by Fredrick Musungu
The most tricky thing when it comes to freelancing is getting started. This entails happening or acquisition of new skills and gathering of the necessary information. When I started as a freelance writer; I naturally wondered if I’d ever feel ready to start marketing myself confidently and get the much desired first freelance writing gig.
It took me some reasonable time to know that I’d never feel perfectly ready for this dream job. But rather, if I needed to realize the real progress, I’d have to begin taking constant action to land on the first client.
Occasionally, we just require a bit of inspiration to take us down the right road, and mine happened to come from one evergreen blog post by Bamidele ” Earn Your First $1000 as a Freelance Writer “. Bamidele is a seasoned African freelance writer, cherished locally and internationally.
Both the strategy and email template I used was adapted from his blog posts.
Below are the strategy and template I used:
1. Decided on a niche
With a lot of businesses out there, it can be tough to know who to get in touch with. What helped me was deciding on a niche. I combed through my hobbies and interests and selected two industries I have an interest in marketing and alternative health. This helped me to narrow down my hunt to businesses in those niches.
2. Recognized potential clients
Bit of the incredible platforms to look up to for the clients include; online business directories such as Manta.com, trade magazines and directories, and lists of businesses participating in the industry trade shows. Or even websites that can simply pay you for just writing prudent questions and answers. I chose medium businesses that were already utilizing content marketing strategies. I got a terrific list of prospect businesses on a tradeshow website that recorded the names and companies of tradeshow vendors and partaking businesses. Tip: Try Googling “your niche” plus “tradeshow” and see the possible outcomes.
3. Created a decision makers’ email list
Additionally, I needed to have the contact persons’ particulars and personal email addresses. Because they are the decision-makers at the businesses. The ideal contact information should bear a title like Marketing Manager or CEO for other companies. To protect time, I chose to hire a vendor on Fivver for the job.
Below is how I utilized Fiverr to get the potential clients’ contact information:
I browsed Fiverr for the best data mining. vendors. Hired one of them to work through my entire tradeshow list and get me as many email addresses as humanly possible. The outcome was an impressive vast list of 400 contacts that I continue to work on as I grow and establish my freelancing career.
4. Used a simple email template to contact 90 out of the 400 contacts
With a sure list of contacts in my hands, I began my pitching process. As I gained momentum, I realized I could transmit at least 15 emails in one hour, so I squared off an hour a day for six selected days to achieve the goal. Precisely, below is the email template I employed
Hi [ contact person’s name ]
I’m reaching out to see if you might need someone who can help with content at [ company name ]
My name is [ name ] I’m a writer for [ your industry ] and have been featured in [ publication name ].
I’d like to know if you need a freelance writer who can help with your content needs.
I can help with [ your main services ] and any of your other content marketing needs.
I’d be happy to discuss how I can be of help.
[ your name ]
Getting potential clients and contacting them by email doesn’t have to consume a lot of your time. I got the tradeshow list, hired a Fiverr vendor, came up with a lot of contacts, and consequently sent out 90 pitches to potential clients in less than a week.
Following up is a great aspect of email outreach that multiple freelance writers forget. After the follow-up, my response rate shot from around 15℅ to 35℅. Because most people are occupied, a calculated reminder at the ideal time can sprint their memories and stimulate them to respond to you. In the future, So you always remember and square out some time to do follow-up as a freelance writer.
Below is how I did my follow-ups in case I didn’t get a response after some days:
Hi [ contact person’s name ],
I sent you an email a few days ago, but you didn’t respond to it.
Did you see it, [ Name ]?
Please inform me, if there’s anything I can commit to helping with your content requirements.
[ your name ]
6. Underscored my value during negotiations
Rather than concentrating on myself, I ensured I talk about the value I can offer the potential clients. To achieve this, you should question yourself about what you can accomplish for their business, overhear their difficulties and desires as well as position yourself to offer a solution. Also to add some value, I used statistics like “ Compelling writing can enhance your conversion rates by 72 percent ”, and cited my expertise, “I mostly work with companies in your industry to help them grow and establish.”
Then slowly, a young freelance writing career took off…………….
Upon getting in touch with my list of potential clients I got my first gig, a sales page for a medium company in the marketing niche at a reasonable newbie fee of 60 USD. It took me three hours crafting the sales page about a new span of smartphones retailed by its electronics store. The above-mentioned fee translated into 20 USD/hour and I honestly was excited and motivated enough to press on.
One thing lead to the other and I wrote a blog post for a client’s marketing website, rewrote website pages for another, and landed on two full-time blogging gigs. Just to test the waters at home; I recently applied and landed on a continuing blogging gig courtesy of a local business and tech website. Though not much paying I accepted it anyway.
But Fred, you may ask, was that necessary now that you have gigs paying more? My answer is a loud ‘YES’.
Why? Because it’s said,
” East or west, home will always be the best “
Although it’s unimaginable if by bad luck the dollar market happens to fail, my online presence at home will be glaring enough to enable me to bring some food to the table.
Currently, my pitching strategy is targeting businesses and individuals who need content marketing services. To achieve my long-term goal of reaching out to all the decision-makers on my email list and beyond.
If you get out there, come across a viable idea coupled with the right inspiration and implement it, your effort will surely pay off. It happened to me, it can as well happen to you, if you implement the content of this post.
How did you get your first freelance writing gig? Please let us know in the comments section.
About the Writer
Fredrick Musungu is a freelance writer, blogger, copywriter who helps businesses and individuals earn more with promotional and informational content at the Liberating Freelance Blog. He also writes about alternative health at FMHealthwise Blog.