If you’re on Twitter and not using it to further your freelance writing career, you could be missing out on a powerful and efficient marketing tool. The publications and companies you want to write for have Twitter accounts, and many potential clients are surprisingly responsive and open on this social platform.
Here’s how freelance writers can find jobs on Twitter…
Optimize your profile
In your Twitter bio, say what you do as well as who you are. Potential clients may well search Twitter to find services they need, so ensure your profile says ‘freelance writer’, ‘copywriter’, ‘freelance blogger’ – or whatever you want to be known for.
Keep an eye on lists you’re added to
If someone adds you to a list such as ‘writing services’ or ‘freelance writers’ take a look at their profile. If they actually use freelancers, you may want to politely contact them and ask if they need your services. If the answer is “not right now, but possibly in the future” start interacting with them by sharing and responding to their tweets. That way, you’ll stay on their mind.
Follow strategically and track your contacts
You may have a few different goals with your Twitter activity, from finding new readers for your book or blog, to finding new clients to work for. When you find publications or companies you’d like to write for, follow them and add them to a list of potential clients. This will help you keep track of people to pitch to in the future.
Build a relationship
Once you have your list, start interacting. Don’t try to sell your services straight away – build a relationship with potential clients first. If there’s a publication you’d love to write for, share their articles. This shows you’re a genuine reader and that there’s a crossover between their target market and your Twitter following. Editors and webmasters love to know you’re familiar enough with their publication to write a relevant article. If you can promote it to an interested audience, that’s even better.
Think about branding
The simplest way to build a strong brand as a freelancer on Twitter is to use your real name. Think about it: you may not be actually pitching via Twitter – you may be sending an old-fashioned email or perhaps submitting an article through a standard website form. How will potential clients know it’s you if your Twitter handle is something completely different from the name on that email or web message?
Know your hashtags
Potential clients can use specific writing related hashtags – both when looking for freelancers and when advertising their own services. Examples include #freelancer #freelancewriter #copywriter and #speechwriter. Search by these hashtags and if someone is looking for a freelancer with your expertise, get in touch.
Follow people who tweet about freelance work
Yep. There are people on Twitter who are there primarily to share freelance opportunities with the community. Twitter accounts that regularly post links to freelance writing jobs include @Writing_Jobs, @TweelanceWriter, @jjobs_tweets and @FreelanceWJ. The jobs vary in quality as you’d expect, but I’ve seen worthwhile jobs posted by all these Tweeters. You just need to take a little time to look through them.
Tweet articles you’ve written
Of course tweet articles you’ve written – and include relevant hashtags. You never know who might be scanning Twitter or following those hashtags because they run a site or publication about a niche topic. If they read something you’ve written that they love, they may just ask you to write something for them.
Scan your direct messages
I’m not a fan of direct messages on Twitter. They’re usually automated and often trying to sell me something. Occasionally though, someone will contact you via direct message because they genuinely have something to say to you privately. A recent direct message I almost deleted said “I see you’re a freelance writer. We’re looking for writers. What’s your specialty?” When I replied they didn’t have any work in my specialty, but they did add me to their freelance database in case something suitable came up. Always do a quick check of all direct messages that come in.
Used correctly, Twitter is much less time-consuming than the other social networks. You’re not going to get sucked into long rambling posts or heated multi-user discussions on Twitter. Set aside short chunks of time to spend on the platform and have a clear objective of what you want to achieve, and you may find your return on investment is genuinely worthwhile.
You may even find that Twitter becomes your go-to tool for finding and researching new freelance writing clients.
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Karen Banes is a freelance writer and the author of Tweeting For a Reason: How (and Why) to Use Twitter to Market Your Business. Find out more about Karen at her website KarenBanes.com.
>> Get social media strategies, pitching templates and step-by-step instructions on how to earn a living from freelance writing online in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.
Image courtesy of Danilo Ramos via Flickr.