No matter what type of freelance writing work is involved, marketing is a vital part of owning a freelance business. In order to find and contract new work, a certain level of marketing expertise and effort is required. Freelancing is a competitive market and the clients are not generally just going to come to a freelancer. A freelance writer must come up with a plan that will enable them to win over new clients and projects easily.
There are plenty of freelancing websites that specialise in bringing together freelancers and clients. Sites like Elance and Odesk focus on being the middleman between companies and clients who need work done and the freelancers who are qualifed and available to do the work. Keeping an eye on job postings sites like Gumtree or Craigslist is another way to connect with other freelancers and find work. There are freelance job boards and forums, some free and some that require subscription. Trying out a few different websites will showcase which sites work better for each independent writer and are worth investing time and energy on.
It is inevitable, as soon as someone commits to a certain line of work they begin running into people who need their services. Prepared freelancers get ready for these random opportunities by creating marketing materials for their freelance business.
Business cards are a necessary staple for anyone marketing a business and can be purchased for little expense. In fact, Vistaprint allows business professionals to get their first set of hundreds of cards for free.
Another essential is a website. Hardly anyone does business these days without a website. A freelance website could have valuable information on a freelancer’s experience, sample pieces, portfolio, listing of clientele, and contact information. While a website is not required to be a successful freelance writer, it does take a freelancer’s professional status up several notches and shows off how serious and hardworking the freelance writer can be.
One element of marketing that many freelance writers may not consider is networking. Networking with other freelance writers has a variety of different benefits. Freelancing is often a solitary vocation. Networking with other freelancers helps writers to connect with other individuals who are experiencing the same highs and lows as well as to keep up with the latest trends in freelance writing. Ask questions, share information, mentoring and finding common ground are all benefits of being included in a freelance writing network. However, the marketing element of networking comes into play when freelancers work together sharing work. Each freelance writer has a set of clients, deadlines and expectations but sometimes there is not enough time to fullfill all these needs. Having a trustworthy network where freelancers can share work when they become overwhelmed is a great way to keep clients happy and projects run smoothly.
Another way a freelancer could use networking to pump up their marketing is to team up with other professionals in graphic design, illustration and photography. This would enhance their freelance portfolio and the options they could offer their clients. Plus, the partners a writer works with could very likely send more freelance work their way in thanks for the work received.
The most obvious way a freelance writer could use networking for their own marketing purposes is to join a local business organisation. Plenty of organisations are out there supporting small and self employed businesses. Some examples are local chamber of commerce organisations, small business organizations, and writer associations.
A freelance writer never knows when an opportunity will present itself. Not only should they have marketing material in their possession at all times, they should also be prepared to discuss themselves and what they do at any time. Preparing a 30 second mini-speech, often referred to as an elevator pitch, that highlights the writer’s strengths and experience is an essential part of marketing and networking. They should also always keep an update resume and current writing samples to show off their work. A smart freelancer will keep informed on freelancing trends and take regular training to boost or enhance their work.
There may be an area of freelancing that is more comfortable and familiar to a writer, but that does not mean they should focus all of their time on that one area. Diversifying the type of freelance writing work in a portfolio will enable writers to survive even in rough economic times. If a freelance writer only writes for one magazine or company and they go out of business or change directions, then the writer could be out of work. Keep several completely different projects going on at once. It is not just smart business – it will also make the work more interesting.