Article by Wendy McCance
I recently wrote about finding writing assignments when you first start out as a freelance writer. Now I would like to expand on that article and talk about how to keep a steady stream of assignments flowing your way.
In past articles I have written about sales being a key component in having a successful writing career. Half of a freelance writers job is to become good at prospecting for business and selling a potential client on your skills. I know it’s not what most people consider when putting together a writing career, but your ability to put yourself out their and ask for the job is the difference between having a solid career and floundering as a writer.
Below I have listed my top 5 ways to get additional work so that I always have a steady stream of assignments.
1. Cold-calling companies that can use a freelance writer. My advice is to stick with the smaller companies who most likely don’t have a writer on staff. There are 4 ways you can go about cold-calling.
- You can stop into the business with a business card and a small portfolio that you can hand off to the person you speak with.
- Email the companies you would like to work for. Do some research and get a contact name of the decision maker or owner if you aren’t sure who else to contact.
- Call the company and see if you can set up an appointment to meet and discuss writing for the company.
- Write a letter and mail it. These days there are so many less expensive ways to contact a business. If there is a company you really want to wow and you put a nice presentation together, you might want to try this method.
2. Networking events provide an easy way to get in front of a variety of people. Networking events are everywhere. There are meetup groups in most cities (just Google meetup groups). You can go to some Chamber of Commerce events or find some great local groups by typing in your city and the word, networking into the Linkedin search for a nice list of some professional groups in the area. Also, don’t forget that any group activity you get involved in is another opportunity to connect with others. Mention what you do for a living. Who knows who might be interested in hiring a writer.
3. Professional signatures on your emails. This is probably the easiest and most effective thing you should do. Whenever you write to anyone, if you use a signature, they will see you are a freelance writer. You are advertising your area of expertise in the least pushy way possible.
*My signature has my name, phone number, email, blog address and Facebook page address listed. The links have been set up so that you can just hit on them and go to the sites without doing a copy and paste. Less effort and a better chance people will hit on the links out of curiosity.
4. Have all of your information filled out on any social site you sign up for. Let people know that you are a freelance writer, where you live (people gravitate towards local talent), what you have done or can do for them and a way to contact you.
I’d like to note that the more easily you can be found on the web, the more professional you are perceived. Being able to Google your name and find that you have a blog, a Linkedin profile, a Twitter account and possibly are active on a social writing site looks good to those debating hiring you.
5. Take advantage of all of those contacts you have on the social websites. There is nothing wrong with reaching out to a Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook contact and asking if the person could use a freelance writer.
If you decide to reach out to your contacts, make sure you personalize the message by mentioning the company’s name and what you feel you can do for them. If you have a blog, for example, talk about your experience and how you could write a blog post for them. If you are good with SEO, even better. Mention that as well.
Finally, I would like to add that once you connect with the decision maker, keep their name on file. If they aren’t ready to hire you at the moment but could use you down the line, keep in touch. You never know when the possibility of being hired will turn into a job if you just stay in touch.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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