You’ve made the big decision to become start your own writing business, so how do you market yourself as a freelance writer?
I realize this is a very overwhelming topic.
You just want to know how to find content writing clients and everyone is telling you something different.
You’re so overwhelmed with what the “right” way to do it is, that you end up doing nothing at all.
This is something every freelance writer goes through at the very beginning.
The unsexy truth is…
… there is no ONE way.
You have to find what works for you, and that is going to take a bit of testing.
But don’t worry. It won’t be long before you find the way (or ways) that work for you and get regular paying clients.
(If you want an exact “how to” step by step, you can take an inexpensive course that basically pays for itself like the course I took to launch my career, Write Your Way to 1K).
The #1 most important thing you need to remember is this:
**Don’t give up. Keep testing, keep adjusting, and keep going until you find what works for you.**
In this guide, you’ll discover:
- Strategies that worked for me
- What worked for other writers in my network
- Tactics that can work for you
- What to test, and how to adjust
There are endless freelance writing opportunities for beginners using any one of the following methods.
If you like this post, you may also like:
- Should You Take Elna Cain’s Write Your Way to 1 K Course?
- 4 Attractive Writing Portfolio Choices for New Writers
Table of contents
- Don’t Start Looking for Writing Jobs Before You Do This
- How to Find Content Writing Jobs Online
- Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs on Social Media (attract clients to you)
- Strategy #3 – Find Content Writing Jobs For Beginners on Job Boards?
- Strategy #4 – Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs by Pitching
- The Key to Pitching Success
- The BEST Way to Find Freelance Online Writing Jobs
- How to Market Yourself as a Freelance Writer – Find Online Writing Jobs Everywhere
Don’t Start Looking for Writing Jobs Before You Do This
Before you even consider learning how to market yourself as a freelance writer, you have to decide what kind of business you want.
Let me explain…
Do you want regular monthly work? This is called retainer work.
Do you want a variety of different types of clients or to specialize in one type of client (it’s easier to find work that way)?
Do you want to do ONE type of writing, or do you want to mix it up (blog posts and social media, email copywriting, essay papers, etc…)?
This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not as hard as it seems.
You just have to decide what you can offer when you reach out to prospects.
You can change this later. It’s not set in stone.
For example, when I started my business, I knew I wanted ongoing, monthly retainer work. This meant I needed to look for the type of gigs where I build relationships with my clients and take charge of the work I was doing (not an order taker).
I started with writing blog content with SEO strategies in mind, then I pivoted my business to writing exclusively emails.
For you, it could be anyone of the following:
- Content for blogs and social media
- Blog content using SEO strategies
- Social media posts and keep up on trends
- Ghostwriting only
- Putting together books from podcast content
- Writing research papers
- Case studies
- Writing web copy
This is YOUR business. You get to decide what you want to do.
If you aren’t sure, start with writing blogs and or/social media content.
If you’re overwhelmed by this, just pick whatever you think you’ll enjoy doing most and start looking for work.
Chances are, it will change over time. This is the nature of a writing business.
Just pick something and move forward for now.
Want to skip your career ahead to the part where you’re making money? See how Write Your Way to 1K teaches you step by step how to make money online as a freelance writer.
*This post contains affiliate links. This means I will be making recommendations for courses or products and if you purchase, I’ll make a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products from those who have been highly successful in their line of work. I believe strongly in the quality of these course for the price you’re paying.
How to Find Content Writing Jobs Online
It probably feels like a daunting task to find content writing jobs online.
But consider this…
You’ve likely heard “Content is king” over and over again.
This means almost EVERY business out there needs content.
Social media, blog content, pinterest content, email content, website copy, etc…
Most companies are trying their best to do their own content but they:
- Don’t like doing it and find it to be a pain in the butt
- Don’t follow up with algorithm changes and don’t know the strategy
- Want to hand this off completely to someone they can trust to do a good job
That’s where you come in.
>>> Don’t get overwhelmed by these choices. Choose one or two and focus 100% of your efforts.
Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs on Social Media (attract clients to you)
Social media gets a bad rep, but it’s a very effective way to build authority in your niche and create an inbound client acquisition strategy.
Inbound means they come to you. Woot!
The following tips can be applied to any social media platform.
Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn.
Like I said above, pick one or two and use the tips below to attract clients.
Strategy #1 – Create Consistent Content and Provide Value
Think of your social media like you’re giving a presentation in front of a crowd, but every day.
Post valuable content that will showcase your expertise.
Frame your content in a way that helps the reader.
Posting to your main timeline and stories consistently shows your audience that you:
- Show up every day
- You know your craft inside and out
- You are human
Posting videos of yourself talking is more powerful than you realize.
All of the platforms allow you to see who’s watching. You can then go to their profile and engage with them.
Strategy #2 – Engage With Your “Ideal Client”
You’re probably thinking, “But I don’t know who my ideal client is, Kristi!”
That’s 100% okay.
Yes, you SHOULD define your ideal client. But if you haven’t picked a niche yet, use the same advice I told you above. Just pick one and start.
Marketing gurus will tell you to really hash out who your ideal client is.
This is great advice, and I agree 100%.
But you may be stuck in analysis paralysis mode in the beginning.
For a long time.
I worked for RV dealers, and bloggers, and all kinds of mismatched niches.
If you’re stuck on what you’re “ideal client” is, just pick one and start marketing yourself.
You can work this out as you go.
(For the record, I still don’t have an “ideal client” and I’m making a full time living as a freelance writer. It’s your business, you can do it however you want. I didn’t want to pick just one niche, so I didn’t. I’ll caution you, it is a bit of a longer path to success. Narrowing your niche and ideal client will get you to more money, faster.)
Engaging with your “ideal client” can make you stand out, but don’t be gross about it.
Engaging with others does NOT mean selling to them in their private messages.
Don’t do that.
It’s annoying and will get you blocked REALLY fast.
Engaging is just being human and networking.
Follow their content. Comment on their posts like you would for a friend. A real comment that shows you read the post. Not “great point” or “love this.”
Treat people like you’re seeing them in person and are having a real conversation.
Watch their stories and comment on what you see. This goes straight to their private messages.
You just want to show you’re a real person.
>>> Every little crumb (message or comment) leaves a trail back to you.
It makes them think, “who is this, let me check out her profile.”
Don’t Worry About Follower Count
Stop worrying about your vanity metrics.
Treat every follower like a real human.
Each follower is a person with a story and a problem that needs to be solved.
Even if they aren’t a good fit for your business, they know you are an authority on your topic and they may know someone who needs you.
Give some thought to how many clients you need to get to the income level you want.
You don’t need 20,000 followers to have 5 regular monthly writing clients.
You need to find 5 people who know, like, and trust you.
Treating 20,000 followers like garbage by spamming their private messages will get you nowhere.
Treating 200 followers like human beings and helping them solve problems will get you much further.
Strategy #3 – Find Content Writing Jobs For Beginners on Job Boards?
I’ll be honest here. I’ve never gotten a job from a job board.
I did apply to a lot of jobs when I first started. I watched the boards daily and applied, and applied and applied.
The only jobs I got were either free and I didn’t realize it when I applied, or they paid pennies.
Or, they ghosted me.
Many new writers use them to get experience. I’ve heard of people who have success doing this.
I’ve found they:
- Pay next to nothing
- Don’t value your work
- Are not reliable
I’m not going to go too deep into job boards because I don’t find them to be a great way to build a writer business.
If you decide to try this strategy, make your pitch stand out. See the section below on pitching to help you stand out.
Problogger was the only place I ever applied to jobs and I had zero luck.
Strategy #4 – Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs by Pitching
Pitching is scary and uncomfortable.
And if you’ve done any sort of pitching, you know it can feel that dream where you’re trying to run really fast, but you’re not going anywhere.
Or the one where you continue to dial the phone, but keeping messing up the numbers. (Is that just me? Weird!)
But now you’ve got my secret sauce for to getting more responses, FAST.
Remember above when I said “treat people like they are human beings.”
