If you need help figuring out marketing for writers, this post offers 4 strategies you can try today.
Marketing can be a scary topic for writers to talk about since there are countless platforms to market your services and each comes with its own list of pros and cons. For writers, marketing needs to be addressed, since it’s what determines if you’re able to pay next month’s rent or not.
Marketing is the most important part of your freelance writing business—or any business. You could be the best writer in the world, but if nobody knows who you are, then you’ll never make any money.
Another major problem is correctly balancing time spent writing and marketing. If you spend too much time writing and not enough marketing, your workflow will dry up. If you’re marketing too much, the quality of your work will suffer.
So how can you attract clients to work while having enough time to fulfill that work? Let’s find out!
1. Set up A Website And Create Content that Attracts Clients
A blog is an important marketing tool for every business because it allows you to build a personal brand and loyal following. It’s the cornerstone of a writer’s marketing strategy.
Before you start pumping out content that your audience loves, you must first design a website that converts.
Create a Compelling Website
You’ve bought a domain name for your website, but you’re left feeling totally lost and confused while staring at a blank page. It’s at this moment that most writers go wrong.
They’ll put together a few words and pictures that look attractive and call it a day. This is the wrong mindset.
Your website is a tool, and like any tool, it's completely useless without a clear purpose.
The purpose of your website is to turn visitors into buyers by filling out a contact form. Every word, image and page should bring the visitor closer to completing your contact form.
You’re offering a service to clients, so you’ll want to use your homepage as a landing page for your writing service. This way, visitors can come to your website and immediately convert without having to visit another page.
Now that you’re in the right mindset, decide how many pages you want.
A simple rule to follow is “less is more.” Many websites have way too many pages that cause unnecessary clutter. The five essential pages that every writer must have are:
- Home page
- About page
- Portfolio page
- Service page
- Contact page.
If you’re considering adding another page, first ask yourself, “Will this page increase the likelihood of visitors contacting me via my contact form?” If it does, then add it. Most of the time, additional pages cause the visitor to get sidetracked, and this lowers conversions.
Now that you’ve decided on the number of pages you’ll need, it's time to write some copy.
Of the hundreds of tips and tricks online that’ll help you increase conversions, the most helpful by far for new writers is to focus only on your clients’ needs and desires. If a sentence on your website doesn’t explain how your service makes your visitor’s life better, cut it.
Stop bragging about your service. Instead, focus on how your writing will benefit your visitor’s life. For example, The company Man Crates sells gifts for men and focuses on how their gifts improve the buyer’s life. They talk about some features, but they finish off with an emotional benefit.
Now that you have a website that’s simple and focuses on your visitors’ needs, it’s time to create compelling content.
Create Compelling Content for Your Target Audience
Follow three important and simple steps when creating content:
- Know your audience better than they know themselves.
- Find topics to write about.
- Create compelling content addressing their problems, challenges and desires.
Research is critical for you to create compelling content. You must know your audience better than they know themselves. That way, every time you publish a new blog post, they know you’ll solve their problems.
One of the easiest ways to research your audience is to get in touch with them. Any social media platform will do. You can go to Facebook or Reddit and search for groups relating to your niche and message a few members.
Find out if they would like to take a survey and ask them these four important questions.
- Why are you interested in [blank]?
- Why has [blank] been a struggle to you?
- What is your biggest frustration when it comes to [blank]?
- What can you achieve if you accomplish [blank]?
If you’re a writer in the health and fitness niche, you could ask something like, “Why are you interested in health and fitness?”and “Why has keeping fit and healthy been a struggle for you?”
Asking these questions gives you deeper insight into the minds of your audience.
The second step is to find topics to write about. This step should be easy if you completed step one. All you have to do is transform each problem your audience has into a topic.
Using the example above, if your audience’s biggest struggle and frustration is traveling to the gym to work out, then create a post on how to work out at home.
The last step is to go in-depth and provide value to your audience. After you’ve collected your information, you’ll see certain terms pop up frequently. Use them throughout your post so your audience knows this post is for them.
