10 Actionable Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

10 Actionable Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

Top 10 Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

Are you struggling to land your first freelance writing client? How can you impress prospects and land your first freelance writing gig.

The four biggest problems many freelance writers are dealing with are:

  1. How to find freelance writing jobs
  2. How to retain existing clients
  3. How to pitch to new clients
  4. How to raise your freelance writing rates without losing your existing clients

But, as a newbie freelance writer, your problem is how to land your “first” freelance writing client.

I know so because I’ve been there – in the same situation where you keep wondering and asking yourself this one question, “How do I get my first freelance writing gig?”

The good news is that, you do not need any miracle to land your first writing job. The only thing you need to do is “taking consistent action” to find your first client.

Here’s what you should do…

1: Create and Build Your Freelance Writing Portfolio to Impress Prospective Clients

Having an impressive writing portfolio is a remarkable way to impress potential clients and urge them to hire you.

But as a newbie freelance writer:

  • How can you create a portfolio if you haven’t work for any client?
  • Do you have to get freelance clients to work with before you can create a portfolio profile?

You don’t necessarily need to have completed  work under your belt before you can create a portfolio of your work to impress prospects.

Here’s what to do instead…

My good friend Ryan Biddulph always say, … develop relationships and build bonds with pro-bloggers and freelance writers in your writing niche.

Build relationships with them by supporting their work through the following steps:

  • Like and comment on their posts on social media
  • Share their work across social media sites
  • Mention them in your posts and link to their blogs
  • Visit their blogs and leave valuable comments on their articles (especially their latest blog posts).
  • Etc.

(You may want to read how to write epic blog comments that will get you noticed by top bloggers and influencers in your industry).

However, it will only take you a couple of weeks to do these tasks and set your self up for success.

Next, start pitching them for a guest post opportunity. Then use each published guest post to create a portfolio of your work.

But…

Where can I create a portfolio?

Easy bro, I knew you were going to ask me that.

There are many places to create a portfolio of your work, such as:

  • Setup a self-hosted blog or website and create a portfolio page within your blog or website. But if you are not ready for a self-hosted blog or website, no worries. You can set up a free blog on WordPress, Blogger, Wix, etc.
  • Go to Contently and create a free portfolio.
  • Use Pinterest to create a portfolio for your work.
  • And of course, create a portfolio on LinkedIn.

With your portfolio setup, start adding your published guest posts to showcase your writing skills to potential clients.

2: Optimize and Update Your LinkedIn Profile Frequently

Many freelance writers underestimate the power of LinkedIn to attract prospects and land new clients, or score your first freelance writing client.

LinkedIn is an all social media marketing site for professionals – a place where you can meet with business executives, managers, etc.

A recent research revealed that 80% of B2B marketers view LinkedIn as the best marketing channel for lead generation.

As a result, many freelance content writers are finding high-paying clients from the platform.

When prospective clients want to hire you for the first time, they usually go to either Google or LinkedIn to check you out before offering you a job.

They put in your name in search to find out more about you.

Interestingly, Google will show your LinkedIn profile, and if what they see interests them, they will certainly offer you the job.

So then, the question is…

Is your LinkedIn profile well-optimized?

When you optimize and update your LinkedIn profile correctly, it will boost your credibility and help you land your “first” high-paying freelance writing client.

Thus, optimize your profile to make sure the right prospects finds your profile on LinkedIn and Google searches.

These are clients who will create a long-term business relationship with you.

Utilize The LinkedIn “experience” section

What interests me most about LinkedIn is that it offers you a section to create a list of past work experiences.

Many user of the platform will add their previous work experience in this section, but for smart freelance writers, this is a perfect place to create a portfolio that will showcase your writing samples.

From there prospective clients can clearly see what you can do for them – in terms of content creation.

That’s not all…

You can also add descriptions and links to each work you’ve completed for your clients as well as guest posts you contributed to other blogs in each experience section.

