Get Serious About Finding Work As A Writer

Article by Wendy McCance

NaNoWriMo: the home front

Article by Wendy McCance

I have read several articles recently about writers having a hard time finding work or getting decent a decent pay rate.  I thought I would put my two cents in and share the ways that I am getting work at a good rate.

I have written similar articles on this blog before.  I have talked about how half of being successful as a writer has to do with your sales skills.  I know that’s not what many writers want to hear, but it’s true.  I have also suggested sites to check out possible job opportunities.  Now I would like to pull apart the basic ways to get going as a writer.

Writers are business owners.  You have your own company essentially and it is up to you just like any other business owner to drum up business for yourself.  Rarely will you find people beating down your door to offer work and if you aren’t showcasing what your capabilities are, then forget it.  No one will even know who you are.

Before you start prospecting, you will want to set up the following:

  • Have a blog or website to showcase your work.  Think of this as a virtual business card.  Make sure you update your site regularly, list what your capabilities are and have a way for people to contact you.
  • Sign up to have a presence on some social media sites.  The two most important sites to consider are LinkedIn and Twitter.  These are the two sites where you can drum up large amounts of business.  Make sure your profiles are complete and you stay active on the sites.
  • Connect with some local groups.  It could be a writers group, chamber of commerce, networking group, volunteering etc…  People like to hire locally.  Your main reason for joining any group should be because it interests you.  Finding connections should be thought of as a perk to meeting so many new people.  If you don’t genuinely enjoy the group you are joining, forget about it.  You won’t be looked at well if you are there only to look for business.

So what I have described above is the bare minimum in what needs to be in place before you begin prospecting if you want to see it pay off quickly.  Now let’s talk about where to find your clients.

Past posts have touched on having a signature below all emails with your name, title and contact information.  I have also discussed how you should make sure all of your friends and family are aware of what your job is.  Realistically, you will get very little if any jobs off of the above suggestions for quite a long time.  The more established you become, the more you will look like a good candidate to hire in your friends and family’s eyes.  It will take a long time to build your business and impress those closest to you.  It’s just the nature of how people operate.

The best way to get business rolling is to create a template that asks:

  1. Are you looking for a freelance writer?
  2. A snippet of information about what work you do.
  3. A portion of information describing how you can help out the person you are writing to.
  4. Links to a blog, published articles or your website with some sample articles.
  5. The ways in which you can be contacted.

The idea is that each person you write to will have the same basic template, but you will adjust it for each person’s circumstances.  Ultimately, you have  less than one minute to make your presentation.  Make sure it is convincing.

There are many ways to find work.  You can write to companies by mail, call people on the phone, use email or walk in with a packet that you drop off.

The way I have gotten the majority of my business has been through LinkedIn.  If I see someone has checked out my profile, I will write to them saying that I saw they checked out my profile and were they looking for a freelance writer?  I send out on average 30 emails a day using my template.  I have close to 2,000 connections so I haven’t run out of people to contact yet.  I also see how many months it’s been since I last connected to someone on LinkedIn.  If it has been more than 4 months, I will send an email just to stay in touch with my connection.

Below is a list of some other techniques you might want to consider:

  1. Pay attention to your surroundings.  Facebook is a great place to keep an eye out for someone who might be looking for a writer.
  2. Target locally.  Look through the yellow pages and go after the small business that doesn’t have a lot of staff.  These are the companies that could use a writer the most.  These are also the companies that prefer to hire locally.
  3. Think about what areas you have a vast amount of knowledge in and target those people.  I have a background selling wine as well as working in real estate.  I can email wineries and real estate agents explaining my background and ask if they need someone to write blog posts, advertisements or press releases for them.
  4. Read the local paper and pay attention to what businesses in the area are doing.  If a brand new business opens up for example, they will need to get their name out there.  This is a great opportunity to see if this company would be interested in setting up a blog or website or if they need someone to write the content on the site for them.

There are so many possibilities.  You just need to get creative.  These are all assignments you can do for a good rate.  Forget about working for minimum wage.  If you don’t believe that you can really earn a decent wage as a writer, just check out my pricing chart page.  The amounts listed are the amounts I charge for the work listed.

The bottom line is that anyone who is a decent writer and has any sort of sales skills can do quite well in this business.  As long as you are persistent and have a good amount of determination to succeed, you will have a solid career in no time.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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14 thoughts on “Get Serious About Finding Work As A Writer

  1. Hi again Wendy. Thought I would just let you know that I started a writing course a couple of years ago, long before I started my blog in Januuary, as a way to find out how to submit manuscripts to magazine editors and eventually to book publishers as well as how to look for freelance writing opportunities. So much of what you say here is very similar to the advice the course gives, but you go one step further! Until I started blogging, I had no idea how much social media comes into play!
    I have not been on LinkedIn long and I found what you said about contacting people who have viewed your profile very interesting, as I had not thought of doing that!
    Thank you once again for a most helpful and informative post 🙂

  2. Great post and tips on breaking into the freelance writing world. I truly believe that what you say about letting your blog showcase your work is extremely important. Social media also goes a long way in getting your brand out there. 🙂

  3. Thanks Wendy. Again per usual right on time as I had another appointment today and it was unanimous that I need to spend more time @ home healing/recuperating and part of the healing is by starting my writing career. I do have a great foundation. The information in this article is fantastic and exactly what I needed to see and gives me some idea’s on possible direction’s to go to get started with the resources that you shared. Peace Happy Friday and have a great weekend. This will help me to do so myself.

    Jackie

  4. Good advice, Wendy. Question for you…is it better to link your work in one of LinkedIn’s “groups” or through your personal status? I always hesitate to post links for all? What is the protocol?

    • Hi Lynne, I can only tell you what I personally do. I will link any article I think is relevant to a particular group under their group site. I will only add a link on my personal site if I think it does a good job of showing off my qualifications as a freelance writer and social media consultant. I figure that people who view my personal site might be looking for a writer, so I try to have something posted that shows off my skills.

      There are times that articles will be posted under a group and my personal site at the same time. I think that’s fine if it makes sense to do so.

    • Hi Lynne, I can only tell you what I personally do. I will link any article I think is relevant to a particular group under their group site. I will only add a link on my personal site if I think it does a good job of showing off my qualifications as a freelance writer and social media consultant. I figure that people who view my personal site might be looking for a writer, so I try to have something posted that shows off my skills.

      There are times that articles will be posted under a group and my personal site at the same time. I think that’s fine if it makes sense to do so.

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