Using Social Media to Find Freelance Writing Opportunities

You can read hundreds of articles online listing the latest and greatest websites to find freelance writing opportunities. These can be a great client resource pool, but often you will find clients expecting to pay less and expect more. Using social media to find freelance writing opportunities is a great alternative to these sites.

For example, I maintain an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and a Twitter account with over 350 followers, as well as this blog! One example of a client that I have now is Hipmunk. Thanks to my social media presence and passion for travel, I have been writing for their #HipmunkCityLove campaign for a few months, and love every post! To find great opportunities like Hipmunk, here are few social media tactics you need to start using.

Use the Same Professional Headshot

headshot1

You want your headshot to be the same on all your social profiles. This is a branding move so you are instantly recognizable. Don’t use any old photo from a family gathering or a night out. Invest in a professional photographer to take a decent headshot.

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Via Flickr clasesdeperiodismo

Via Flickr clasesdeperiodismo

Proudly proclaim you are a freelance writer in your title, and summarize your experience and how long you have been a writer in your summary. I recommend putting your contact information and all of your social profiles in the summary section as well.

Complete your work history, but make it more freelance-geared. If you had a past job that influences your freelance career, feel free to put it in. However, I want you to focus on freelancing clients, provided you have not signed a non-disclosure agreement. List the major clients you have worked for and what exactly you did for them. A huge client list on LinkedIn is impre

Get Active on Twitter

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

LinkedIn is known as the job recruiting social platform, but I have found some of my biggest clients from Twitter. Other clients have been so impressed with my presence on Twitter that they have hired me from it! The key is to be active. Post at least two times a day. Half of your Tweets should be your thoughts or opinions on the freelance industry or a subject you commonly write about. The other half should be a combination of talking to industry professionals and fellow freelance writers, as well as sharing your content. More on that later.

Write to Self-Promote

Via Flickr by danpeerflix

Via Flickr by danpeerflix

Start writing blogs and LinkedIn Pulse articles about the freelance industry, business advice based on your experience, tips for focusing when working from home, work-life balance, or whatever else pertains to the life of a freelancer. Even though you are not getting paid to write these articles, they showcase your knowledge and who you are. Often, you will receive clients based on your posts!

Share Your Publications

Via Flickr Book Work Laser & Design

Via Flickr Book Work Laser & Design

Not only should you share any blogs or LinkedIn Pulse articles you write, but you should also share every publication with your name in the byline. Showing that clients have hired you to write for them is a big recommendation for your services.

Once you know how to master social media, you can get away from those low-paying freelance sites and start finding better clients.

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The Four Keys to Finding Better Freelance Opportunities

Becoming a freelance writer is extremely tough, especially when you are new and starting out. Whether you are unemployed, testing the waters while maintaining a full or part-time job, or just out of college and having trouble with the job market, freelancing is exciting but full of the unknown. The first and continual difficult hurdle is finding freelance opportunities.

Even as an established freelance writer, finding writing opportunities is something I struggle with. One of my favorite clients I write for, Hipmunk, has given me more insight into what it takes to find these opportunities with amazing clients that respect who you are as a writer. I have been writing for their #HipmunkCityLove campaign, and have enjoyed every minute. With this experience in mind, here are four ways to find freelance opportunities with outstanding and respectful clients like Hipmunk!

Build a Portfolio

Image via Pixabay User fill

Image via Pixabay User fill

The most important first step to find the best freelance opportunities is to build a great portfolio. This is tricky when you are just starting out. A good way to build your portfolio from scratch is to give away your writing skills free. Ask to guest blog without pay to blogs you love online, a friend or family’s blog, or a local business’ blog. While you won’t receive payment, you get experience and your name out on the Internet. It is easy to direct potential freelance clients to your expansive portfolio online with these links.

Write About Anything

Image via Pixabay User annazuc

Image via Pixabay User annazuc

Many freelance writers feel they need to set themselves up in a niche industry and never leave to be successful. This is a myth. You don’t have to write for a certain industry or topic to be sellable. Write for whoever and whatever you feel comfortable writing about. As long as you write it well and present yourself as knowledgeable, future freelance clients will take a chance on you based on skill alone, even if you aren’t an expert in their industry.

