The market is bustling and the competition is as fierce as it can get. In a scenario like this, being loaded with creative talent and new ideas does not help alone- it is equally important to make yourself visible and project a desirable image to prospective employees.
Since most freelance writers do not work in a conventional office setting, they have little opportunity to meet and network with people on a professional level. Therefore, Internet is probably the only medium through which they can reach out to the world and showcase their skills and services. You greatly increase your odds of landing a project if clients are aware of your existence and career profile. Here are a few things you can do to transform yourself from a wallflower to an aggressive, professional writer:
Splash yourself on portals: Look out for websites and portals that allow you to post a free profile or an ad about your services. Your ad should ideally contain your full name, location, experience and services offered along with contact information. If you have a website, blog or published samples of writing on the Internet, post the relevant links. On job portals, you may upload a detailed portfolio and an updated resume. Naukri.com, Monster.com, Clickindia.com, TimesJobs.com and Quikr.com are reputed sites that enjoy good traffic.
Send out mailers: Draft an effective mailer that describes your academic and professional background in detail. List out your publishing credits, clients and their testimonials (if you can manage those) along with a comprehensive description of writing services that you specialize in. Include any links to writing samples if possible. Send out the e-mailer to relevant contacts in your address book and a printed copy to local business owners/ magazine editors/corporate offices.
Launch your own website: Once you have a decent portfolio to showcase, consider launching your own website. Though a paid site looks far more professional and fares better on search engines, some sites like Freewebs.com allow you to build up your own site for free. Just so that you know, buying and maintaining a site can be an expensive affair and you should be prepared to shell out hosting charges ( this comes around Rs.4000 annually) along with the website designer’s fee for designing and updating your site on a regular basis (varies according to the city and experience of the designer). However, owning a website certainly gives you a competitive edge and makes it easier for prospective clients to browse through your works. Also, I have noticed that clients do not like to work with “faceless” writers, so don’t forget to put up a picture with your best smile!
Network like a maniac: Link up with people from the same profession and don’t hesitate to ask for advice and guidance. Sites like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter can actually help you build new contacts (just don’t spam unassuming people with random messages!) and publicize your services. Professional networking will go a long way in getting you recommended or referred for a project.
Boost up your web activity: Participate actively on forums and discussions pertaining to writers or writing. If there’s something you know too much about, consider blogging on it. Your discussions will enhance your visibility and your blog posts will serve as good samples of your work. Sites like Ciao.com even pay a little something for writing reviews (however, this money can never pay your bills :))
Hope this stuff was helpful. Got any marketing strategies or “publicity stunts” to share? I would be happy to hear from you…