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Friday, March 10, 2017

Freelance Writing Jobs: Here’s Why You Suck at Getting Them

Frustrated with your efforts to find freelance writing jobs? It’s a common problem that plagues a lot of writers who are in denial about what’s really happening.

You tell yourself you’re doing every kind of marketing your fertile imagination can come up with to get more clients.

Just in the last month, in fact, you:
Sent a query letter
Called a prospect
Contacted a potential client on LinkedIn
Sent a direct message to another one via Twitter
Created a helpful email newsletter for people in the industry you’re targeting
Had a coffee meeting with a local editor

And still…crickets in your inbox.
When you can’t seem to get freelance writing jobs…

You cry. You complain. You eat more ice cream and binge-watch YouTube videos. And you keep asking yourself: “Why do I suck at getting more clients?”

If that sounds anything like your efforts to get more freelance writing jobs, you’re not alone. Now what?

A couple quick stories will shed light on why this is happening.
Enlightening Story #1

Once Carol suggested that an aspiring writer reach out to people who had viewed her profile on LinkedIn, saying, “Hey, I noticed you checked out my profile. Are you looking for a writer?”

The writer said, “Oh, I tried that once and it didn’t work, so I moved on.”

Carol replied, “Oh, I tried that 50 times, until I got a $1-a-word client.”
Enlightening Story #2

A coaching client told me queries don’t work. She sent one out after slaving over it for a week, and received a big fat rejection in return. So she decided to try other forms of marketing instead.

I responded, “Oh, really? Queries worked amazingly well for me, but maybe that’s because I sent out hundreds of them my first year of freelancing.”

Are you seeing a theme here?
The simple solution to get more clients

What’s wrong with your freelance marketing is that you’re not doing enough of it. It doesn’t matter what kind of marketing you do. If you do a ton of it, you almost can’t not get freelance writing jobs.

That’s why, instead of scattering your energies on six different types of marketing—a tweet here, a pitch there—I recommend you focus on just one and do the hell out of it. I call this Volume Marketing (yeah, that’s Carol’s affiliate link, because she checked it out and recommends it.)
Volume Marketing for freelance writers

If your freelance marketing efforts have been, how should I say this, pathetic, it’s time to do something about it.

Can you imagine calling 250 prospects in a week and not getting one assignment?

How about emailing 20 LOIs a day?

Or attending five networking events, coffee meetings, or industry events in one week and meeting 50 new people, who you then follow up with?

Can you imagine doing any of those things and coming away empty handed?

Me neither.

I think we’ve established that Volume Marketing is the awesomest. Let’s dig into a few details that will help you use it to start landing writing work.

1. The marketing you do in volume needs to be one you enjoy enough to, well, do in volume.

If writing queries makes you want to pound spikes through your forehead, you probably won’t be sending out a dozen every week. If you despise talking on the phone, it’s fairly certain you won’t be calling 50 prospects per day.

2. You think you know what you like, but you really don’t until you give it a fair shot.

The first few times you do something is always a grind. Do it 100 times and you’ll be able to truly gauge whether you like, love, or hate phone calls, email pitching, social media marketing, networking, or whatever.

3. Volume Marketing is not to be taken as an excuse to spam out hundreds of sub-par pitches.

Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them, yes. This relieves the pressure of perfectionism, which is the number one excuse writers use for scanty marketing. But there needs to be a balance between volume and quality. A life coach I like calls this doing B-minus work. I recommend it.

4. You say you don’t have time, but you do.

Volume Marketing takes less time than dividing your attentions among ten different marketing techniques. That’s because the more you do something, the faster you get at it…and also because you build up a good momentum when you do the same thing over and over. Not to mention, until your plate is full of paid freelance writing jobs, marketing is pretty much all you should be doing.

To blast your career to the next level takes laser focus, hard work, and smart marketing. Volume Marketing is all of that. Try it and see for yourself.

Have you tried Volume Marketing? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Linda Formichelli is a long-time freelancer, writing coach and creator of the Volume Marketing Challenge for Freelance Writers, which starts on March 13. She’s also the author of Commit: How to Blast Through Problems & Reach Your Goals Through Massive Action, and other books on freelance writing, business, and personal development.

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