Finding clients is a constant struggle for freelance copywriters. It’s part of the burden we take on as both employees and managers of our own independent businesses. If you aren’t spending just as much, or more, time marketing your business as you are writing, you’ll quickly find your project pool drying up.
However, there are some methods you can use to improve your marketing. In this article, we’ll go over the top 12 ways to find more freelance writing clients for your business. We’ll also divide them into three categories: immediate, long-term, and networking methods.
That doesn’t mean it will be easy. Consistently finding and securing well-paying clients requires dedication and time spent laying the groundwork. Consider this article less a marketing cheat sheet and more a guide to improving your marketing efficiency.
Finding Clients Immediately
If you’re in dire straights and need to secure clients as soon as possible, these are the best ways to go about finding them. You probably won’t land the best paying jobs and may have to work harder for less. However, using them can help float you through a rough patch.
Once you have a decent amount of savings though, you should focus more on long-term and networking methods for finding clients.
Social media has become a prominent tool for freelancers on the job hunt. Companies will sometimes post when they’re looking for freelancers across various platforms. You can also use them to advertise your availability and show samples of your work.
If you don’t have a large presence on social media, this method might not work as well. Spending an hour or so scanning Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook can’t hurt your chances, though.
There are also some pages/groups dedicated to helping freelance writers find work. On Reddit, the subreddit r/hireawriter is a good place to both post your availability for jobs and submit applications for posted projects.
Even if you aren’t hurting for work, spending a few minutes every day on freelance writing job boards is a good idea. New projects show up every day and there’s always a wide variety available.
The main downside is the sheer availability. Most posts will get hundreds or even thousands of applications.
Here are a few of the top job boards for freelance writers:
These websites aren’t the ideal place to look for jobs, but they can help you secure work in a pinch. Many of them charge fees, which isn’t great when you need every penny earned from your work.
You’ll be bidding for projects against other desperate freelancers, so trying to find work on these sites is often more time-consuming and less rewarding than other methods. I would recommend using these sites as a last resort for immediate work.
Perhaps the best way to secure new work fast is to look to the past. Don’t be afraid to reach out to former clients for work. There’s always the chance they’ve got a freelance job available and need someone they can rely on to handle it.
Even if the client isn’t looking for a freelancer currently, you can suggest they consider you for any future project they might have as well. It’s important not to come off as desperate or pushy. All you need to do is jog their memory and make your availability known.
Of course, if you’ve had a bad experience with a client, don’t feel the need to reach out to them.
Email – Cold Outreach
You can email potential clients directly and try to get their attention. Obviously, this is not as reliable an option as contacting a former client, but there are more people you haven’t worked with than people you have.
The key to successful emailing is volume, targetting and personalization.
- Sending out dozens, or even hundreds, of emails a day increases the odds of someone seeing them.
- Personalizing your emails increases the odds you’ll get a reply.
Finding Clients Long-Term
While immediate methods for finding freelance writing clients are useful, the best way to make sure your freelancing business lasts is through long-term marketing strategies. These methods take time to plan out and set up, but once you have they’ll constantly be working towards landing you more clients and projects.
Implementing these long-term methods for finding clients makes the difference between a floundering freelancer who struggles to hold down a single client and a successful freelancer who rarely runs out of work.
Just as you spend time scanning LinkedIn for clients, project managers and other clients are doing the same for new hires. They might spot some of your work on a blog or other site as well and will often look on LinkedIn first to find you.
Keeping your profile up-to-date and linking/showcasing the best of your work there is a great way to catch a client’s eye.
Build Out Your Portfolio
Every freelancer needs a good, current portfolio to attract clients. Whenever you have a chance you should add to and enhance yours so it accurately reflects your experience, skill, and online presence. Be sure to cater your portfolio to the kinds of clients and projects you want to take on.
Just as important as a good portfolio is making it easy for potential clients to find. There are several freelance portfolio sites you can use to promote and market your portfolio more effectively.
Attaching a blog to your portfolio is a great marketing method. It shows off your writing, dedication, and any expertise you have in a specific field.
It takes time and a lot of independent work to craft a worthwhile blog, especially if you want to impress clients. Consider who you want to be hired by and design your blog posts around content that would interest them. Clients will look to your blog for evidence of results as well, so apply your SEO skills and other strategies as if you were working on a paid project.
Networking for Clients
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is true for the freelance writing market as much as anything else. Having a strong network and making good connections with clients and other freelancers can land you more projects and job opportunities down the line.
Just as important as writing your own content is writing content for other sites. Writing blog posts, articles, etc., for other webpages in your desired field markets to your desired audience, builds backlinks to your site, and increases the chance a client will find your work. It’s even worth doing for free as it can only benefit your business (but never pay someone to post on their site).
If you’re new to the idea, Neil Patel provides a good guide to guest posting to help get you started.
It’s important to remember other freelancers aren’t your competition. There’s plenty of work to go around and often they’ll be one of your best sources for new jobs. Former clients and your editors can also refer you to clients.
It can seem daunting trying to find your place amidst the swarm of freelancer sites and organizations out there. The key is to focus on developing strong, sustained relationships with your clients, editors, and other freelancers. You want to be the first person your network thinks of when a new job comes down the pipeline suiting your niche.
Look Into Joining a Coworking Space
One of the major downsides to working as a freelance writer is the lack of social life. It’s the natural outcome of the industry’s major benefits. Working from home, choosing your projects, and managing yourself often means working alone or with coworkers who are half the world away.
Coworking and coworking spaces have emerged as an answer to the freelancer’s solitary life.
A coworking space could be anything from a designated office building to a local café where freelancers come to work together. They’re great ways to make new friends in the field and find interesting spots near you.
Coworking spaces might not be readily available to everyone, especially if you’re a newbie or living far from the city. You can always get in touch with other local freelancers through social media, freelancing groups, or even a freelancer’s union and plan to meet for face-to-face work.
Speak at Events/Conferences
A good way to make potential clients remember you is to speak directly to them. Conferences and events can also be good places to make more connections with other freelancers and editors.
Speaking won’t be an option for everyone, especially if you are a new freelancer with zero reputation or someone who isn’t good at public speaking. Don’t discount any potential avenues for landing clients, though. You can always work towards improving skills you currently lack and boosting your image.
If you want to make it as a successful freelance writer, you have to be able to find clients. Finding immediate work can help you find your footing, but you should always be working on long-term ways to secure clients and future projects to grow your freelance writing business. A great freelancer network is also important to have for promoting your business and funneling more work your way.
Is it Worth Building an Email List as a Freelance Writer?
Building an email list is a good way to promote your business to clients, but it isn’t a necessity. Whether you’ll benefit from one depends on your specific circumstances.
You have to put in a good amount of work to maintain engagement with your email list, which means less time spent on other areas of your business. If you’re doing alright without it and landing well-paying projects, then an email list might just hamper your ability to maintain those projects.
On the other hand, if your business deals with products as well as projects, having an email list could come in handy to increase sales. If you aren’t having much luck with your current marketing methods and believe an email list might draw in more clients, it might also be a good idea to try one out.