Editor’s Note: The following content is provided to Writer’s Digest by a writing community partner. This content is sponsored by American Writers & Artists Inc. www.awaionline.com.
When it comes to making a living as a writer, it’s not about getting the occasional writing gig…
You’re looking for ongoing clients … people who can give you assignment after assignment … so that you can focus on what you do best – writing!
Last week I showed you where to find them ...
And today I’m going to take it a step further, and help you land the clients who have the best-paying assignments!
Now when you first approach a potential client – regardless of how or where you found them – you have two primary goals:
- You want to establish a relationship.
The chance of your reaching out to someone at the exact time he or she needs your services is pretty low. It may take a few times emailing or making phone calls back and forth, so you need to be patient.
The important thing is to focus your efforts on just establishing that connection with the potential client, so they know who you are and how to contact you once they’re ready to roll.
And, while it should go without saying, remember that first impressions matter. So always be professional and courteous whenever reaching out to prospective clients. That way your future follow-up efforts will be welcomed.
- You want to show your value.
Even if you’re brand-new and it’s your first potential client, you have something to offer. And it’s of value. So make sure you do your homework and show clients just how valuable you can be to their company.
How do you do that? Here are some ideas …
Get to know their audience and products …
If you really want to impress a client, spend some time reviewing their website and marketing materials. Even simply signing up for their e-newsletter, looking at their homepage, and reading a few pieces of online content will give you a lot of intelligence on who their audience is and what they’re trying to sell them.
Including a few specifics about your familiarity with their audience and what they’re trying to accomplish will go a long way in starting (and continuing) the conversation.
Find the “money pages” …
If you’re doing anything with web writing, it’s easy to discover the pages companies are using to sell their products or services. And, once you find them, open the conversation with something like: “I have some ideas for new content that may drive more traffic to this page. How well is it converting?”
Identify opportunities/weaknesses …
Do they have an e-newsletter? Do you receive emails after signing up trying to sell you something? How’s their online content? Is there an angle you could use to target their audience that’s different than what they’re doing?
Any time you can spot something that needs improving, or something they’re not doing, you have a good way to begin the conversation.
And, once you have some success, share those stories!
Everyone loves a good story! So, as you build your writing business and begin to acquire success stories from clients, work them into your follow-up strategy. Stories are a great way to get yourself in front of the client again and again. For instance …
- “I was recently able to double the response rate for a client with a few simple changes on their homepage …”
- “A client’s traffic tripled after I created and implemented this content strategy …”
- “My website just ranked #1 for the search term _____ …”
- “I increased revenue by 30% simply by changing the format of a client’s emails…”
Again, this comes into play down the line, once you’re up and working for paying clients. But it’s always good to think ahead!
Just remember, your initial goals are to establish a relationship and demonstrate your value. So, make sure you’re professional, courteous, and providing relevant information every single time you reach out to a prospective client.
You’ll get many more responses and land more paid assignments!
And, once you do start landing new clients, you may run into our last and final question of the week: “How do I set and negotiate fees?”
We’ll tackle that one next!
And, if you’d like more direction on getting clients, including specific action plans to follow, you may consider checking out AWAI’s Getting Your First Client. It’s only $99 and contains dozens of client-landing strategies, email templates you can customize, a self-marketing guide, case studies that will boost your confidence, and much more.
To your success,