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How to Market your Freelance Writing Services

Your marketing plan is the lifeblood of your freelance writing business. If you are marketing your skills with success you will find yourself landing more assignments and making more money. But if nobody knows who you are or what you offer, you are never going to reach new heights.

Fortunately, you can rely on my “Big Seven” plan for marketing your freelance writing services:

1. Cold calling. Do not be scared to cold call. The main reason that many do not do this is because they are afraid of being hung up on or yelled at. Look at it this way: you will never have to talk to the person on the other end of the line again. If they want to be rude, so be it. Thank them for their time, and move onto the next call.

To get started with cold calling you only need two things. One, you need a list of companies that you are going to call. You can compile this information via the phone book, through your local chamber of commerce, or by using the internet. Two, you need a script. This does not have to be anything special, and should be short and sweet:

“Hi. I hope I am not bothering you today. My name is Chris Bibey, and I am a freelance writer specializing in ____. I wanted to touch base to see if you have the need for a writer, or have ever hired freelancers in the past.”

While you will need to customize the above to suit your exact specifications, it is a good start. You don’t have to use an earth shattering pitch to secure clients via cold calls. Something simple will work just fine.

2. Cold emails. If you don’t like cold calling or have yet to build up the courage, despite its effectiveness, you will want to look into cold emails. They are similar, except you will be sending an unsolicited email instead of making a phone call.

There is one key to remember when sending a cold email: customize, customize, customize. You do not want to spam anybody. This is a huge problem, and you do not want to add to it. If you customize each email, including the recipient’s contact and company information, you will be fine. And of course, a customized email has a better chance of soliciting a response. Just like cold calling, with an email you want to be short, sweet, and to the point. You have a much better chance of the recipient reading a one paragraph email than one that drags on and on.

3. If you are trying to break into magazines, you need to become familiar with how to write effective query letters. These letters are meant to be your first communication with an editor. It should include information on your experience, as well as a story idea. In other words, this is more than an introduction letter. You are writing a query to pitch a story that you hope the editor will let you write for his publication. Instead of going on and on, take a look at one of the many query letter outlines that I have used:


Mr. / Mrs. Name:

I am writing to inquire whether Human Resource Executive would be interested in considering for publication my essay entitled “Choosing a Background Screening Company.”  The main topic of interest is the steps a company should take in choosing a firm, including questions to ask and information on making a final decision.  As a former Sales Manager of a nationwide pre-employment screening company, I feel that I have the necessary experience to guide interested parties in the right direction.  I currently work as a full-time freelance writer, specializing in business related articles. 
Thank you for considering this idea. I am looking forward to hearing from you in the near future.
Your Name
Your Email
Your Phone Number

With this letter as an outline, you should be able to customize the perfect query for the magazine that you are interested in breaking into.

4. Dare you pop in? Believe it or not, popping into local businesses can be a great way to secure freelance writing work. But of course, this takes a lot of guts. In fact, this is much more gutsy than making a cold call. That being said, I have tried this and it has worked marvelously. If you are ready for this move, dress nice, have your business card and samples on hand, and go for it. Remember, you will have to get past the receptionist before you ever have the chance to pitch your services.

5. Online forums and bidding sites. Many new freelance writers rely on online forums and bidding sites to find jobs. This can work, but you should refrain from letting this be your only marketing strategy. One of the best forums for finding writing gigs is Digital Point. If interested in bidding sites, try GetAFreelancer and Elance. If you can gain a good reputation on these sites there is a good chance that you could build a decent client base.

The main issue with online forums and bidding sites is that most high paying clients do not hang out there. For instance, many people have gotten in touch with me via Digital Point regarding my services. But only a few have been able to pay my rates. For those breaking into the industry, online forums and bidding sites allow you to get your feet wet while building a reputation, albeit among lower paying clients for the most part.

6. A blog. When I started my freelance writing blog,, I never had big hopes for it. In fact, I was just looking for a way to get my thoughts down and hopefully help a few people from time to time. Soon enough my traffic was building and people were asking for my advice. Although my blog is far from being the most popular, it has been a great way of marketing my services. In fact, I have landed several contracts in excess of $5k from people who found me through my blog.

The nice thing about blogging is that you do not have to answer to anybody. You are in charge of what you write; not a client who is paying you to create content based on specific details. And remember, you do not have to blog about freelance writing just because you are a freelance writer. I have several other blogs that are not devoted to writing or any sort of online business. Instead, they focus on things I enjoy such as dogs and real estate.

7. A service based website. In addition to a blog, you will also want to create a served based website. In other words, you want a site where you can send interested clients and others can get in touch if interested in your services. Early in my career my freelance writing service site was nothing spectacular. But soon enough I found out that clients did not care about the design of my site. All they cared about was my work.

For a better idea of how simple your service site can be, check out my latest design at It is nothing special, but contains basic pages such as about us, contact us, and services.

If you are stuck and think that marketing your freelance writing services is impossible, follow my “Big Seven” plan. No matter what, give each of the above options a try. 

This is an excerpt from my “Full-Time Freelance Writer Report.” If you have yet to download the report, subscribe to my blog via email and the login and password will be sent to you at once.

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19 Comments »Freelance WritingOctober 1st, 2008

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