where your Potential Clients Hang out
Whether you write about health and fitness, technology, travel, technical writing, or anything else, try to find out what forums, social media, or any other platforms your potential clients hangout.
There are plenty of niche Facebook groups, Linkedin goups, and other forums for any type of businesses or business owners who might be looking for writers for their newsletters, email marketing campaigns, site/blogs and so forth.
Remember, your goal here is not to find your peers, but your potential clients, so when you look for those media platforms keep this in mind, and introduce yourself as a specific niche (their niche) writer. However, do not spam them. It’s like anything else online these days, you need to first build a relationship with them and slowly introduce what you do to.
Step #6 Check out Hard Copy Magazines
When it comes to writing, most freelance writers think online work, but do you know that there are still hard copy magazines that are looking for new talented writers?
Believe it or not, those magazines don’t always find good talents easily, because they actually don’t really make any effort to look for them, but more like expect them to knock at their door (which they do). Remember that very big clients don’t hang out on job boards or even advertize their writing opportunities, but they might welcome a well written pitch as well as some proof that can back it up.
Here are two types of magazines you should look into.
Trade magazines, also called business to business magazines, are the easiest type magazines you could write for.
To start with, there’s an incredible amount of trade magazines in just about any niche under the sun. Such magazines can pay you anywhere from 10¢ to about 75¢ per word. Yes, they do pay less than custom magazines, but they tend to make your life easier and they are more likely to become repeat clients.
Do some research on trade magazines, learn about them, pick a few and send them a pitch.
A custom magazine is a publication that is used to market a business to its customers. It could be a chain store, a bank, or any business dealing with consumers/customers.
Custom magazines are more likely to require more of your writing skills and be pickier with your writing style/quality, but they tend to pay more from about 50¢ to well over a dollar per word.
Important Tips about Magazines
Before you send your query to any magazine offline or online, you need to remember few important points.
- Read the magazine for at least a couple of weeks before you send your pitch, so you’ll have a feel for the writing styles that they like.
- Be a story teller. There are many good writers out there, but what those guys like is the ones that know how to tell a story, not just write perfect grammar.
- Learn to pitch like a pro. Those guys receive lots of pitches, so the better yours will be the more chances to grab their attention.
- Learn to hunt for contact information. Don’t’ expect their contact information to fall on your laps. At times you may need to use Google, Bing or Linkedin to find editors or publishers information in order to send your queries.
- Writing for your little blog and writing for magazines are two different things. At times I have people leaving me comments full of errors and misspells telling me that they are writing for pay or want to, but as I read their hard to understand 5 line comment, I can’t help but shake my head.
If you want to be paid big bucks for your writing, you can’t afford to write anything else but well, and great would even be better. However, I’m not saying this to try to discourage you; I’m saying this to tell you that it’s going to take some work, but if you do take the time to apply yourself it will pay off in the end.
Step #7 Networking with other Writers
You might have gotten the idea that if you’re a writer, it might be a mistake to hang around other writers that are looking for the same type of gigs you’re looking for, right?
Well, if you think that way, you’d be wrong. The best freelance writing tips I’ve ever learned about, I’ve learned them from writers themselves. You’re always going to need to hang out with writers to learn more about writing jobs. And where do you find writers you can mangle with? On networking platforms where they hang out.
So, join facebook and linkedin writers groups, as well as forums, and learn from other writers.
They’ll give you tons of tips to find writing gigs.
Step #8 YouTube
Have you ever thought of using YouTube to find potential clients that could use your writing skills?
If not, you’re missing out.
YouTube is like a search engine of its own. If you were to do a specific niche search on YouTube you would probably find some type of companies or business owner advertising on YouTube by way of videos. Needless to say that those companies attach their website and/or contact information under the video.
Why not contacting them and offer your services?
I’ve done that with positive results.
Those companies may or may not need you, but if you don’t try, you certainly will never know. If you do try this venue for finding clients, do it on a regular basis, not just once and then give up.
It’s just one extra way to look for and find clients that would pay you to write for them, but one that may surprise you.
OK, I guess that’s it for now. My guess is that if you truly apply what I’m suggesting here, you will get some positive results. But remember, don’t give up after just a few tries. Write down a plan of action and repeat it over and over. At the end of the day, that’s what’s going to make a difference for you.
In the meantime, please, let’s hear what you have to say in the comment area.