Freelance content writing is a competitive vocation, but you can eventually turn it into a full-time career. Once you have some experience working with clients, understand the nuances of SEO content, and deliver assignments on time, you should start thinking about optimizing your work practices to scale your freelance writing business. .
Here are 10 helpful tips to get you started.
1. Look beyond independent marketplaces
Although popular marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr, etc. are good platforms to start your career as a freelance writer, once you establish your credentials, you should stop paying commissions to third-party websites. It’s time to start building your own client list to become a successful content writer.
Publish a few articles with your byline, create a portfolio and market your skills to the right audience instead of competing in saturated markets. Think of it as increasing your visibility from the limited audience of buyers on closed platforms to everyone else on the web.
2. Learn content marketing
It may look like a branch in another profession, but it is not. Good content marketing is integral to improving your profile, increasing your followers, building trust in your brand, getting signatures in renowned publications, improving your rates and the success of your freelance writing business.
You don’t have to become a marketer, but you do need to understand the nuances of online content marketing. Learn how to write SEO optimized content. Yoast’s content SEO guide is a good place to start. Learn the basics of social media marketing, email marketing, and other promotional strategies like writing an eBook and creating a unique course with helpful digital marketing courses online .
Instead of presenting to clients one-on-one or just applying for jobs, changing your marketing strategy will bring recruiters to your profile.
3. Diversify your customer base
Take a break from the usual job portals and refocus your efforts on a different target audience.
Look beyond large and popular publications or startups. Showcase your services and ideas to small and medium-sized businesses looking to scale their business. Use LinkedIn, Google Maps, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, and other online directories to find small businesses to pitch to.
Target local businesses
Local brick-and-mortar stores typically don’t focus on online presence, especially in Tier 2 cities and smaller towns. You can convince them to rethink their digital strategy and offer your services for local marketing campaigns, blogs, website updates, etc. These are one-time projects that can lead to more clients through referrals, and the competition is low. However, be discerning in the types of companies you approach. Use apps to find local businesses near you.
4. Offer value-based service packages
Move away from pay-by-the-word or pay-by-the-hour models. While this works well in the short term, it’s time to explore value-based service packages if you want to raise your profile.
Don’t give everything to everyone. Create personalized service packages for each client. Track results, ROI, and other metrics of success. Use this data to convince your customers to pay you based on the value you bring to their business.
5. Have a warrant or two
Installments ensure you have a steady paycheck to look forward to even as you learn to negotiate better rates for other projects. The financial security offered by retainers gives you the leeway to seek out better projects, be selective with your work and clients, and invest time in learning and improving your business.
Installments don’t always pay top dollar, but they’re a good way to ensure steady workflow and income, especially during tough work times.
6. Team up with other service providers
Collaborate with freelance web designers, content marketers, and social media experts to develop comprehensive service packages. You can offer service packages that take care of everything from A to Z and charge higher rates. Learn about successful creative collaboration.
Get inspiration from content agencies that offer service packages including business domain registration for website design, website content delivery, landing page optimization and all the rest. This allows them to offer much higher rates than freelancers working in these fields usually charge.
7. Choose a niche
Generalist freelance writing can pay well, but often not as well as niche freelance writing. If you master a particular niche like mental health, wellness, or cryptocurrency, focus your efforts on marketing yourself as an expert in that field.
Train yourself in your niche, take online courses, get a certificate, and read a few books. Write about different aspects of this niche and post to online media. Join social forums on the subject, engage with people, share your ideas and learnings, troubleshoot issues, resolve doubts, and offer your expertise for free before you can charge for it.
8. Drop off some customers
When you start scaling, you’ll have to let go of lower-paying clients, even if working for them is very easy or you have a long-term association with them.
If you can’t renegotiate your prices, drop them and use that time to earn more through one-off projects. It’s just good business practice to keep aiming higher; nothing personal about it.
9. Optimize your work process
Document everything you do. Track your time, expenses, income, etc., before observing the data and optimizing your production. Eliminate low performing clients, projects and practices and work on those that bring more opportunities and revenue.
Documenting your work process helps you identify projects that are taking too long but paying less than others. This allows you to identify better projects and clients, create appropriate frameworks for successful work, and establish best practices.
10. Learn to manage multiple projects
Working with multiple clients requires a rigorous work schedule. You need to establish a routine and follow an appropriate work ethic to do justice to your assignments and ad-hoc projects.
You must be self-starter, organized, meet deadlines and consistently deliver quality content. Use relevant SaaS tools for remote workers to track your work, set reminders, manage your schedule, set up appropriate communication channels with all stakeholders, and stay in the know.
Start scaling your freelance writing business today
Turning your vocation as a freelance writer into a successful business requires taking small steps in the right direction. Take it one step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be halfway there, seeking new sources of clients to showcase your services, do better business, and reap rich rewards.