Building Relationships is Marketing | Focus on This Important Task

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned is building relationships is marketing.

Building Relationships is Marketing | Tips for Freelancers

And in my opinion, relationship building is the most important marketing task in growing a successful freelance business.

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Building relationships is marketing

When I look at my freelance writing business trajectory, there’s a clear connection between my steps forward and the relationships I’ve formed.

Whether it’s an introduction, a referral, advice, support or instruction, we don’t operate in a vacuum. We rely on others to belay us. They anchor us and help us climb higher.

Without relationships, our progress is much slower.

If you want to build a successful business, you need to focus on building relationships with three key audiences: your customers, influencers and your competitors.

Entrepreneur.com

I like how this article breaks the different types of relationships with key audiences into these three categories. Customers, influencers and competitors.

Building Relationships is Marketing

Clients and potential clients

First of all, treat other people like human beings. Don’t look at your clients or prospects with dollar signs in your eyes—look at them as comrades on this life journey.

Try and see below the surface.

  • What are some things they’re struggling with?
  • What are their deepest needs?
  • How can you help them?

When we treat others like a means to an end you may have a successful transaction but it may not lead to more or ongoing work.

Fruitful partnerships come from the foundation of a strong relationship. You don’t need to be best friends, but there should be trust, love and acceptance.

Extra reading: Get Your Freelance Business Noticed

Industry influencers

I listened to a podcast about professional jealousy and it made me think about how easy it is to compare ourselves and our careers to others’.

If we look at the heavyweights in our arenas as superhumans who we’ll never measure up to then we’ll never work up the courage to build relationships with them, let alone dare to get into the ring.

Influencers have power and, well, influence. Imagine if you had mutually-beneficial relationships with these influencers and an opportunity came up.

Like, oh, I don’t know, a potential book deal? A big client pitch? Or an introduction to an editor?

Now imagine how powerful it would be if they put in a good word for you. Or lent their support. Or made the introduction.

Stop thinking small and get in the ring. Build authentic relationships, find ways to be helpful and refuse to be intimidated by those who are further down the path.

Extra reading: Literary Citizenship and Why the Writing Industry Needs It

Competitors and colleagues

No matter the industry, there will always be other businesses offering similar services or products to what you offer. You can choose to view these other business owners as threats or as comrades.

The first approach uses a scarcity mindset, believing there are winners and loseres and business is a fight to win.

The second approach uses an abundance mindset, believing that there is enough work to go around and that each business brings a new unique perspective to the industry.

Extra reading: Network with Freelancers to Grow Your Business

To me, one of the most important marketing tasks I invest in is building relationships. Nothing else in my business moves the needle forward like honest and authenic relationships with clients, influencers and colleages.

Sure, it means I have to trust people. And yes it’s possible they won’t have the same approach. But I choose to believe there are more people like me out there than not.

One more thought, by approaching my business in this way I believe I attract likeminded individuals and repel those who aren’t like me. And I’m good with that.

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One of the most powerful lessons I've learned is building relationships is marketing. And in my opinion, relationship building is the most important marketing task in growing a successful freelance business.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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One of the most powerful lessons I've learned is building relationships is marketing. And in my opinion, relationship building is the most important marketing task in growing a successful freelance business.

Smart Tips for Cold Pitching Get More Freelance Work

Cold pitching is not magic and it takes hard work but it’s also not as scary or intimidating as it seems once you get going. Here are a few tips for getting this strategy up and running.

Cold Pitching To Get Clients Fast

In case you’re not familiar with this term, in the freelance world, “cold pitching” is what happens when you email or call strangers hoping to get work.

This can be overwhelming at first and requires a different strategy than reaching out to warm leads (people with whom you have existing relationships).

But if you want to grow your freelance business, it is a necessary step.

free pitch templates

Wondering how to craft a cold pitch? I have four pitch templates for you! These are free downloads but you’ll need a password to access them in my resource library. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the resource library navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Pitch Templates.”

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Cold pitching to get clients fast

I see a lot of freelancer posts in networking groups talking about how they’re tired of searching job boards for a decent opp paying a reasonable rate or sick of pitching magazine and newspaper stories that don’t pay well.

They’re feeling frustrated and stuck but they don’t know where to look for those niche clients who pay well.

The fastest way I know how to make money as a freelance writer is to pitch companies with marketing budgets. Yes, you can also pitch publications but the turnaround time is longer.

And you can also sit back and hope your website will earn you passive ad income or affiliate sales or whatever else, and that’s fine too.

But it’s a long game. And if you need money now, it’s not a great short-term strategy.

Bonus tip: For freelance writers searching for stable corporate clients, LinkedIn may be their shining beacon of hope.

Cold pitching companies is also a better, quicker strategy than responding to posts on job boards or prospecting on a freelancer bidding site.

