We all know that getting clients is the TOP concern of most freelance writers.
That’s one of the reasons why I talk about this topic so much and why I dedicate a lot of my time helping freelance writers understand it more.
In my early years as a freelance writer, I couldn’t understand how some writers were able to get a client whenever they wanted, while I was struggling to get ONE gig! All I wanted was one gig!
Fast forward a few years, and after I learned how to get clients the right way, I was closing well over 50% of every job I applied for.
And the best part?
They were jobs I actually wanted, not a low-paying gig that would give me just enough to pay the bills or less.
You can enjoy this same level of success. I wasn’t anyone special…I just learned the right strategies to getting the job. And I want to share a few of these with you here now.
Find the Right Jobs
It all begins with finding a job ad that is perfect for you. To do this, read the ad carefully and then reread it again.
Ask yourself some important questions:
- Do I have all of the requirements to fulfill this work?
- Do I have enough experience to write what they’re asking for?
- How much time will it take?
- How much will I end up making per hour?
If your answer to any of these questions makes you feel like the subject matter is so far above your head that your per-hour rate will be too low, the job may not be worth your time.
If you feel you’re not qualified for the job, pass it up. If you don’t have the writing skill or if the job calls for content you don’t understand, move on. Even if you’re an excellent researcher, there are some topics that you must possess specific knowledge on to write well. If you land the gig and you’re not qualified, it will only end up frustrating both you and the client – and impacting your professional reputation.
Applying for the Job
Follow the directions in the ad EXACTLY.
Some ads will have clear instructions. The prospective client might even ask you to put a specific phrase in the email subject line when responding. It’s their way of discovering which writers can follow directions and pay attention to detail. It sounds primitive, but it really works. If you email them with a different subject line than the one they asked for, most times they won’t even open your email.
Express yourself like an expert.
Explain to them in a personable tone why you are the perfect candidate for the job.
Clients want writers who know who they are and what they can do. That makes them feel confident as well.
Now, one of the most difficult aspects of freelance writing to grasp, is how to calculate how much to charge clients.
In some job ads, clients will ask you for your rates instead of listing what they are willing to pay for.
What should your “per word” rate be?
Look at yourself objectively. What are you worth? Make sure your writing skills match your rate.
The right freelance clients want the best writer they can find and they will pay well for excellence. If the client understands and wants high quality, they will pay extra. And you deserve it.
Determining the rate to charge a prospective client can be hard to figure out though. I can’t give you a “one size fits all” kind of response, but there is a document that can help. It even breaks down writing rates by specific types and niches. It’s a little outdated but it can give you a good starting point.
Though this doc can help, don’t feel like you have to stick to its numbers forever. In fact, if you want to earn a solid income and scale to six figures, you need to raise your rates every so often. Every six months is a pretty good barometer.
For example, let’s say you’ve been charging 7 cents a word for 6 months. Raise your rate to 8 or 9 cents a word and see how many jobs you land with your new rate.
When I first started writing, I was making $20 an article, and I joyously danced around the house every time I got a gig at that rate. Today I make $150 to $250+ for just one single 500-700 word article.
Job Ad Email Reply
Your email reply to job ads is the single most important part of this entire process.
As writers, we sometimes tend to ramble on and on (Guilty!). But, this can hinder your chance of landing the job.
Keep your response brief. Include all necessary information without writing a novel. Clients are busy and they have to read through hundreds of inquiries.
How do you make your email reply stand out?
- Make it easy for them. List your qualifications and any attributes you have as a writer, in a numerical list. That’s effortless to read and easy on the eyes.
- Include notable past clients as well as your greatest achievements.
- Retrofit your response to that specific gig. Every job is different and every client is unlike the other. I didn’t realize that when I first began my journey into freelance writing, so I used the same inquiry or response for every client. It saved me time, but my job-closing ratio was low.
So, if the client asks if you can write about Hawaii, the answer is yes. The answer is almost always yes. Then, retrofit your email to fit that topic. The only time you would not say “yes” is if the topic is obscure or overly technical or something you don’t feel comfortable writing on as I discussed earlier
What if you don’t have a sample article about Hawaii?
Eventually you will have many sample articles that you can include in your inquiries. If you know you can write on the topic mentioned in the job ad, and the client looks like it could be a valuable one to you, write a snippet on that topic and submit it with your email reply. It’s that easy.
Crafting Your Email
If you really want to land a gig, you have to put some work into your application. It took a lot of trial and error, but over the years, I finally landed on a strategy that works almost every time.
Here are my tips:
- Open your letter as you would any type of business correspondence.
Att: “Company Name”
To Whom it May Concern:
- Start with who you are, your skills and that you have several years of industry experience. Write that you are confident your writing skills can meet their needs.
- Now list why you know you are the ideal candidate for the job. Write it as a numerical outline so it’s simple for the client to read.
- Include any impressive past clients as well as noteworthy blogs and achievements. If it’s feasible, include links to content that you’ve written and links that are published on the internet.
- Next, include your website and tell them it includes writing samples they can read. Add your social media profiles as well.
- Thank them for the opportunity and let them know you look forward to hearing from them.
- End with warm regards and your first name to keep it personable.
This is a basic outline to use but the topics and verbiage will change depending on the type of gig it is and the client. Also include other significant qualifications, certifications and accomplishments. Impress them!
This letter is a bit of a balancing act, however. You don’t want to add so many points that it becomes too cumbersome to read. Put yourself in their position and read it aloud after you write it. When you hear it audibly, you may uncover issues that otherwise might have been overlooked.
Have NO Experience?
If you’re just beginning and you don’t have a lot of writing experience, then rely on your life experience. If you’re inquiring about writing a skiing article and you’re a skier, include that. If the client likes your writing samples and he knows you’re a skier, it could be just that tidbit that helps you land the job.
If you don’t have any writing samples, write some! And, never say you are a “beginner.” Be confident in your skills and let that come across in your reply.
Remember: a client wants to hire a real person. Be personable and likeable in your response. Keep it light but very professional and confident. Allow your personality to peek through. If they feel good after reading your email, you are halfway there.
Landing a freelance writing gig is a great accomplishment! Use these strategies and let me know how they work for you. Good luck!