Ever wonder how other freelance writers seem to get a ton of marketing done in a few hours when it comes to building their author platform? Or how they whip up proposals and contracts quickly, then onboard new clients so easily?
Here’s their super stealthy secret: they use customized templates to automate time-consuming business procedures.
They avoid the time-sucks and headaches that typically capture freelance writers in hours-long black holes of confusion, and instead improve their repeatable processes with templates.
Don’t fall into the trap of custom crafting every little thing that goes out of your inbox. Have a set of templates that you can tailor to your personality, and help you work efficiently, improve your client experience, and eliminate the fluff from your business.
Freelance writing templates to automate your biz
After almost a decade of freelancing, I’ve battle-tested these contracts and templates to make sure they not only cover your marketing efforts, but set you up for success with the proper contract outlines.
Here are six different freelance writing templates you need, why it’s important to have them in your arsenal and how to use them to automate and customize your business.
1. LOI templates for businesses and trade magazines
When you’re writing LOIs (Letters of Introduction) to market your writing services to businesses or trade magazines, the process can get repetitive and time-consuming, especially if you’re reaching out to multiple potential clients within the same niche.
As you write these short letters, it’s easy to lose hours coming up with different ways to say essentially these same things to hundreds of different people:
- Asking if they need writing help
- Introducing yourself
- Explaining relevant niches and clients you’ve worked with
- Headlines for story ideas you have (trade magazines)
When you create a template to work from, then customize it per niche and per trade magazine type, you form a repeatable system to get more marketing done in less time. Instead of starting from scratch each time you step up to the marketing plate, you’ve got 90-ish percent of the work finished, and simply need to add a few sprinkles of customization before you press send.
With an LOI template, you can send tailored messages quickly through email, LinkedIn InMails, DMs or connection invites. And here’s some more behind-the-scenes info: If you start with one template, it’s easy to create dozens of templates for all the niches, trade magazine genres or other marketing needs you have.
Then, when you need to get some marketing done, you can pull from a personalized deck to send the right message to the right prospect in a few minutes to automate the process. And because you’re able to reach more potential clients faster by putting more irons in the fire, you can grow your client base and make more money.
2. LinkedIn marketing templates
Like LOI templates, LinkedIn marketing templates are designed to help you send marketing and networking messages that sound like you, but in more efficient (and less tedious) ways. From connection requests to InMails to referrals to pitches, these templates cover the gamut of activities within LinkedIn and help you reduce your time on the platform, but make more overall impact.
This toolkit allows you to prospect, grow your network, ask for referrals, follow up with warm leads, connect with other writers and communicate like a LinkedIn pro…without losing a ton of time that you need to spend on paid work. You’ll speed up client acquisition by growing the amount of marketing you send out, and cut down on potential client back-and-forth by altering your templates over time to include the info you’re asked about most upfront.
One of the best platforms for freelance writers, LinkedIn offers so many opportunities to connect with clients and grow your business. And when you’ve got templates that you can design your personality into, sending out LOIs and pitches for marketing, replying to messages, and popping over connection and referral requests becomes an almost-automatic operation.
You’re able to plug-and-play with a basic framework, where you change a few specific details for customization, then send warm messages that come across as professional, but with a touch of you that sets your communication apart. By simply changing a few variables, you’re able to work more in a copy-paste fashion than spending hours crafting dozens of messages and taking time away from working on your paid client projects.
3. Proposal template
Nothing accelerates the client onboarding experience and provides value more than having a quality proposal template. When you’ve got the structure, adding in specifics like the below for each new client proposal is a breeze:
- Design elements like relevant photos and colors
- Intro messages
- Project goals and scope of work
- Validation via testimonials and a list of past clients
- Project cost
- Next steps for the potential client to take
In the getting-to-know-you period, sending over a polished proposal that looks, sounds and feels like the experience of working with you grabs your client’s attention. And if you use a template, although it feels like a fully custom experience on the receiving end, the creation side is mostly minimal. You can craft several templates that are customized per niche to cut down even more on time, and onboard your client without a lot of turbulence.
With a templated proposal, onboarding is simplified, and because you put in the time upfront to create an outline that’s easy to tailor, you only have to spend a short amount of time refreshing it for each new potential client.
4. Business and magazine contract templates
Because businesses and magazines have different needs, it’s important to have two different freelance writing contract templates.
However, both work toward the same goal: outlining the process of working together in clear, direct terms and providing a layout that you can use over and over again in your freelance writing business. With the right two templates, you’ve already got a sequence of information (and maybe some legalese), that only needs a few updates like project scope, contract duration, upfront payment amount, due dates, and potentially, payment terms and rights.
As a freelance writer, having contract templates helps you keep your agreements consistent and clear, but also keeps you safe. When you have a direct document to continually work from, every clause or additional term you add as your business grows lives on and builds a more secure contract. When you don’t have a template, it’s easy to recreate the wheel for every contract, forget specific clauses and terms (I know, I’ve done it), make mistakes, and create inconsistencies among clients.
But when you’ve customized a specific agreement, you can send it to clients faster for signature, get your upfront payment quicker, and onboard your client without an enormous amount of effort. Plus, you’re able to move from proposal to contract to payment in a much more streamlined way.
5. NDA template
With an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) template in your arsenal, if you’re sent a client’s NDA that’s not a fit for you during your onboarding process, you can quickly send yours over. Whether it’s the whole agreement, a few clauses or a lengthy contract duration, instead of agreeing to terms that aren’t writer friendly, you simply send your customized template for consideration.
Since some NDAs ask you to keep information or processes under wraps forever, having your own framework at-the-ready that spells out a year or two of silence on their secrets avoids having to scramble. When you don’t have a backup plan, especially one that’s custom-created for freelance writers, you may end up using an NDA that hinders more than it helps.
Additionally, with an NDA in your back pocket, you minimize time spent on finding and drafting new ones frequently, and save potential onboarding headaches and mishaps. A few minutes of typing and you’ve got a template that you can send when you need to and essentially automate the NDA formation and signing process.
6. VA and independent contractor contract template
When you want to hire outside help for your business, having a contract template to work with helps smooth out and automate onboarding. Whether it’s a VA (Virtual Assistant), SEO consultant, or graphic designer, or you’re creating an agency-style business with contracted writers, you want to have a template to customize to your exact work needs.
Unlike a business or magazine, this agreement may cover more than project scope, payment terms, rights and indemnification. And having an agreement on-hand to swiftly add someone into your business helps you move up and scale without the stress and extra time spent.
With a pre-built framework that’s freelance writer-friendly, the agreement is more malleable for the different types of contractors you may hire in your business, and like your marketing templates, can morph into several different contract templates for your specific work needs. It’s like having a step-by-step option where you only need to customize project scope and rights, send the document, and get back to more important tasks.
As you grow and scale, you may need to add a clause or two if your business becomes ultra complex. But having a contract template for a VA or independent contractor that you can almost set-and-forget and clearly maps out how you’ll work together, makes the process of hiring help rapidly much less complicated and more straightforward.