freelance writing

A Beginner’s Guide to Landing Freelance Writing Jobs in 2020

Reading Time: 10 minutes

You’re new to freelance writing. You want clients who pay well and have good projects. And you want them now

Right?

We understand how difficult it can be to find a new project and it’s something freelancers struggle with quite often. So we’ve created this quick guide to help you land your next (or first) freelance writing client.

Okay no beating around the bush, we’ll get straight to it.

We’ve got 6 simple, surefire steps.

Stick around.

1. Ensure you have an active social media presence

Okay, now let’s take a good look at your social media.

LinkedIn

Did you know that LinkedIn is responsible for 64% of all visits from social media sites to business websites? It indicates how successful and productive LinkedIn marketing is.

Here’s a list of things you should do to leverage LinkedIn for freelance writing:

a. Is your profile filled out the right way?

Here’s the thing, the first thing visible to anyone on who comes across your LinkedIn is your name, profile picture and your headline. So if you want potential clients to land on your profile, make sure your services are clearly communicated in your headline.

freelance writing

Let everyone know who you are and what you do in 120 characters. Get as specific about your work as you can and use simple language. Ensure your profile is filled out completely — your work experience, education, publications, certifications and skills.  

If you’ve already worked with a few freelance writing clients, reach out to them to get recommendations and endorsements. Every recommendation you get improves your credibility. 

freelance writing

b. Have you added your ideal clients as connections?

LinkedIn’s Search is a powerful tool. It can get you a whole list of prospects you could work with, with just a few clicks.

Your first step is to sit down and identify your ideal client’s persona such as their designations, their domain, locations or companies. For example, Content Head, Head of Marketing, Social Media Manager.
freelance writing

Pick out a few profiles and send in a personalised message to each. You can either start interacting with them and approach them directly regarding a potential freelance writing gig or just introduce yourself and build a relationship.

There are more advantages:

  • You become increasingly visible to other individuals and organisations already on the lookout for profiles similar to yours.
  • LinkedIn starts showing you recommendations for similar profiles from other organisations, increasing your own pool of leads.

c. Publish your writings

Write on topics that your own clients would be interested in. Write industry-specific articles. Say you’re a sportswriter looking to work with sports websites, publish an article or a post about a trending topic, perhaps things to watch out for in the coming year, match reviews, tactical analyses and so on.

Not only does this help establish you as an expert, but your content will also attract the freelance writing clients you want to work with.

d. Interact!

LinkedIn is, after all, a networking platform, so network! 

Keep aside some time every day to interact on the platform. Join Writing groups and communities. Share relevant articles you find. Leave relevant comments. Try to build good relationships with relevant folks by dropping a message once in a while. You can even pitch your freelance writing services if you think they could use your services (have a few templates handy!)

Here’s an example: 

freelance writing

If you want to go more into the details and get more tips, we’ve written a complete guide to LinkedIn marketing for freelancers. 

Facebook Groups

According to Statista, India is home to 294 million Facebook users, the highest in the world. The reach Facebook offers hence, is unparalleled. When done well, Facebook marketing can augment your brand building, networking, and lead gen efforts like no other channel. 

You probably already have a Facebook account set up, so here’s what you can do next.

On Facebook, you will find many groups for freelancers, join a few that are relevant to you. Your niche or your city is a good start. Clients looking for local freelancers will thus be able to find you easily.

If a group has rules against self-promotion, you can promote yourself by merely being helpful. Start conversations, and basically make it clear you know your stuff. People regularly search for freelancers in these groups, and when they go looking, you’ll be front and centre. 

This is good enough to start off with, but there’s a lot more you can do with Facebook. You could create a Facebook page for yourself, run ads on your posts and articles and do a whole lot more. In this article, we’ve gone into detail about Facebook Marketing

But for beginners? Groups are a good start!

Here’s another article to help you learn how to monetize your Facebook page.

2. Set up a website and a freelance writing portfolio for yourself

Here’s the thing, if you can set up a website for yourself, amazing. Nothing like it.
These days there are also a large number of free website builders you can start using to set up your own website without knowing a single thing about coding.

If at all you do build a website, you need to have two things on it.

  • Blog
  • Portfolio

Blog

Blogging regularly is a just great way to express yourself and can also significantly help improve your writing skills. To attract freelance writing clients, you need to actively write on topics your potential clients would search for or want to read about.

But wait.

What can you write about? 

Say you want to be a fashion blogger, you could write about upcoming trends, the most popular trends of the season, styling tips and more.

Use social media platforms and Google search to find trending topics that are relevant to you. Then, write your own version with your own insights and opinions.

Okay, but WHY are we doing this and putting out our work? 

Multiple reasons:

  • You will be able to collect, sort, and attractively display your work.
  • You can share your content on social media and get people to visit your website,  this may lead to more business and referrals.
  • As you are the owner of the website, you will be able to track the visitor behaviour, collect their contact information, and also, get their feedback.
  • These articles will help establish your expertise and convey to the potential client that you can do a job given an opportunity.
  • Plus there’s always the chance that somebody might stumble upon your work through Google Search.

Here’s an example:

 

 

 

Source

If you’re not so keen on building a website, there are always websites like Medium, Tumblr, Hash node, among others, where you can make publish your articles. 

Portfolio

Your portfolio is one of your first touchpoints with potential freelance writing clients. This document or page introduces you to them — who you are, what you do, what to expect from you, and how to get in touch with you. And in this line of work, the first impression is everything.

You can go about creating a portfolio in two ways.

You could have a page dedicated for it on your website, where you display your best writings, work you may have done for clients or will go on to do for them, testimonials you may have received, your services, contact information and more.

