Marketing yourself needs to be added in to your weekly schedule so that you spend some time finding new outlets for your work, getting yourself noticed, and learning how to stand out from the crowd. There are x million writers out there and you are number x million +1. What makes you different? What makes your work better than someone else's?
Best not to rubbish the professional competition though or that will come back to bite you where it hurts. Competition is what makes you keen and hungry and competition raises standards. Competition is what sorts out the article-spinners from those writers who research everything and write each piece to the highest possible standard they can and deserve to be paid a decent fee for it.
I've already mentioned having a website but that's got to reach people otherwise your website will have no other visitors than the occasional friend and the webcrawlers.
Here are some ideas for putting yourself out there and finding new online clients:
- Trawl the freelancer bid sites that have clients paying a decent whack for your work. Set up a good portfolio and profile for yourself on each one, and link to it from your website or put a link on your email signature.
- Start a blog about something that really interests you and consider using adsense. Link to it from your website or your email sig.
- Join freelance support networks and join in on the forum.
- Link in to places like LinkedIn that will hold details of you and your experience.
- Trawl web developers and contact them with a note about yourself, your rates, and some samples of what you've written.
- Trawl websites that you feel could do with some spruced up or extra copy and contact the webmaster with your written samples.
- Trawl print magazines and journals that cover an area of your expertise and contact them with a query letter.
Image credit: PDClipArt
The other thing is that you cannot be precious about your work when you are finding markets for it and selling for hard cash. This is no different to selling beercan widgets or corn flakes or catfood - you are creating a commodity that people want to buy and that's it. You have to know whether your work will fit in with their business strategy too - no point trying to sell round plastic dongles to a company whose customers only buy square glass cubes. If that's the case you simply have to find a company who sells square glass cubes or you start making round plastic dongles as well. It's that simple.
The bottom line is confidence - you're a writer. Writing is what you do. Tenacity - don't give up. Adaptability - you really can write about a lot of stuff because it's all out there when you research it.
Put yourself out there, and enjoy the ride. Again and again.