Flying Under The Radar: How to Use LinkedIn to Find Writing Jobs

Flying Under The Radar: How to Use LinkedIn to Find Writing Jobs

With so many social media outlets available, and many of them much more popular, LinkedIn flies under the radar for freelance writers.

LinkedIn is largely thought of as the professional’s social media network, but freelancers (myself included until I learned better) generally think LinkedIn is for the professional looking for full-time work only. Wrong.

Not too long ago, I wouldn’t have thought of using LinkedIn to find freelance writing gigs. Now that I know better, I regularly use LinkedIn to connect with businesses looking for writers, and the leads just keep coming.

Here’s how to use the professional network to get more assignments.

Start with your network

Most people have at least 100 connections on LinkedIn.

Those connections are probably a mix past business colleagues, friends and family, and people you don’t actually know but are in similar professions.

Have you ever thought of asking those connections for an introduction to a publication or business you want to write for?

I have 312 connections. Of those connections, I might know 75 of them personally. But when I search for a company or a business I want to write for, most of the time one of my connections is also connected to someone at said business or publication.

This provides the perfect opportunity to leverage my network to make a new connection.

Most would agree, knowing someone who knows someone is better than a blind pitch. LinkedIn, as Carol Tice, long-term, successful freelance writer told me me in a mentoring conversation, “This is the one place where asking your network to introduce you to a new publication or business is acceptable.” In fact, she’s been hired by Fortune 500 companies through LinkedIn.

It’s the professional’s social media network for a reason!

So how do you do this?

  1. In the search bar, type in the company or publication you’re interested in writing for.
  1. Pull up the company page and see if you have any connections in common.

LinkedIn Business Page

  1. Click on the blue link that tells you how many connections you have in common, and choose one of them to reach out to.
  1. Reach out to one of them directly, and send a quick intro (not a full-fledged letter of intent or pitch) through the messaging option. You can ask if they know who you’d contact or if they’d be willing to introduce you through email to someone.

Ever looked up a marketing manager or editor and noticed you had connections in common?

Another way to use your LinkedIn network to your advantage is to ask for an introduction to the person you’re trying to connect to.

how to use linkedin

Use InMail

Did you know you can try LinkedIn Premium for 30 days for free?

Sign up for a trial and use the 30 free InMails to get your name out there to businesses you want to work for.

LinkedIn makes it really easy to find marketing managers and editors with its intuitive search features.

When sending InMail, a quick introduction rather than a detailed pitch is best. Send a little inquiry letting the prospective client know about your experience and your services.

This is what mine looked like:

LinkedIn_Message

About three weeks later, I received a response that went a little something like this:

LinkedIn_Response

I learned about using InMail thanks to a post on Carol Tice’s blog, Make A Living Writing about how to use InMail to connect with prospects.

The easiest way to use InMail in volume is to narrow down your niche. I chose higher education and health, because those are two of my favorite topics to write about. Then, I used the LinkedIn search feature to search marketing managers in those two niches. This helped me narrow my results so I could choose who to send InMail to.

Become a LinkedIn Pro with ProFinder

A relatively new feature, LinkedIn ProFinder connects freelancers with clients. It’s easy to get started, and the results can be pretty great.

Just click on the “Join as a Pro” link in the top right-hand corner of the LinkedIn Profinder page and fill out the prompts. You are able to select the services you provide and once approved, ProFinder will connect you with businesses submitting jobs that match your skills.

I signed up for ProFinder and about a week later, I found out through email I was added to the ProFinder network. Not two days after that, I received an email for my first lead.

The leads include everything you want to know about the project, and you will be invited to submit a proposal.

It will look a little something like this:

LinkedIn_ProFinder

If the job is something you are interested in, go ahead and submit away! In the proposal, you will write a brief cover letter and submit an hourly or project rate.

Since I started with ProFinder about a month ago, I’ve been notified of five projects, submitted proposals for three of them, and been contacted for two interviews. I’m still in conversation with one of the prospects and have already signed a contract with the other.

Definitely worth the time!

Even if you aren’t keen on using social media to find freelance gigs, think of LinkedIn as more of a networking tool.

It really is a goldmine if used to its full potential.

Have you used LinkedIn in your freelance business? What techniques work for you?

Filed Under: Marketing
Author Marketing Club

Featured resource

Author Marketing Club

Want to sell more books? With tools that help with everything from formatting your Amazon description to finding more reviewers, Author Marketing Club can help you share your book with more readers.

