Everybody knows you've got to spend money to make money.
Not exactly. You may have to spend a little money to make money, but don't throw hundreds of dollars out there just yet.
The average freelance writer:
- works from home
- doesn't do much advertising
- doesn't really track profits
There are a couple ways to accomplish your goals. Yesterday we talked a little about setting freelance writing fees that work for you - and advertising was a very small fraction of what we considered when finding out how much money you needed to bring in per piece to make your career profitable.
I don't spend much money advertising because I'm a cheapskate.
However, advertising your freelance writing skills is necessary. At minimum, you must have:
- a freelance writing website
- freelance writing business cards (also discussed in another post)
- a half-hour a week to advertise online
Why do you need a freelance writing website?
You may not get a lot of traffic just by having your website sit on the 'net, but you need to have a place potential clients can surf through, checking out your past work and finding new ways to contact you.
- clients need to see your portfolio
- everyone you're competing with has a website
- it's another chance to showcase your writing skills
Why do you need business cards?
Business cards are a tangible reminder of you and your freelance writing services. Possession of a stack of cards with your name, phone number and the words "freelance writer" on them can motivate you to tell more people what you're doing - and that, inevitably, leads to business.
VistaPrint has free business cards to get you started. I have had awesome experiences with them, and as far as I'm concerned, they're the only business card company I ever want to work with. Their customer service people are very nice, and when you do decide to purchase business cards, they're not that expensive.
Why do you need to advertise online?
Everybody and their grandma is online. As a freelance writer, you can write for anybody, anywhere... and the Internet is everywhere.
You do not need to spend money on AdWords or any of those pay-per-click things. I found that only half those clicks are valid, anyway - and some of my ads are coming up in searches for "free web content" and other nonsense terms that I don't want to be associated with. (My web content is far from free, and I don't want to work with someone who thinks it should be free! I turn those kinds of clients down within the first five minutes of a phone conversation.)
I still do advertise through Google, because I did score one very cool client who provides me with regular work - but I'm not very happy about it.
What you can do without spending money to advertise your freelance writing:
- Post on Craigslist. You'll get a little spam if you include your e-mail address, but otherwise you've got a great opportunity. You don't have to use a picture like the one below - I've had success with just text ads, too. I posted this on Craigslist and have seen a sharp increase in traffic on my site:
- post on other free ad sites - simply type in "free classified ads" and see which ones you're comfortable with.
- some newspapers have free classifieds for items $250 and under - so take out a 3-line ad in your local paper that says something like this: "$45/page web content @ HireAWriterOnline.com" (I did that in the Honolulu Advertiser - but you don't have to stick to local papers, either, if you've got a website.)
Tips for online advertising:
- Use links whenever possible (Craigslist allows html - take advantage!)
- Don't "upgrade" to a paid ad
- Don't include your phone number or e-mail address in the ad
- Never include your address or a map to your house