The following guest post was written by Luke Clum. The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.
Content marketing is a fertile field for freelance writers these days; in fact, it’s one of the few areas in which opportunities for writers seem to be getting better, not exploding in a newspaper-fueled inferno. But good content writing jobs won’t fall in your lap just because you woke up one day and said, “I’ve got it! I’ll be a writer.” Getting these jobs requires building a portfolio, being highly adaptable, recognizing promising opportunities, and getting your work into the hands of the right people.
In many articles on the subject, you’ll often find the suggestion to join a content mill to build your portfolio, despite the pitiful rate of pay. This actually is a good first step if you’re really starting from scratch (you need to have something professional to show potential clients). But to really stand out from the masses of people calling themselves writers these days, you’ve got to consciously create content that really brands you as an industry and creative leader. Here are our top 4 tips for doing just that.
1. Become an Informational Resource
By now, you’ve probably been told a million times that you should start a blog to show prospective clients. Again, this is true, but keep in mind that since this is often a baseline (i.e. something that’s strange not to have but not particularly distinctive if you do) your blog or website has to stand out in some way. One of the best ways to do this is to pick a niche and brand yourself as an informational resource by producing a few great pieces of content.
As an example, take the cloud accounting service, Xero, which produced this cloud computing guide as a helpful resource for its current and potential customers. The guide not only addresses a very relevant and widespread question (“Just what is the cloud?”), but it also showcases the company as a fun, down to earth, and helpful brand. And, as an added benefit, stand-alone resources like this are far more likely to go viral than a single company website.
Much the same is the case for the insurance company Simply Business, which has branded itself as a business resource centre with things like this guide to social media success. While not all of the company’s potential customers will want to look through these resources, many will, meaning guides like these both widen the company’s audience and instantly establish their credibility.
While you won’t have the same resources as these companies, the point remains the same. Take the time to develop great informational content that can act as a standalone piece. If you have any interests or specialities as it is, create a resource that answers questions you know are common within that niche, or use the Google Keyword Tool to find what potential readers are searching for. With compelling, impressive resources like this, a potential client will learn a lot more about you than if you were to send them yet another top 10 list.
Another way to find distinctive material for your content portfolio and to get your work out in front of movers and shakers is to volunteer at a place you really “get.” This could be at an organization that’s within the industry you’re looking to enter, or it could be a cause you’re really passionate about. Either way, sticking with your interests will put you in a position where you’ll be more likely to have those creative content ideas, and more convincing in you pitches to your volunteer clients. What’s more, if you’re writing for an organization’s website, you’ll likely gain a lot of exposure for your work while also adding to your portfolio. The better the job you do, the more likely the people you’re volunteering with will be to use you in their own businesses or refer you down the line.
3. Partner Up
Content writers don’t operate in a vacuum. Where once editors used to be a writer’s most crucial contact (and, don’t get me wrong, they’re still pretty high up there), now partnering with someone in a related industry, like graphic design or SEO, can be just as fruitful a venture. Having a freelance partner means doubling your networking ability. It can also make for a much more convincing sales pitch if you can bill yourselves as a one stop shop kind of place. What’s more, if you’re looking to create those specific resources previously mentioned but you don’t yet have a niche, partnering up can be just what you need, as you can then take your partner’s expertise and get it down in written form, establishing an expert’s reputation for you both.
4. Become a Microblogger on Social Media
Social media isn’t just about promoting your content (though that certainly is important). Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all potential sites for microblogging. Through tweets and status updates, you can post helpful tips in your distinctive and creative voice. On Facebook and LinkedIn, you can write blog posts and join industry groups with discussion boards. These are all forms of content creation, and the more regularly and uniquely you embrace them, the more you’ll stand out.
When you’re a freelance content writer, your content is your marketing. Showing clients what you can do with the resources you create and the impact you can make on social media is showing them just what you can do for them, should they take you on board. Make it helpful, full of expertise, fun and interesting to read, and your content writing career will take off in no time.