by Ciaran Gilligan
If you’re a freelance writer looking ahead to 2018, opportunities really are everywhere. In my last post, I looked at 3 Tools You Can Use to Outsmart Your Competition and Guarantee Freelance Writing Success.
This week, I’m focusing on one key aspect of your career journey that you need to master. Get to grips with this one skill, and you’ll have more clients (as well as a larger network of other freelancers to communicate with) in no time.
So, what’s the magic skill?
It’s not improving your English (although we’ve got that covered).
It’s not cold emailing (although Nick just shared a huge pitching win recently).
It’s not learning how to write like a pro (although you might want to do that anyway).
It’s not positioning yourself as an expert (although that can be extremely lucrative).
It’s not using Linkedin to find clients (although that can help fill your pipeline).
I’m talking about marketing. I’m going to let you in on something here – Like a lot of writers, I’m a natural wordsmith and can get the brand, communication, and style side of this business down to a T, especially for other people.
That said, I’m not the best at marketing myself. Why? It’s partly because I’m introverted, which is no bad thing for a freelance writer to be.
But as I look toward next year and my goals for scaling up my freelance writer lifestyle, I realise that marketing myself – consistently, and with volume and confidence – is the only way I’ll achieve maximum success.
With that in mind, I’m going to share with you the beginnings of my Twitter marketing plan. Here’s 7 tips for marketing yourself as a freelance writer:
1) Be professional
There’s a huge amount of activity on Twitter, and the constant stream of communication can seem overwhelming at first. So if you’re serious about using it as an advertising platform, how can you give yourself the best chance of success?
Simply put, if you want to be taken seriously, you’ve got to cultivate a sense of professionalism. There’s three ways you can do this easily: in your bio, with your profile photo, and your cover photo.
Your bio will be most effective if it neatly summarises what you do and how you can be contacted, and your photos should be considered in the same vein as LinkedIn – clear and focused on you for the profile, and engagingly advertising your online presence for the cover.
2) Use a pinned tweet
Think of Twitter as an electronic business card. When used in the right way, it can be a powerful tool for attracting clients and growing your freelance writer business.
The pinned tweet feature is great for this – it’s a tweet that will always stay at the top of your twitter stream, and is the first thing others will see when they check your profile. This makes it the perfect opportunity to showcase yourself to potential clients.
With Twitter’s character limit recently increased, plus the option to add images, gifs and links to tweets – which will increase your visibility and engagement – a pinned tweet can basically become a digital advertorial for your brand and business.
3) Map out your schedule
How do you tweet enough to stay top of mind and in get front of your prospects when there’s so many people tweeting so much stuff? The best way is to be tactical, and plan a strategy.
You’ll need to send out a ton of tweets in a day – somewhere between 15 and 20 – if you want to stay in the Twitter stream and build your presence. But that doesn’t mean you need to be chained to your screen or phone all day tweeting every hour.
Here’s what to do instead: Do a little research and figure out the optimal time to post tweets for maximum engagement in the timezone you’re targeting. Then use a simple Google sheet to map out what kind of content you’re going to schedule at each time in the day.
Once you’ve done that, you can then set up your tweets to go out in advance using a tool like Buffer or Promorepublic. Batch your tweets this way in daily, weekly or monthly blocks according to what works for you and you’ll be able to easily integrate some effective and strategic marketing into your business immediately.
4) Be consistent
Twitter is all about momentum – the more you have, the more you’ll build. But the opposite is also true, in that if you go quiet (even for a short period) your followers and engagement will drop dramatically.
The best way to avoid this scenario is to be consistent in your marketing efforts and treat your tweets like oxygen – without them, your campaign will wither and die pretty fast.
5) Interact as much as you can
The best way to build your brand and get known on Twitter is to interact.
Follow companies and people in your target market, and tweet and share content from those that follow you. @ mentions, likes and retweets are the lifeblood of Twitter’s networking ecosystem – and you to get as many of each as possible.
6) Show your personality
Using Twitter to network and market yourself does mean you have to come across as professional, organised, and serious about your business.
But don’t forget that the core of marketing is about building relationships – the best of which are forged through human connection.
None of us are robots, so take care to tweet about things that move you and matter to you in other areas of life too.
7) Share content from others more than you promote yourself
If your Twitter feed is nothing but constant self-promotion, that’s going to turn people away from you in droves.
In fact, you should make sure that most of what you tweet is content from others in your network, target market and relevant industries.
A healthy mix is around two-thirds sharing and content curation vs one third promotion of yourself and your business (a ratio that even includes room for the occasional cat video).
I hope you’ve found my 7 tips for marketing yourself as a freelance writer on Twitter useful, and that they help you in the coming year. Do you use Twitter as a marketing tool – and has it helped you reach your freelance writing goals? Share your experiences with me in the comments.
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