Social media is one of the best ways to land writing gigs and grow your freelance writing business.
To me, social media is the new resume.
In my 24 months of freelance writing, I’ve never once been asked for a resume, but clients have found me through social media.
I feel that building a brand online is one of the best ways to separate yourself from so many other writers. Social media gives you a voice and allows you to show off your skills.
But before you get worried and think it’s too much work or not worth your time, hear me out.
First off, I’m not saying that you have to post on every platform, do Instagram stories daily, document every second of your life, or vlog on a YouTube channel.
I think that not having active profiles on the biggest social media platforms is limiting your potential as a writer. I say this because, in my first year of writing online, I had barely any online presence.
But when I launched my podcast, I started getting active on Instagram as I wanted to get listeners to my show. The theme of season one was all about interviewing inspiring entrepreneurs and learning more about their journey to success.
Unknowingly, it aligned perfectly with my freelance writing niche of creating content in the personal development and entrepreneurial space.
And my Instagram content attracted a client in December of 2018 that I still work with regularly. He found my videos, visited my freelance writing website, loved my writing style, and DMed me to learn about working together.
Fourteen months later, he’s more than a client — he’s also a mentor. I’ve helped him write tons of epic content to build his brand, and he’s taught me a ton about entrepreneurship and personal development.
Not to mention, I’ve earned over $35,000 working with him.
I say none of this to brag. I just want to point out why I think it’s important to show up on social media, even if you avoid it like the plague right now.
Had I not posted those videos, I could have missed out on one of the best clients I’ve had since starting as a freelance writer.
Why You Need Social Media as a Writer
There are a couple of reasons why I invite you to try social media as a freelance writer. The first reason is that with social media, you get to control what people see online.
Remember, clients, buy (or in this case, hire) from people they like. It’s up to you to make sure that your online brand helps people know, like, and trust you.
The other big reason is that it’s an awesome way to land paying gigs. Instead of just cold pitching clients, applying to job boards, or using Upwork, go where your clients are spending time and pitch your services.
How to start
To start getting active on social media, I suggest setting up LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram profiles.
You might be thinking… LinkedIn and Twitter make sense, but Instagram for freelance writing…really?
The world is living on Instagram and that includes your clients. In fact, in 2018, they hit over one billion monthly active users.
Here’s an overview of how to dominate three social media platforms as a freelance writer.
LinkedIn is still one of the best places to find freelance writing jobs. I like to think of LinkedIn as Facebook for business.
The numbers don’t lie — check out some crazy facts from this Hootsuite survey that show how popular LinkedIn has become:
- Two professionals join LinkedIn every second.
- Three million American jobs are posted on LinkedIn every single month.
- 45% of LinkedIn users are upper management (aka decision-makers).
As a freelance writer trying to land gigs, here are my seven best tips for crushing it on LinkedIn:
- Optimize your profile: Add things like “freelance writer,” “writer,” “copywriter” and other search terms to your profile. This will help you get found in search results when clients type in similar terms. You want to add your niche as well in your bio and occupation (ex. “Fitness copywriter” or “Personal development writer”).
- Upload a professional photo: If you look at all my social media profiles (including Medium), I have the same photo on all of them. I learned this from world-class marketer Dan Fleyshman who said consistency will help you get noticed online. I suggest doing the same so that people can easily recognize you across all platforms. Also, please don’t feel like you need a professional photoshoot. I suggest using portrait mode on the iPhone as it works amazingly.
- Create a custom background: As you can see in the screenshot of my LinkedIn profile photo below, I proudly show where my writing has been featured online (ex. Goalcast, Fearless Motivation, Lifehacker, etc.). I also clearly state that I am a copywriter and podcaster. Once you get featured in publications relevant to your niche, create a custom photo using Canva to build authority in your niche. Don’t waste this space!
- Share your content: Another great way to use LinkedIn is to share your content, which can include client work, blog posts, sample pieces, or guest posts. Your connections can then like it, share it, and comment on it. This will help get more eyes on your work, which can then attract more clients to your profile. Or, you can also create your own unique content on LinkedIn and publish on there as well. I’ve found that LinkedIn tends to rank this more as they like fresh, new content on their platform vs. sharing a post from Medium or another website.
- Nail your “about” section: The “about” section is the first thing people see once they land on your profile. You want to make it clear in the first sentence what type of writer you are and how you can help businesses. Specify your niche, what audience you serve, and the results you’ve had (if possible). If you have more than one niche or audience that you serve, list that out strategically in your about section.
- Add jobs to your experience — If and when you become a regular contributor to a website, add this as job experience. Then, share a few bullet points about what you do for the company. Whether it’s creating blog posts, eBooks, lead magnets, email copywriting, or anything else that’s relevant. Also, if you’re brand new, create a job for your writing business (i.e. Leonard Media LLC). Then, link to your writing website and list bullet points about your writing services.
- Link to your samples — The final hack for using LinkedIn as a freelance writer is to upload your writing samples to each one of your relevant jobs. This way, potential clients can click on the link and go directly to your work that is published online. As I always say to my students and coaching clients, “Make it simple for clients to find your work so they can say yes to your services.”
As I mentioned in the intro, Instagram has been good to me. By having an optimized profile, one client has paid me $35,000 and became a mentor for the other side of my business. All of this came from posting content relevant to my freelance writing niche and having my freelance writing website in the bio.
