Once you get your first freelance writing job, the trick becomes getting freelance writing jobs over and over again for the length of your writing career.
There are several things that, if you get them in place now will serve you for many years.
Your professional website
I scored www.AnneWayman.com early in the game and built a website there using an html edtior! Today it’s much easier.
You can do it quickly yourself using WordPress. Many of the hosts, including my current favorite BlueHost have an easy one-button install.
WordPress is a content management system with a fairly low learning curve that will keep you from having to hire a designer. More importantly, when you want to make a change, you’ll be able to do it yourself and not wait for anyone else.
To get started with a decent website that will help your market yourself as a freelance writer you really only need four pages.
Although many of us do more and more writing business over the ‘net, I still keep getting freelance writing jobs from business cards. Not a ton, but often enough to keep ordering them.
Cards make a nice way to get your name and contact information in the hands of others at networking groups, coffee shops, parties, grocery stores – in short anywhere you’re likely to be.
Business cards also help people connect with you a year or two from now – and that can be important in the long haul.
A starting niche or two
Although I don’t take the need for niches as seriously as some who advise writers do, having one or two areas of specialization can help you focus your marketing efforts.
Start with something you know well, like parenting, or teaching, or art, or some sort of technical knowledge you’ve acquired along the way like finance or insurance or… The choices are pretty much endless.
Add a second target market about something you know, or something you want to learn about (hat tip to Paula Hendrickson).
Know that whatever niche you pick in the beginning will probably change and evolve over time as you do. Your interests will grow, you’ll develop a new passion to write about, which is as it should be.
Some social media
You need to participate in social media – probably LinkedIN is the best for a writer. Take some serious time with your profile. John Soars at Productive Writers has an infographic called The 17 Best Ways to Boost Your LinkedIn Profile. It’s a good guideline for writing profiles that will help you market your writing – you don’t have to do everything on the graphic… and you can work at it a bit at a time.
The other secret that isn’t so secret is to join a few LinkedIN groups. At this point I’ve actually had better luck finding work through some of the writing groups as strange as that may seem. But I also track a couple of other industries that I hope may drive a ghostwritten book my way.
Google Plus or + is another social media service to pay attention to – it may in fact boost your website’s search engine ranking a tiny bit.
I love Twitter because I love writing short pieces – it’s good for socializing and some swear they get business through it.
The potential problem with social media of any type is that it can quickly become a terrible time sink. I suspect if you’re spending more than 20 or 30 minutes on social media – all of it, you’re spending too much time. The only exception might be if you have a very specific social media marketing plan in place and are following that plan.
A method to your marketing
Lori Widmer has 365 different things you can do to market yourself in a book called Marketing 365. You could do far worse than buy that book and do something every day for a year.
Or you could take any of the ideas you find in the Marketing category here and develop your method of marketing.
You need to find your own style of marketing yourself and your writing. I define that as the kind of marketing you’ll actually do!
It is, you see, your marketing that determines how you will be getting freelance writing jobs week after week, year after year.
Soon I’ll have a new ebook on Freelance Writing Jobs – get early notice plus a discount when you sign up.
Write well and often,