The Best Way to Land Your First Paying Social Media Client

Nick Usborne

In yesterday’s article I wrote about how social media stands out as the kind of writing work that almost ALWAYS comes with a monthly retainer deal.

This makes it pretty much the only kind of writing gig that puts retainer deals into the hands of freelancers who are in the early stages of their careers.

Today I’m going to share a 4-step plan you can use to land one of these retainer deals for the first time.

Here goes …

1. Find your niche or industry.

As a social media writer you’re going to be doing a lot of writing. So you’ll want to write about a topic that interests you. That could be finance, health, home and garden, consumer electronics, travel, relationships. The choice is yours!

If you have already chosen a niche for your online copywriting business, pick the same niche for social media. (You’ll learn why this is important in the fourth of this series of articles.)

Once you have chosen your niche or industry …

2. Create an Excel page or equivalent and make a list of 50 companies.

That’s 50 companies in your chosen niche or industry. Find the companies by searching through Google. It takes a little time, but isn’t hard to do, and worth the effort.

In the first column list the names of the companies.

In the second column list their web addresses.

In the third column add their contact email address or the url of their site’s contact page.

Now go to each site, and look for their social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and so on.

Click through to each and get a feel for how well they are doing. Do they update their Facebook at least once a day? Do they tweet a few times a day? Do they respond to comments and messages? Are they conversational in their writing style? Are they being social? (As opposed to simply using social media as a broadcast channel to pitch their products or services.)

In the fourth column of your spreadsheet, rate each company. Give them a 1 if they are doing a terrible job with social media. Give them a 5 if they are doing an amazingly good job.

Reach out to your list of prospects with ratings or 1, 2 and 3. Why? Because it's the companies that are doing social media badly that offer the best and easiest opportunity.

3. Reach out to your list of prospects with ratings of 1, 2 and 3.

Make your first contact super-simple. Use their basic contact email address, or the form on their contact page.

Here’s what you say:


My name is Nick Usborne and I would really appreciate it if you could give me the name and email address of the person in your company responsible for Social Media Marketing.

Thanks in advance!


Nick Usborne

That’s all you write. Why? Because there is no point in pitching yourself until you know who you should be talking to. A perfect sales pitch to the wrong person will do you no good at all!

4. Start the conversation …

Once you have the right name and email address, send a slightly longer email to introduce yourself. Don’t make it a long, detailed pitch. Keep it simple. You’re not trying to close the deal with one email. You’re just trying to start a conversation.

Ask them if they ever use outside freelancers. Tell them you’re a social media writer. Tell them you love their industry and company and would love to work with them. And that’s pretty much it.

If they are even remotely interested, they’ll email you back with some questions. That’s the time to start going into more detail and pitch your expertise and services.

OK … that’s the four-step plan. Super-simple and it always works. That list of 50 companies should give you your first client. If not, try another 50. It’s a numbers game.

Once the conversation gets to the point where they ask you about your pricing, here is a rough guide, based on a couple of assumptions.

  1. You don’t have a ton of experience yet as a social media writer.
  2. You are approaching small to mid-sized companies, not the big players.

For a single channel, like Twitter or Facebook – $1,250 a month

For two channels – $2,000 a month

For three channels – $2,500 a month.

As you can see, the more channels they give you, the better the deal for them, and the more money you earn.

OK … that’s it for today.

Tomorrow we’ll look at how you can organize your work and create a plan and schedule that will make it easy for you to take on multiple social media clients at the same time.

As always, please jump in below with your comments and questions!

Make Money as a Social Media Marketing Expert

How to Make Money as a Social Media Marketing Expert

Everything you need to know to become a social media marketing expert, as well as four different ways to make money using that expertise. Learn More »

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Published: October 6, 2015

39 Responses to “The Best Way to Land Your First Paying Social Media Client”

  1. Great insight here. But how do you come up with 50 companies when you know no single companies?


  2. Thank you for this 4 step insight to "how" and I intend to get started as soon as I finish answering my emails. Hopefully this will get the ball rolling, again, thanks Nick.

    Guest (Eulane)

  3. Okay. I have a niche in mind but I don't know much about it yet. What would you recommend I do to learn as much as possible about a niche?

    Guest (carlosg)

  4. At the end of Step #2 you state- rate each 1 through 5. 1 being terrible
    5 being terrific Then in Step #3 you state to reach out to those that are rated 1, 2, or 3.

    So are you suggesting that I will want to go with the more terrible vs. going with the #5 terrific . . . & Why ? ? ?

    Guest (Robert)

  5. On smaller companies, I suppose we contact owners? On larger companies maybe the sales dept.?

    Guest (Steve Bowers)

  6. I'm thoroughly enjoying your articles Nick! Thank you for writing them.
    3 Questions:
    1) For the rates you suggested, generally how many posts are included per week? (I know this may vary per client so how about an average.)
    2) Do your rate recommendations include responding to comments & messages?
    3) Do you usually have to review with your client the post contents prior?

