Part of freelancing is developing your skillset so that you’re at the top of your game. The other part is letting the world know what you have to offer them. We asked freelancers how they get the word out. Read on to learn more, and if you’re a copywriter, I would also recommend that you check out my mastermind, Copy Accelerator, which helps you write better copy, learn what's working in direct response right now, and network with high-paying clients.
Niamh Jordan, Founder of Which Watch Next, a blog that is dedicated to her passion for watches. You can read guides on the best watch brands, the best watches, and everything else to do with timepieces.
Groups, Guest Posting, and HARO
Groups: LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups for freelance copywriters have been a great way to network with others in my line of work.
Guest Posting: Writing guest posts for other websites has been a great way to reach out to new audiences and also gain connections with other content marketers.
HARO: [Help a Reporter Out] has been excellent [for] making connections with journalists in a range of different fields and gaining a feature on other websites.
Four ways to expand your network
1. Process your LinkedIn personal data.
Social media sites, especially LinkedIn, have changed the network environment.
2. Ask for help.
Most people are happy to connect you with someone who can help you.
3. Keep in touch.
Networking is not a once-and-for-all transaction. In this case, you meet a contact and [continue] to talk to them as needed.
4. Never stop looking for opportunities.
Search for them on LinkedIn, and you can call them professionally if you have the opportunity in the future.
Build a portfolio, be communicative, and hustle for side gigs
Freelancers live thanks to their reputation. If you have a good one, it will be easier to expand your professional reach. But, how do you start expanding if you haven't landed your first job? Well, the best way to do it is to build a portfolio. In this case, it pays to write articles about anything you feel comfortable with. This way you will have something to show to a potential employee.
Once you land your first gig, you can add those new projects to bulk your profile. But that's not all. You must deal with every client as professionally as possible. Be polite, communicative, and fast in delivering your tasks. This is the only way you will earn a good reference from your employee, which will [help you] land other jobs.
Lastly, don't ever settle. Even if you are comfortable working for a single agency or client, try to seek more gigs. You never know what you are going to find. Besides, a copywriter should be comfortable writing about several things so it is wise to mix up your routine a bit.
Use LinkedIn to build your network
1. People will be willing to connect with you even if you haven't met each other because that's one of the purposes of the platform.
2. You can share your pieces of work as a portfolio.
3. You can tag the people you collaborate with when posting an article that you wrote with the help of others, and they will LOVE that social recognition.
4. You can tag people and companies that you have mentioned in your writings, articles, papers, etc. even though they did not collaborate. Anyway, they will be more than happy to share the post and give you credit. Most professionals love to be talked about.
5. On the other side, you will be tagged when people share your articles or when they share a collaboration article.
6. Most of the businesses run online today, and the internet is perfect for networking with people that are far away from you.
Lisa Bucher, Freelance Writer, and Editor at YouFoundLisa. She has served as Editor for local, national and international publications.
Be creative with social media marketing
As a freelancer, I expand my professional network through creating strategies using branding and being creative with social media marketing, my website portfolio, reaching out to new people through informational interviews with people or companies that I want to work for, attending events to network, joining groups and being involved in my working community.
Expand your professional network with these three steps
1. Identify Your Networking Targets
One of the first things that you need to do is to establish your networking targets because if you try to network without a proper strategy in place, you will likely waste a lot of time. In other words, you need to be able to know who it is that you’re trying to connect with.
For instance, one of the best ways to expand your professional network is to look for influencers, thought leaders, and other people within your niche who can refer you to wider audiences. You can also try reaching out to business leaders, recruiters, and HR reps at companies that you’re interested in freelancing for.
2. Identify Your Networking Setting
Besides figuring out who you want to reach out to, you also need to know where and how you're going to network. There are a few common places that you can use to help network. For instance, you can head to online job boards and social media platforms like LinkedIn and try to connect with new clients. You can also make use of platforms like Trello and Slack to further develop existing relationships with current clients and coworkers.
Alternatively, attending conventions, seminars, workshops, and other related gatherings within one’s niche can help in connecting with other industry leaders, mentors, and even potential clients.
3. Make Use of Existing Networks
Another thing to consider is your existing networks. After all, everyone has past or present connections that they can reach out to… be it past clients, friends, family, etc. They may actually be able to help you access connections that you may not be familiar with but that are relevant towards furthering your freelancing future.