Here’s a screenshot of my  “experience” section on LinkedIn for inspiration.

Top 10 Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

Here is how to fill up each section:

Top 10 Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

In the “company” name section, input the name of the blog or website where you contributed a guest post.

Next is the “title.” Here’s where you put your title, such as, freelance IT writer, b2b freelance writer, etc.

You don’t want to be a general “freelance writer.” Be specific to your niche.

Next after title is your “location.” You already know where you are working from, so add it there.

After location is the “start date” and “end date.” For me, I added the date my articles were published as the “start date.”

If you intend to keep contributing guest posts to the blog, then leave the “end date” empty and check the “I currently work here” box.

Then move on to the “description” section and fill out the form completely. Get testimonials from your guest post hosts and add them as well.

Add your links and click the save button to save it.
That’s it, you have created a beautiful portfolio on LinkedIn.

This will make it easier for prospective clients to see all your work in one place without leaving your profile.

*important* Your goal here is to land your “first” freelance writing client. So make sure to add only guest posts that you’re so proud of that will impress prospective clients.

Please, read this article to learn how to better optimize your LinkedIn profile to boost your credibility.

3: Narrow Down Your Niche

Yes, you read it right. Choose a niche market and narrow down your niche to have a focus.

Clients love to work with writers who have a specialty, or freelance writers who work in a specific industry.

This means you do not want to be known with the general term, “freelance writer,” but one with a niche.

For example, you could narrow down your niche to “IT freelance writer,” “Technology freelance writer,” and so forth. This will make it easier for you to land your first client.

Alright then,…

How can I find my freelance writing niche to narrow down?

Hold your breath, I was expecting that question from you.

Here’s how to find your niche…

Look at your interests, your hobbies, your past work experience, etc. Which of these do you have a passion for?

If you can identify that which you have a passion for – a topic that fascinates you, that is your niche.

Another way to find your niche is to write on different topics. Then, from the different topics you’ve written, choose the ones you like the most.

In fact, this method is my favorite because it helps you in three different ways:

  1. Helps you pinpoint topics you like
  2. Enables you find topics that pays well
  3. Helps you improve your writing skills

This strategy will help you narrow down your niche and land your first freelance writing client.

4: Search for Potential Clients to Work With

Now that you have created your portfolio, optimized your profile, and narrowed down on a niche, the next thing to do is to start searching for potential clients right away.

Don’t sit back waiting for clients to come to you. Go out and get them!

Where to search for clients

There are many ways and places to search for clients to work with.

The first place you might want to look at is freelance writing job boards. There are many job boards where you can find freelance writing work.

My go-to job boards are:

Pro tips – The best practices for job boards is this; make sure you check job boards everyday – morning and night and send proposals to jobs that interest you.

Other places to find freelance writing jobs are online business directories. Of course there are many online business directories available, such as:

What is an Online Business Directory?

An online business directory is an online list of businesses that are listed within a particular niche, or category.

From the list of companies and businesses on the directory of your choice, select those in your niche that are using content marketing as part of their marketing strategy.

Access their websites and search for their email addresses and a contact person to send your pitch to.

There are other writers who are constantly writing articles for these companies to update their blogs.

Why not make yourself available by reaching out to them via emails?

That’s not all…

5: Take Advantage of Local Clients to Land Your First Writing Client

Are you taking advantage of local clients in your area? Searching for local clients is also a great way  to score your first freelance writing job.

Visit your local newspaper and speak to the editor or the person in-charge about how you can help them with content creation.

Tell your friends, family members, and co-workers about your new career and ask for referrals.

Go to your local grocery store, businesses, etc, and ask if they would be interested to work with you as a content writer for their blog.

If they do not have a blog for their business, convince them to create one by helping them see the benefits of having a business blog.

What I love about searching your local area for clients is that, no-one is pitching them, or they might not even have a blog.

