10 Ways to Land B2B
Copywriting Clients Now
Choosing to become a freelance writer is exciting. There are millions of opportunities … you can do it from anywhere and you don’t need to go back to school for an expensive degree.
Sounds good, right?
However, there is a slight catch.
It’s not a big one — unless you let it be — but it’s there all the same.
And that catch is, going from declaring yourself a freelance writer to finding clients can be a really big leap.
The surprising thing I’ve realized after nearly a decade as a freelance writer is the biggest leap is a mental one.
Yes, finding clients requires finding people who need and value your skills. Yes, it can feel a little uncomfortable to offer your skills. Yet, once you realize that YOU can do this if you put in the work, then it’s simply a matter of creating a marketing plan for yourself and implementing it.
Also, it gets easier.
How You Can Find Freelance Work Starting Now
Identify a specialty (or three) — What’s the difference between, “I’ll write anything” and “I write for B2B SaaS companies?” Everything. With the former, you sink into the giant pool of confusion, and with the latter, you know who to contact and what to say to them.
Choose something you have some experience in and use that as your cornerstone. You can branch out later. This focus will immediately simplify your life and get your business off on the right foot.
- Update Your LinkedIn Profile — With over 560 million users, LinkedIn is the place to be for business. It’s good for SEO, it’s a requirement for credibility, and there’s even a place to upload portfolio pieces. To make the most of it, you’ll want to use a good picture of your face — no hiding behind logos or pets — and a writing specialty in your title/headline. LinkedIn will give you cues as to how to pump up your profile. Follow the prompts and your profile will shine!
- Post on LinkedIn — Did you know you can post an update? You can! Get into the habit of posting updates there 3-4 times a week. You can share industry links or write your own. While there, interact with other posts within your LinkedIn newsfeed. It’s a simple way to build relationships and help potential clients find you.
Ask People You Know — The Pew Research Center estimates that the average American has 634 people in their network. They also say that those who use technology have more. Do you think it’s safe to say that you can send a brief note to at least 30 people you already know?
Let them know what you’re doing and that you’re looking for clients. Something like, “Hi Sue, As you may know, I’ve launched a freelance writing business and I’m taking on clients. My experience is in ___ and ____ and I’d love it if you’d pass my contact info along to anyone you know who may need a writer. Thanks!”
Keep it light and sunny. It won’t always turn into work right away, but you may be surprised by what comes of it in the coming months.
Make a List of 100 Businesses — Look for businesses that publish the type of work you want to do on a regular basis. For example, if you have a background in Human Resources and you want to write blog posts for the HR industry, then look for HR companies with an active blog. LinkedIn’s search function is helpful for this. So is googling lists of “top x companies.”
Plan to take four or five hours for this. If you’re like me, you’ll go down a few rabbit holes. Personally, I’ll look for 10-15 businesses at a time and then use LinkedIn or a tool like Hunter.io to find the person in charge of the blog. Then, I’ll reach out and ask if they use freelancers.
Cold/Warm Email — Thanks to the magic of email (and following up), you’ll uncover dozens of client possibilities. This may be the single most under-utilized thing writers can do to find new clients. I realize it can feel scary when you first do it, but if you get into the habit of sending out three to five a day, then you won’t even think about it anymore.
To put this into practice, you’ll want to craft a simple script for yourself. Even a simple message asking if a company uses freelancers and briefly mentioning your experience is enough. Keep it short and manage your expectations. While I have gotten work right away with this approach, it usually takes three to eight follow-ups over months.
- Scan Job Boards/Online Sites — Indeed, Monster.com. Problogger, Upwork, DirectResponseJobs.com — Any of these can be good sources for picking up work. Though in my experience, they’re not the most effective ways. To make the most of them, scan them, and apply for anything where you have direct experience.
Give Presentations — When I lived in suburban Philadelphia, I spoke at local networking organizations, taught blogging/SEO workshops at the local college, and offered my own workshops for my target clients. Online, I’ve teamed up with graphic designers and video people to offer presentations. If you like teaching, you may be a natural for giving presentations.
If you want to give this a try, think about what your audience wants to know (and what you help them with). For example, if you sell web writing services, then you could offer a presentation on Google’s latest SEO updates and why good content matters more than ever.
- Ask for Referrals — Got a happy client? Ask them if they know anyone else who could benefit from your skills. This also works when you know other professionals who do related work but not the same thing as you. I’ve gotten referrals from graphic designers and web developers, for example.
- Ask Past (or Current) Clients — If you’ve already got a client or two, think about their business and offer them an idea or two you’re the perfect person to implement. For example, one of my clients is a local medical professional. I write his blog posts and realized he wasn’t sending out a regular newsletter so I offered to do it for him (at an additional fee, of course).
As you can see, there are many ways to find clients for your freelance writing business. To make them work for you, pick a couple and make them part of your regular routine.
Consider your immediate goals too. If you want to get your first sample, then you’re in a different place than someone who’s got a few samples and wants to replace a full-time income. Those situations lend themselves to different marketing approaches.
Which tactics will you try next?
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 »