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Query-Free Freelancing Means Creating Your Own Demand

Read Time: 3 min

If you want to become a query-free freelancer, you can't just wait around hoping clients are going to find you. You need to create demand for your work.

Today I'm going to share a story about how I not only did that, but how I created demand in a relatively new market by identifying a need and choosing to fill it.

Those who have known me for a while know that my most popular service over the last few years has been press release writing, especially for web-based clients.

Here's how that came about. You can use a similar approach to create demand for your own writing

In the Beginning

I used to run a music PR firm. I worked with clients throughout my local and regional area.

It was an incredible experience. It's an area where everyone literally knows everyone else in the local scene, so word can spread easily.

We had a few well-known publicists in the area working with indie artists already, so I needed a way to reach out and keep making connections.

I knew I needed to increase my visibility if I was going to create greater natural demand for my work.

So... I launched an indie music webzine.

It got off to a decent start, and it wasn't long before I had artists soliciting reviews and interviews on a regular basis for the monthly issues, growing my network organically.

In turn, it started bringing in a decent amount of work without me having to solicit clients.

Yet I knew I needed to keep growing.

So I turned to a webmaster forum to ask for advice on improving the site and my promotion of it.

Unexpected Changes

As I spent time in that webmaster community learning and improving my own site, I noticed discussions cropping up among online entrepreneurs.

They were interested in press release writing, but they didn't understand it. That's putting it mildly.

There was very little demand from that group at the time to actually hire people, but the discussions became more frequent.

The few press release writing jobs advertised in the community seemed to get picked up by generic web content writers (the "Sure, I'll write you over-hyped, keyword-stuffed garbage content for $10 and throw it into a press release template" kind of writers).

There was a need for better information.

I, very assertively, started taking part in press release discussions there, trying to educate the market about how to use them appropriately and effectively--how focusing on real coverage and exposure could actually also do more to help their SEO efforts (since they were releasing garbage in the name of SEO).

It didn't take long before the general buzz started to spread with that group about press releases (not just in that community, but all over the web due to the growth of distribution sites like PRWeb).

Because I stepped into that market, building my visibility and authority status in that community early on, the work started flowing in naturally. And even though I charged over 10x what other generic writers did, I kept landing new clients because no one else with legitimate PR expertise was even targeting that client base at the time.

It played a role in my move from music PR to online PR for a wider variety of clients. That's what happens when you get your name and experience out there in front of a group of under-targeted prospects.

You create your own demand.

And while I still work with indie artists, authors, and other creative professionals, small to mid-sized online businesses have become my primary focus now, and they have much deeper pockets than many writers realize.

Plenty of Opportunities Still Exist

This is something you can do too.

Let's say you're a sales letter writer (great money there if you're good at what you do).

It doesn't matter how many other sales letter writers are out there.

All that matters is how many competitors are focusing on the same target market in the same places.

You may very well find client groups that have a demand for the service, but who aren't being exposed to qualified writers. They're itching to find someone like you, but no one's making it easy enough on them.

When you combine project types with niche or industry expertise, you can build a specialty all your own.

Take some time this week and try to identify at least one place where you might be able to find potential clients, but also somewhere not saturated by your competition.

If you find a community like that, join it. Start contributing--not advertising, but really contributing.

Show off your expertise by educating your target market. When you teach them what you actually do, and what it can do for them, they'll have a greater appreciation for the work that goes into your projects.

Not only will you show them that you can handle the job, but you'll show them why you're worth paying a professional rate.

Consider it a challenge. See what you can come up with.

Jenn 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 over 20 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and 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 18 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 16 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.

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3 thoughts on “Query-Free Freelancing Means Creating Your Own Demand”

  1. Thank you Jennifer for such an insightful post!

    It’s funny that I happened to read this today as I’ve targeted a niche that I feel is relatively untouched and one in which I can offer advice and services.

    However, it will take some getting used to the “query-free” way.

    Also, in the upcoming days I’ll be positioning my blog as a way to further validate my authority on the subject. Right now it’s under wraps as I add more valuable content before launching.

    May I ask if keeping it under wraps is hurting or hindering my success? You see, I notice that is your first post (or at least the first post I’ve read so far). Should I just launch and build, or keep with my plan of launching with at least 20 substantive posts and update from there.

    Thanks in Advance,

    Yolanda

    Reply
    • First of all, keep in mind that as soon as you’ve published something publicly, your blog is launched, even if unofficially. I always take this soft-launch approach–I might announce the new site (like this one) on others I manage targeting a similar audience and I’ll get some posts up so people don’ find an empty site, but the real “launch” doesn’t come right away. I still haven’t done the hard launch end of things here. When I do, the new release will go out, I’ll be kicking that off with a roundtable discussion series with some successful and well-known freelance writers, I’ll submit a few of the highest quality members-only freebies I can muster up, and I’ll be doing aggressive link-building and pushing for word of mouth promotion. I even have a second phase planned several weeks to up to two months down the road tied to the book-in-progress this blog is related to. In other words, think of that “launch” as not only a start, but an early evolution and spread of your blog.

      It really isn’t necessary to have 20 posts up before you launch things aggressively. A solid intro post is usually fine (not a “welcome to my new blog” post, but one jumping right into an issue likely to spark interest or discussion). If you really want several, I’d say no more than five before you at least start to announce the site on a softer basis. The main reason I say that is this: if you don’t let people know about your site early enough, and when you finally do there’s a whole lot of content to read, most of that early content simply won’t be read. At least it won’t be read until it starts attracting search traffic. That leaves posts with empty comments, and issues that are left unexplored by your readers. As long as you give people either something they can use or something that makes them really think about a topic, you don’t need to give them enough to gorge at the launch. In those early phases, the quality is what is really going to make the site stand out.

      Reply
  2. Thank you for such a detailed response Jennifer.

    In regards to my blog, what was actually going on was the fact that I had an attractive “Launching Soon” page up which also acted as way for individuals to subscribe to my feed once I launched. However, on the back end of things, I was busy posting away.

    Now with the insight you’ve provided, I also see and understand how important it is to build that momentum in the beginning.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. =)

    Reply

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