My secret sauce is…
Use loom chrome extension to send a short video giving them a free tip or advice. (Thanks to Adam Bensman at brainhickey.com for teaching me this trick)
Why does it work?
- They see your face and know you’re a real human
- You can showcase your knowledge
- It’s personal and different from 99% of the crap that comes through their inbox
You’ll still get some rejections and not everyone will respond.
But you will get far more responses than just sending a text-based email message.
The Key to Pitching Success
The key to successfully pitching?
I once had a lady respond saying “I loved your pitch and I was just waiting to see if you were persistent enough to follow up.”
Wait a few days and follow up with another video message. Then another.
I like to do up to 3, but some will say to keep going until you get a no.
If you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, write out a script and practice a few times. This is what I did until I was comfortable.
The BEST Way to Find Freelance Online Writing Jobs
The BEST way to find online writing jobs (and the way I’ve grown my business) is by building a strong referral network.
This doesn’t mean asking everyone you know to hire you.
This means making relationships with people and showing them you mean business.
How can you find online writing jobs by networking?
Here are some of the ways I’ve networked in the past:
Strategy #5 – Join a Networking Group
There are networking groups all over the place looking for participants.
Some are just for chatting and networking.
Some require that you actively refer people back and forth between members. These are usually paid memberships that only allow one person from each profession/field in the group.
You can find local groups by asking your local Chamber of Commerce.
Or you can join a group that’s online.
Ask your current network (entrepreneurs you already know or Facebook groups you follow) if they know of any networking groups you can join.
Happy Neighborhood Project has local chapters as online groups for those who don’t have one in their area.
Most business are looking for new clients and new business all the time, just like you.
Before the internet, networking was the BEST way to build a business.
>>> Networking is still the most powerful way to build a business.
When someone refers business to you, they are saying “I vouch for the quality of this person’s work.”
That is SO powerful.
I’ve had referrals hire me without looking at my portfolio or really asking any questions.
When someone refers you, they’ve already answered “Can I trust this person and will they do good work?” That is THE most important question a business owner has when they’re looking to hire.
Strategy #6 – Make Friends With Other Business Owners to Find Online Writing Jobs
Stop what you’re doing right now and list off the people you know who run businesses right now.
They don’t have to be your ideal client.
This could be your plumber, your real estate agent, your local restaurant owner, etc.
Next time you see them, tell them what you’re doing.
They’ll likely have questions.
Follow them on social media.
Stay top of mind by using their services when you can, share their social media content, send them business whenever possible.
They are more likely to think of you if you’re always sending them business.
Remember: This may not always result in new business. It’s not a guarantee. But it’s a good habit to get into and will eventually pay off.
Don’t go into it with any expectations. Simply provide support and stay top of mind.
If you’re also posting on social media and they’re following you, it will remind them what you do for work.
You’re essentially putting a little filing card in the back of their mind so when someone needs your service, they think, “Oh, I know someone who does this.”
This works online as well.
Make friends with other business owners and other writers.
Have occasional online chats with them (20 min or so).
Don’t worry about sharing trade secrets. There’s more than enough work to go around.
Strategy #7 – Partner With Complementary Businesses
If you write social media copy, you may want to partner with someone who makes social media graphics.
If you write blog content, find a web developer or web designer you can partner with.
Maybe you write in the health niche. Find someone who does social media strategy for the health niche. If they have clients who need social media, they may also need blog content.
How to Market Yourself as a Freelance Writer – Find Online Writing Jobs Everywhere
You’ll notice a recurring theme in my posts.
Building them, nurturing them, sustaining them.
This is the foundation of a good business, in my opinion.
Treating clients like you’d want to be treated.
Engaging online like you’d want to be engaged with.
Add value and treat people like they are cherished and appreciated.
This is like putting good will into a piggy bank with every interaction.
It may not happen instantly and could take some time to build. But if you take this approach, your clients will stay longer, refer business to you, and you’ll meet some amazing people along the way.
Being a freelance writer is a bit of a lonely business. Building relationships will keep you from feeling like a total hermit and it will build your business along the way.