If you want to embark on a career in freelance writing, you’ll need to promote your skills and services. Developing a marketing plan is crucial to getting off to a good start.
The global workforce is working online now more than ever before, and the demand for content has skyrocketed. This should be glorious news for you if you’re a writer and are passionate about communicating, because it means there are plenty of opportunities for you to put your skills to good use and earn money doing it.
The problem is, there are plenty of other freelance writers who want a piece of the pie. The competition is stiff, so if you want to make the most of the available opportunities to write for digital publications, blogs, and websites, you’ll need a marketing plan.
However, it can’t be just any marketing plan. You need an impactful marketing plan that sells your freelance writing business to prospective clients. Think of your business as a product you need to sell. Your freelance writing business simply won’t take flight if you don’t create a comprehensive roadmap to success, and comprehensive is the key word here. Your plan should cover all your professional bases.
Pitching for writing jobs on freelancing sites is a great first step to attracting the business you want, but it won’t set you on the track to lasting financial stability and success. The freelance writing industry can be tough to break into, so you need to set goals for yourself and consistently market your services to secure enough well-paying jobs and long-term clients to keep your income flowing.
Here are the steps you need to take to develop the perfect marketing plan for your freelance writing services.
Identify your niche
As a beginner freelance writer, it may be tempting to take any job offered. However, it can be challenging to market yourself as a jack-of-all-trades in the writing industry.
If you want to secure quality, high-paying clients, you need to show that you understand the individual needs and challenges of their specific industry or sector. If you try to appeal to all companies and clients across all industries, you might have trouble securing any work at all. By trying to be the right writer for every job, your focus dilutes, your writing suffers, and your lack of knowledge will quickly become obvious.
When you choose a freelance writing niche, you can market yourself as something of an expert in that specific field. If you know all about the industry you’re writing for, you can charge higher rates and promote yourself as a knowledgeable and seasoned niche writer. Some niches to consider include:
- Health and wellness
- Finance and economics
Name your writing business
You can name your writing business anything you like. Base it on your name, give it a unique and memorable business name, or dub it virtually anything in between.
One key point to remember is that your business name should clearly define what you do. If you’re a technical writer, for example, you could call your company “John Doe Technical Writing.” If you’re a beginner ghostwriter, try something like “Ghost Writing by Jane Doe.” Defining your services will help you attract clients who are looking for exactly what you offer.
Create a marketing plan
Planning accounts for half of your success; the rest comes from dedication and hard work. Create a marketing plan in a Word document, spreadsheet, or anything else you can easily edit as you progress.
Your plan needs to address several important elements to help you build an actionable marketing strategy. Some questions you should ask yourself include:
- What is my writing niche?
- Who is my target market?
- Who are my ideal clients?
- What are my short, medium, and long-term goals?
- Why have I chosen to freelance as opposed to finding a traditional 9-5 job?
- How will I achieve my freelance writing career goals?
- How will I track my progress?
- How will I expand my client base when my business takes off?
- How many hours do I have available for writing every week and how will I fit writing and my other obligations into my schedule?
- What are my plans and budget for advertising and promotion?
- Do I have any capital available to fund my business’ marketing plan? If not, how can I source the funds I need?
Pick your marketing channels
Modern freelancers have so many online marketing channels to choose from. You can easily set up your own professional website on Wix or WordPress, network on LinkedIn, find jobs on Upwork, and market yourself on social media.
Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can be fabulous tools for marketing your services as a freelancer. Particularly if you want to attract the attention of younger Millennial and Gen Z clients.
Social media marketing experts recommend creating a social posting calendar for yourself and posting uniform content across all your marketing channels regularly. You can use scheduling tools like Buffer or Tailwind to maintain a consistent presence across all of your accounts. These services can connect your social accounts to a single interface to give you a crystal-clear idea of what you’re posting, when you’re posting it, and which posts are the most effective at giving your business the exposure it needs.
No matter which channels you choose, it’s important to ensure that your professional branding is consistent across your digital media accounts. Your business name, logo, and bio should be as consistent as possible across every platform. This will allow potential clients to track you down easily if they want to learn more about what your business offers. Remember to add a link to your website or writing portfolio in your social bios as well.
Revise your plan regularly
Life changes, and so will your business. You might start out being able to work part-time only to find, later down the line, that you need to work longer hours or serve more clients. You might also get a degree or complete courses that will boost your credentials and allow you to increase your writing fees.
Your marketing plan needs to accommodate these changes when they take place, and you should expect to revise your plan every six months, if not more often.
Marketing tends to follow trends, too. If you can keep up with the evolution of different platforms and take advantage of new features, you can reap the rewards. You may have to try new marketing strategies to find your best fit, but this is all part of being an entrepreneur. Staying up-to-date, adapting to trends, and altering strategies takes time, effort, and research, but if you build it into your plan, you’ll be prepared.
Join an association
Joining writer’s organizations can be a great way to find resources to hone your skills, network with other writers, get advice from professionals, connect with editors, and even find writing jobs. Places to start include:
The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE). Founded in 2007, NAIWE offers training materials, webinars, networking opportunities, product and service discounts, and a plug-and-play website builder.
The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). ASJA has been around since 1948 and offers professional development, job leads, chances to network, conference and training discounts, a writers’ emergency fund, and mentorship opportunities.
r/FreelanceWriters. Forums can also be an excellent place to connect with other writers, and Reddit’s Freelance Writers community offers a wealth of information. The forum is free to join and is incredibly active, making it ideal for freelancers who are starting out — and for those who have more experience too.
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Creating a marketing plan will give you the direction and focus you need to promote your services to the right groups of clients at the right rates. Remember to update your marketing plan and revise it regularly as your business grows and evolves.
Now, go find those clients!
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