New Year Tips & Reminders for Freelance Writers

New Year Tips and Reminders for Freelance Writers -

I hope your new year is off to a great start.

Have you run through all your basic new year business tasks yet? If not, no worries. I'm still hashing out some of mine too.

Not sure what kinds of tasks I mean?

Let's look at ten new year tips and reminders appropriate for most freelance writers -- things you might want to review or update before we get too far into January.

You can put these new year tips on your annual to-do list, and consider repeating some every quarter or six months as-needed.

If you have a professional website or blog and your footer copyright notices don't update automatically at the start of a year, now's the time to update those manually.

With a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, themes will often make it possible to update years automatically. So check your theme documentation if applicable.

2. Update your About page and portfolio.

Now is also a great time to review the About page on your professional website, as well as your portfolio.

Any time-specific information might need an update (like "X years of experience").

Has anything else changed? Do you have improved credentials to showcase? Are you planning to offer new services? Have you stopped offering a service?

Do you have newer projects or testimonials you think might sway prospects? Do older portfolio pieces fail to convert clients?

Update your site copy to reflect those things.

3. Update your author bios.

Does your blog feature a short author bio at the end of posts? See if that needs a refresh too.

Don't forget about any client blogs you regularly write for. See if they'll let you make changes if you want to update your profile photo or bio.

Remember to check your social media profiles too.

4. Raise your freelance writing rates.

Or at least review your rates.

Decide if any adjustments are in order, and give yourself a raise if you haven't in a while (or even if you have).

5. Review your stats.

There's no time like the start of a new year to review past stats, see where you've succeeded, and figure out how you can do even better.

This can include looking at your total number of clients and your average income per client.

Or look into your average monthly earnings over the last year.

Or sort out how prospects find your website by checking your referral stats in your website analytics.

6. "Clean house."

It's also a good time to deal with work-related clutter. And I don't just mean organizing your work space.

For example:

  • You might want to file or archive your older emails.
  • Come up with a new digital filing system.
  • Come up with a better bookkeeping system, or try new software or services to manage your finances.
  • Try a new productivity or organizational tool. My favorite for both of those things is Todoist.
  • Overwhelmed by too many social media accounts that aren't bringing you results? Scale back.
  • Have some clients you aren't thrilled to work with in the new year? Cut them loose if you can, or at least start pursuing better replacements.

How can you "clean house" and potentially cut some stress out of your work this year?

7. Update your business and marketing plans.

Don't have these yet? Now's the time put them together. But if you do have a business plan and marketing plan in place, review them soon and update them to reflect your current situation and goals.

Does this feel overwhelming? Start small. Even a basic one-page marketing plan can help you figure out a path forward in the new year.

8. Update your content strategy / pitch strategy / editorial calendar.

Something else you'll want to evaluate yearly (at a minimum) is your content strategy.

What might this include?

  • Your thought leadership publication strategy (key bylines, guest posts, your own blog posts, long-form content, etc.)
  • The schedule, or editorial calendar, behind your own articles, long-form content, social media posts, etc. (preparing early to release seasonal or otherwise timely content)
  • Your pitch strategy -- including timely content opportunities to pitch clients on, and how far in advance those pitches should be made

While it sometimes makes sense to publish content off the cuff, such as in response to time-sensitive events, having an underlying strategy for the bulk of your content (or content pitches) is never a bad idea.

9. Review your social media strategy.

Similarly, the start of a new year is a great time to review your professional social media strategy.

How are you using social media? To find clients? To connect with colleagues?

How has it worked out so far, especially in relation to the amount of time you've spent?

For example, chatting for a couple of hours a day with fellow writers probably won't help you reach your new client goals.

Or at least it won't be the most efficient way to go about it.

If you feel like social media is causing you to sacrifice too many billable hours, look at scaling back or otherwise changing your approach.

On the other hand, maybe social media is a marketing avenue you haven't tapped yet, and this year could be a good time to test some new tools.

10. Do the thing.

What have you been aching to do but holding back on?

Do you want to write your first book? Launch a blog? Pursue your dream market?

There's no time like the present. Take one step today to start working toward your biggest dream or goal for the coming year.

You got this!

Do you have any additional new year tips to share? Let me know what things you do to get your work off to a great start each year.

Note: The content above is an archived email newsletter, originally distributed on January 5, 2021. Minor updates were made before archiving, and further revisions were made with additional tips added in an update on January 10, 2023. To receive content like this before it appears in archives, subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter and blog updates.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

Subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter to get freelance writing updates from Jenn in your inbox.

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