Decide What You Are Worth

Image via Pixabay User titidianita

Image via Pixabay User titidianita

Notice I said decide what you are worth, not what price you think clients can afford. I went through the tough times where I sold my skills for pennies. While these were educational opportunities and helped me build my portfolio, I also had a tough time paying the bills. I knew I was worth more, but didn’t have the confidence to tell clients I was. I thought I would get solid rejections and get paid nothing as opposed to pennies.

This is a wrong way of thinking, and it takes much courage to overcome it. Do some research about what freelance writers with your similar experience and education charge, then tailor that for your specific skill set. Stick to your guns on this price! Clients who are respectful and awesome (like Hipmunk!) will pay what you are worth because they understand the great investment you are getting.

Love What You Do

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Image via Pixabay User TheAngryTeddy

The most important thing to remember when searching for freelance opportunities is to show your passion and enthusiasm for the project. Only apply to jobs from clients you love and are excited about. If you don’t find an interest in it, the client will see it reflected in your work and you will not enjoy yourself. The whole point of freelancing is pursuing a career you love, so make sure you love every client you write for!

Is Twitter a Better Job Tool than LinkedIn?

Everyone knows LinkedIn is the social media king when it comes to job search, candidate search, and promoting a company or business. But I learned something recently that shocked my knowledge and made me question my social media industry knowledge – Twitter might be a more effective job tool.

Via Pixabay by Nemo

Via Pixabay by Nemo

Some background: A couple of months ago I received a mysterious email from a local startup, asking if I could come in for an interview. I spoke with the woman on the phone, came to their office for an interview, and have been working with them as a brand consultant and social media manager ever since.

I assumed when I was headhunted that the startup found me on LinkedIn. After all, I just started publishing on the platform and it is THE career networking site. I was surprised to find out a few weeks later that she actually found me via Twitter. Amazed, I asked what she did. The startup searched for social media in combination with my area – Kansas City, MO. I was one of the names that came up and my Twitter profile and messaging was the most appealing to her out of all the candidates.

Not only did this interaction make me extremely proud of my profile engagement, but it also opened my eyes as a social media manager. Companies who go digital head straight to LinkedIn to create a company page, get their employees on the site, and headhunt for new opportunities. Individuals who want to network for career advancement and are actively looking for job opportunities get on LinkedIn, customize their profile, and start applying to job openings.

Via Pixabay by tiffanytlcbm

Via Pixabay by tiffanytlcbm

Here is the problem – LinkedIn is so business professional that it is stuffy. There is an unspoken code of ethics, as if the users are constantly in their job interview mode (you know, that mode you get in when you are great at everything and can adapt to whatever the job interviewer wants). LinkedIn is flooded with people vying for positions and trying to B2B market effectively. It can be hard to sort through the noise to find people, especially since LinkedIn’s search function and strange connection rules make it hard to reach people.

Yet Twitter is the opposite. Even if people are looking for job opportunities, they go on Twitter to share industry knowledge, talk about their real lives, and communicate with others in similar professions. Twitter users are more real. They are not actively trying to find jobs on the platform, but do hope someone loves their content enough to follow them.

That means Twitter users are on their A-game to be the best selves they can be. This is different from the fake job interview-self that is the greatest at everything. Twitter users vent when they are frustrated, brag when they overcome challenges, and share personal photos and stories of their life. If you want to get to the heart of who someone is – go to Twitter.

Via Pixabay by Unsplash

Via Pixabay by Unsplash

That is what the startup I joined decided to do. Without even realizing I was being headhunted, I was appealing enough for that company that they considered me the perfect fit and solution to their problems. On LinkedIn, I am too focused on bragging about myself to do much else.

