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Mostly for writers: find & hook prospects, write query and pitch letters. Which services to offer.

Resources

  • upwork.com: one of the world's largest freelance job boards

General Advice

  • Make your material:
    • 100% original
    • Well written
    • Relevant to the client's audience and
    • Exclusive to them

How to find Clients

  • Strategy:
    1. Have a strong Personal Blog
    2. Find right prospects
    3. Make the right pitch
  • Prospects: find those that already blog, but blog is abandoned + you understand their business.
  • Pitch: "I’m a freelance writer specialized in X, came across your company, love it. Would love to help you generate traffic and revenue with your blog. Check me out and give me a call if you want to get it back up and running."

More Ways to Look:

  • Daily Papers
  • Business / Community weekly papers
  • Alternative papers: check http://www.altweeklies.com/
  • Job Papers
  • Informational Websites
  • Paid Guest Posts
  • Niche magazines (what is my niche?)
  • Read local ads (papers), then review those companies: web page? blog? social media?
  • Low-ranking companies: down in google search results
  • Check out ads, feeds, etc
  • Pre-qualify before pitching: companies >1 million/yr
  • Create 5-year business plan

Work with a client or not? Criteria

Advice by Shopify from interview with web designer Jeffrey Zeldman:

  • Not all potential clients are the right fit. Criteria to keep in mind:

Technical fit — The simplest way to measure if you should continue working on project comes down to whether or not you actually have the technical capabilities to meet their requirements. In a lot of cases, problems arise between clients and freelancers when they think you can deliver one thing and the reality is far different.

Portfolio fit — Knowing whether a project is a good portfolio fit requires you to carefully examine whether or not you foresee the work helping you land additional opportunities in the future. Will you be proud of the work you’ve done, or will the demands of your client cause you to hide your involvement from the world? If the latter, you may want to reconsider working on the project entirely.

Timeline fit — If a client has unrealistic expectations for the delivery timeline around a project, it can be a major pain point in your relationship. Not only will this time sensitivity hinder your creative exploration on the project, but it will also most likely impact the quality of the final product in a negative way. Before continuing further in your project, consider whether or not you can meet those deadlines, and produce a product you're proud of.

Budgetary fit — Not only do most project issues revolve around timelines, but they also frequently have to do with budgetary concerns. These issues can range from complaints surrounding the overarching price of the work, to deviations from your payment schedule. These issues can be avoided if you’ve gone over the budget in detail with your client before accepting the project, and have captured your financial agreement in your contract.

Process fit — This one is a little more obscure, and relates to a client not adhering to processes you’ve established to deliver your services. Agile freelancers are often willing to bend these processes to satisfy the client, but if the demands become too significant, you might want to reconsider the relationship.

Cultural fit — The final aspect to consider is cultural fit, which comes down to how you enjoy working with this individual. Every freelancer will have a subjective perspective on how much they are willing to tolerate from their clients, but sometimes personalities don’t merge well and the relationship becomes toxic — a clear sign to exit the relationship.

Query/Pitch Letter

  • Needs a headline (proposed story idea)
  • Study publication & their style
  • Well-defined topic
  • Show research in publication & story idea
  • Not too much about me, no negatives
  • Pitch to well-paying publications
  • Correctly written
  • Honest (intention)
  • Be qualified (clips: interviews, proper research)

Getting Magazines' Attention

  • Retweet or share their content on Facebook
  • Once you’re recognizable, contact editor, ask if they accept pitches
  • LinkedIn: send pitches to people on there! Common mistakes:
    • Making it all about you
    • Revealing worst roadblocks first
    • Sharing your sob story
    • Spotlighting your shortcomings
  • Call them on the phone, offer to pitch an idea
  • "Love Letter": write why you like magazine, highlight story.
    • "P.S.: I’m a freelance writer"

Services to Offer

  • Business profile: portrait about a cool business for a local paper
  • Author/artist profile: same as above
  • Restaurant reviews/openings: for e.g. alternative papers
  • Play or movie reviews: same as above
  • Civic event coverage: town happenings for small papers
  • New store opening: small portrait in local paper. Who's the owner? How and why?
  • Web bios: "About Us" page for business websites. Founders' stories!
  • Brochures: grab brochures from local chamber of commerce for templates.
  • News briefs: small updates close to paper's deadline.