So reaching out to them in person and letting them see clearly how you can help them take their business to the next height with content writing will definitely increase your chances of being hired right there.

6: Take Advantage of Authority Websites to Land Your First Client

I so much love this method because it is hot! Yes, it is hot because the success rate surpasses any other strategy you can imagine.

In fact, at one point after successfully getting more clients with this step, I began using only this method.

Here’s how it works…

Visit authority websites and blogs in your industry and look up the author bio of the contributors to find those who are freelance writers.

If you find freelance writers who are contributing to the blog, then, you have a higher chance of being hired as well.

Make a list of the websites that are using freelance writers for content creation, and look up the contact details of the blog’s editor or blog owner and add them to your list.

When you’ve created a considerable list of blogs and email addresses, start sending your pitch to them immediately.

7: Use Seasoned Freelance Writers to Land Your First Writing Client

The easiest way to find websites that are using freelance writers for content writing is to search the portfolio profile of seasoned freelancers writers in your niche. Why?

Because they already have a long list of clients they have worked for, and clients they’re currently working with that you can take advantage of.

Therefore, visit their blogs and search for their portfolio pages.

Here’s what to do…

Make a list of top freelance writers you want to look up, then, go to Google and enter the name of each freelance writer on the search bar to see what pops up.

Google will show you their personal websites and other relevant information.

Access each site and look for the freelancer’s “portfolio” page.

However, often, some freelance writers might not use the word “portfolio” for the portfolio page. They might use word variations such as;

  • My Projects
  • Business Writing
  • Writing Clients
  • Clients Work
  • Etc.

So if you can’t find a portfolio page name on a website, look up word variations as listed above.

For example, Instead of portfolio, Carol Tice’s used “Business Writing” for her portfolio name.

10 Actionable Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

So look up similar names if you can’t find a portfolio name on their website.

As you can see in the screenshot, her list has more than enough clients you can leverage and get your feet on the ground.

how to land your first freelance writing client

8: Use Contently & LinkedIn to Score Your First Writing Client

Contently

Contently is an incredible marketplace for freelancers to showcase their work and attract new clients.

As a result, you may want to go to Contently and search for the portfolio profiles of freelance writers on you list, because in rare cases, some of them might not have a portfolio page on their personal website, but they might have one on Contently.

Here’s how to search for freelance portfolio on Contently.

Enter the writer’s name + Contently. For example, if you want to search for Elna Cain, here how to do it; enter Elnacain.contently.com in the search bar.

You will be directed to Google. See screenshot below.

In fact, Google will expand on your search and show other freelance writers as well.

10 Actionable Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

 

From the Google result page, you can see that Google also brought up Sharon Hurley Hall’s Contently portfolio profile.

10 Actionable Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

 

From the profiles above you can see the list of clients they have worked for. Elna has 128 completed projects for 17, and Sharon has over 600 projects for 70 clients.

These are potential clients who can pay you to write for them as well.

Thus, make a list of these websites and get the contact information of their editors or contact person and send them your pitch.

What you should have in mind is that, if a site owner is paying other freelance writers to create content for his blog, the is a higher chance that he will hire you as well.

LinkedIn

As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn provides users (smart freelance writers) a section to create a portfolio of their work and showcase their ability.

So, in a similar way, as in the processes right above, take advantage of LinkedIn to find your first freelance writing client to work with.

How?…

Let’s say Elna Cain is on your list of freelance writers you’re researching to find clients she has worked with.

Head over to LinkedIn and enter her name in the search box.

When you find her profile, scroll down her profile to find the “Experience” section.

The LinkedIn “Experience” section is where smart freelancer writer are using to create a portfolio of their work as discussed earlier.

But for some reason, if you can’t find her freelance work portfolio there, then, look under her company name tab, and the summary section of her profile.

10 Actionable Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

 

Scroll to the bottom to find her projects for clients.

What you should do next…

Make a list of her clients, then, visit their website to find email addresses of the editor, content manager, or blog owner.

