This week we’ll be finishing our series with successful freelancers, where we’ve been talking about queries, platforms, and finding freelance writing jobs.
A major aspect of query-free freelancing is building a writer platform–your visibility and demand. There are many possible elements to a writer platform such as blogs, a professional website, published books, microblogging (Twitter), and speaking engagements. (If you’d like more examples, check out our past post listing 30 ways to build your writer platform.)
I asked our guests what they considered to be the most important aspect of a writer platform, based on the most effective elements of their own during their careers. Here are their thoughts:
There are a couple of things that come to mind here. One, every freelance writer needs a blog. Since starting my blog a couple years ago I have received a number of large projects from clients who found me in this manner. Yes, it takes time to develop a readership but once you are there it can help immensely.
Having two books in print has also helped me grow as a writer. Not only has this brought forth additional projects, but it has allowed me to connect with others who can help me reach my goals.
All of the above [e-boks, a blog, published books, speaking engagements], because at various times, I’ve used and have done all of the above, and will continue to do it, as time permits, and as projects require.
Some editors did find me through my website, but to be honest, most of it was just a matter of editors getting to know me through my work for them and their colleagues. As I proved myself, editors began batting my name around more and more, and taking me with them when they moved to other magazines and other publishers.
Having a website was absolutely essential to building my business. I now also have a blog, and they both bring in enough work to more than pay for their own overhead costs. My website and my involvement with American Independent Writers were the two biggest external contributors to my freelance success. Busting my butt nonstop to go after work was essential, but I don’t think it would have been nearly as effective without those two elements.
Often I think this whole “platform” business tends to accidentally connect us to other freelance writers. For me, that’s important because of my work at About.com. But, you know what? Other than freelancewrite.about.com, it’s not freelancers who pay me! It’s publishers, editors. So I would say that the most important part of your platform is the audience!! Select them carefully.
I’ve always thought speaking might be a good way to get writing assignments, but it looked as hard to get speaking engagements as it can be to get writing assignments, so I focused on the writing. Websites and now blogs are my most important marketing tool, but although I think every writer should have a site with samples, etc., it won’t be everyone’s prime method. Just as we’re all different, our marketing will be different too.
So there you have it. Get a website. Get a blog. Do what works for you, but for goodness sake get out there and do something! The sooner you get started, the sooner your platform can begin bringing in the gigs.
Come back tomorrow for the final post in our series, where our guest will share some parting words of wisdom.