Many freelance Web content writers are wonderfully talented but struggle to find a continuous stream of paid work. Often this can be because they market their skills in a haphazard way, without working to a strategy.
Establishing an online presence is an essential part of such a strategy. By positioning yourself online as a go-to Web content writer you'll gradually forge a reputation as an expert in your field and get steady work as a result.
Uploading a profile (short biog) and portfolio (samples of your writing) onto freelance work exchange websites, such as PeoplePerHour.com, Guru, Elance and iFreelance, can be powerful additions to your online presence. Companies worldwide post paid writing jobs on these sites that writers can then make a bid for.
This article will explain how to create your profile: what to include, what to leave out, and how to set yourself apart – to increase your prospects of having paid writing projects 'on tap', all-year-round. Imagine that!
Preparing to Write Your Profile – Take a Step Back First
– Do not just register with the site, log in and start typing up your profile and uploading your portfolio samples. Take some time to think it all through first.
– Grab a pad and pen, and brainstorm ideas. Mindmap it. Take as long as you need. Think about the services you offer, your strengths, what makes you different …
– To get ideas (but without copying) read other writers' profiles. What do they say about their skills, experience, payment terms, etc? Read through half-a-dozen profiles and make rough notes. Not only will this give you ideas, it will also help you get more of a feel for the sites.
– Now start typing up a rough first draft of your profile in Microsoft Word. (Write two or three drafts and then print the document and let it 'rest' for a few days. Then read it again with a fresh eye and make any necessary edits)
Writing Your Profile – Techniques to Use
– Go for short sentences and a simple writing style. Remember, you're selling writing, so the way your profile is written will be potential clients' first impression of your writing standard and style.
– Keep it honest. Do not oversell or overclaim.
– Keep it positive. Do not say what you can not do. Focus only on what you can.
– Adopt a customer-focused mindset. Do not ramble on and do not just brag about what a great writer you are. Instead talk enthusiastically about what your writing can help clients achieve, how it could benefit them … think YOU YOU YOU.
– Set yourself apart somehow. There are thousands of writers worldwide. What makes you different? Is your writing witty? Are you cheaper than the rest? Are you vastly experienced? Are you a niche writer who specialises in writing about travel? Whatever separates you from the rest, focus on that and include it early on in your profile. You could even include it in your profile headline. You never know, if it's there in big bold letters you might just snag the attention of a potential client who is looking for someone exactly like you.
More Tips and Tricks
– Choose an eye-catching image. Rather than just using a headshot, how about going for something more original instead? As a tip, think about using an image that corresponds with your USP. If you're saying you deliver brilliant writing, FAST, how about using an image of a cheetah or an Olympic sprinter? You get the gist!
– List the main services you offer near the top of your profile. If a potential client reads your profile quickly, they will find the vital info quickly, and hopefully your skills will match their project. As you mention a skill, point the reader to a strong example of it in your portfolio on the site.
– Assume nothing. Do not just put 'SEO', write it out in full (search engine optimisation), and explain briefly what it is.
– List sectors and industries you have written for.
– State how many years of experience you have.
– Tell clients you can meet deadlines, and will give them a timeline.
– Include genuine testimonials (ones that state how your writing has actually benefited clients, rather than just saying how great the writing was you did for them).
– Explain how you would go about a project (research approach, briefing process, number of drafts …)
– Include your payment terms (ask for 50% of your fee upfront, perhaps?)
– BEWARE of including personal contact info as this could get you removed from the site.
– Offer an extra incentive: "I will write 10 articles or blog posts for the price of 9!" Or how about offering to proofread the client's website for free (as a bonus freebie) once they've given you a paid writing job?
The finally …
– Overall, strive to make an emotional connection: Be positive, friendly, human and accessible. Project yourself not as a writing machine, but as a living and breathing person – someone others would want to know, to be involved with (on a business footing), both in the short and long-term. Taking this approach will give your profile a heart and soul and will give you an edge over other writers who simply craft their profile in the form of an anonymous (and forgettable) list.