With a billion people using Instagram every month, I invite you to take advantage of this growing platform instead of wasting time scrolling your feed every day.
Here are my seven biggest tips to help your Instagram profile attract high-paying clients.
- Have a business account: You want to separate your personal life from your business. Potential clients don’t want to see 900 pictures of your kids (sorry). Use your full name as the handle, something with writing (ex. michaelwrites), or your LLC if the name is relevant.
- Post relevant content: Remember, Instagram is a visual platform. Don’t screenshot your articles and expect people to give it a double-tap. Instead, post photos and captions (next point) that show off who you are. If you’re feeling really bold, do some videos for IGTV as well. This will give you more opportunities to show off your skills and get people to know, like, and trust you!
- Write epic captions: If you’re a writer, show it off in the captions! Post a relevant photo in your niche or of yourself and then write a cool caption about it. Think of it as a mini sample of your writing. Make it readable by spacing it out every few lines, using emojis, and using a CTA at the end to view your profile, comment on the post, or DM you to learn more.
- Use the right #hashtags: While not as effective as they once were, hashtags can still get you in front of the right audience. Use hashtags that your ideal client would be searching, like #freelancewriter, #copywriter, #writer, or #writersofinsta (15–20 is good, more than that looks like spam to IG). Also, add hashtags that are relevant to your niche. To make this process simpler, make a note on your phone with all the hashtags so you can copy and paste them into each post.
- Optimize your profile: Instagram doesn’t give you much space in your bio so it’s crucial to use every character to your advantage. The first thing to do is add a term like “copywriter,” “writer,” or “freelance writer” in the name field. For example, mine is Michael Leonard | Copywriter. Then, in the first line, call out directly who you help and serve. (Ex. “I help personal finance blogs and websites create epic content about investing, saving, and retirement.”) On the second line of your profile, show off where you’ve been featured and anything else to establish your expertise. Finally, make sure to add your writer website, Medium portfolio, or LinkedIn page to your website link.
- Schedule your content: One thing that happens to a lot of my students is that they get overwhelmed with consistently posting. To avoid this feeling of overwhelm, I recommend using a scheduling tool (ex. Buffer, Hootsuite) and plan all of your content on Sunday for the following week. By batching your content, it will take less than an hour and set you up for success each week.
- Use stories daily: If possible, I suggest using stories as Instagram seems to reward users who engage on the site more regularly, especially with stories. While you can schedule your posts with a scheduling tool, I suggest logging in and posting stories a few times per day. You can screenshot where you have been featured, specific blog posts, more about your services, client testimonials, and more.
Twitter is another great place to find freelance writing jobs and attract clients for your writing business. This is one I personally haven’t been as active with as I hate all the negativity and noise on the platform, but as a writer, it can help you get clients.
There are even job boards on Twitter so you can easily find one that fits your expertise. I recommend following these accounts so you can see the most up-to-date listing on your social media feed.
Here are my seven biggest tips for Twitter:
- Add writer in your title: Use words like “Copywriter for Hire” or “Freelance Writer.” This will help with SEO (if someone types in “copywriter”) and it will help new followers learn more about you. Since you have such limited space in your profile, make sure to clearly communicate that you are a freelance writer (for hire)!
- Link to your writing website: Like Instagram, you only get one link in your bio. Make sure to link to your freelance writing portfolio so potential clients can see your work and learn more about you. If you have more resources to send them to, you can also create a Lynx in Bio account (free or $5 per month) to get multiple links in your bio.
- Show off where you have been featured: As I showed above, I do this on LinkedIn and reformat the photo on Canva to fit as a Twitter background. Show a picture of you and where you’ve been featured to build credibility as an expert in your niche.
- Share your articles: Arguably the easiest way to use Twitter is to share content from your portfolio, guest posts, and work that you do for clients. Not only will this help get you more exposure, but it will help your clients as well. The more people that visit their content, the more it will help them with SEO, sales, and email opt-in. Use a scheduling tool so you can post stuff every day. Remember, you’re only one tweet away from sharing a viral post!
- Network with other writers: A lot of writers, authors, and bloggers use Twitter, so make sure to network on there as well. You can retweet their content, message them directly, and tag them in things that might get their attention. It might create a friendship and even lead to new job opportunities.
- Twitter pitch: With so many of your potential clients on Twitter, don’t be afraid to slide in those DMs and pitch your writing services. But before doing that, I would suggest following them, sharing their content, and building some rapport before asking to write for them. Once you have built some rapport, use Twitter messages to pitch your services and start a conversation.
- Follow the job boards: Make sure to follow the five job boards above to maybe land a new gig.
Not to mention, if you gain a big following on Twitter, it will help you gain leverage with clients as you can share content with your audience as well.
Remember, there’s no one way to land clients. Use whatever methods you can to stay motivated and build momentum in your writing business.
Please note, I don’t recommend creating three brand new accounts and spending all of your time on social media. I think it’s important to not spread yourself thin so pick one platform and master it.
And if you already have several of these platforms set up, use a scheduling tool to batch your content as well.
Remember, you’re only one client away from changing your freelance writing business.
Stay consistent, keep the faith, and attract clients using social media as a writer.