I’ve been interviewing successful freelance writers, who write full time and have maintained their business for five years or more. These are people who know what it’s like to get new clients and look for work.
Here’s what some of them have said about the best way to find writing jobs and get new clients.
“Do great work and foster clients who love you and recommend you. Nothing is more powerful than a recommendation from a designer, producer or business owner a prospect knows and trusts. I also sit on several advisory councils and boards for local charities and help guide their marketing and communications strategies, and then contract to do the work. This gives me good visibility among a very qualified group people who are also wonderful to work with.”
“It’s all about the marketing. You have to have a solid web presence with a website–your online calling card–that serves you well. You need to get out there and network frequently and effectively. While that effective networking entails having an intriguing elevator speech, a good brochure and business card, it really involves establishing relationships rather than selling yourself outright. Online advertising can also help bring in prospects. The secret there is to have them talk about their pain–in essence why they need you–rather than pitching them your services right off the bat.”
“Any way you can. I’ve never been good about keeping up with publishing gossip and whatnot, so I wind up just coming up with ideas and pitching them to markets which look like a good fit for them. I also simply ask editors “what are you looking for?” Email makes that very easy, and doesn’t have the intrusiveness of phone calls. I also talk with science fiction editors and game publishers at conventions.”
“Referrals are best. They are always the best paying projects and lead to the most satisfied clients. I also keep up a blog–I sometimes write about writing (how to write for catalogs, how to write for digital media, how to write for video) and pitch articles for publication. When I get published, I pimp the daylights out of it, asking everyone and their uncle to read the article and comment.”
“The best way to get new clients is to keep everything you do timely and relevant. By this, I mean stay connected to everyone that is most tuned into that which you’re passionate about and pay attention to what you see from those specific people on LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, showing up in your feed. Always pay attention to everything that is relevant to what you do.”
“Networking, networking and more networking. It’s not so much the people you meet at these events as the people they know and the people that those people know. I often get calls from prospective clients that begin with, “So-and-so suggested that I call you.”
“You never know what is going to work for you. I check websites that list writing jobs on a daily basis, I have gotten work through networking, and I have gotten work by someone contacting me because they read one of my articles.”
“Partner with others who already reach your key audience in win-win ways, and have them bring you into their market as a trusted partner (this is one of the areas I consult on, in fact).”