Several times a week, readers contact us about getting freelance writing gigs. The substance of their worries boils down to: “no one wants to pay for quality writing.” That may or may not be true.
However, everyone has problems, and businesses and publications want to make money. Help them to solve problems, and/ or make money, and you’ll have great clients who pay you well. (You’ll need to know what you’re worth, but you know that, don’t you? :-))
Here’s a solution, which most freelance writers overlook.
Think Local: Help Your Local Businesses
We’ve often talked about introducing yourself to companies. That’s an effective strategy. However, if you want to be paid right NOW, you’ll need to do a little more. You’ll need to show that you can see that a business has a problem, AND you can solve it.
I just typed “my-local-city dentist” into Google. What did I see? I’ll tell you. I saw Google ads, and ads from various other companies trying to make money from local search results. BUT I didn’t find ANY websites from local dental surgeons on the first page of the search results.
Your mileage will vary. You may well find that a local dental surgeon comes up in your local results. Google personalizes search results, and geo-targets.
No matter. Here’s my point: it’s very hard for local businesses to get found. Which brings us to the first suggestion for profiting from local clients.
1. Offer Reputation Management Services to Local Clients
What does “reputation management” mean? Usually it means white-washing the search results for someone. Let’s say that your client got into a little bother, so now when her name’s entered into Google, the mishap is displayed in all its horror, for ever and ever.
In that case, you’d create content showing your client in many different situations — volunteering at the local school, and animal shelter, having fun at local eateries (with images of what she ate), attending a wedding, etc. Your content would crowd out mention of the mishap, so over time, no one would see it, because it’s buried on the third or fourth page of the search results.
When you’re managing the reputation of a local business, you’d create lots of different content; on a blog on WordPress and Tumblr, on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram… always mentioning that your client is a local dentist, or whatever he happens to be.
In a sense, you’re creating a publicity campaign for a single audience: Google and the other search engines. Whether your client has his own website or not, soon when someone from the local area types “my-local-city dentist” into Google, your client’s name would appear.
2. Offer Product/ Service Reviews to Local Clients
Reviews of products and services are very hard for companies to get. Offer to interview some of their customers, to get them some decent reviews, and you’ll make friends (and clients) for life.
Next, offer to promote those reviews on social media.
3. Offer a Social Media Updating Service to Local Clients
The keyword for social media updates is consistent. Companies find that consistent posting, and getting results, is a challenge. Mostly because they don’t stay “on message.” In other words, a very junior member of staff posts to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram when they think of it. There’s no consistency of message.
See our first suggestions — product reviews, and reputation management — above. There’s a school of thought which says that social media postings should never be automated. That is, they should be made spontaneously, and I totally agree with that, if you’re offering this service to local clients. You need to devote a little time to it each day, and respond as soon as you can to anyone who’s engaging with your client. Think of it as customer service, and you won’t go far astray.
So there we have it: three freelance writing gigs which are easy, and which you can profit from immediately. Remember to create products for your clients too.
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