The freelance lifestyle is an attractive one. But with all of the flexibility comes the reality that work might not always be as regular as we
You could deliver a bare-bones article that you’ve rushed through to make a deadline, but there’s so much more to being a truly great freelance writer. If you know your name is going to be attached to a piece, that should give you additional motivation to help a client’s article get found and shared. Think of giving your very best with freelance writing as an inbound marketing tactic to attract potential new clients, while you’re getting paid to create it!
Here’s how to get more freelance writing jobs by going above and beyond for your clients.
You probably will have to do this most of the time anyways, but why not position it as a perk of working with you? Many people hire for freelance writing jobs because they are at a loss when it comes to content marketing, especially with regards to what their audience actually wants to read.
It’s at this point that you should also give some insight into your process for working with clients. For example, I use Trello as an editorial calendar for my clients, and I walk them through how we can both submit and agree upon topics, and how the client can then check in on them as they’re in progress or published.
Basically, clients like to be reassured of their decision to hire you, and taking the time to talk about topic development sounds like you have it together.
At the bare minimum, you should offer a feature image possibility or two for each article you write (assuming the client doesn’t have a team in place for graphic design). Just make sure that the images you choose are legal to use, and include proper attribution, so that you and the client don’t get in any legal trouble! The following free stock photo websites can be a good place to start your search for each article:
- Librestock: Compiles results from 40+ stock photo websites in one place (including go-tos like Unsplash and Pixabay)
- Google Image Search: Make sure that you click Tools -> Usage Rights -> Labeled for Reuse to find royalty-free options.
- Flickr Creative Commons: Different licensing options, many are free to reuse. Make sure to follow directions regarding attribution.
If you’re really trying to impress a client, consider hiring someone to create an infographic, or collaborate with their graphic designer to make it happen. Make sure that your fee reflects this additional effort.
(Occasionally) Increase Word Count
Occasionally, write more than what’s really required. But don’t embellish or use filler words: this should be 100 percent about quality. Think of this as a way to surprise and delight clients, but not as a requirement.
Provide an Outline Before Writing
This will probably only help you get more freelance writing jobs if you’re dealing with clients who like to be very involved in the content marketing efforts they otherwise delegate out. But even if they don’t ask for it, providing an outline can be a good way to show that you’re on the right track before getting in too deep with an article, by nipping any wasted effort in the bud. Make sure you present the outline as an editable document so that the client can add in their own two cents (Google Docs is good for this).
Include Onsite SEO Factors
SEO is the name of the game when it comes to content marketing, so the best way to get more freelance writing jobs (and charge more for them!) is to educate yourself about content SEO/onsite SEO factors, then make sure each post includes these important pieces:
- Keyword research: Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner (free) to research keyword possibilities for articles, including traffic and competition levels. Additionally, consider what you know about the buyer’s journey, and how to optimize for keyword intent.
- At least 2 internal links from the client’s website, and 2 outbound links to high quality sources (per 500-1000 words).
Conversion Factor (aka, a Call to Action)
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to get visitors to convert in some way. Although the highest goal is to create a sale, other conversions that help build a relationship are also desirable.
Make sure that you don’t end a post without telling people what to do next. A few ideas if you’re stuck:
- Tweet your thoughts at @CompanyTwitterHandle…
- Get in touch here…
- Sign up for the email list…
Another way to create a useful conversion factor is by creating Click to Tweet takeaways for especially good statistics or quotes throughout the article (if the client uses WordPress).
Create a Content Upgrade
A content upgrade is a conversion factor that encourages readers to take the next step with a company by creating a compelling reason to sign up for their email newsletter. A content upgrade can take the form of a super simple checklist, ebook, or printable document based on the article’s topic.
Create Preview Text
You’ll consistently get more freelance writing jobs by helping your clients think through every possible element required in a finished post. One often forgotten but incredibly important piece is these various types of preview text, pre-written with your finished article:
- Meta description: 160 characters or less, a teaser to search engine visitors.
- Email teaser: ~100 words or so, helping the client tease a new blog post to their email subscribers.
- Social media copy: Teaser text for social sharing, with call outs for handles of any companies/individuals mentioned in the article to encourage sharing.
- Headline options: Sometimes one is not enough. Some clients like to see different possibilities. Consider adding a few headline options based on the SEO keywords you’ve identified.
Upload Post to Their CMS
This feature is especially useful for a client who wants to be completely hands off when it comes to managing their blog/website and content marketing efforts. It’s reassuring for potential clients to hear that you’re a whiz with WordPress, so show them that you’re the whole package when pitching new freelance writing jobs.
If you’re especially handy with navigating a CMS like WordPress, you can also use this opportunity to pitch a couple of hours of web work as a retainer to help them out with updates. Upsell is a beautiful thing!
Some clients have the material, they just don’t know how to translate it to written content. Offering to facilitate and “translate” interviews into a final piece of content will be very useful for some clients—just make sure you’re charging for the time it takes to coordinate and execute the interview.
Share the Article with Your Social Followers
You’ll only get more freelance writing jobs by pitching this if you have a relevant social audience to complement the client’s brand and industry. If you do, make sure your potential clients know about it. Give numbers regarding followers and other statistics relating to sharing numbers with your pitches.
Be a Good Communicator
This means always keeping the client in the loop. It also means letting an editor know if you’re going to be late in turning in an article—at least a day before it would be due (and never the day of). You’ll get even more freelance writing jobs by never turning in an article late. Remember, your reputation precedes you.
Some clients will ask you to create content without a byline. This can be a great opportunity, but you should certainly charge extra for others to take credit for your writing.
Get More Freelance Writing Jobs
Go above and beyond by adding some of these different pieces that are within your wheelhouse, and that you can provide with confidence. Then, make sure every client and potential client knows how capable you are by sharing your process on your services page. If you need an idea of where to start, here’s mine. By offering so much value, it will be easy to justify paying you accordingly.
What are your tips for getting more freelance writing jobs by going above and beyond? Share your insights in the comments so that we can raise the bar for freelance writers everywhere!