Remember this when you get on social media. People can find you anywhere online. Reserving one part of your personality for LinkedIn while putting another side on Twitter does not separate the two versions of yourself. Whatever you put online reveals who you are. This same rule goes for brands. People can easily find you on multiple platforms and will compare that messaging you send out. Even though each platform has a slightly different audience and messaging construction, you cannot treat them as separate worlds that will never touch. Be authentic on every platform and you will see your goals achieved.

Why You Need to Outsource Your Social Media Marketing

Back when email was on the rise and everyone was head-over-heels in love with this quick new form of communication (after you waited for AOL to log you in using dial-up for about half an hour), many businesses scoffed. “We don’t need this email. It’s a fad that will pass. Customers would rather call us on the telephone!”

Those businesses learned very quickly they do need email to reach a large portion of their customer base and those who did not perished. History repeats itself and this time social media marketing is the new “fad” businesses are reluctant to pick up.

Via Flickr by tashmahal

Via Flickr by tashmahal

Some businesses outright refuse to add social media accounts for their businesses. Others hastily create accounts and pages and often do them wrong (such as creating a Group instead of a Page on Facebook).

There are also many businesses that realize they do need to have a social media presence, but try to do it in-house to save money. Here is where the majority of businesses go wrong. It may seem easy to create a business profile and update it every now and then. You do it every day on your own Twitter and Facebook accounts, why should your business be any different?

You feel confident at first, filling out some basic About Us information and sharing your first post. You might think it’s a good idea to link your Facebook and Twitter posts to save time. You might decide to update once a week or every few weeks with text updates on sales or sharing funny cat videos you find online. When you don’t have time to post, you let your employees take over. People start liking and commenting, which you love looking at. Every now and then a customer might complain in a post on your page that is promptly deleted so your business doesn’t look bad.

It seems things are running smoothly on the social media front. However, your business is not growing at all. Your time on social media seems like a waste and you don’t know how other businesses are accomplished on these platforms. This is because you don’t understand everything you did wrong like I just did.

Nicole Yeary2

Via Flickr Nicole Yeary

As a social media marketer for a huge variety of different business industries, both big and small, I can look at your profiles for five minutes and understand all the mistaken steps you took. I will start brewing ideas on how to fix them and optimize your account.

Many customers prefer to communicate through social media and get updates from their business on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more. When you ignore these platforms or use them incorrectly, you come across as inauthentic, inconsistent, and uncaring about customer needs. Hiring a professional social media marketer allows your business to become a likeable brand on the internet. Your customers will turn to you for their questions, concerns, and investment in your industry.

Professional social media marketers have studied the nuances of every platform extensively. They know the exact formula for posting on each platform and the language preferred by those users. They understand how each social media site is different in expanding a business’ reach, what kinds of posts get the most engagement, and how to create and time messaging. They can also analyze your account and audience to find out when your customers are online and most likely to see your messages.

Social media experts will interact with your audience as a business and customer service representative to increase your customer loyalty. Marketers will learn everything about your business to create a brand personality for your social media presence that is likeable and engaging. They will collaborate with you to get the most out of your website, blog, special offers, sales, events, and more. On top of that, social media marketers are constantly analyzing your platforms to see where improvements can be made.

Via Flickr ChrisL_AK

Via Flickr ChrisL_AK

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? For social media marketers, it is another day at the office. For you, it takes a lot of research and all of your free time, if not more.

This work is not as expensive as you might think. No matter how big or small your advertising budget is, you can find ways to afford social media marketing. At the very least, you can shell out a one-time expense to get consultation on the basics of social media marketing.

I have base prices for my services and different package options for all kinds of businesses. However, I can also take any monthly budget you set and tell you exactly what I can do for you with that amount. I also offer consultation on the basics of marketing tailored for your business needs and goals. You can view my social media marketing service options on my website. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments or to email me at h.s.hobbs@gmail.com!

Originally posted on LinkedIn

 

The 4 Major Trials of Being a Freelance Writer

I live in Kansas City, MO. Our big theme park is called Worlds of Fun. The city and suburbs are buzzing about a new ride the park bought – Steel Hawk. Not because everyone is clamoring to ride it, however. Apparently the park bought the ride really cheap from another theme park because of its issues and multiple deaths associated with it. Some daredevils are willing to risk life and limb to ride it and prove how brave they are. Most are upset the park chose to buy a ride that is unpredictable and unsafe.

