Calling All Freelance Writers: How to Get Content Work From Agencies
With the importance of Content Marketing emerging over the past few years, companies, and therefore agencies, are in need of writers. Agencies (and some companies) hire writers full-time as in-house content managers. But for small staffs with only a few writers, the demands are simply greater than they can keep up with. So we turn to outsourced writers.
Many agencies will use services with dozens, or even hundreds, of writers created specifically for agencies or small businesses. And there are some good ones: Digital Sherpa, ContentLaunch and Zerys are a few that we have found helpful. But sometimes, editors or content managers want to work directly with a writer one-on-one. This is where a gold mine of business lies for freelance writers who are experiencing less income due to the downward trend of magazines and newspapers.
Optimizing Your Profiles Can Get You Hired
My preferred channel of communication for these situations happens to be LinkedIn. You would think that since freelancers rely on a steady stream of new work, they would be easy to find and hire. But that has not been my experience thus far. I found a great writer on LinkedIn who I thought would be perfect for the type of content I needed, and although she would have been great, she was booked for the remainder of the year. So I was back to searching, which brings me to asking freelance writers for a big favor: If you want work, say so via your online profile. Here are a few tips that say, “I’m available!” on LinkedIn, but will apply to other channels, as well.
- Determine Your Keywords: Keeping your strengths and interests in mind, how would you expect your potential employer to search for you on Google? Determine keywords, such as “content creator” and “freelance writer,” plus the specific industries you excel in.
- Optimize Your Headline: With your determined keywords, write your headline using a long-tail phrase. Instead of just “freelance writer,” try “medical industry freelance writer” or “small business content creator.”
This could also serve as a place to alert your potential employer if you are taking on new clients or not. Don't be afraid to say something like, “Accepting new clients.” It could save those of us hiring a lot of time. Content managers are busy people, so take advantage of the generous character allowance that LinkedIn offers to make their lives a little easier.
- Promote Your Specialties: Again, include your keywords without making the text awkward. (You are a writer, after all.) It is important to be honest here; list your specific strengths, value assets and accomplishments.
- Show Off Your Best Work: LinkedIn offers so many options for sharing your previous work these days. From the standard Websites option where you should link to your portfolio or website (If you don’t already know, choose the “Other” options so you can customize your link.) to new plugins like Box.net Files and SlideShare Presentations, take advantage! Before any good editor or content manager will hire you, she will want to see your previous work, and this makes it easy.
And to avoid frustration down the road, please don’t post pieces that have been heavily edited. Instead, showcase pieces you are proud to have written and that needed very little effort on an editor’s end.
- Brush Up on Brand Journalism: You know the rules: Do your research! Knowing a little about brand journalism will help both of us get through this process without difficulty.
Content managers want to work with professional, skilled and honest freelancers. Your LinkedIn profile— and other channels, too—are the best place to show that you possess these qualities. When you make our job easier, we will want to work with you on a repeat basis, which equals pay checks and stability for you.
Writers, what are your best tips for getting found on LinkedIn? Do you have any success stories to share? Let us know in the comments below.
PS: If you are looking for a full-time position in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, check out our open content marketing position!
photo credit: nosha
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