Freelance work is skyrocketing.
Most people have ditched the conventional 9 to 5 to join the freelance industry.
In fact, according to Statista, nearly a third of the global workforce are freelancers.
But what’s behind this global shake-up?
Numerous perks come with freelancing. Key among them include control of workload, flexibility in work schedule, and freedom of working with multiple clients.
While that’s the rosy side of freelancing, getting clients is sometimes a nightmare.
There are two kinds of freelance writers—those who rely on content mills such as Upwork and Fiverr and those who work for direct freelance writing clients.
While content mills could offer a decent starting point when kick-starting your writing career, they are notorious for low-paying and laborious jobs.
Working for direct freelance writing clients on the other hand is much more lucrative.
Which one would you prefer? I bet my bottom dollar; you’d want to have your own share of the direct clients’ cake.
However, how can you source for these high-paying direct clients? Well, let’s find out.
Who is a Direct Client?
A direct client, commonly known as DC, is a person who hires you outside the freelancing websites or accounts.
You get to communicate directly with this person, have their contacts, and create a direct business relationship with them.
The beauty of working with a direct client is that they pay directly to your bank or online payment gateway once you deliver their work.
Moreover, the pay is mouth-watering and will have you smile all the way to the bank. Not to mention, nobody will deduct a cent from your money.
Sounds like a deal? Great, let’s find out where to get direct freelance writing clients.
Where to Get Direct Freelance Writing Clients
1. Guest Posting (for Free)
I know, I know, nobody wants to work for free but hear me out.
A guest post is an outstanding article you write and publish on another person or brand’s blog or website. You need to publish your article on a well-known or at least a high-authority website for this method to work.
How will this help? Two ways;
- First potential clients will read that post, and if impressed, they’ll reach out to you with some work.
- The guest post serves as your published sample when you pitch clients or apply for writing jobs. Clients don’t want to see word documents or Google Docs samples. They prefer published posts.
Sidenote: When I began my freelancing career, I wrote several guest posts. I leveraged those guest posts to showcase my expertise to potential clients. This method landed me several clients within days. Today, it remains my top-most source for high-paying direct clients.
So, where do you guest post? First, do a quick google search with “your niche + write for us.” For example, “freelancing writing blog + write for us.” Then, visit the website’s guest post guidelines and pitch your idea.
Alternatively, you can start by asking your friends who have great websites if you can post there.
Once you nail how to write for these big publications, you can start looking for paid guest posting opportunities on publications that pay contributors thousands of dollars to write content for them.
2. Listing Services on Freelancer Marketplace
Listing your services on the freelance marketplace is another way to land well-paying content writing clients. As a freelancer, you simply create a profile showcasing your experience, education, and skills you can offer.
When people visit this marketplace, they’ll find your profile, samples, and rates. If they match what they are looking for, the client will reach out to you directly and possibly establish a working relationship with you.
Centmatters is a perfect example of a free and open freelance marketplace where you can list your digital services. The platform connects freelancers and employers.
Creating a profile on this platform exposes you to potential clients. Clients who find your skills fit for their project contact you directly. Unlike in Upwork or Guru, where freelancers must work within the platform, you’ll define the terms to work with.
The advantage of listing your services here is that you might land high-paying clients when going about your business or when you least expect. You only need to ensure you describe your services, provide a link to your samples and your contact details.
Every freelancer should strive to have a professional-looking website where they showcase their work and services. A writer’s portfolio website or a blog is an excellent way to get direct clients,
Ensure that you optimize the blog for SEO to target your preferred prospects. Alternatively, use social media platforms or list it on the freelancer marketplace site listed above to market and get it in front of potential clients.
When designing your blog section,
- Choose a niche to specialize in so you can position yourself as an authority in that field. For example, you can be a parenting blog post writer.
- Research the client’s pain points in that area. What are they struggling with? Why would they hire a writer? What can you do for them? Answer these questions and implement them on your blog.
- Check out different forums and other similar blogs to see what potential clients are looking for.
So, now you have a few guest posts here and there, and you have established yourself as an authority in your niche. The next step is to respond to job ads posted on various job boards.
Job boards are authority sites where clients pay to post their jobs and find freelance writers. Examples include ProBlogger, Blogging Pro, Centmatters, Content, and All Freelance Writing Job Board.
Find jobs that match your skills and pitch to those clients. If your pitch and sample impress the client, you can talk more about rates and work schedules.
If you want to get high-paying clients, cold pitching is the way to go.
But what exactly is cold pitching? This is where you approach companies that have not advertised or even mentioned they need freelance writers.
Essentially, you search for companies within your niche, check out their blogs, and note down how you can improve their blog quality. Better yet, you can be the person to show them the benefits of having a blog on their company website.
You have to package your pitch to show how your writing will benefit their business. Some questions to think about when looking for companies to pitch include;
- Do they look like they have the budget to pay for freelance writing services? A little research on the company will give you this information.
- Are there any gaps in their website that you can fill? Again, maybe their blog doesn’t look optimized, or worse- they don’t have one. You could help them improve the blog and sometimes help them with newsletters, social media posts, and email marketing.
- Can you deliver what you promise? It’s the value you provide that will get you paid.
If the answer to all these questions is YES, find the right person to contact and send your pitch. Many times, this is the marketing manager or digital marketing executive.
Remember cold pitching is a numbers game. The more companies you reach out to, the higher your chances of getting a client.
Not sure where to start cold pitching? Here is a 30-day cold pitching challenge to earn you $1,000 in one month.
The author of the challenge, Bamidele Onibalusi, takes you through the step-by-step process of choosing your niche, creating your website, and finding companies to pitch to.
The challenge also has pitch templates you can use and tutorials on finding the email addresses of the people you need to contact.
6. Social Media
Photo Source: Pixabay
All you have to do is follow the right people, join the right groups and market yourself strategically. Of course, you also need to keep your profile professional and make it clear that you are a freelance writer for hire.
Here are four that have worked best for me;
Twitter is the best place to share helpful information, tips, and industry news. You can establish yourself as an authority by offering free value. One of the best tactics I’ve seen is following job boards so you can be among the first to see when they post jobs. Try these three if you are a beginner;
LinkedIn is designed specifically to connect employers and employees, making it the best site to find direct clients. Create a professional profile with your credentials and the services you offer. You can also post some of your best content on the ‘WRITE ARTICLE’ section.
Connect with as many freelancers as possible and mostly business or company decision-makers. You can also join freelancers groups on LinkedIn and meet potential employers there. Lastly, LinkedIn has a job section to find suitable jobs and contact the clients directly.
The easiest way to find clients on Facebook is to join freelancers groups. Like with every other social media platform, you have to optimize your Facebook profile to show you are a serious freelance writer for hire.
Next, you have to look for reputable groups where freelance writers and clients socialize. Great examples of such groups include Boss-Moms, Savvy Business Owners, Cult of Copy, and Jarvis Official Community. You can also join local freelancers’ Facebook groups because you are more likely to get hired by people within your locality.
Once you join those groups, solve problems and add value to members. If the rules of the group allow, post that you are looking for work and show what you can offer. However, be careful not to spam Facebook groups.
Using these methods is not easy, especially for newbies; but it’s possible. Most DC’s may not pay thousands of dollars especially to beginners, but with time when you deliver excellent work consistently, you’ll make a fortune.
Writing content is a marketing strategy that should yield fruits in terms of sales and site visits. If you can write your content with that in mind and wow the client most of the time, you will always have a constant supply of work.
Are you currently working with direct clients? What strategies have worked best for you?
Let us know in the comments.