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Article by Wendy McCance
Prospecting for business is never on top of anyone’s to-do list. Even so, as a freelance writer, it needs to be at least 50% of your job. Without taking the time to prospect for business, you aren’t going to have much in the way of assignments.
With that said, what if I could show you a simple method to use that would only take about an hour of your time each day while producing incredible results?
If you have a LinkedIn profile, this article will serve you well. If you don’t have a profile, please consider signing up. You are missing some amazing opportunities.
Here is a step by step process to turn around the amount of business you are getting. I promise that if you follow these steps, you will get a good amount of work. The only catch is that you have to follow each step without taking any shortcuts to see fantastic results.
Setting up the basics
Once you have a profile, review it and make sure every section is completely and professionally filled out. Add a photo of yourself and don’t forget to include contact information and links to your professional sites.
If you need an example of what your profile should look like, check out my profile here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/wmccance Please note that you can customize your link to have your name at the end. I really recommend this.
- Begin reaching out and connect with people who interest you. Finding people who live in the same area as you will be a huge benefit when you begin prospecting.
- When people reach out to connect, I highly suggest connecting unless you aren’t comfortable with the person for whatever reason.
- Join as many groups as possible. You will want to create a presence. Share relevant posts and join in discussions. You are forming the base that will eventually make you look like an expert in your field. (That is how I began getting endorsements).
- Once you have all of your ducks in a row, you can begin prospecting. Write a template on a Word document. Here is an example:
Are you in need of a freelance writer at Q Marketing Co.? I understand the importance of creating a strong social media presence to present your company to new customers while creating a more personalized experience. My background is in writing blog articles, press releases, managing Facebook pages and writing content for websites.
If you think you or someone at Q Marketing Co. might be interested in utilizing my services, I would be happy to supply some clips of my work. In the mean time you can view some of my articles at http://searchingforthehappiness.com which is a featured blog in The Oakland Press online.
Thank you so much for your time,
Now that you have a template ready to go, you can adjust the content to compliment each person you reach out to without changing up too much of the message. I always make sure I put in a few sentences that explain my background in a given area. For instance, I have a background in real estate. When I write to a realtor, I mention this background so that the person knows I understand and could write about subjects related to real estate with ease.
- Now that you have your template, you can use LinkedIn to write to your connections. I purposely write to them through LinkedIn and not to their company email so that they know that I am connected to them on LinkedIn and not some random person emailing them.
- When you are looking for people to write to, keep in mind that under connections on the left hand side, you can put in keywords, location, companies and so on. I like using location so that I can find local companies.
- Another useful tool is to look at people similar to the person you are writing to which is on the right side of the page under the person’s profile.
- My last suggestion is to write out as many keywords as possible to keep handy as a search tool. If I am looking to work with a marketing company for example, I use words like: marketing, branding, web design, media, advertising, business development etc…
As I said at the beginning of this article, if you follow these steps, you will see results. Keep in mind the results will be quicker for a person who has already created a strong presence on LinkedIn. If you are just getting started with LinkedIn, I would give it 4 months of becoming familiar in groups and building your connections before you start seeing a shift in the amount of work you get.
Just like anything else, prospecting is a numbers game. The more people you touch, the better your odds will be at getting work. You might go through 50 emails before you get some interest and that’s normal. Personally, I try to write to 30 people a day. By the end of the week, I usually have a few thanks but we have someone on staff, a handful of we will keep you in mind for future projects and at least two people who are ready to talk more about an assignment.
Good luck, and I hope I have inspired you to get out there and create some lasting connections.
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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