May 24, 2021
Marketing is an important component of becoming a successful freelance writer and finding new clients.
Whether you’re just getting started freelance writing, or, are 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 get busy. As a freelancer, you’ll have success if you become your own freelance social media manager and operate your freelance brand like the professional business it is. Here’s how to do it. (Don’t forget to check out this freelancer FAQ to get your burning questions answered.)
To me “marketing” means emailing editors, networking at events, handing out business cards, possibly running a freelance writing blog—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 who were pitching me 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 that it’s not only important to share the freelance articles you wrote on your feeds, but to send the link out to your experts and sources interviewed in the article with the brands’ social media handles and your social handles. This helps the brand get exposure to a larger audience, helps them get more traffic, and if, the piece does well, the editor will be more likely to reach out again for another assignment. (Of course, you still need to know how to write an article pitch.)
In my Freelance Writing Online Course on Teachable, I share details about what your social media online profiles should and shouldn’t include. Remember, it’s wonderful to be a talented freelance writer, but being business savvy and keeping your clients’ goals in mind will help you become a six-figure freelancer.
I’ve used Twitter, Facebook and Instagram 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. I recently got in touch with personal finance expert, Farnoosh Torabi, via Instagram after listening to her ‘So Money’ podcast and hearing her say she checks her Instagram messages. We worked on this real estate article for Apartment Therapy together.
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 freelance article 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. (Try this simple exercise to find more content marketing clients.)
Know your freelance niche’s popular hashtags and use them when you post. Also look for hashtags that are trending on Twitter that day to see if you can capitalize on one and share a relevant article you worked on or share a link to a client’s website with that hashtag to support them and help drive traffic.
When you’re a freelancer who is juggling multiple clients, it’s easy to forget about posting on social media. I try to schedule social media posts ona Hootsuite on 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 freelance clients you’re working with or a freelance you admire. Scheduling social media should be part of your freelance marketing plan.
It can be all too easy to go down a social media rabbit hole that sucks up your work time while catching up on clients’ and friends’ trending posts and streams. Set up parameters so you can see the people’s feeds you want without getting stuck on the home page of Twitter or Instagram and finding yourself missing a few hours of precious work time. I have a few lists of people I am following and set up streams on Hootsuite with hashtags and brands I want to skim through daily.
I often 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.
How do you use social media to get ahead with freelancing?
Tags: article ideas, content marketing, content strategy, freelance, freelance rates, freelance writing course, freelancer, freelancing, online course, six figure freelancing, six figure income, social media
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Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.