Being a freelance writer can be a wonderful career. It allows you to work from home and set your own hours. However, if you don’t know how to grow as a freelance writer, you won’t end up making ends meet. If you want to boost your potential and gain more work, check out these eight tips to grow as a freelance writer.
Create a Brand Identity
Image via Flickr by EdgeThreeSixty
You may not consider yourself a business, but as a freelance writer, you are, and just like any business, you need to create a clear and consistent brand identity. There are a lot of freelance writers competing for the same jobs. Even if you are an excellent writer, you may not stand out above the rest. By creating a brand identity, however, you make a name for yourself. When a business creates a brand, it uses its values and mission to guide that brand. As a person, you use your personality. Choose parts of your personality that will stand out and prove why you are the best candidate for the job.
Market Your Brand
Being a freelance writer isn’t just about finding jobs and writing blogs. Even if you apply for hundreds of jobs, you’re likely to get passed by if no one knows who you are. Just like you’d probably choose a well-known brand over a lesser-known one, employers will hire writers who have marketed themselves well. Use social networking sites, forums, blogs, and anything else you can find to get your name and brand out there, so people can see who you are and what you do. When you market yourself well, you can also do less legwork finding jobs because people start to come to you.
Learn to Write for the Internet
In school, you learn how to write essays, but if you are a freelance writer for online content, you have to learn how to write all over again. Internet readers don’t want to stare at blocks of text to find what they want. When writing online content, it’s best to use subheadings and lists (when possible), so readers can know what they are going to read before they read it. If there are only one or two topics that interest them, they can easily jump to that section. This is what is referred to as “scannable” content. No one wants to read an entire article just to realize it didn’t have the information they wanted. If your content is easy to scan, they can see if the article is worth their time before they start reading.
Find Your Niche
The internet is amazing. There is content on everything and everyone. Even if you know nothing about a topic, you can do a little researching and teach yourself. This means, as a freelance writer, you have the power to write on just about any topic. However, that isn’t always the best approach. Sure, you can do a few minutes of research on a topic, but that doesn’t make you an expert. Think of topics that interest you or ones you already know a lot about. These should become your niche, and you should focus on finding writing jobs in these areas. This way, you become and expert, which is what businesses want because they will assume you know more than someone who writes on anything and everything.
Network With Other Writers
In freelance writing, the old saying rings true; it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Networking is an extremely important way to find well-paying, consistent jobs. Unfortunately, networking can be hard, especially when you are a freelance writer working from home. You may not get out and meet a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to connect with other writers. One good method is to make regular comments on top blogs you enjoy. Make sure they are well-written posts that show off your knowledge. You can also give feedback to other writers and bloggers. By offering constructive criticism, you show your skill and make a friend.
Show Your Experience
Whenever applying for a job or marketing yourself, show off your experience in the field. People are more likely to hire you to write on a topic if you have experience. The best experience is paid jobs under your own name in well-known publications or blogs, but any bit of experience helps. Whether you have hobbies, interests, previous writing or past work experience in a field, tell people. If you are applying to write for a dog blog, and you have a dog, don’t be afraid to mention that. It may not make you an expert, but you certainly know more about dogs than someone who has never owned a dog in their life.
Find Repeat Clients
Every business knows that it’s easier to keep the customers you already have than to attract new ones. The same goes for freelance writers. If you’ve already worked for someone who loved your work, they are likely to hire you again when they need something, so find repeat clients. If you worked for a client in the past, shoot them an email, asking if they have more work. If you regularly write a blog post for a particular client, ask them if they have more work you can do, such as writing emails, website content, etc. They may not know you have these other skills.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Sometimes, you may feel like you don’t have a particularly important job, but the truth is that businesses of all kinds are constantly actively looking for freelance writers. Pretty much every business has a website and uses blogs or other online sources to promote themselves. To do this, they need people like you to write good content for them. Remember that when you are looking for jobs. Don’t just accept ones that pay pennies. Look for work that pays well, and have confidence when pitching or promoting yourself. You deserve it.
Remember that you are your own business. So to grow, find more work, and make money, you need to treat yourself like a business. These eight tips are a great way to show off, get your name out there, and make money.