If you’re a freelance writer, you spend a lot of time looking for freelance jobs. By and large this is a disappointing exercise. There are many reasons for this, the most important one being that the best writing jobs are never advertised.
Here’s the point: when you apply for writing jobs you’re one of a crowd. It’s very hard to stand out in that crowd.
Let’s look at how you can make yourself irresistible to clients — and then you won’t need to be part of any crowd.
1. Introduce yourself: take the first step
This is a very effective strategy, and I’ve no idea why so few writers buckle down and do it. Here’s the thing. This strategy works. There are various ways to introduce yourself, but ultimately how you do it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get onto the radar of the people who can hire you, and that you stand out because you’re in a crowd of one.
2. Create a marketing package: show off what you can do
Your marketing package can contain whatever you want to put in it, but I recommend that you include at least a profile and a couple of samples of your writing.
Don’t just toss these items together. Create a story around them. No matter how young you are, you’ve had some excitement in your life. Bring that excitement into your marketing package.
I know this is hard to do, you may find it easier if you imagine that you’re doing it for someone else… for your very good friend who is also a writer. This mental trick allows you to distance yourself, and gain some perspective.
Ready to create your package?
Write yourself a little list.
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients. If they were hiring a writer, what would they want to know about this person?
As I often tell writers, what you put into your marketing pieces: your portfolio, your writing samples, and your marketing package, isn’t as important as the fact that you do have these items.
With most clients, you couldn’t pay them enough to read your material; however, a lack of a marketing package sends up a red flag.
3. Practice pitching: pitch DAILY
A pitch is basically either a question, or an offer. Your pitch can be as simple as saying to an editor or some other buyer of your writing: would you like an article about the recent changes in search engine optimization?
That’s the pitch at its very simplest, a single sentence.
Generally speaking, your pitches will be a little longer than that, but they shouldn’t be too long. Aim to keep all your pitches under a single page, that is, under 250 words. Under 150 words is better.
If the very idea of pitching makes you nervous, practice. Pitch daily.
Find a simple way to record your voice. Evernote allows you to create voice notes, and it’s free. Talk your pitch into Evernote. The more you do it, the more confident you will become.
4. Create a presentation: use Haiku Deck
You’ve probably been to 701 boring and miserable presentations. Of those 701, I’ll bet you couldn’t remember more than a point or two after you left the room. Have mercy on your audience, and don’t be boring, whatever you do.
Familiarize yourself with a presentation program, and if you don’t have one, download Open Office. I love Haiku Deck: you can create a presentation in ten minutes.
Once you’ve pitched some clients, if they indicate interest in your services, the next step is to create a presentation. You can give the presentation over the phone (send them the slides), or you can record the presentation and send them the recording. If you’re pitching for a large project — over $5,000 say, you may want to give your presentation in person. Don’t let this faze you — you can do it.
You wouldn’t create a presentation if the client just wants you to write 5 articles for $25 each. However, if the project will be worth upwards of $1500, it’s worth your while to create a short presentation, and deliver it over the phone.
You’ll notice that the above four suggestions all involve you interacting with a prospective client on some level. Most interactions will be via email, phone and Skype.
If you’re nervous about public speaking, decide that you’ll deal with it. Most cities have public speaking groups. Not only are these groups fun, they’ll accustom you to speaking in front of a group of people and talking extemporaneously — on your feet.
Making yourself irresistible to clients involves putting yourself into your clients’ shoes. Think about what they want and need to know — and give it to them. If you do that, you’ll be in a crowd of one. Freelance jobs are out there. You can get them, more easily than you imagine.