When you have all the necessary information in place, start sending out your pitch.

This strategy works amazingly great because those clients are interested in working with freelance writers, which makes you a potential material to work with.

*Important* Not all freelance writers have a portfolio space on LinkedIn and Contently, including many seasoned freelance writers.

So, if you can’t find a freelancer’s portfolio on LinkedIn and Contently, search through other channels as well.

9: Write An Irresistible Pitch

What should you do next, after collecting email addresses of editors and content managers and putting together a list of potential clients to work with?

Of course, you have to start sending out your pitch.

Writing a compelling freelance writing pitch is actually an entire subject or topic on its own, but for the sake of this article, let’s talk about it a little.

In everything you do where other people are involve, first impression is crucial to your building a sustainable bond with them.

Thus, when sending out your email pitch to potential clients, make sure your pitch is well crafted.

It must have all the important components that will move prospects to hire you right away.

Here’s what you should do…

  • Make your pitch personal by using recipient’s name.
  • Mention their blog or website, and highlight an article on his blog and social media profile that interests you, especially their  most recent post.
  • Make your pitch visually appealing so that they will have no choice but to hire you.
  • Let recipients feel your expertise, the height of your writing skills, and  knowledge in your pitch.
  • Add links to samples of your most recent work
  • Let prospects know that you have done your homework.

That way, they have no option but to acknowledge that you will add value to their readers and customers with your writing skills.

*Important* Clients want to know that you are the right person for the job.

They want to know that you have worked on a similar project, and the best way to make it happen is to craft a compelling pitch and show them samples of your work that you’re so proud of.

10: Use Follow Up Emails to Land Your First Freelance Writing job

Sending follow-up emails to prospective clients is important, because it is more like a wake up call, saying… hellooow, I’m still waiting for your response.

But when writing a follow-up email, you don’t want to sound pushy and irritating to clients. Annoying them is a red flag you don’t want to receive.

What can you do in this regard?

If you send out a pitch or proposal and don’t hear from the prospect after a week, go back and send him a friendly follow-up email to show that you’re truly interested in the job.

As mentioned, wait after about a week before sending your follow-up email.

Your follow-up email could be something like this:

Hi (prospect’s name),


I’m just following up on the email I sent you last week to see if I can help with your content needs. I would love to set up a call if you’re open to calls so we can discuss further, or we can discuss about it via this medium when you’re available.

Let me know your thoughts, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Best regards,

(Your name).

This is a simple follow-up email you can send to clients.

I know what you’re thinking… yes, you can copy the template and use it, or better still edit it as desired.

Using the phrase “when you’re available” in your follow-up email indicates that you’re not desperate for the job, (even though you might be) but that you’re available when your prospect see fit to contact you.

It also shows that you’re organized and flexible to work with..

*Important* Notice the qualities you exhibited in your follow-up email:

  • Availability
  • Flexibility
  • Organized

These are top qualities every freelance writer must have. Clients love it when you have them.

10 Actionable Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

Wrapping It Up

Here you have it. Top 10 tips that will help you impress prospective clients and land your very first freelance writing client.

It’s not a rocket science program, but a consistent little effort on your part that will open doors for you and pay off at the end of the day.

Make sure to respond to emails on time in a friendly way, and personal. Ask important questions to get clear of their requirements.

Tell us in the comments section, what tips have worked well for you?

Moss Clement is a blogger and B2B freelance writer who blogs at www.mossmedia.biz. He is working with B2B marketers and individuals like you by providing high-quality blog content writing, ghostwriting, and other writing services that are tailored to the needs of your target audience.

Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn,

24 thoughts on “10 Actionable Tips to Impress and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client

  1. Excellent advice Moss. Thanks for the shoutout too 🙂 My business grows through my friend network. If you patiently make buddies through being generous your business grows exponentially over time, independent of Google updates and Facebook algorithms and all that jazz.