The benefit of creating one from scratch on your own website is that you can customise it however you like to make it look attractive.

But if you’re not too keen on building a page on your website, or if you don’t have one, you can make use of an online portfolio site.

Today there are many portfolio sites for freelance writers:

Here’s what a typical portfolio looks like on TapChief.  

freelance writing

Head to this link, to view Gaurav’s profile. Check out the way he goes onto elaborate his work samples, services, clients, and so on.

Here’s an article to help you build an impressive portfolio?

3. Join freelance marketplaces

Freelancer marketplaces have made the whole process of connecting a business with a freelancer easier than ever. Companies looking for a particular service can simply list their requirements and freelancers looking for work can apply and take up the project. 

Some freelance marketplaces you could check out:

  • Upwork
  • TapChief
  • Fiverr
  • Freelance.com
  • Guru

TapChief is a freelance marketplace with a variety of features. We give you access to hundreds of live projects that you can easily apply to. You can network and connect with other freelancers and experts.

Oh, and TapChief takes care of payments and invoicing for you. This way, you can focus your efforts on completing the project.

This is how a gig listing looks like on TapChief.
Basically, signing up on a gig marketplace saves you the hassle of finding new leads, negotiating rates, drawing up contracts, invoicing and following up for payments.

4. Email is NOT dead

Cold emailing is extremely cost-effective and actually pretty efficient. But first, you’ve got to do your research.

Find an individual or business you want to work with and identify HOW you can help them with your freelance writing services. Maybe they don’t have a blog, but they should. Maybe their social media content could use some help.

So get started on a nice blank email:

  • Mention how you found them
  • Who you are and what you do
  • How you can help them

    Always focus on THEIR needs. Get as clear and specific as possible about your objectives. Never promise things you cannot deliver.

    Here’s a sample cold email template:
Hi [Name]

I'm reaching out to see if you need a writer who can help with content at [Company Name].

I'm [Your Name], a B2B writer. I've been featured in [Publication Name].
Here's what I can offer you:

[List all your services] 

Here's the link to my website with my work samples and testimonials from happy clients. 
[Your Website] 

Shall we jump on a call to see how I can help your business? 
If yes, please contact me on [Your Contact Details/Call Scheduler link] 

Regards, 
[Your Name]

5. Guestpost

Guest posting, also called “guest blogging,” is the act of writing content for another company’s website.

You’ve written articles anyway for your website and LinkedIn, so now try to get your posts published on prestigious online publications.

Why?

The benefits of guest posting are many⁠— you tap into other people’s traffic, you position yourself as an authority, and you build a good reputation. Say you are a finance writer and Forbes India publishes your latest article on the gig economy. Can you imagine the visibility you’d get? 

Here’s the thing, all websites need content. And on most of these online publications, there’s a little option called “Write for Us”. If you have an idea for that you’re pretty proud of, go ahead and pitch it to them.

If the option isn’t there, do your research on what kind of topics are regularly featured on the website. Develop a unique angle around it. Then, write a pitch email to the content curators or editors (the ID is usually provided on their site).

Here’s a sample template:

Hi {NAME},

I was on your website today and I see that you accept guest posts.

I’ve read your guest post guidelines and I’d love to have my post published on your blog.

Please find below three possible article ideas.

Article Idea #1

Working Title: [Your Title]

Intro: [Your Intro – about 150 words]

Word Count: 1,500 – 2000

Article Idea #2

Working Title: [Your Title]

Intro: [Your Intro – about 150 words]

Word Count: 2,500 – 3000

Article Idea #3

Working Title: [Your Title]

Intro: [Your Intro – about 150 words]

Word Count: 2000 – 2500

If any of them are suitable for your blog, I can have a draft to you within a week.

Thanks for your time.

Best regards,

Make sure these are sites that give you a byline! 

Now to make your life even more comfortable, this link has a category-wise list of websites and blogs that accept guest-posts!

6. Network with freelancers from other domains

Why? A freelance web designer or a web developer will need content or know someone who does! So they might just have a gig for you or refer you to their own clients. Getting referred by somebody else holds more value than approaching a client for a gig by yourself.

Network with other writers too, especially those into different niches. They may have a project they cannot personally take up but could perhaps refer you for!

Another way to network with other freelancers is to attend offline events. For instance, we organise a Huddle every month. Typically, these meetups feature a panel of successful independent professionals or experts from the industry. Besides the insightful discussions, you will get to interact with the panellists and fellow freelancers. There might be similar events in your own city. Start attending them!

Working out of a coworking space is another excellent way to meet other freelancers (and potential freelance writing clients!). Don’t underestimate the power of a smile and a quick hello.

Some more places to start meeting people:

  • Gym 
  • Cafes
  • Flights
  • Parties
  • Twitter
  • Conferences/Conventions

Just strike up a conversation, mention you’re into freelance writing and watch what happens. The person you spoke to may not have a requirement, but they might just know someone who does! Remember, it never hurts to be in anybody’s good books. 

Okay before we conclude, just a few more tips! 

  • Pitch to NGOs and local businesses. Not only are you giving back in your own way, but you also get some visibility, and it is highly unlikely that the free content will be turned down.
  • Let your friends and family know you’re open to opportunities and on the lookout. There is no shame in asking for help, and word of mouth goes a long way. 
  • Request referrals from colleagues (if you’ve worked anywhere before) and professors/mentors from college or University.

Alright folks, so those were our few steps that can help even newbie freelancers land freelance writing projects.

Do you have a tip for a surefire method that’s worked for you? Let us know in the comments! 

Karthika Anand

Karthika is a Content Creator and Community Manager at TapChief. When not found writing, she's most likely to be found at the gym.