Marketing and the Freelance Writer

I have always been a reserved person. It’s not easy for me to start chitchatting with other people unless I’ve known them for some time. Although I’ve worked as an executive assistant for a number of years before I started freelance writing full time, I hated talking on the phone or having to deal with people. In social or business gatherings, I tended to be the wallflower, the person who just sat quietly with a drink in hand and whose contributions to the conversation where the occasional nod and smile.

In short, I’m not the ideal candidate for any marketing job. I didn’t even start promoting my work until recently. I had this notion that once I began freelance writing full-time, I won’t have to do any marketing. I’d just sit in front of my computer and write and write and write.

However, freelance writing and marketing do go hand in hand.

It was naïve of me to think otherwise. Working as a freelance writer does mean you get to be your own boss, but it doesn’t free you from the necessity of promoting yourself. In fact, you need to market your skills and services a lot more if you’re in the freelancing business.

Really, how can you get paying clients if no one knows you’re a freelance writer? Sure, you can create a passive income stream, but this takes time to build. Clients are the lifeblood of your freelance writing business.

You can get clients without really pitching.

Pitching, sending queries and making cold calls are staples for many established freelance writers. These pave the path to lucrative gigs, for sure. Not all writers like taking this path, though. A rejection letter is still a rejection letter, no matter how tough-skinned you are.

I’ve never written a pitch or sent queries or made cold calls. I know I should, but right now I’m content with the business I’m getting from sites like oDesk.com. Sites like oDesk.com have somehow gained a reputation as places where people can get freelancers on the cheap. But if you stand your ground and learn how to sift through job postings, you’ll find clients willing to pay you good money for your time and effort. It’s just a matter of finding them.

You can also blog if you don’t want to pitch. Bamidele Onibalusi recently wrote a great guide to catching high-paying clients without sending a single pitch; blogging is the method he described. Blogging doesn’t just give you the satisfaction of having a medium for expressing your thoughts. If you have a prospective client who wants samples of your writing, you don’t have to create new articles just to oblige them. Just point them to your blog.

Don’t be satisfied with a handful of clients.

If you’re just transitioning to freelance writing from a full-time office job, one of the things you have to shake out of is the employee mentality. Employees rely on their employers for their paycheck. Freelance writers, on the other hand, can’t afford that luxury.

Clients come and go. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. No matter how much a client likes you, they won’t always need your services. You may end up with more work than you can handle for one month and nothing on the next. So you can’t depend on just a client or two for your bread and butter, even if they say they want you to work for them full time. They can drop you as soon as they realize they don’t need you anymore.

This is why you have to market your freelance writing services even if you don’t feel like it. You should always try to get new clients. This way you guarantee you’ll always have work even if your regular clients don’t have anything for you to do.

Freelance writing and marketing go hand in hand. You can’t make freelance writing a paying job if you don’t promote your work and catch clients.

How do you promote your freelance writing services? Please share in the comments.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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