How I Got Two New Writing Assignments


This is a guest post that I wrote for Jennifer Gregory’s blog Visit her site for content marketing writing tips.

Prior to adding content marketing writing to my skills, I was a magazine feature story writer. I had written a personal essay for a national nonprofit for their print and online magazine. Then, thanks to Jennifer’s post about getting clients, I realized that this client needed custom content just like any other business. So I contacted the editor who asked me to pitch her a few ideas. As a result, I got another writing assignment. This small step added $800.00 to my bank account and an ongoing source for content marketing writing gigs.

Here’s what I learned about getting business from past clients:

  • Making the first move makes a difference. Don’t assume that companies will contact you just because you’ve written for them before. Editors and marketing managers are busy people and sometimes need a reminder so you’ll need to take the initiative to contact them.
  • Queries or letters of interest are still necessary. Even though you’ve had prior communications with the brand, you still want to send your contact a polished query or letter of interest. And you’ll want to verify that your contact is still with the company so that you can address your letter to the right person.
  • Brands Value New Content Ideas. Publishers need fresh content ideas. So take a moment to reacquaint yourself with their publication or website. And if you know who their competitors are, take a look at their publications, as well. Come up with a few unique content ideas to include in your query or letter of interest. For example one of my clients is a healthcare company. So I researched national health-related holidays and pitched content ideas based upon them.
  • Be encouraged, persistent and patient. If you don’t hear back right away, it doesn’t mean the brand isn’t interested in using you. People get busy, forget or don’t realize emails have been sucked into the spam folder. Wait a week to ten days then send a short, friendly reminder.

The second writing assignment came through networking. I learned about a local business women’s group and during a slow spell, I decided to attend their meeting. A week later, I received a call from a woman I met there. She needed content for her new company website. She’s now a client!

Here’s what I know about making the most of your outside marketing time:

  • Go to meetings. Find out where marketing managers or other decision makers meet in your area. Contact the local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and local meet-ups to find out about their meetings.
  • Follow your ideal customer. Search the web or get referrals from others on the kinds of organizations that attract decision makers from businesses in your writing niche(s). For example, if your niche is healthcare writing, look for marketing groups that cater to that industry.
  • Go prepared. Some groups allow you to give a short description of your business so practice your elevator pitch.
  • Take interest in others. Networking is about letting people know what you do, but it’s also about taking interest in the people you meet, asking questions about their business and cultivating relationships. You never know what opportunities, business relationships and friendships might develop.
  • Follow up. Send a card or email with your contact information to the people you met or sat with at the meeting. This gesture shows that you are thoughtful and professional.

These are just two strategies I’ve used to get clients. In both cases, I learned that work isn’t going to come to me because I’m a good writer or have done previous work for a client. Getting clients means taking action including reminding past clients about my availability and talking to people face to face about what I do.

Have you tried either of these tactics to find new writing clients. Are there other strategies you’d like to share?


Photo: Thinkstock

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