Now let’s talk about building an email list you can market to.
2. Build an Email List And Market Your Services to Them
Think of your email list as a list of loyal followers you can market to at any time. It amazes me that lots of freelance writers, and even companies, don’t have an email marketing strategy.
For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you receive $44. Where can you get a better return than that?
The first step to building an email list is creating a lead magnet.
Create A Lead Magnet that Brings in Email Leads
You already know your audience since you asked them those four important questions above. Now it’s time to use that information to create a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is any gift you offer your visitors in return for their contact information. In the early days of the internet, people were glad to sign up for something free, but today, not as much.
That makes creating lead magnets that are relevant and compelling to your audience more important than ever..
With all that information you’ve gathered from your target audience, look for the biggest and most common problem they’re facing. If it’s not big enough, your visitors won’t feel the urge to give you their email addresses. If it’s not common enough, you won't get a lot of email addresses.
A lead magnet that brings in a lot of email addresses solves a major problem that most of your visitors are facing.
If the biggest problem your visitors are facing is finding time to cook healthy meals, then your lead magnet could be a free recipe e-book that contains healthy meals that are quick to prepare.
If you’re a freelance writer in the marketing space, a big problem your audience could be facing is creating accurate buyer personas. You can create a lead magnet on how to create accurate buyer personas, and visitors will beg you to take their email address.
Choose the Correct Email Marketing Software
Now that you’ve solved a big problem for your audience, pick an email software that fits your needs. Email software allows you to send personalized messages to your subscribers without much hassle. But with so many email software providers, which one is best?
Look for one that meets your business needs. Consider these four factors:
- Personalization options
- Automation options
When starting out, look for software that’s simple to use and has advanced personalization and automation options. The last thing you want is to buy email marketing software that’s easy to use but can’t do anything but the bare basics.
An email software that has an easy to use yet advanced interface is ConvertKit. This email marketing software boasts an insanely high deliverability rate of 99.63% and allows you to send an unlimited number of emails to your subscribers.
As with all email software, ConvertKit has a learning curve, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be able to send out automated and customized emails to your subscribers.
Read our ConvertKit review.
Add Value to Your Subscriber’s Lives by Sending Emails
Once you’ve sent your subscribers your lead magnet, it’s time to continue adding value by sending them valuable emails that help them solve their daily problems.
Remember, you already did the research and discovered what your audience’s main problems, desires and challenges are. Now you’ll want to send emails that bring them closer to their goals.
You can also notify subscribers when new blog posts are released. This increases your chances of getting more shares and your post going viral.
A big mistake most freelance writers who’re starting out make is sending their subscribers a helpful lead magnet then thinking the job is done. Then these new freelancers send email after email promoting their writing services, which causes everyone to unsubscribe.
You want to find a balance between sending valuable informational emails and sales emails. Play it safe in the beginning and send only informational emails. After a few weeks or even months of getting your emails opened and read, you can start announcing sales.
Tell your subscribers that you’re hosting a sale and will write content at a 20% discount for the next five days. This creates exclusivity and increases the chances they will buy.
3. Write Guest Posts on Authority Sites
Why would you want to write for free? You’re a freelance writer, and you deserve to get paid for your hard work. Well, you aren’t writing for free, but you're not writing to get paid directly either. You’re writing to get your work in front of a large number of eyes.
When you’re starting out, it’s unlikely your articles will reach a large number of people. But if you post on an authority’s site, and they link back to your blog, it’ll tell Google you’re legit, and your SEO ranking will improve.
If you guest post on these sites long enough, readers might see you as an authoritative figure in the industry, and you’ll build your own following. So how do you post on these sites?
Look for the Top 5% of Websites in Your Niche
If you’re going to write unpaid articles, it might as well be for the best websites in your niche. That’s why you want to avoid mid-level websites. The time that you invest into creating a post might not be worth the effort.
Rather, go to your favorite search engine and type in your niche. You’ll see a lot of blogs in your niche pop up. Make a list of the top 10 blogs, and get the email address of the editor-in-chief for each blog.
