There’s a saying in the freelance world, ABM. It stands for “Always Be Marketing.” And under normal circumstances, that makes sense. Set aside time every day or week to prospect, make connections, and reconnect with existing clients and prospects.
Freelance writers get and stay busy through smart networking and prospecting. Yet, as the world has come to screeching halt, you might feel confused and even stuck.
How do you market your freelance business during a global pandemic? Should you even try?
You’re not alone if you’ve had such thoughts. And while it might have made sense in the first week or two to pause… now, it’s time to reconsider.
Fortunately, as freelancers, we have the advantage of nimbleness.
We can identify new opportunities quickly and act on them.
For example, in the early days of the COVID-19 panic, many freelance writers found themselves writing web pages and emails about COVID-19 protocols.
Others found themselves writing about different aspects of working from home or ways to maintain a positive outlook.
Now that thousands of businesses are doubling down on their online marketing efforts, web writers are more in demand than ever.
Here’s how you can continue to market your web-writing business in a sensitive way.
10 Ways to Market Your Web-Writing Business During a Crisis
1) Update Your LinkedIn Profile — If a prospective client searched for a “freelance [specialty or niche] writer” would they find you? If not, consider adding a specialty or two to your profile “headline.” Does it make sense to revamp your summary? Can you add new specialties and/or clients to your profile? You can even add links to articles on your LinkedIn profile for a mini portfolio. Be clear about what you write or who you write for.
2) Update Your Writer’s Website — Has your focus changed since you started your business? If so, then it makes sense to revise your content. You can also update your portfolio pages (which is good to do every couple of months anyway). That way, you make it easy to send prospective clients your best pieces from a relevant niche.
3) Define a New Skill (and Get the Training) — What’s an adjacent skill your clients need, one that will make you even more valuable to your clients? For example, if you sell blogging services, could you get some content marketing training and add content marketing strategy to your skill set? What about SEO? Or social media training? In some cases, you may already be doing some of the adjacent work but simply not charging for it.
4) Connect with Your Network (and Expand) It — Social media has long been a virtual water cooler for the work-at-home set (including freelancers). From Facebook Groups to virtual conferences, there are many places where you’ll find both colleagues and prospective clients. Choose a couple and show up consistently in a helpful way. That way you get to know other people and they get to know you.
5) Reach Out to Past Clients — If you haven’t already reached out to past clients, why not do so now? Even if it’s people you haven’t worked with in a year or two, you could drop them a note and ask how they’re doing. I’ve heard of writers doing this and getting responses like, “I’m so glad you reached out! Do you have time to take on some work?”
6) Review Your Offers — Clarity is always good. During a crisis, it’s even better. Can you make specific offers to your existing or prospective clients that can help them bring in business sooner rather than later? For example, maybe they’ll benefit from an email series designed to help their clients. If you don’t know their business well enough to make a suggestion, offer to speak with them on the phone and find out more.
7) Get Clear on Who You Want to Work With — When I started my web-writing business, I’d write for anyone who needed web copy and was willing to pay me. Over the years, I’ve grown more selective and now tend to stick to three or four topics and work with businesses I enjoy and that have an ongoing need for content. What about you?
8) Make Your List — Do you have a list of 100 businesses you’d like to work with? If not, now’s the time to build it. You can choose revenue, size, and other parameters to gauge if they’d be a good prospect. I resisted this step for the longest time, but it’s had such a positive impact on my business that it’s the first thing I recommend for web writers who want clients. You can use tools like Owler.com, Angellist.com, and LinkedIn to search for companies.
9) Consider Related Niches — Some industries are at a standstill right now while others are full-speed ahead. For examples of the latter, think of industries like online learning and healthcare. These industries are in growth mode and need writing help. You can even specialize more if you like and have the experience. For example, online learning for secondary education is highly relevant right now.
10) Draft (or Revise) Your Outreach Message — The number one way for web writers to find new clients is to ask. And the best way to ask is to make it relevant to the recipient. If they recently won an award or spoke at a virtual conference, then mention it (if you saw/heard it). You can write a short message that congratulates them on something and then asks if they work with freelancers. Keep a log of the people you email so you can follow up down the road.
There you are. Ten marketing ideas you can implement today and adapt for your situation now or anytime. Start with one or two and then keep adding on to keep your pipeline full. Which ones will you do this week?