For starters, in these places the competition is fierce and often, because of the large pool of willing writers, the pay is low.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Here’s a quick three-step cold pitching strategy to get you going

If you’re ready to make this a part of your regular prospecting, schedule one to two hours per day for cold pitching. Some of this time will be research and some will be emailing.

Trust me, you’ll need all of the time.

  1. Research. Search for and make a list of marketing and advertising agencies. You can use Google, LinkedIn, local directories, etc.
  2. Find a specific email address. Look for someone like a marketing manager or communications director, someone who would be an actual contact and do your best to find their real email address (rather than “info” or “contact”)
  3. Send a cold pitch. Also known as a query or letter of inquiry (LOI), send a short email asking if the company works with freelance writers

If you get a “yes, we do work with freelance writers,” then you can continue the conversation by letting them know who you are and how you can help them (this is where an elevator pitch comes in handy).

networking tips for introverted writers

By the way, I have some elevator pitch templates in available for download my resource library! You’ll need a password to access the free library so pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send it to you.

Once you’re in the resource library navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Elevator Pitch Templates.”

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Two extra tips

They may ask for samples or portfolio links, have them ready to send (another option is having your LinkedIn profile optimized and sending that link, totally acceptable!).

It’s possible they’d like references—have a couple ready to go, previous clients who can vouch for your work and character.

Like I said before, this will all seem scary and intimidating until you get the hang of it. Cold pitching can be terrifying if you overthink it.

And yes, you’ll experience rejections, although many won’t respond at all, and that’s OK. It’s all part of the process.

Here are a few more ways to increase your odds of getting to “yes” from cold pitching

  • Warm up the connection as much as possible. Find common ground wherever possible, like a mutual connection or membership in the same organization
  • Send cold pitches to companies that look like they’ll need your services. Rather than shooting a buck shot, try targeting your pitches to places where it makes sense and your skills match
  • Narrow your search by thinking local rather than global. You’re trying to get quick pickups here, so look for places that likely aren’t getting as much pitching
  • Keep your email short and to the point. In your first outreach your goal is to get a response to begin a conversation. That’s it.

Once you get into this prospecting strategy, you’ll realize you need a tracking system and a follow-up system. In fact, following up is one of the most important pieces.

How many times have you intended to respond to an email and just let it get away from you? A short, polite follow up is sometimes all it takes to prompt that positive response.

If you’re ready for it, here’s a great three-step follow-up system from Jennifer Goforth Gregory.

Other articles you may enjoy

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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Cold pitching is not magic and it takes hard work but it's also not as scary or intimidating as it seems once you get going.

How to Get Noticed on Twitter Using Three Stupid Simple Steps

Using lists on Twitter is one of the best ways to get noticed by influencers (or anyone really). Serious! Here is a quick overview and tutorial plus best practices.

Get Noticed by Influencers on Twitter Using Lists

Get noticed by influencers on Twitter using lists

I know some users are freaked out by lists (why is someone adding me to a list? I don’t know them!). And I know others have had negative experiences with lists (they can be used for evil as well as for good).

However, when used properly, Twitter lists are a wonderful resource and can help you grow your platform.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the reasons freelancers, writers and freelance writers should use Twitter or lists so I won’t get into the sales pitch.

Today I want to review a specific technique for getting on the radar of people you would like to meet.

I love this technique mostsly because it’s not creepy. It’s intentional, definitely, but not creepy.

5 tips for optimizing your social media profiles free ebook free download

Let’s take a break from this training for a minute. Social media is nebulous, I get it. And there are a lot of dos and don’ts that seem to contradict each other. I know!

I like to keep things simple with my social media strategy, which is why I’ve put together this free ebook for you.

It’s short and simple and if you implement these suggestions you’ll have a great head start on keeping your brand focused and effective online. Pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password so you can access my resource library.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the social media section and download the ebook called “Social Media Optimization.”

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The technique to get noticed

I first learned this technique, and about Twitter lists, from Alexis Grant. She suggests creating a private “Notice-Me List” on Twitter and adding people who you want to notice you.

Simple, right? I’m still using lists like this today and find them QUITE helpful.

Here’s the jist: create a private list on Twitter, figure out whose radar you want to get on to or who you want to meet and add their handles to the list.

Make sure to pay attention to this list, and the tweets, and interact with tweets/people as it makes sense.

Wondering how to interact with tweets? Here are a few ideas

  • Retweet tweets your followers would be interested in
  • Jump in on a conversation if you have something valuable to add
  • Are they asking for help? Can you help? Be helpful!
  • Be a literary citizen as much as possible (or in this case, a good Twitter citizen)
Use Twitter lists

What not to do

  • Don’t be desperate. No begging for attention, no DMing and no trying too hard (be cool!)
  • Avoid asking for things. Don’t ask people to check out your website or if they hire freelancers (or asking for favours in general—you’re doing the favours here)
  • Don’t overdo it. Yes pay attention to the people on your list but try not to retweet every tweet or tag them too much. You want to get their attention in a positive way, a way that makes them want to check out your profile and perhaps follow you. If you overdo it you’ll just annoy them and end up blocked

Pretty simple, right? Figure out who you want to connect with on Twitter, then pay attention to their tweets, then be helpful/useful/fun/valuable.

