How to Find Your Next Client on

I recently landed my third job through (DRJ), AWAI’s member-only job board for freelance and full-time copywriting and graphic design jobs. And today I’m going to help you do the same thing.

When I first discovered DRJ shortly after last year’s Bootcamp, I admit I was a little skeptical. Can it really be this easy, I wondered?

Well, the answer is yes … and no.

Yes … because DRJ indeed brings clients who are in need of copywriting and graphic design services right to your doorstep through daily and weekly online postings. On any given day you’ll find a variety of jobs being offered for both freelance and full-time positions. Jobs offered might include complete website makeovers, email campaigns and simple landing pages, to direct-marketing booklets, magalogs, and other needs for print-based material.

Sounds like a virtual cornucopia of opportunity, doesn’t it? No cold calling, no handing out business cards at networking events. No asking for referrals. What could be easier? Heck, just shoot off responses and wait for the jobs to roll in, right?

Uh, no … it’s not quite that easy. But it is a simple process, and I’ll share with you what I’ve learned to substantially increase your potential to land those lucrative jobs.

Applying for a job on DRJ is not unlike walking into a job interview. You want to look your best, have some knowledge of the company you’re interviewing for, and be ready to offer constructive suggestions that will increase your perceived value to the organization.

The following recommendations are really born from common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people lose their business acumen when it comes to e-communication.

Don’t make the same mistake. Follow these guidelines and I guarantee you’ll elevate your chances of success and be viewed as a professional rather than a “wannabe.”

Here are some things that will help you land that next job:

  • Follow the directions. If you’re going to apply for a job, follow the directions in the job posting to the letter. Sometimes they’ll request links to your work, and sometimes just a letter of inquiry. Sometimes they’ll request a specific writing sample … say, a two-paragraph landing page with a strong call-to-action. Whatever it is they’re looking for, that is what you must provide.

    Remember, this will be their first indication of how well you follow instructions. If you blow it at this level, you can forget about getting a shot at the project or position.

  • Do your homework. Always review the client’s website prior to responding to the ad, and craft a brief comment on it in your inquiry letter. It shows them that you’ve taken a little time to learn about who they are and what they do.

    If a company is looking for a writer to provide website copy, for example, you could make note of an existing headline on their home page and suggest how it might be strengthened by making it more urgent, useful, unique, or ultra-specific. (Ring a bell? It should … it’s AWAI’s “Four U’s” of building strong headlines!)

    Also, if a contact name is provided, make sure you address your response accordingly. Your efforts will go a long way in showing the client you’re taking an active interest in them and not just shooting from the hip and hoping for the best.

  • Don’t be a pest. Email your interest in a position and move on. Remember, the number of responses they’re receiving may overwhelm the client. Give them some room to breathe. If they request additional samples or materials from you, provide them, along with a brief acknowledgement note, and let them take it from there.

    More often than not, you won’t hear back from the person you responded to if the job was awarded to someone else. Don’t take it personally … it’s just the nature of the beast. Other times you might receive an email informing you of that disheartening piece of news. No biggie. When that happens simply respond by thanking them for their consideration and request that they keep your contact information on file for any future opportunities.

  • Be persistent. Look for new postings every day, and understand that most of the leads you follow up on will not turn into paying jobs. This is okay. You should be following up on more leads than you can handle anyway, because ultimately it’s a numbers game. Just keep applying to enough postings, and the work will eventually follow.

  • Acknowledge the opportunity. Obviously, if a company is looking to fill a full-time, in-house position and you’re only looking for freelance work, don’t apply. But you now know that company has a need for the type of services you provide. Consider this to be a “golden nugget” of information for landing future work.

    There’s no reason why you can’t contact the company and try to talk to the person who posted the ad on DRJ. Be honest with them … let them know you saw their ad, and although you’re unable to commit to a full-time, in-house position, you’d like to be considered on a freelance basis for the type of work that was posted. Offer to send in some samples for their review and ask if you can keep in touch with them every couple months or so.

    I haven’t met anyone yet who denied this type of request. And sooner or later, when the company gets in a bind, you just may be the one they turn to for help!

Adhering to these guidelines will label you as a professional and eventually lead to paying gigs through All you need to do is be diligent, remain professional, keep honing your craft, and above all, have fun!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: October 29, 2008

1 Response to “How to Find Your Next Client on”

  1. Good practical advice to take advantage of Directresponsejobs provosion. Thanks.

    Jawaharlal Jasthi 36

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