    Thank you kindly!

    Guest (Tina)

  7. Nick, I've been doing some writing in men's fashion, custom fit tailoring. Would it be unethical to contact a company that I was introduced to from a sub contract?

    Bill Taylor

    Guest (wtaylor777)

  8. Hi Nick,

    Question, could you give an example of companies in the niche industry. For example, if you are interested in the travel industry are we talking about hotels, airlines, timeshare resorts, travel agencies or????? All of the above????

    Thanks for your help.


  9. Thank you very much Nick, this is just what I needed. You answered my retainer income question before I even asked. It is wonderful getting valuable information from seasoned professionals as yourself. I am looking forward to seeing the results from your 4 step plan.

    Guest (Rita)

  10. Wow, I would say this is one of the most value packed emails/articles I have ever read!
    The simple way you make the opportunity to find a social media marketing, home based job doable is quite incredible.
    Personally, this is a Christmas present, for by that time my world should be transformed into one of quality by taking the steps onto this new writing and online path, that you have so eloquently, yet very directly laid out for us seekers.
    Many thanks, and may your words continue to flow in the way of helping humanity!


  11. Definitely the next bright, shiny program on my list-- I can hardly wait to get started!


  12. Love all the help and guidance you give. I'm getting more and more excited every time I read an article. Going back to writing after giving it up years ago. I'm ready to get going!


  13. This was an amazing post! Thank you so much!

    Guest (Erica)

  14. Hi, Nick:

    Okay, now *I'm* actually confused about the rating system; the original way actually made sense - to contact the companies with not-as-good social media presence - because I assumed the slant is to help them improve. So contacting the companies whose presence is already solid seems unnecessary. I guess I need more insight into the thought process.

    Thanks for this article - it might be just what I've been looking for!


  15. Hi. I seem to be the only African here. My inbox is full of Awai messages. But this one carries weight. This is really nice job you just lashed out. I m pretty interested but you know what ? I am in Nigeria... And loving it as this is my home nation. There are little ops from here because though some Nigerians do it, its not well known like in the States and from your end too, the last time i tried to pay for a product my on Awai my found out my country is not listed... Despite having visa and mastercard running down here. Thats why all i do is read and dont reply. Any way i m still interested.. So long there is Life ... Thanks

    Guest (Victor)

  16. Thank you Mr. Usborne.
    With much appreciation, Selena

    Guest (Selena)

  17. Hi Nick. Two questions...

    1) Which are the best social media channels to focus on in terms of demand if we're only going to focus on 2 or 3?

    2) How much do we have to know about each social media channel and how many of them should we be familiar with if we want to pursue the work you're describing this week?


    Guest (Jeff Soufal)

  18. Hi Nick! Thanks for this article series. suitable would taking on social media clients be for someone who is still working a day job?? Thanks!

    Pamela Sonnier

  19. Thank you Nick, you really peaked my interest. Looking forward to more articles.

    Guest (Larry)

  20. A small or even medium size company is going to pay you $1250 a month to send out 3 tweets a day? Really?

    Guest (Dan)

  21. My Dear Nick, Thank you for your all the favors you did to me writing and sending me those enlightening articles all of which I have read. Actually, writing business is as I see complicated and needs technical preparations which are lacking or poor in Iran. I should join so and so programs to ease up my connection with others. How was America 80 or 50 years back? We are in those conditions, particularly after the Iranian so-called revolution. Give me time. Love all AWAI experts.

    Guest (Hussein Karamyar)

  22. Amazing you make it so easy or it sounds easy. I will follow each step in the process. Hope to get my first clients. Thanks Nick I have purchased your social media program its great..

    Carmen Iris

  23. Hi Nick,

    Great week of articles!

    I started sending out emails in the sports niche. I will narrow it to a couple of sports.

    Do you think it's better to start with your local market or nationwide?

    Thanks in advance for your input.


    P.S. Keep up the great work.

    Guest (Keith)

  24. Wow...such great advise, thanks Nick.!

    My Niche is in the Sustainable and ECO Friendly Green market....Also moving that into the Design/Architecture/Photography market......not much out there, but I believe it's coming of age with L.E.E.D. growing stronger all the time!
    I'll put your suggestions to work, & believe I'll need some help with how to really get on board with more of these type of companies.

    Moving upward & onward with the pursuit of the Copywriters Life!!

    Gemma Moore

  25. Nick thanks for the awesome series of articles on landing your first social media client.

    I put what you said into action, and just got a conversation started with a supplement company. My niche is health and fitness, so this is a ideal client for me.

    The Director of Marketing just emailed me today, and asked for samples of my work in the sports nutrition space.

    I don't have any samples of my work as a social media writer.

    What should I do?

    How could I create a few quality samples?

    Guest (Keir)

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