Many freelance writers start their careers with the mistaken notion that they'll write and the money will come pouring in.
Today's freelance writers are discovering that the business of writing really is a business. To achieve their goals, freelance writers have to be part entrepreneur and part wordsmith.
Marketing is a critical competency in a freelance writing business. The ability to effectively present your writing services to editors and business clients is vital to both the long- and short-term success of your writing career. Until you learn how to market yourself effectively, you will find it extremely difficult to garner the attention of key decision makers.
Traditionally, freelancers compiled printed marketing materials and mailed them to editors or potential business clients. But the Internet has opened up a whole new avenue of marketing for freelance writers. Nowadays it's very rare to find a working freelance writer who doesn't rely on online resources for marketing.
- Websites. As with any small business, a freelance writer's primary online marketing resource is a website. Writers' websites usually contain information about the writer, a description of his services, and a portfolio of writing samples that showcases his work to editors and clients. Many writers also incorporate a blog into their website as a way of generating fresh marketing content on a consistent basis.
- Social media sites. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are great places for freelance writers to connect with other writers and prospective clients. The days of locking yourself in a closet and pounding out words on an old typewriter are over. If you're going to make an impact you'll need to establish a strong online presence, especially through social media.
- Marketing sites. There are several web-based resources designed exclusively for freelance writers. Sites like Elance and Guru specialize in connecting freelancers with writing jobs. They also give freelancers the ability to create an online profile that can be used to advance their marketing efforts.
- Online networking. There are a multitude of online message boards and other networking opportunities available to freelance writers. By participating in the online writer community, you can create valuable connections with other writers – many of which can lead to future job opportunities.