Marketing as a freelance writer can be the most taxing, time-consuming challenge in the beginning. After all, we’re often encouraged that our time should be divided into 80% marketing and only 20% content creation. Of course, it doesn’t have to necessarily be that way for the entirety of your career (or even half of it). You want to get OFF of the endless hamster wheel of research…pitch…wait…hired/rejected…repeat. The key is to set up systems that take care of your marketing so that you don’t have to. One of my favorite marketing tools is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is an awesome and completely free way of networking and building relationships with potential clients and important industry leaders. From my experience, I see that not too many writers know how to leverage LinkedIn to their advantage. In this article, I’ll be sharing my best tips that will help you go from amateur to superstar on the platform, and start attracting clients and projects that are worth your time.
1. Beef up Your Profile
On your LinkedIn Profile, listed below your name is your tagline. Your tagline should describe what you do and who you work for in a few short words (E.g. “Content Writer for Financial Service Providers”). Of course, if you work for yourself, list your company’s name. Doing this will assist you in showing up in the search results of the platform. It will also attract the people who may be your ideal clients, or who can refer you to your ideal clients.
After you’ve published your tag line/mini lead magnet, share every single past client/project you’ve done so far in your “experiences” section. Keeping your experiences section “fresh” boosts your ranks in the search engine, and helps you get found by more people consistently. Showcase your best portfolio pieces in the “Media” section to give examples of your work. You may also publish or republish some portfolio pieces on LinkedIn Publisher. Treat your profile less like a resume and more like an extension of your business website.
2. Determine and Find Your Target Prospects
As a freelance writer, you’re likely looking to get connected with higher ups like the senior editor, marketing managers and directors, or even the CEO (don’t be afraid to go high!). Search the companies you’d love to work with on LinkedIn. Scroll through the names and job titles of the company’s employees, and send personalized invitations to connect. You can also find great prospects in different LinkedIn groups, and in the comments sections of popular articles or posts from companies you follow. Work on building your connections consistently. I personally like to shoot for at least 50 new connects made per week. The more people you get connected with, the more opportunities that may open up for you to get assignments.
3. Start conversations
Always introduce yourself immediately after connecting. Introduce yourself, and let them know that you are here to help, and happy to answer any questions. Share little glimpses of your “behind the scenes” as a business owner. Being open and relatable reflects the human side of you that people connect with. LinkedIn may be a professional platform, but that doesn’t mean stuffy, corporate jargon and topics are to be all that’s accepted here. Also, comment on the posts of your connects or businesses that you follow. Ask questions of your followers and connections to get them involved. Interact in the LinkedIn Groups you’re in by asking and answering questions, offering advice, and reaching out to people who are asking for help if your expertise gives you a unique insight into their problem. Publish your own posts and articles on LinkedIn Publisher that will resonate with your ideal clients. Show everyone that you’re active and involved.
4. Reach out via email
While LinkedIn certainly helps you with getting in front of the right eyes, don’t wait around for them to reach out to you first. Send the people you’re interested in working with an email (not InMail through LinkedIn, but through a personalized email) explaining what exactly you do, how you can help them, and offer examples for what you can bring to the table that will help assist them in improving their business. Make this letter of introduction 90% all about them and their needs. If a little time has passed and you haven’t received a response, send them a follow up and a quick note on LinkedIn, letting them know you’ve emailed them. If there’s still no bite, just move on to the next.
5. Apply to the job listings on LinkedIn
There’s no need to invest in those “paid job boards” when there’s ample opportunity on LinkedIn alone, for FREE! In fact, you can certainly pitch full time gigs with your freelance services. The company may need your services in the meantime while they are searching for an employee, or they may decide to continue working with you even after they’ve filled that position. They may even decide they don’t need someone in-house if they have you! Don’t depend solely on the job boards to get you work, though. Continue to reach out to prospects on your own, and put yourself on their radar without all the extra competition. You’d be surprised how far your own independent marketing can take you.
Marketing your freelance services doesn’t have to be a hassle. LinkedIn will help you tremendously with getting in touch with the right clients that are serious, ready to work with you, and likely to pay high rates. Who knows? If you stick with it, you may be one connection away from working with your dream client!
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Haneef is a freelance copywriter, blogger and content strategist for beauty and wellness businesses. When she’s not brainstorming content ideas or working on client projects, you can catch her reading, shopping, napping, or binge watching The Golden Girls! Connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or even Pinterest!
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