Freelance writing can be an extremely enjoyable and liberating career choice, with more earning potential and growth prospects than many other online freelance services — if you go about it the right way.
Opportunities to build your freelance writing career are increasing as more businesses look to enhance their online brands through content that gives value to their target markets.
Becoming a freelance writer isn’t rocket science, but it’s not a piece of cake either. To move into the top tier of freelance writers, here are five things you should focus on.
1. Brand identity: Develop your own following
My mom cooks awesome food. All moms do!
But will it sell as well as a burger at your local fast food joint? No way. It’s a simple marketing rule: brands sell better.
As a freelance writer, focus on developing a brand around your services. If you’ve been waiting to start your own blog, now’s the time! Express yourself naturally and build a community of like-minded people.
Be more than just an individual selling his or her services. Be a friend, a dependable guide and an honest mentor. Share your story and listen to what your readers have to say.
Have a look at some of the top writers out there and you’ll find that most of them make money because of the community that has grown around their brand. People can relate instantly to them.
Brands are about credibility, consistency, quality and relationships — four things your clients are looking for as well!
2. Specialization: Focus on your strengths
If you’ve been offering writing services on any topic, niche or industry, then I have bad news for you: that strategy is a dead end!
As more businesses look towards content marketing for their online survival, they’ll need more subject experts. Trying to serve everyone means that you won’t help anyone!
Identify your strongest areas: the topics you’re most passionate about, the ones that excite you the most and the ones that bring out the best of your writing skills. Once you identify them, stick to those areas and focus on the areas where you can deliver your best work. (Click to tweet this idea!)
3. Marketing: Spread the word
Many freelancers ignore this aspect of business either because they’re “too busy” with writing projects, or simply because they don’t realize how critical marketing is for their survival.
Every top tier freelance writer is an excellent and aggressive marketer. None of them misses any opportunity to tell the world about their services and how they can help businesses grow.
You need to do that as well.
Be proactive in your approach. Study the top writers and notice how they make marketing a part of their content. Promote your work through social networking websites, forums, articles and blog comments. Use the power of LinkedIn to get in touch with your clients. Join discussion groups and add value through your comments.
A lot of writers believe that content alone is enough to get them clients. That’s not totally inaccurate, but if you have a product or service that you believe can help your customers, why wait for them to come to you? Get out there and let them know about it!
4. Networking: Meet people, have fun!
As a freelance writer, networking is almost as critical to your chances of success as your writing skills are.
Many people find networking challenging. Here are three strategies to help you successfully develop relationships with fellow writers, freelancers and bloggers:
- Comment regularly on the leading blogs. It helps you share your knowledge and puts you in touch with a lot of talented writers.
- Send an occasional email to other bloggers and writers to thank them for a particular post that resonated with you. Make sure this is genuine, though!
- Give feedback to other bloggers and writers. Comment on their work and if there’s an area in which you feel they can improve. Yes, you can do this even with top tier writers! Make sure your ideas are constructive by politely sharing your perspective on how you believe they can increase the effectiveness of a particular post or product.
5. Self Esteem: Know your value
This is probably the most crucial part, but it can be challenging to put into action.
As a freelance writer, you should know how critical your services have become for the survival of online businesses. The more emphasis search engines put on genuine high quality content, the more you will benefit.
But many writers seem to suffer from an inferiority complex. They might feel that writing isn’t as important as some of the other skills required to run an online business.
Reality check: every major website and online business is looking for skilled writers who can regularly produce quality content for their customers. And this demand is only going to increase as businesses try to attract more online traffic.
Your content makes thousands of dollars for your clients, who need you and would suffer without your services. So start valuing your skills the way your clients do!
What other tips would you give to a struggling freelance writer?