Before you can think about marketing your freelance writing business, you need to know where you currently stand among your competition. Are you dealing with over-saturation in your specialty area? Are you lacking skills other freelance writers have, that clients want? Do you have something going for you that justifies charging higher rates than others? A SWOT analysis can help you figure those things out, and more.
Let's explore what a SWOT analysis is and how it can help you come up with a better marketing strategy for your freelance writing services. I'll also share an example SWOT analysis as well as a free worksheet you can use to conduct one of your own.
What is a SWOT Analysis?
A SWOT analysis is a tool to help you identify your current position within your market. It includes:
Your strengths are the things that give you an edge over the competition.
Your weaknesses, on the other hand, are internal issues you need to overcome to become, or remain, competitive.
The opportunities are broader personal, industry, or even cultural elements that might open new doors for you in the future.
And, finally, threats are external challenges you'll face as a freelance writer within the particular market you choose to specialize in.
Get My Free SWOT Analysis Worksheet
If you want a simple printout you can use to map out your own evaluation, I've created a free SWOT analysis worksheet you can download and print. Here's a preview.
Example SWOT Analysis for a Freelance Writer
Let's look at an example of what you might come up with if you were a US-based freelance writer fresh out of college with a business degree, and you wanted to write business-oriented online content. In this example, let's say you spent your summers working for an internet marketing firm in addition to earning your degree.
Using the example scenario above, your SWOT analysis might look something like this:
- Specialized degree
- US-based (targeting US clients)
- Internet marketing experience allowing you to offer value-added services like SEO and social media assistance
- Strong understanding of marketing fundamentals to promote your own services
- Limited experience compared to your main competitors
- Lack of visibility in the market
- Extremely limited marketing budget
- Rapid expansion in your specialty (more online business publications as well as constant new businesses launched needing web content)
- A growing international market (with a demand for native English speakers to help overseas companies target US-based customers)
- Growing competition alongside the growing demand
- Low-priced competitors skew prospects' idea of value
When you conduct a SWOT analysis, none of these sections should remain blank. No matter how good you think you are, you do have weaknesses. No matter how new you are, you do have strengths. And every market will have both opportunities and strengths. If you can't think of any, try talking to existing clients or colleagues to see if they can shed some light on things you haven't considered.
Ultimately, conducting a analysis for your freelance writing career relies on your being, sometimes painfully, honest with yourself. If you overestimate your strengths or can't admit your own weaknesses for example, this tool won't help you. But try not to stress about it. After all, your SWOT analysis can be for your eyes only if you prefer.