That is what being a freelance writer is like. You are willing to risk everything to get the benefits of freelance writing and only truly understand the danger once you are on the ride. The rest of the world doesn’t get why you would ever want to jump on that ride without any security.

I became a freelance writer for a number of reasons. I majored in English with the hopes of having more open career options and to learn the craft of writing as a skill. Employers didn’t see it that way and finding a job in my field where I live proved to be impossible. I wanted to write for a living in some capacity, but at the time no one was hiring writer straight out of college with no field work experience. So, after many different career changes, useless further education, and times of complete poverty, I started to get into freelance writing. It took a year to find a modicum of full-time success and even then work is still an insane roller coaster.

Starting Out

Via Pixabay kropekk_pl

Via Pixabay kropekk_pl

Choosing to become a freelance writer is not easy. You start off spending hours joining job search websites, building profiles, creating websites, working on blogs, pulling together some semblance of a portfolio, and more. After you have started getting jobs (ever so slowly while the bills pile around you), life as a freelance writer only gets harder and crazier.

Striving for Security

Via Pixabay PublicDomainPictures

Via Pixabay PublicDomainPictures

It is very difficult to find clients that stick with you, no matter how great your writing is or how much they love your work. Many of my past clients have posted they need blogs every week only to slowly reduce that number to zero in favor of cheaper writers or different business goals. The only clients I have kept long term are not even related to article or blog writing. I work as a Content Manager, Social Media Manager, and Marketing Strategist for my long term clients and rarely get the opportunity to write anymore. Finding clients that will guarantee payment is extraordinarily difficult, which I outline in my next point.

Working with Unpredictable and Unclear Clients

Via Flickr db Photography  |Demi-Brooke

Via Flickr db Photography |Demi-Brooke

I cannot even tell you how many clients I have gained in the past that fell in love with me and said they wanted more more more of my time. Inevitably, I get excited about their projects and their enthusiasm, put prospects on the back burner, and commit all of my time to them only to be disappointed. I have reserved my time to receive much less work than promised and also have clocked many hours only to never receive payment. This is one of the terrors of being a freelance writer and sadly all too common.

Unclear clients are another huge peril in this career choice. I recently lost a huge client who taught me so much and I really loved working with due to communication barriers. I would give my available times to work only to not receive work or receive panicked messages hours before I was available about why I wasn’t around. I was thrown into an extremely complicated process with zero training and then constantly drawn into angry conference calls about things I did wrong according to the company’s policies. I was also given 4-8 hour tasks without ever being given a due date, only to be messaged angrily an hour after receiving the assignment why it was not complete yet and how I could never accomplish a due date.

The point – even when some opportunities seem spectacular, a huge growth opportunity, and a blessing for your finances, most opportunities are not what they seem. I am trying to come up with a better screening process, but have yet to find something that works. In this field, however, it is impossible to be both cautious and an entrepreneur.

Battling the Worst Timing

Via Pixabay Collage Arts

Via Pixabay Collage Arts

It seems no matter what, I can never get my timing right. And I don’t mean I can’t organize and get all my work done, that part is easy. I mean there are weeks where I have a packed due date list and then I have people headhunting me and reaching out for my services. I often say, “I don’t have time,” and don’t spend as much time with these prospective clients so I gain their business. Then, a week or two later, my clients hold their work or are done with my services and suddenly I have no income and no prospective clients. This causes me to go back to square one and the deadly cycle repeats itself.

This job is not for the faint of heart or those who need financial security. There are so many hurdles and danger to this career choice. But what keeps us freelance writers going is passion for the job. We miss out on having coworkers, grabbing drinks after work, dressing up cute everyday (for my female writers!), financial security, healthcare, a great retirement plan, and even more. But we get to do something we love every single day and that is what is important.