When I first began freelance writing in 2015, there was a lot of information online about how to make a living at it and I spent a great deal of time scouring the internet for tips. Yet, in the end, all but one of the actions that had the most impact came from trial and error. Today, I’m going to save you some time, and help you reach greater success much faster.
1. If You Don’t Have Your Own Website, and Can’t Afford One, Do This
A professional website featuring writing samples is necessary but I wasn’t willing to invest in monthly hosting until I was generating revenue. So, I simply used a free Blogger website, and bought a cheap domain name for it. Since I wanted to write website content for clients of marketing agencies, I highlighted the factors I thought the agencies would most appreciate on my home page, mainly that I was a reliable, college-educated native English speaker. Tabbed pages on the site held writing samples.
2. Learn Content Marketing Formatting
When I finally learned about using headers and short paragraphs for website content, I realized that agency editors could literally tell at a glance whether someone was experienced with this type of content. It was a bonus to realize that I just needed to pick 2 or 3 main points about whatever topic I was assigned, then write a header and 1 or 2 paragraphs about each one. The actual writing became easier and faster, which meant more dollars per hour.
3. Get Free Hubspot Certifications, and Let Potential Clients Know About Those!
Hubspot has an extensive selection of free marketing courses. When you complete them, the certification icons can be easily embedded in a website page or LinkedIn profile and they add significant credibility. I only took the Inbound Marketing course, which contained 7 lessons, and took about 4 hours. The effect was almost immediate! I began mentioning the certification in my cover letters, which brought higher-paying agencies to my website, where they could see the official icon. This was a major step up for me.
4. Create a Concise Cover Letter, and Address is to a Specific Individual
After many different iterations, this cover letter did much better than any others when applying to agencies looking for content marketing writers. I have made the letter generic so you can use it, too:
City, State, Zip
My name is __________ and I hope this message finds you well. I am Hubspot certified in _____________ so I am familiar with organic SEO techniques. I believe I can provide content that will meet with your approval.
You may find more information about me, as well as several writing samples, at https://______________. I hope to have the opportunity to work with you. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.
5. Contact the Right Marketing Agencies Based on Size
I prefer to be just one of a stable of writers for agencies so that it’s easier for me to pick and choose when I write. The one piece of advice I found most helpful was that agencies with between 11 and 50 employees were more likely to need freelancers. Smaller agencies don’t have enough work and larger agencies tend to use in-house writers almost exclusively. The number of employees is often listed on an agency’s LinkedIn profile.
The more things change…
I still use my free Blogger website because I’ve never had any reason to change it. I haven’t kept up my Hubspot certification and I barely even keep up with the writing samples on my website because I usually add links to more specific samples in my cover letters these days as they tend to carry more weight. However, my cover letters still have the same closing and the website home page still has the same information.
When I was first starting out, though, these 5 steps brought me more and better clients. I would have generated significantly more revenue much sooner if I’d have known about all of them from the very beginning.
- Dump That Content Mill and Get Your OWN Google Adsense Account!
- Are Content Mills Lowering the Quality of “News” on the Internet? By Angela Hoy
- Corporate Blogging and Web Copy are Solid Ways to Make a Living as a Writer! – By Christina R. Green, Former Content Marketing Director
- A SUB-NICHE! How to Create Unique Online Content in a Flooded Market – by Laura Peill
- Free Article Sites are Not Content Mills
Rebecca Theriot has been a freelance writer since 2015. A vast majority of her work has been for clients of marketing agencies, and she enjoys the variety of writing about so many different topics. Rebecca is also a full-time traveler, living mainly in Mexico, the UK, Europe and Morocco.
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At this moment, thousands of would-be authors are slaving away on their keyboards, dreaming of literary success. But their efforts won’t count for much. Of all those manuscripts, trade book editors will sign up only a slim fraction.
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