19 comments

  • Thank you for sharing about Linked-in as a job resource. I have had many prospective clients reach out to me through Linked-in just out of the blue, and I have used it to actively recruit new clients as well. It’s a great way to get freelance work.

    Another thing I recommend is joining Linked-in groups where your perfect client may be active — and participate in group discussions. If you can set yourself up as an expert in the eyes of prospects, they’ll think of you when they have a writing need.

  • Thank you. I have recently started using Linked-in and I was at such a loss. This really should help me.
    Now I just wish that I could figure out how to build a network in the first place. I don’t know anyone that uses Linked-in. I come from a small town with few professionals, so not much activity in my social network.

    • Randy Bauman says:

      Adam,
      An easy way to start building your network is to use the feature that allows you to send a Linked In invite to your email addresses.
      It doesn’t matter where you live; use the search function to look up businesses, individuals, groups. You will know a lot more people on LinkedIn than you think. And as you ask to Connect, you will get invitations to connect based on profile views and your experience and background.
      Be sure to keep your profile up to date with your jobs, experience, education, hobbies, volunteer work, etc.

  • Jerry Nelson says:

    Excellent article and enjoyed the “tip” about ProFinder. Sadly though, ProFinder is still in beta testing (according to one of their technicians whom I spoke with this morning) and is not available outside of the US.

    Those of us who are expats, are out of luck.

  • Tina says:

    This is great information on using LinkedIn. I’m definitely going to utilize your tips. 🙂 Thanks so much.

  • Eva North says:

    Good afternoon, I love the idea of using linked in for leads, however, what do you suggest for a complete newbie? I’ve got a blog, not really kept up regularly, but, looking for suggestions. Thank you and have a great night.

  • This is pretty good advice. I do next to nothing with my LinkedIn profile, other than having blog posts auto-post to it.

    I’ll have to give it a little more consideration.

  • Kari says:

    What a great article. I’ve been working on networking for my blog. I already have a LinkedIn account so this should be fair quick for me to get started. Hopefully it goes well from there.

    Thanks.

    Kari

  • I also signed up at LinkedIn some time ago and have not checked for jobs there.
    It sounds like this is a good place for jobs and just conversation or tips from other freelancers.
    I think I will go there right now and try these tips. I will let you know what happens.

  • Riaz Shah says:

    Excellent guide on using Linkedin, Nicole! I was wondering how to market there. I have a healthy account with 500+ followers and this would definitely boost my projects.

    What do you think of writing my own articles on Linkedin though? I usually just write on my blog but I’m curious on publishing on linkedin too. Is it worth it or should I just stick to writing on my blog?

  • K. Lee Banks says:

    Thanks for this thorough and helpful post! I’m also a writer in the higher education field, as well as specialized areas such as curriculum development and assessment writing.

    I have acquired short-term jobs through LinkedIn in the past – even by clients contacting me – but only recently started searching posted jobs and applying. I’ve had one client contact me soon after I applied and have done a video interview for him. Still waiting on a decision!

    I hadn’t thought of using the InMail feature as you described and did NOT know about the Pro feature. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kyle De Luca says:

    Unfortunately, LinkedIn ProFinder isn’t even available in Canada!! WTF!! Also, how in the world do you get your very first writing client? I’ve sent over 100 emails to prospective clients that have led to ZERO leads or full-fledged clients!

  • Olga Baker says:

    Thank you, Nicole, very insightful! I was aware of the InMail feature, but haven’t learned about ProFinder until I read your post. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Nicholas says:

    Thanks for this insightful discovery, I have been researching on how i can get clients through linkedin. I now know what to do.

  • This is awesome! I had no idea about the ProFinder. I’m signing up now and I imagine I’ll be using it a lot. 🙂

  • Shafeek SM says:

    Hi Nicole, thank you for an insightful and informative post. I’ve been having my LinkedIn account for some time.

    I write on the Health and Wellness niche. I have even posted an article but not had any connections with any client yet.

    I will try out your suggestions now and see if I am lucky.

  • Lisa says:

    Before I started following freelance writing blogs like The Write Life, I never thought about using Linkedin for new writing jobs. I’ve gotten a lot of my leads from Linkedin now that I know more about it. I have also used it to keep in touch with past clients since some of them have come from Linkedin. I’ve reached out to a few in my niche as well with varying degrees of success.

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *