How to Find and Secure Freelance Writing Clients

By Bryan Clark
16 Comments

by Chris Bibey

It is easy to show people how to make money through freelance writing. After all, once you have clients, the writing part usually comes a bit easier. In fact, many freelance writers will openly admit that they have a more difficult time marketing their services than the actual writing process. If you are going to be successful, you need to learn how to find freelance writing clients. From there, your writing ability will take over, and you can do your thing.

Every freelance writer finds clients in their own way. I have my own strategy for doing so, and it is safe to say that it is much different than that of many others. With that being said, there are basic steps and details that will allow you to get a good start. Let’s take a look at a few now.

1. If you are new to freelance writing, start with a basic website. This should include a bio, contact information, and samples if you have them.

Over time, your website will climb in the search engine rankings if you put time into this part of your business. In turn, clients will begin to find you instead of the other way around. Imagine how much easier this will make things on you.

With a website you always have somewhere to send potential clients that you speak with on the phone or via email. Remember, the days of fax and snail mail are gone. A client is going to want to see information and samples now, not later.

At this time, I do not rely on my websites to obtain business nearly as much as I used to. With that being said, my blog, ChrisBlogging.com, brings in a lot of prospective clients. As you probably know, starting a WordPress blog is a simple process. Although I do not have many technical skills, my freelance writing blog was up and running within an hour or so. All it takes is a hosting account, domain name, and a few minutes of time.

2. Does cold calling sound like something that belongs in a sales office? You are right in thinking this. There are many sales people that make their living by cold calling potential clients, and hoping to convince them to buy on the spot or sometime in the near future. Believe it or not, cold calling is a great way for freelance writers to find new clients as well.

Before you do this, you will want to have a market in mind, as well as a “sales pitch” that you will use. Yes, cold calling for the first time can be a terrifying experience, but once you reel in your first client, you will become addicted. People can ignore emails, but when you call them on the phone it is hard for them not to listen.

With my current workload, I do not cold call nearly as much as I used to. During the first few months of my career, it seemed as if cold calling was all that I did. Even though it can be frustrating at times, when you finally turn a call into a client you will realize what all of the hard work was for.

One of my first cold calling successes was with a local insurance company. I have always had an affinity for this industry, so when I put together a “cold call list” I included as many insurance agents and companies as possible. After working through several names with no success, a company no more than a couple miles from home hired me to write copy for a marketing brochure. The money was not the best, but it showed that cold calling does have a place in the lives of freelance writers.

3. Cold emailing is a relatively new sales method. While I am not a big proponent of this, many freelance writers have told me that they are quite successful with this way of doing things.

If you are going to send out unsolicited emails, you need to make sure they are as personal as possible. The bottom line is that spam is not going to get you anywhere. If you send out enough emails, the only place it will get you is in trouble with your web host. If cold emailing sounds appealing to you, be unique and personal with each message that you send. Tailor the message to the person you are contacting.

Sending a cold email can be difficult, especially if you do not know what to say. In my opinion, you want to keep things as personal and brief as possible. As you can imagine, this can be quite a challenge. A basic cold email template may look something like this:

To whom it may concern (try to find a contact name):

I recently came across your company’s website, and wanted to introduce myself as a freelance writer specializing in your industry. With over five years of experience in the (fill in the blank) industry, I feel that I could be an asset to your company.

Do you ever hire freelance writers? If so, would you be interested in taking a closer look at my resume or samples?

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

Name

4. Job boards and bidding sites offer a wide variety of freelance writing jobs. The biggest complaint with these boards and sites is that many of the jobs are either low paying, or simply do not exist. There is no denying that you will run into deadbeat clients and low paying gigs, but as a business oriented person you need to learn how to siphon out the bad and only apply for the good jobs.

Some of the most popular job boards and bidding sites for freelance writers include:

From Fortune 500 companies to small websites, everybody needs writers. Use the sales and marketing methods above to find enough freelance writing clients to keep you busy day in and day out.

Chris

About Bryan Clark

Bryan Clark is a professional writer, blog editor and evangelist. He has contributed to leading news properties and blogs in tech, entrepreneurship, finance, and the digital lifestyle. Bryan has earned features on Problogger, Entrepreneurs-Journey and USA Today. Bryan works with Growth Partner, a venture fund and startup platform for web businesses.

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16 Comments

  • Hi there Yaro

    I really like the idea of using my current blogs as a springboard for potential freelance work. I have included “hire me” buttons on my about and contact pages and mentioned that I am available for possible freelance writing. I wonder if the strength of my writing and articles is going to be enough to entice any interest, and what kind of traffic levels I’m going to have to achieve in order to get that level of attention. Any thoughts on that?

  • I’ve actually had much more luck with snail mail than email if I’m going to go cold. If I spend that much time researching the prospect, I might as well invest the .41 and get something he might look at for three or four seconds before throwing away. You can also put together a sales letter for your service (which, conveniently, serves as a writing sample, although I’d of course also include a knockout sample for the target industry) and send that out to 40 or 50 well-chosen companies at a time.

    Also, don’t give up on a prospect you’ve approached by snail mail until you’ve sent at least three pieces. (Postcards make good inexpensive follow-ups.)

  • Patrick,

    Just to chime in as I’ve been a freelance writer for 15+ years, if you are just starting out, you’re going to have to be VERY proactive in your marketing. A blog/website is just a starting point.

    As Chris mentioned in this post, you must learn how to market and just relying on your blog is not going to bring in the business.

    Even though I do get clients from my website/blog, after all these years, the most effective methods for bringing in the business are still PROACTIVE ones, eg, joining chambers of commerce in your community, writing and distributing an industry newsletter, researching companies online to send a PERSONALIZED pitch via email, etc.

    You state that on your blog you are available for “possible” freelance writing work. If you’re not in this profession wholeheartedly, you’re done before you even get started. Like starting any “business,” you have to 100% commit to it — and then some.

    Just a little friendly advice from a veteran of the business.

    Good luck!
    Yuwanda Black, Publisher
    InkwellEditorial.com

  • Patrick – As your blog continues to grow, and you receive more traffic, you will more than likely receive interest from potential clients; but it does take time.

    Sonia – That is quite interesting that snail mail works that well for you. I guess many writers dont take the time to try this method. They more or less believe that technology has taken over…

    Yuwanda – You are so right; marketing and not stopping is very important. You make some great points!

  • Patrick – I think blogging is a fantastic way to solicit clients, however in order for it to work, you need to consider the strategy you will implement.

    1. You have to build a great blog
    2. You have to demonstrate proof that you are worth hiring

    Those two things are very intertwined, so you probably want to write a general blog about whatever it is you freelance in – so if it is writing, talk a lot about what goes into good writing, and occasionally throw in a case study from some work you did to demonstrate what you do and the fact that people hire you.

    That’s the strategy mix I would use – mostly a blog to help others, but every now and then throw in some proof that you are the real deal and worth hiring.

  • Great post – and well done to you for doing all this cold calling. Cold calling is something that terrifies many people, so it definitely gives you an edge over the competition – especially if a potential client is looking for the type of work you are offering right now.

  • [...] How to Find and Secure Freelance Writing Clients by Chris Bibey, over at Entrepreneurs-Journey February 14th | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumble | Reddit | Float! | Print Article | Comment RSS [...]

  • Yaro the details given by you for Freelance writer is good.
    But how can one judge that the article written by so and so writer will be good. Sometimes it might not be worth of hiring a free lancer.. What do you suggest in that case…. N what are the basic things required to become a good freelancer.. Can i become a freelancer?????

  • Excellent tips, Chris!

    One of the resources I use for finding freelance jobs is Craigslist.com.
    There are jobs being posted there all the time for freelance work.
    There are other ways to find freelance writing gigs than by marketing yourself.

    Check out this Craigslist link for Writing/Editing gigs:

    http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wri/

    There are hundreds of “work-at-home” freelance writing jobs available.
    Hint: Click on large cities first. These usually have the most job ads.

    Expect success,

    Dan

  • I am a writter and want to do some freelance work for writing if any some need writter then pm me.

  • I am a writer and want to do some freelance work for writing if anyone some need writer then pm me.

  • Nice article, not in the the writing domain but thanks for the link to elance.com, did not heard of this site before, maybe i will find a job there :)

  • I have tried sites like elance and getafreelancer. The competition is very fierce that it is not worth the effort. I have found some of my biggest clients in everyday forums. and they have been great.

  • [...] gave me the inspiration and blueprint to make a go at freelancing, Chris Bibey’s blog post, “how to find and secure freelance writing clients” provided the final push with an arsenal of “direct sales” techniques.(calls, perfecting [...]

  • Although the job bidding sites may be ok when first starting out, any successful freelance writer will not even consider them.

    The jobs on these sites almost always go to the lowest bidder … anyone who’s looking for the lowest cost freelancer is not someone you want to be working with anyway.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’d much rather go after “big fish” opportunities. One strategy I’ve used in my email marketing is to contact companies whose products I’ve actually used–this allows my communications to be personalized and always increases my response rates. The subject line can be something as simple as “hello from one of your customers”.

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