LinkedIn is one of the best ways for freelance writers or journalists to find clients. If you’re writing for magazines or newspapers, you can connect with editors on LinkedIn and maintain your relationship, but you can also cultivate opportunities to find high-paying corporate work.
Today’s post has been written by Lori De Milto, an expert freelance medical writer and coach who runs The Mighty Marketer blog. Lori has used LinkedIn to great effect in her six figure freelance writing business.
How freelance writers can use LinkedIn to find high-paying clients
Many freelance writers are getting high-paying clients through LinkedIn. If you’re not, you’re probably wondering how they do this.
Freelancers who get clients through LinkedIn:
1. Have a client-focused profile
2. Have a large network
3. Are active on LinkedIn.
If you want to be near the top of the search results when editors and other clients search for freelance writers on LinkedIn, you need all three of these things.
And you need to understand the many changes LinkedIn made in early 2017.
Attract High-Paying Clients with Your Profile
Most freelance writers do a terrible job on their LinkedIn profiles.
That’s good news for you, because if you craft a client-focused profile, you’ll stand out and rise to the top of search results when editors and other clients search for freelancers.
And there are a lot of freelance writers for clients to choose from. Here’s what I found when I searched LinkedIn:
· “freelance magazine writer”: 115,682 search results
· “freelance newspaper writer”: 54,365 search results
· “freelance journalist”: 99,441 search results
If your profile doesn’t grab the attention of a busy client or editor in a few seconds, they will be clicking on the profile of the next freelancer in the search results.
Focus on the needs of your target clients and how you meet those needs. “. . . clients want to know that you can solve a particular problem for them or get a result,” says Lindy in her 3 Steps to Finding High-Paying Clients on LinkedIn.
Write a Clear, Compelling Headline
Your headline is the most important part of your profile. Clearly describe:
· What you do
· How you help your clients.
Headlines like “freelancer writer” or “freelance journalist,” the most common headlines that came up in my search, are generic and boring.
But you’ll stand out—and attract more high-paying clients—if you say something like:
Freelance Magazine Writer | When the message matters
Freelance journalist who delivers compelling content on health and business
LinkedIn gives you 120 characters for your headline. Use them to write a compelling headline and make clients want to learn more about you.
Along with including “freelance” in your headline, include other keywords related to your services and specialty(ies) that clients will search for too.
Write a Conversational, Concise, Client-Focused Summary
Your summary is the second most important part of your LinkedIn profile. Make it conversational, concise, and compelling, because it’s a marketing tool and not a resume.
Only the first 201 characters (45 in mobile) in your summary are visible before people need to click See more. You can write about the first two sentences, in 201 characters.
They should flow with your headline and offer a client-focused (benefit-oriented) message.
Include just enough key content so that clients know that you’re the right choice for them:
· Relevant experience and background
“Relevant” means what your clients care about, not what’s important to you. Also include descriptions of some of your work, with links to the samples.
Industries are no longer shown on profiles, but they’re still there behind the scenes, and used by LinkedIn’s search algorithm. So include yours.
At the end of your summary, include a call to action and your contact information. The call to action is what you want prospects to do (e.g., call or email or visit your website).
Include your contact information and your website in your summary and also in the section on contact information to the right of your profile.
Profile photos and background images are different now. Your profile photo, now in the center of the intro section, is smaller and round. Make sure that part of your head hasn’t been cropped out. The size of the background image is now 1536 x 768 pixels. Simple, generic background images that look great on smart phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops work best.
You can use my free Ultimate LinkedIn profile checklist for freelancers to make sure your profile will stand out from those of other freelancers.
Build a Large Network and Be Active
LinkedIn’s 2017 changes made your network and activity much more important in search results.
If you want to be near the top of the search results, you need to have a large network and engage with your connections. This also helps you build relationships with other freelancers, a key source of referrals.
Connect with Clients and Freelancers Personally
Use personal invitations to connect with clients and other freelancers. Most clients don’t seem to be very active on LinkedIn, unless they’re searching for freelancers. But you still want to connect with them to get access to some of their connections and expand your network.
Plus, you’ll get notices from LinkedIn when a client changes jobs, gets a promotion, posts an update, etc. Congratulating the client on a professional achievement or commenting on an editor’s post is an easy way to stay in touch and help ensure that they thinks of you first for freelance work.
Share Useful Content and Engage with Your Network
Share your own updates about 1-3 times a week. Most updates should provide useful content, such a blurb about an article, blog post, or report related to your work with a link. Respond to all comments on your updates, and comment on other people’s updates.
Once in a while, you can post an update about something you’ve written. But don’t say “here’s an article I wrote” like so many freelancers do. Instead, mention something interesting from the article, followed by something like “Read more about XYZ in my article.”
Grow your network quickly by inviting relevant people to join your Linked in network. Check out the profiles of people who comment on or like your updates, and the people whose updates you comment on. Invite anyone who could be a good connection to be part of your network.
I doubled my LinkedIn network in a few months by doing this. Since then, the number of profile searches and views of my posts has grown exponentially.
And you can do all of this in about two hours a week.
More Ways to Get High-Paying Clients
Use the work you do to develop a client-focused LinkedIn profile on your website and in other marketing too. You can also use LinkedIn to find and build relationships with prospects on LinkedIn.
Lori De Milto is a freelance writer, online teacher/coach for freelancers, and author of 7 Steps to High-Income Freelancing: Get the clients you deserve.
Lori helps freelancers find and reach high-paying clients through her 6-week course, Finding the Freelance Clients You Deserve.
John Espirian has a great post about finding clients using the LinkedIn mobile app
How I got a $2/word writing gig on LinkedIn
Land more work with an excellent letter of introduction
Do you use LinkedIn? What do you think of Lori’s advice?
A great article, I’m encouraged to give LinkedIn a try, especially if it can be done in just a couple of hours a week. I shall come and reread this later and make a list of things I should be doing. Thanks for the tips, as always I learn when I come here!
Lori is has such a wealth of knowledge about LinkedIn Claire – it’s definitely worth spending some time on the platform – I’ve found some great clients that way.
Clearly I’m not using it well at all! It’s my least favourite form of social media, but I must get serious about it. Great tips here, thanks!
Thanks for your comment Fiona. I wasn’t sold on LinkedIn either but I now see it as such a great way to make connections with corporate folk looking for writers. If you try it let me know how you go.