Ahh, the dreaded cold call. The voice message that's never replied to. The email that sits in an inbox for months. The DM that's read but never responded to. These cold outreach approaches can lower confidence in any business owner. And when it comes to freelance writing, it may seem like an epic challenge to network online for solid leads.
So, how in the world do writers generate leads online? It's not magic. There are proven techniques to make that cold message turn burning hot. And also? It's pretty fun to make a new connection this way. I'll show you how!
Tidy up your profile
Before shooting out a bunch of posts on LinkedIn, it's important to upgrade your profile. Think of it like this: If a potential client clicks on your bio, will they see someone hirable?
Be sure you have a profile picture (I really hope this goes without saying, but just in case, prove you're a real person who someone can hire).
Embed links to your portfolio, blog, website, etc.
Write an attention-grabbing objective that tells viewers who you are and what you do.
Get your friends and colleagues to endorse your skills.
Reach that "100% profile completed" status.
Add relevant keywords throughout your text (SEO blogger, social media specialist, etc.).
Conduct targeted research
I've heard of plenty of writers make the mistake of typing up a generic message and sending it to well over 200 profiles of potential clients. This is not an efficient technique, and it rarely leads to your next paying gig. Take your time for targeted research by doing the following:
Invest in premium LinkedIn features. For example, utilize the "who's viewed my profile" function to narrow in on potential buyers.
Don't discount any traditional job postings. Look at job postings that are compatible with your work, and add that company to your possible clientele list (even if the advertisement is for a full-time or part-time worker).
Don't only use LinkedIn. Take your potential client list and follow them on other social media platforms. Not everyone updates LinkedIn on their latest research, projects, or press releases. Take a look at which publications have written about the company, too.
Personalize your cold outreach
Remember that targeted research you did about potential clients? This is where it comes in handy. Use a company's social media pages, news articles, blog posts, or other publications to find a genuinely interesting component. Then, mention something that drew you to the organization, and be clear about your intentions.
The bottom line is that you must invest time into standing out, even if that's something as small as owning pets or having a shared connection to a cause, business, or passion.
“I imagine you're preparing content for your social media page that's tracking your new pet store opening in Los Angeles. As someone with four fur babies and five years of content writing for animal hospitals, I'd love to write for your brand.”
These best practices have landed me reliable clients, and it can help you too! It's all about conducting your outreach with intention. Be patient, follow these tips, and you'll be that much closer to your next gig!