For instance, previous coworkers and bosses may be able to provide suggestions on how to market yourself. Another example is reaching out to a family member who works in accounting and may be able to help you manage your finances once you find clients. In short, take time to think about existing connections around you, and make use of them by finding ways to blend them into your networking strategy.
Stefan Palios is a freelance writer and bestselling author. He's worked with dozens of startups, enterprises, and government organizations, and also teaches sales skills and inbound marketing to freelancers through the Freelance Sales Blueprint.
I expand my network by showing up. For in-person events, that means engaging with the topic (or purpose of the event) as best I can. On social media, that means taking part in conversations, not just having an account.
Twitter is my biggest network builder lately, and I expand my network by:
- Joining Twitter chats (#FreelanceChat is my favorite)
- Posting questions on my feed to start a discussion
- Sharing my perspectives on other people's posts (when they post a question)
- Focusing my tweeting on one main thing (I tweet a lot about freelancing)
- Having open DMs so I can always continue the conversation with someone if we've connected on something
Be active online
I have been a professional freelancer in graphic design for over 19 years, and the [things] I have found that have the most impact on expanding my network have been:
1. To be active online in social media or other groups about other topics of interest (not related to marketing my business). People get to know me and then when they need a designer, they tend to reach out to me.
2. Networking events – talk to people and hand out your business card.
3. Social media again, but this time specific to marketing my business – lots of sharing of completed work, process, and answering questions.
4. LinkedIn – be sure to have a professional profile setup and to interact with people on their activity.
5. BNI – this is a great way to expand your local network if your business relies on local clients.
6. Joining industry-specific groups and actively participating. It might seem counter-intuitive that building relationships with your competition would help, but when someone has overflow clients or a job that isn’t a fit for them, they will think of you and share the contact.
Lark Begin is a top-rated digital marketer from Ottawa, Canada. Find her at profitparrot.com.
I expand my professional network by using a freelancing site called Upwork. I've been able to grow my long-term client list for over 7 years now. By applying to interviews related to copywriting and content writing, I'm able to work with a lot of professional companies in Canada, the USA, and overseas. I write over 10,000 words per week and I love what I do! I am now able to write full-time from home.
Start with the familiar
When looking to expand your professional network, it's easy to overlook local opportunities. That's where the website Meetup fits in perfectly.
Check it out and attend meetings geared towards your industry or profession. You never know what
connections you might make, and the results of those connections may extend well beyond your locale.
Use Previous/Current Clients
Assuming you have current clients and folks you've worked with before, launch a campaign to make their networking connections for you. Make sure you're connected on social media and post updates on your current status, or even just general industry information. This will likely lead to more exposure.
Building on the previous point, if you want to build your professional network, sometimes you have to go a bit rogue and just throw stuff out there in the hopes of landing a connection. This is where LinkedIn fits in perfectly. Post original content (only your best stuff) or even repurposed stuff if it's good enough. This will give your readers or followers free info or data on stuff they need/want to improve their lives. This is a bit of an outlier, but it can work if executed properly.
Shannon Peel of MarketAPeel helps brands define their story and tell it to the marketplace by creating everything from a tweet to publishing a book.
Network online and create a digital brochure
For freelance work, I don't go to Upwork and Fiverr because I don't want to compete on price. I build relationships by networking in the real world, on LinkedIn, and now on Lunchclub.
I also publish an interactive multimedia digital flipbook brochure to showcase my work and send it to agencies who may be interested in what I do.
Share educational and authentic content
Expand your professional network by adding value. This can be achieved by sharing valuable content consistently and leveraging other people's platforms. Your content should share knowledge that portrays you as an expert. Sharing your opinion repositions you to be relatable and considered as a thought leader.
Secondly, you can initiate conversations. You can engage in discussions on a post. Or you can send a direct mail that introduces who you are. Be genuinely curious about other people and learn how you can be of assistance to them. Don't spam messages, and don't take it personally if people choose to not reply.
Lastly, add a bit of personality to your voice. Figure out what you stand for and believe in. Communicate that in your messaging and relationships.
Kimberly is a Multimedia Storyteller and Copywriter at CopywritingWithKim. She empowers businesses with engaging and compelling content. She believes that sales are a by-product of building relationships.
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