Hunting for email addresses can be a headache. So instead, hire someone from Upwork or Fiverr. You’ll probably pay a few cents per email, and you won’t have to look for email addresses yourself.
Now that you’ve got a few email addresses, it’s time to pitch.
Pitch Editors With Your Guest Post
The best way to get editors to accept your guest posts is to provide them with compelling topics they’ve never covered before.
Also, develop your own guest post pitch template. If you’re going to use one you found on the internet, you’ll risk sounding identical to others. This can quickly land your email in the trash folder.
After you’ve presented the editors with a few compelling blog post choices, include links to a few of your previous articles and hit send.
More often than not, editors won’t reply after you’ve sent the first email so make sure to follow up in a few days.
This is a strong content marketing strategy, because if readers like your content, they'll head over to your blog and subscribe to your email list.
Post Articles on Medium
If you don’t feel like going through the process of looking for emails and pitching editors, you can start writing on Medium.
Setting up a Medium account takes about 10 minutes. When you post articles there, Medium will connect you to people who’re likely to be interested in your content. This way you reach a new and bigger audience.
If you post regularly, you can attract thousands of people to your blog. You can also get paid on Medium, which is a major benefit.
Posting on Medium is an effective way to get discovered by large publishers. They are always looking for popular authors, and this can lead to long-term writing gigs.
Read our guide to making money on Medium.
4. Promote Your Content on Social Media
Social media is an effective tool for not just promoting your content but your writing services also. You can promote your brand several ways on social media, including:
- Running targeted ads
- Posting in social media groups
- Adding value on your timeline
- Creating and posting entertaining infographics
- Starting a blog page on social media.
The quickest and simplest way to promote your content on social media is to run paid ads. These are guaranteed ways to get interested readers to click on your content.
That said, your social media return depends on your ad copy, targeting and budget, so when you’re new to digital marketing, don’t expect a miracle. Rather, look to improve your stats over the longer term since social media advertising can take some time to get used to.
When you’re starting out, begin small and run social media ad campaigns that cost about one dollar per day. This allows you to adapt and learn from your mistakes. If a specific campaign gets results, expand.
Targeting can make or break your social media campaign. When you’re inexperienced, start by targeting small groups of people you know will be interested in your service.
For example, you can target people who have visited your website in the past 30 days. In digital marketing, reminding site visitors of your products and services is called retargeting, and this can greatly improve your social media returns.
Need more help? Read our guide to Instagram book marketing.
The Final Word on Ways to Market Yourself as a Writer
Marketing is one of the most important parts of being a freelance writer because it brings in leads and clients. Sometimes it can seem intimidating because of the countless ways to promote your writing services.
By setting up a blog, creating a lead magnet, writing on authority sites, and promoting your content, you set yourself up for a steady flow of writing clients.
FAQs On Ways To Market Yourself As A Writer
Is writing on medium worth it?
Medium is a convenient way for new writers to build their experience and portfolio. With Medium, you don’t need a platform to post on. Simply set up a Medium account, start creating your own experience and get paid.
Which are the best social media platforms to promote content?
Every social media platform works since it connects you with your audience. The most popular social media platforms for content promotion are:
1. Instagram – Use an Instagram business account since it gives you access to insights and other helpful features.
2. Facebook – Use the 70-20-10 rule. Post original content 70% of the time, post relevant content 20% of the time and self-promote only 10% of the time.
3. YouTube – The most important part of YouTube marketing is creating attention-grabbing thumbnails and titles.
4. Twitter – Post during peak hours. A study done by Buffer found that tweets posted on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday have the highest click-through rates.
When using Facebook as a freelance writer, I highly recommend joining writing groups like The Write Life Community, Writers Helping Writers, and Ask a Book Editor. These groups post a lot of content about meeting deadlines, getting clients, and other problems most writers face.
If you want to get your work in front of lots of people with Twitter and Instagram, consider using hashtags like #writing, #creativity, and #editing. When marketing on YouTube, focus on adding value and grabbing viewers' attention.
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