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••• The International Writers Magazine - 23 Years on-line - How to Make a Living as a Writer

Ways for Freelancers to Start Marketing Their Writing Services
• Indiana Lee
Learning how to market yourself

Image Source: Pixabay

When you make the decision to earn your living as a freelance writer, chances are you’re not just looking for an easy way to make a quick buck. Anyone who has ever sat down before a blank page on a computer screen knows that writing is by no means easy. No, when you take up freelance writing, it’s almost certainly because you want to earn your bread by doing something you love.

No matter how passionate you are about the craft of writing, however, the simple fact is that freelance writing is still a business and it must be treated as such. To succeed as a freelance writer, you must first master the art of marketing your services — and yourself.

Getting Started

A freelance writing career doesn’t just happen. It takes more than just sitting down and putting words to paper. You have to do your homework and you have to hustle.

This starts by making some important decisions about the kinds of writing services you want to provide. Your private writing practice may find you working in myriad genres, but when you’re cultivating a professional writing career, it’s imperative to find your niche.

Honing your “brand” identity by defining your niche enhances your marketing effectiveness in a variety of ways.

First, and perhaps most importantly, this will help you stand out in an increasingly crowded and competitive field.

Second, specificity in branding helps prospective clients find you, as customers almost always search for contractors using very specific terms. If the terms you use to describe yourself or your services are too general or too abstract (no matter how clever and creative they may be), your audience is unlikely to find you. Your online content simply won’t show up on a search results page.

Third, defining your niche gives you a sense of direction and focus for your fledgling business while at the same time providing a rubric for building our brand. Adhering to your niche enables you to cultivate your unique professional persona and maintain consistency across your digital platforms, from your social media pages to your business website to your blog. 

When you’re selecting your niche, though, always remember that not all niches are created equal. There’s likely to be an immense demand for writing on topics such as work/life balance or effective leadership. But calls for content on medieval battlefield tactics? Well, perhaps not so much.

So do your research. Consider the market and the competition. Define your prospective clientele and how you will access and attract them. These preliminary steps are essential for ensuring there is a legitimate and enduring need for the services only you can provide.

Securing Funding

Even though a career in freelance writing often involves relatively low overhead, that does not mean the enterprise is wholly expense-free. You can still expect some financial outlay, particularly in the beginning.

At the very least, you’re going to have to invest in the technology you need to do your work well. This will include, at a minimum, a reliable computer with word processing capabilities and consistent high-speed internet access. Additionally, if your writing is to be your only source of income, then you’re going to need enough funds to keep the lights on, food on the table, and a roof over your head while you’re getting your freelancing career off the ground.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to secure funding when you are freelancing. Most lenders require proof of full-time employment to extend credit. The good news, though, is that a freelancing career doesn’t automatically disqualify you for a loan.

It just means that you may have to work a bit harder and get a bit more creative to get the funding you need. But, hey, you’re a writer — hard work and creativity are what you do!

You may, for instance, consider applying for a personal loan or a line of credit. The bad news with these options, though, is the higher interest rates that often accompany these types of funding. You can also explore alternative lenders, such as Kabbage or Funding Circle, which have fewer eligibility requirements and are often ideal for freelancers.

Finding and Connecting With Your Audience

When you were doing your preliminary research to help you identify your niche and define your brand, you will inevitably have developed a pretty clear sense of who your target market will be.

However, it’s not enough just to know your audience. You all have to connect with them. That means meeting them where they are, figuratively if not literally. For today’s market, perhaps the most effective and most affordable way to do this is to engage with your target market through social media.

Frequent postings of your creative and professional work across your social media platforms are a superb way to increase audience awareness and pique their interest in your work. Similarly, regularly engaging with your audience online is a terrific strategy for building a following and supporting positive word of mouth, all of which will increase the likelihood that, when your readers find themselves in need of a writer, you will be the first to come to mind!

Converting Prospects into Paying Customers

There’s perhaps no better way to attract clients than by cultivating an irresistible online presence. Once again, however, you must be strategic. Consistency and engagement are only half the battle. You must also be deliberate in the social media persona you create and selective in how you create and leverage content to transform readers into patrons and browsers into buyers.

The “About” pages on your website and social media pages will play a particularly critical role in helping you land clients. Here, you can define precisely the services you offer, the experience you bring to your work, and the unique attributes that set you apart. In other words, the About page provides a capsule review of exactly why prospective clients should choose you above a veritable sea of competitors.

The Takeaway

Freelance writing can be a dream career for many. Nevertheless, it is still a business and, as such, it requires not only creativity and diligence but also a good deal of business savvy. Among the first and most important skills you must cultivate to ensure your fledgling career’s success is the fine art of marketing yourself, your work, and the value you can bring to your clients.

 Indiana Lee © Indiana Lee 9.1.22

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