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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Do a Great Job--and Make Sure Everyone Knows about It

This post title was written by one of my clients; it's from his new book. And it's smart advice not only for professionals in his field, but freelancers as well.

So as a freelancer, how do you apply this to your business?

Open your mouth! In other words, tell people what you do. If you're a new freelancer, start with your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. (And hey, even you seasoned freelancers may need to remind those around you what you do!) Make sure that the people closest to you know what kind of writing projects you take on and what types of clients you typically work for. Ask them to pass your name along if they know of someone looking for a writer. Worst case scenario, you're inundated with potential clients who you don't have time to take on. Wait a minute--I think that's a best case scenario.

Use social media. Yeah, you're probably on Facebook. And I'm sure your kid/dog/cat/hamster is adorable. But do your Friends know that you freelance? Make sure that fact is part of your profile. Update your status with work-related comments occasionally. Your Friends may turn into clients, or know someone who is looking for a writer. Same goes for blogging--no matter what you blog about, include the fact that you freelance. And don't forget LinkedIn and Twitter, which are both tools for marketing your business as well.

Ask editors and clients for referrals. Sometimes freelancers feel awkward about asking a current or former clients for work leads, but here's how I look at it: if you did a good job for your client (and I assume you did), she's probably willing to connect you with one of her peers--or at least give you names of editors who may be looking for freelancers. You won't know until you ask. My latest ghostwriting gig came not from a client, but from a personal trainer and author I've interviewed several times over the years who knows that I'm a ghostwriter and editor. His personal referral turned into a fun, worthwhile editing project.

Make every email a sales call. You should have at least one "standard" signature for email, more if you do different types of work. My current one reads:

Kelly James-Enger

Author, ghostwriter, freelance journalist, and speaker

Check out my contemporary women’s fiction (both set in Chicago!) at:

Did you Get the Vibe?

White Bikini Panties


I tweak it occasionally, depending on what aspects of my business I want to highlight, but I always include my blog in it, and whatever book(s) I'm focusing on selling.

Think outside the box. Okay, so you've spread the word to friends and family about your work. You've asked clients for referrals. But do you tell everyone else you can think of about what you do? I have several "Instant Ghostwriter" t-shirts I wear occasionally (check out CafePress for tons of fun ideas) , and they often spark conversations with people I meet at the Y, my son's school, and the Caribou I often write at.

Brag. Is your latest piece a cover feature? Has your new book garnered great reviews? Did you just nab a regular contributor gig at a favorite blog? So brag a little! Tell people! When you do stellar work, you're likely to get even more referrals; it's human nature to want to work with people who are successful and good at what they do.

You can be the most talented writer in the world, but you won't be successful unless people know who are and what you do. So spread the word. The more people who know what you do, the more referrals and work you're likely to get.

***Readers, what about you? Do you have any proven ways for marketing your biz you'd like to share?

1 comment:

  1. Great article as always, Kelly! It can be so easy to forget how much a good email signature can help promote your business. I sent a quick email to my mom today, and after checking out my new website, she was impressed and started thinking about having me help her publish a book on child development!

    It is also so important to get your name out there, even if you are a meek writer. Tell family and friends about your freelance work and inform colleagues about what you do. These simple steps have helped my freelancing business take off.