by Leo Wiles
24 January 2018
I’ve kicked off the new year with… well, exactly nothing. It’s so quiet and I was hoping it might have picked up by now. What do I do to get work in the door quickly? Anon
With January in the rear view mirror, February can feel like a scary time if your work schedule’s looking a little light on. Before you don a sandwich board and stand on your local high street hoping to drum up business, here are a few of the tried and tested methods I have used to build my customer base during slow times.
Referral is not a dirty word. Swallow your pride and ask your client if there are other departments who may need a copywriter or some social taken care of. You can phrase it as, ‘I know your company often needs to outsource, so I thought I’d try you first…’
Form a strategic alliance. Approach local web designers if they would like to team up with an SEO-savvy content writer.
Let LinkedIn know. There’s nothing wrong with a quick, confident post on LinkedIn to your audience that you’re available for work. Phrase it like, ‘A sudden delay with another project means I’m free this week and next! So please do get in touch if you’re looking for a good writer – I’m available to start on short projects TODAY’.
Assess your clients and brainstorm new possibilities. A little downtime this is the perfect chance to do your annual stocktake. You could also purchase our client audit worksheet from the Toolkit. Once you know who you want to work for, write up a hit list of your favourite titles / companies, research the commissioning editor / department head. Then you’ve got something to work towards.
Up-sell. If you have an existing client who loves your work, hit them up with a heap of must-buy pitches to land more regular gigs.
Be recognised. Bylines are great. Word of mouth and glowing testimonials are, some would argue, even better – and if you’ve got them front and centre on your SEO-optimised online portfolio, those complimentary words about your work might just lead to your next gig. (PS. If your site isn’t SEO-optimised and you don’t have any testimonials, use this slow patch to tick both of those things off your list.)
Hashtag the hell out of it. If you’re using social media to highlight your latest spread in that glossy magazine, don’t forget to make sure you include a few good hashtags like #writerforhire and #hireme so that other potential clients can find you.
Still stuck? Here are some previous tips we offered on finding new clients.
What’s your strategy when things are super-quiet and you’re twiddling your thumbs?