Making it in the writing world can be super tough. Market competition is massive and it’s only increasing as more and more people seek to break the status quo and build a second income or launch themselves as a full-time freelancer.
So, you need to make sure you’re standing out from the crowd. It doesn’t take much to be able to write a generic piece of content, but you really need to be able to show prospective clients why they should hire you.
What makes you different? With these 6 hacks, you’ll be able to increase your chances of getting hired for that freelance writing job.
1) Don’t be boring
If you use the English language ‘properly,’ it can come across as being plain and simple. Adding a slightly humorous edge and some dialect and slang words can help catch a future client’s eye.
If you’re not normally extravagant, this can be even tougher, however. So here’s an example of where you can spice things up a bit.
Instead of something generic like this:
I am writing to apply for the freelance writing job you’ve recently posted. I believe I am the perfect candidate due to my background and passion for writing. If you like, I can give you my social media links and a sample article. Also, let me know if you’d like to interview me.
Instead, be more vibrant, edgy and proactive. Try something like this:
Hope you’re having a great day.
I just noticed that you’re hiring a freelance writer; I’m looking to diversify my client portfolio and feel that we could collaborate really well!
Check out my social media profiles, where I have some interesting articles and content which you might like:
My piece on how to start your own blog for free will probably interest you: (insert link)
Let’s Skype soon and chat over your requirements further. I’m free on Monday or Tuesday next week from 10 am to 5 pm.
Best wishes and chat soon,
As you can probably tell, the latter adds more vibrancy and depth to the application rather than doing something which you’re taught in high school—a style that just doesn’t work anymore.
With the increase and popularity of freelancers and the seemingly laid-back lifestyle that goes with it, clients are wanting freelance writers to have more of a personality about them.
2) Be social and blog
Chances are that a prospective client is going to want to see samples of your work. For the most part, you might not be able to send them examples due to them being be ghostwritten or you’ve signed an NDA.
If this is the case, it’s a good idea to get your social media profiles established and connected, and start networking. Have a schedule to regularly update them with content related to your profession and areas of interest.
These are excellent platforms to show off your talents, your professionalism, and your personality. LinkedIn is especially fruitful in that it’s a hotbed for freelancers to link to their articles and blogs and to connect with other freelancers and clients.
A second option is to actually build your own website. This may sound intimidating and expensive, but it really isn’t that difficult to learn, and the prices of domain names and hosting make this an accessible option for most.
A couple of the benefits here are that it looks more professional, and you can multiply your voice by having free services such as dlvr.it push your content out to many different platforms in a hands off manner rather than simply blogging on one.
If building your own website sounds like something you would like to do, but you are not yet sold then setting up a WordPress.com blog is a free option which is incredibly similar in functionality, and you have the option to actually upgrade to your own hosting and a private domain name later.
Even if now is not the right time for you to take on another client, by connecting and interacting with them, you have a greater chance of them coming back to you for work in the future, or for them to recommend you to their network.
Starting your own blog is an excellent way to direct potential clients to your work and can serve as a reference point for them to bookmark and come back to you.
Grow your connections and network as much as possible. Engage with them and they’ll remember you.
3) Answer the question
Time and time again you’ll see freelancers waffling in their applications and not answering specific questions asked by the client. Doing this will immediately put the client off and you’re likely to be blacklisted by them.
You have to address their specific needs. You might be in business for yourself but without clients, you have no business as a freelance writer.
That isn’t to say that you have to bow down to their every wish, however, you should always address their specific needs and requirements. Skirting around questions will signal to them that you’re either not interested or you’re unable to suit their needs.
This is a much easier box to tick if you’re using a freelance platform—such as UpWork—since you are unable to progress in your application if you haven’t answered their specific questions. If you are using this platform, a top tip is to provide as detailed as an answer where possible; this will show them that you are passionate about working with them as well as being passionate about your freelance business.
While we’re discussing client specifics, if they specifically ask you to mention a keyword at the beginning of your application, make sure you do this. Don’t try and add it after you’ve done your application. Make it the first thing that you do!
The reason for this is that many project owners receive spam applications, especially when they’re posting on freelance platforms. Requesting a keyword at the beginning of applications means that they can easily filter out the spammers and the scammers—trust me, these people do exist.
4) Be led by the client
If a job description is short and to the point and is a one-off project, mirror that format in your application. The client most likely doesn’t want a 3-page application for their 3-line job description. They’re going to want to hire quickly and efficiently without having to wade through walls of text.
On the contrary, if their job description and requirements are elaborate and convoluted then this is a sign that you need to go in-depth with your answers. A good way to approach this situation is to take a pen and piece of paper and write down the key areas of the job description and their requirements.
Make sure that in your application you have addressed each and every one of these points where possible. If you don’t meet one of their requirements, still address it in a way that shows them you’re still relevant for the job. For example, if they mention a specific educational requirement, you can mention that you’re looking to start a diploma in the subject in the next few months and are passionate about the subject matter.
5) Divorce your essay education
What I mean by this is: Ensure your paragraphs are not convoluted and complex. Most people enjoy reading short, punchy sentences with each paragraph only consisting of 2 to 3 sentences.
This is a key feature of “web copy” and is commonly used in sales letters, blog posts, and general media content (this article you’re currently reading is a perfect example).
Also, don’t use overly complex language, especially if the client isn’t doing the same in the job posting. They’ll be put off by this and might view you as being a poor fit for their requirements—adapt yourself to their style.
6) The fortune is in the follow-up
This is becoming a rather cheesy, and overused quote. However, it’s highly relevant here.
After you’ve applied for a freelance writing job, don’t just sit back on your laurels and wait for the client to interview you or contact you. There could be any number of reasons why they haven’t contacted you yet, so be proactive.
Gently give them a nudge and follow up on your application. A good way to do this is to put the ball in their court and ask them if they have any questions following your application. You could also offer up a couple of dates for when you’re available to Skype to answer any questions they might have.
Whatever you do don’t push them. It’s good to show proactivity, however, if you hound and badger them you’ll instantly put them off.
Remember to always put yourself in the client’s shoes. If you feel awkward during the application process, it’s likely that the job isn’t for you. The client will also pick up on this vibe; after all, words have power and meaning.
At all times, be yourself and don’t promise something you can’t deliver. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than to promise the world without ever showing up.
Your reputation is on the line. So most of all, enjoy the application process and make sure your passion for freelance writing shines through.
Best of luck!