The 5 Rules To Becoming A Successful Freelance Writer

September 19, 2011

in Freelance Writing

Writers are two a penny these days, or at least so it seems when you look at how many people are advertising their services across the web and on freelancing sites. So how does one get ahead in the game? How does one compete with writers from the likes of the Philippines and Kenya who offer well written English at such low prices?

Well, like any competitive industry, you need to separate yourself from the competition by getting the top of the pile. And in the words of the advertising and copywriting genius, Victor O. Schwab, you must;

1. Get Attention
2. Show People An Advantage
3. Prove It
4. Persuade People To Grasp This Advantage
5. Ask For Action

Of course he was taking about great copywriting when he documented those 5-steps, but the same rules apply to getting ahead in the writing game.

Get attention by putting yourself in the frame. Join a writers’ community online and offline if possible. Perhaps there are local writers meet-ups in your area. This is a great way to network and eventually secure work. Whatever you do, don’t get stuck in your room online whishing opportunities would come your way. Hell, in my early days, I hit the road with resume in hand and went into companies without an appointment.

Show your advantage by demonstrating your Unique Selling Points. If you don’t have any then get some. References, qualifications, work experience, a portfolio. Specialize in particular areas of writing. Become a press release writing specialist or a ghost writing specialist. Work out what it is that you are truly awesome at and hone in on that to the point where businesses will pay that bit extra for the advantages you offer.

Prove it by having a portfolio. Prove it by offering to do the first job for free with a company that has an interest in a long-term relationship. It is highly unlikely a firm will turn down the chance of free work, and if you are that good, they will hire you again. Be prepared to go that extra mile.

Persuade people to grasp the advantage by being proactive in communications. Work hard on your resume. Make your website a super-converting machine. Identify the right people to speak with at the right companies and phone up, send a letter or schedule an appointment if possible. You only need one break to get the ball rolling. And believe me, there will be a business owner out there willing to give you that chance.

Ask for action by following up all enquiries. Don’t let leads slide away through the fear of annoying people or the embarrassment of rejection. If you don’t ask you don’t get. Simple. Business owners are busy and will forget you called or that you emailed. Always follow up and work on your subtly persuasive call for action.

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