No matter where you live, landing lucrative writing assignments does not need to be difficult. The secret to a profitable freelance writing career is to start small and build it from there. Another secret you must remember to promote your business on a REGULAR basis. Do not shoot off a few ads or letters, then wait three months before launch another campaign. Promote your business DAILY.
So here is your first technique: Approach your local newspaper editor. Ask if they need a freelancer to cover city council, school board, and/or county board meetings. If they do, you are on your way earning a living as a writer because you are about to earn tons of clips. You will also start making valuable business contacts. More on that later…
Armed with your local clips, you can start approaching bigger freelance markets. Markets like small and mid-sized magazines that are hungry for new articles. Start querying them and wait for their response.
While you are waiting to hear from your magazine queries, chat with few of the mayors, city council people, school board members, etc. that you have met at your meetings. Most of them are business people. Ask if they need a freelancer to update their brochures, write ads or direct mail letters, or if they need a writer-for-hire for a project they have brewing. You would be surprised how many business people will take you up on your offer after they have witnessed your diligence and accuracy while covering their meetings.
Now target local businesses and contact them. Offer to write their marketing materials.
To start attracting more commercial clients, run a small ad in your local paper. As your expertise increases, place more ads in surrounding papers.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce. You will meet even more business owners who may need a freelance writer and you will make invaluable contacts.
Send out a direct mail piece advertising your writing services. If you are not comfortable writing direct mail, you can put together a newsletter. Target the businesses you would like to work with and make sure you contact them on a regular basis.
Another technique to keep the money rolling in as a freelance writer is to keep lots of irons in the fire. Along with the magazine queries and copywriting, always have a book in the works and send publishers proposals for it.
Another idea: I know one local freelancer who has cultivated a devoted clientele who has her write all their correspondence including Christmas letters. Your projects are limited only by your imagination.
Make goals each day. Decide how many queries you will send out. Decide how many sales letters you will mail. How many words are you going to write in your book? How many new contacts are you going to make this week? Make your goals, then follow through with them. (Technique 9)
Ask and you may receive. Do not be afraid to ask for what you want. If you are a stringer for your local newspaper, ask the editor if it is possible for them to run a small ad promoting your business at a discount (after all you are a staff writer.) If you write for local businesses, ask them to recommend your writing services to their friends.
Never tell anyone your phone number. GIVE it to them. Print a bunch of business cards and whenever anyone asks for your phone number, give them your card instead.
Network. Make friends in the freelance writing. Give each other leads and help each other become the best writers you can be.
Carry your latest project with you. If you have written a book, bring it wherever you go. If you just finished a big copywriting project, have it nearby. Got an article in the latest issue of a magazine or newspaper? Better bring it with you. Nothing sparks a conversation faster than “What ‘cha been up to lately?” Then, next thing you know, you have got a prospective customer.
I know, I know, I promised twelve strategies to start making money ASAP as a freelance writer. But I got on a roll and thirteen (I have heard) is an unlucky number so here is one more strategy.
Read. Read everything you can get your hands on. If you write novels, read novels. If you write direct mail, read EVERY piece of direct mail that land on your doorstep. If you write ads, read ads. Read what your competition is writing. Read what your friends are writing. Make note of what “works” for you and what does not. Then write something better.
Read e-mags that will help you make your writing as sharp as possible. Perfect your craft, become the best writer you can be, promote your business, and you will have more work than you can handle.
So there you have it. Fourteen fantastic strategies to land lucrative writing assignments and make a great living as a freelance writer. The possibilities are endless. Find out what works for you, then run with it. You just may find yourself earning a very nice income.
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