Writer • Editor • Digital Strategist

How Freelancers Should Use Social Media to Get Ahead

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August 21, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Marketing yourself is crucial if you want to be a successful freelance writer.

Whether you’re just getting started freelance writing, or someone who’s been freelancing for years as a side hustle while working full-time, it’s easy to skip this step—especially when work and life gets busy.

To me “marketing” means emailing editors, networking at events, handing out business cards, possibly blogging on your own site—and being very active on social media.

I learned the importance of this when I was on staff as the social media manager for Prevention magazine for a few years. I managed the Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts for the magazine brand and I was an assigning editor the website. I interacted with freelancers on a daily basis and noticed when freelancers shared the content they created on their social media channels. I’d often Like it or Retweet it as the Prevention brand, and I made note that this freelancer was active on social, doing her or his part to help with our traffic goals.

“Social media is far more important than I anticipated when beginning my freelance career,” says Freelance writer friend Jenn Sinrich. “One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from Ed2010 founder Chandra Turner, who said that you should Tweet every single story you write. You might not think it will gain any traction by sharing, but you’d be surprised by how many eyes are on your work.” I agree with that statement and as an editor who worked with Sinrich at MuscleandFitness.com, she’s great about sharing content on her social feeds!

In my Freelance Writing Online Course on Teachable, I share details about what your social media online profiles should and shouldn’t include. (Check out the course curriculum, get the course for a DISCOUNT now and read more about freelance social media tips.)

Here’s how to use social media to advance your freelance writing career:

Use Social Media to Connect With Sources

I’ve used Twitter and Facebook many times to try to contact a celebrity or hard-to-reach source and messaged them, or found their agent’s name and contact. Have a presence and more than three followers before reaching out to people via social media.

Learn What’s Happening With Clients/Brands Social Channels

As a former social media editor for Prevention and Muscle & Fitness Hers magazines, I can tell you that social media often influences brainstorming meetings and assignments.

If a health magazine posts an article titled “The 7 Best Foods to Eat for Lunch” on Facebook, and it gets hundreds of likes, shares, and comments, you’d be a wise writer to mention that article’s social success when you pitch the editor “The 7 Worst Foods to Eat at Breakfast.” It might sound unoriginal, but sometimes an editor needs some evergreen (not timely) content that’s a solid traffic generator. Monitor the editorial brand’s articles that get lots of pins, retweets, Instagram likes, or comments and mention those in your pitch.

There’s a good chance that the online editor will be impressed that you spent extra time noticing what was resonating with their readers and pitched accordingly. The same goes with pitching a brand.

If you want to create content for or work with a brand in some way, it’s smart to be following them (of course), liking some of their posts, retweeting, sharing, and promoting their content on your own channels if you feel inclined.

This article from ImpactBND.com showcases what makes a social media campaign successful for some brands.

Share Your Published Piece on Social, and Tag Your Client

This tip is so valuable, I’m sharing it again. You got the freelance writing assignment (yay!), it was published, and you’re excited! Share it on your social media channels using the client’s or outlet’s handles (and your sources’ handles if appropriate). Then email your sources the link, thanking them again for their time and encouraging them to share the link, including the clients’ handle and your social handle.

Many of my editors see when I’ve shared something I wrote for them (and like it). As I mentioned earlier, it’s often appreciated because you’re helping to drive traffic for their site or simply get your fans and followers to read their website.

Remember, it’s wonderful to be a talented writer, but being business savvy and keeping your clients’ goals in mind is just as important if you want to get repeat assignments from them. And you will!

Post Your Social Handles in Your Email Signature

I also include my website link, Twitter handle, and LinkedIn profile in my signature on every Google email I send. (It’s under SETTINGS > Signature.)

You can follow me here and we can be social buddies! Let me know if you found me through this blog.

Twitter: @DianaKelly

LinkedIn: @DianaKelly

Instagram: @DKLeo10

Pinterest: @DianaKelly6

Google+: +DianaKelly

Schedule Social Media Posts for the Week

You might be juggling a full-time job while kick-starting this freelance writing career on the side (How to Freelance When You Have a Full-Time Job), so you might not have time to get sucked into a social media vortex. On Sunday schedule your posts for the week ahead using a free Hootsuite account, with at least one post in the morning and another in the afternoon. Once or twice a day, find an article to retweet or like from one of the accounts you’re working with or would like to win.

How do you use social media to get ahead with freelancing?


(Reminder: If you’re missing out on all the back-to-school excitement, learn how to get started with freelance writing with my new online course. I’ll tell you how to boost your income if you’re already a freelancer, find new outlets to write for, how to work with brands, and I’ll show you where to find writing jobs online. You can get started right away and complete the course on your own timeline! Click here for the discounted rate.)

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