    1. Hi Ryan,
      That’s the essence of building bonds with other bloggers and freelance writers. They help you promote and grow your business without faster.

      Thank yiu for coming by and commenting, Ryan!

  2. Hi Moss,

    Attracting clients as a newbie freelancer is a tough job. But with experience and quality of your work you can gradually start attracting more and more clients.

    I always believe in searching for the potential clients.

    Glad you have shared this.

    1. Hi Guarav,
      Making effort to search and find clients to work with is a great way to landing your first client. But you need to offer value, as it will help you prospective clients to identify you as a top notch writer.

      Thank you for coming by.

  3. Hi Moss,

    Excellent post. There is so much to learn every single day. You have shared a comprehensive post regarding this subject. I am glad I landed on your post today.

    Thanks for sharing, have a great week ahead. 🙂

    1. Hi Sajid,
      Bloggers and freelance writers, we keep learning new tips and latest trends everyday. And the more we learn, the better we become. I so happy that you like the post.

      Thank you for coming by.

  4. Hey Moss,

    Freelancing is a great way to get educated about a certain topic and gain some experience.
    And we think LinkedIn is the best platform to achieve that.
    Besides, that other freelancing websites are okay. The first bid would always take a lot of time but once you get some ratings it becomes very easy.

    1. Hi Brain Pundits,

      The good thing about freelance writing is that it offers you a platform to improve your writing skills and become the best you can. But you might have to make sacrifices, such as working for low–paying clients and working for free as well. That is the “start small grow big” method.

      Thanks. A lot for coming by.

  5. Hey Moss,

    I have been getting in to the idea of freelance writing and so far I have started with ProBlogger’s job board.

    I think it is very important to keep the faith and work hard on building a presentable portfolio. True in the beginning you might have to work with small clients but it will give you a whole lot of experience.
    Anyways awesome post.

    1. Hi Bhawna,
      I like your mindset–start small, grow big. That simply means, start with smaller clients, improve your skills and grow your business. Yes, Problogger job board is a great place to start. But you have to search for and pitch prospective clients. It’s easy to find them by spying on top or other freelance writers.

      Thank you for coming by,..

  6. Hi Moss,

    Great post. Small things become big. When we work as freelancer, it exposes us to the demands of the market which makes us better day by day. Once we achieve the position where we intend to reach, things become much easier.

    Thanks for this post. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    1. Hi Tarique,

      I agree with you, my friend. You start small and than nurture it to grow into a big business. And as you start your freelance writing career with low-paying clients, you at the same time will improve your writing skills and become a seasoned freelance writer. From there high-paying clients will start attracted to you. Thus, ensure to provide quality always.

      Thank you for coming by and adding to the discussion.

  7. Having read this I believed it was rather enlightening.
    I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this information together.
    I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re so welcome. I am happy that you like the article, which is hats more important–to give readers what they want. Freelance writing is a great business venture, but you need to know where and how to land freelance writing jobs. This article helps you find your first client to work with.

  8. In reality, a good client is one who values your work and encourages the writing skill, they can ultimately understand the craft inside the work and realize the insight of the work. This is the great work, thanks for the clean heart and willingness to enlight us and I have really benefitted from your informative post.

    1. That’s right. Many freelance writers are struggling to get writing clients to work with, and there are many others who are yet to find their very first client. So that is the inspiration to this post, as it brings out interesting places where you can easily find your fist. Freelance writing client to work with.

  9. The information you described in the above article is pretty good. I think you should write more on this and related topics as well so that I can send more users on your article. It helps me a lot.
    Thanks

  10. Great thoughts I really appreciate your writing. I go through your complete article and found this one is one of the best described articles on this topic. I have added some of your content lines in my assignment as well
    Thanks for Great Information

    1. You’re most welcome, Shehanne. Your blog and content looks great, so I decided to follow you. Thank you too for returning the favor and for contributing to the conversation. Well appreciated!

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