This article contains several affiliate links to brands I know, use, and trust. I receive a small commission when you purchase services through these links.
As a business owner, you have to market yourself as a freelance writer and be your own advocate if you want to see success. With so many qualified professionals across a variety of industries, the best way to find new clients is to put yourself out there and stand out from the crowd.
It can be intimidating to market yourself when you have no budget, but it can be done! Here are 5 great ways to promote your writing and secure new clients – and best of all, they’re all completely free.
1. Have a Professional Email Signature
Whether you’re pitching articles or corresponding with contacts in your industry, the life of a writer involves a lot of emails. Having a professional email signature is a low-stakes way to boost your image and promote your online presence.
Whether you want to link to your social media profiles, plug your website, or add a line advertising your skills, taking the time to craft an attractive signature will show that you know what you’re doing and that you’re serious about your services.
Make a point to include your picture, too, to further personalize your message. People like being able to put a face with a name.
2. Create a Website
A website is the best way to showcase your work, tell potential clients a little about yourself, and boost your search engine optimization through site content and blog posts. A professional-looking website builds trust between you and your client and gives them a taste of what you can do.
(I wrote a bit about why you should have a personal website here if you still need convincing.)
While a custom domain and hosting services cost money, there are plenty of free website builders out there to help you get started no matter your skill level. That said, I recommend you set up shop with WordPress.com as a beginner. While there is a free option, I recommend purchasing your own domain for $18 USD annually (this looks more professional than the free option which includes “.wordpress.com” in your URL) and choosing one of the paid packages, either the Personal or Professional options.
While WordPress.com is a great place for beginners, your capabilities are very limited. For example, you can’t add “plugins” (apps that give you more robust functions like collecting email addresses or checking your SEO strength) unless you pay for WordPress’s Business option, which is quite expensive.
If you’re looking for more functionality, I recommend hosting a WordPress website with SiteGround and creating your site with the very user-friendly Divi Theme from Elegant Themes. Divi is a drag-and-drop theme that is incredibly versatile and easy to use. You don’t need any experience building websites or need to know any code. There are lots of informative video tutorials to help you learn the system and make the different templates your own.
You’ll also want to create a portfolio, whether it lives on your site or on an external platform like Contently. Clients almost always want to see an example of your writing before they agree to work with you, so make sure this space is organized and easy to find.
All that said, if you do choose to start out with WordPress.com, once you start seeing more success as a writer, I do recommend that you make the switch and pay for your own domain and hosting. At that point, you might even want to invest in a custom logo or web design to help curate your client’s experience. For your very first website, however, a site with WordPress.com is more than enough to make a difference.
I teach newbie freelance writers how to set up their own websites – both on WordPress and via SiteGround hosting with the Divi Theme – in my Start Freelance Writing course. If you’re feeling apprehensive about getting started, sign up to get help and support.
3. Get Published on Other Sites
Guest posting for high-traffic websites is a great way to get your name out there and help build your reputation. You can pitch guest post ideas to big names in your niche or offer to swap posts with another writer to put your work in front of new eyes.
If you don’t yet have any connections in your niche of choice, no worries! Websites like Medium allow writers to post blogs and maintain an author profile while occasionally promoting articles within the platform, potentially netting a lot of views.
LinkedIn is another great place to market yourself as a freelance writer and posting your content. If the right person shares your post, you could be looking at a significant boost in views. Not to mention, LinkedIn makes it easier than ever to network with other writers and potential clients.
4. Be Present on Social Media
Social media is one of the best marketing tools to have in your arsenal. A consistent social media presence is free to maintain and allows you to meet potential clients and other writers alike. You never know what social media friendships will turn into business opportunities later down the line.
When it comes to social media success, there are two things to remember: Consistency and engagement. You need to post regularly in order to stay relevant in the eyes of the social media algorithms and you need to interact with other users in order to forge meaningful connections.
Most people can tell when someone is only on social media to promote their own agenda and it’s not interesting to follow someone who only talks about themselves. By making your posts meaningful, liking and commenting on other profiles, and delivering consistent, relevant content, you’ll have a social media presence that others will want to keep up with.
5. Nail Your Pitch
As a writer, your pitch is often your first impression with a potential client. You might have the best website out there but no one will visit it if your pitch letter is underwhelming.
If you have writer friends, ask them to look over your pitch letter before sending it out. Look at examples of real pitch letters online that have seen success. Plenty of writers are willing to share what worked for them in order to help others in their industry.
Trying to market yourself as a freelance writer can feel scary, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to find new clients. By using these free tips, you’ll be well on your way to reaching new heights in your freelance writing career.
How to Start a Freelance Writing Hustle This Weekend
Have lofty, wanderlust-y or romanticized dreams of sipping hot drinks from mugs in cafes while sitting in front of a shiny, new MacBook? I can't help you with all of that, but I can help you get a jumpstart on your own freelance writing hustle. Download my ebook for a step-by-step playbook and get started this weekend!