They may notice you, they may not. It may take a while, be patient. They may never @reply to you, that’s OK. But at some point, someone will start a conversation with you. They’ll be curious about who you are and what you’re about. Be ready.

And that’s how to get noticed on Twitter! Straightforward, right? While it may sound too simple to work I’ve practiced this technique for the past five years and I’m living proof that it works.

Using lists on Twitter is one of the best ways to get noticed by influencers (or anyone really). Here is a quick overview and tutorial + best practices.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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Using lists on Twitter is one of the best ways to get noticed by influencers (or anyone really). Here is a quick overview and tutorial + best practices.

4 Practical Ways to Get Your Freelance Business Noticed

Getting your freelance business noticed is more important than ever, whether you’re new to freelancing or a wizened veteran.

Get Your Freelance Business Noticed

Get your freelance business noticed

Are you struggling to stand out in a sea of multi-talented freelancers? Here are four ways to get your ideal clients to notice your freelance business.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Identify your target market

When you first start out it’s easy to become a generalist freelancer. You’re so desperate for work you take any client or gig that comes your way.

This type of scattered approach may work for a while.

However, it prevents you from developing streamlined processes because you spend so much time switching gears from one job to the next.

It’s important to take a strategic, targeted approach if you want people to notice your freelance business.

Think about who your ideal clients are and how you can best reach them.

What social media platforms do they use? Which forms of advertising would best reach them?

For your target market to notice you, you need to be able to appeal to them and make them want to find out more about your business and how you can help them.

Bonus tip: Here are three questions to ask to discover your ideal reader

Discover your ideal reader worksheet

Oh! I’ve created a worksheet to help you go deeper on the whole discovering your ideal reader thing. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password to my free resource library.

Once you’re there, navigate to the writing section and look for “Discover Your Ideal Reader Worksheet.”

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Know your niche

Operating a small business in today’s gig economy means niching down and finding ways to specialize is more important than ever.

Is your industry already saturated with similar-sounding businesses? If so, it may be time to get specific.

Try to identify how your business differs from your competitors, figure out what your unique selling proposition (USP) is.

What can you do better than anyone else? Why do your current clients choose to work with you instead of someone else?

Narrowing your services and pointing out your differentiators is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd.

Bonus tip: If you’re ready to work on your freelance business branding, here’s more about choosing a niche

Optimize your website

Having a website is a business requirement.

To get your business noticed, your website needs to rank on search engine results pages so potential customers can discover you.

Website optimization can be tricky and overwhelming, which is why many people choose to work with agencies such as Let’s Get Optimized.

Bonus tip: Here are seven essential freelance writer website elements

Engage with your ideal clients

A big piece of getting noticed online is by actually interacting with people.

When used correctly, social media can be a powerful tool for freelance business owners, enabling them to engage with their followers and potential customers.

Bonus tip: Here are five tips for optimizing your social media profiles

Whether you're new to freelancing or a vetran ready to streamline your client base, getting your freelance business noticed is more important than ever.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
Whether you're new to freelancing or a vetran ready to streamline your client base, getting your freelance business noticed is more important than ever.

15 Best Apps for Freelance Writers

I opted to do a roundup of best apps for freelance writers because although smartphones allow you to access amazing tools and work on the go, there are so many options.

15 Best Apps for Freelance Writers

How do you know which apps are time savers and which are time wasters?

Here’s my roundup of 15 best apps for freelance writers

I should say right off the bat these are my personal choices, customized for the type of freelance work I do.

So know that when I say “best” this is subjective.

They may not work for you—fair! But if you’re looking for some apps to try out I hope this is an awesome point to help you cut through the overwhelm, maybe save some time testing apps, and get back to your writing!

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Content planning | Best apps for freelance writers

There is so much pre and prep work for freelance writers. If we don’t stay organized we’re doomed! These are my best apps for freelance writers who want to keep their stress levels down and their desks clutter-free.

Trello

I wrote about my love affair with Trello and how it is helping me stick to my blogging content calendar. However, I also use it for my freelance writing.

I create a board for each client and include due dates, assignments, research, etc. and another board for one-off freelance gigs. It’s so much better than flipping through my notebook or digging through email threads trying to remember the focus of an article, when it’s due, or who to send it to.

Basecamp

I didn’t choose Basecamp, Basecamp chose me. This project management software is perfect for teams, so if you’re one of a team of other writers, editors, project managers, designers, developers, etc. you will LOVE this tool.

Each project has it’s own space and to-do items and discussions live within the project so you don’t have to do a lot of emailing (I mean, you can if you want).

I love that you can put your thoughts into the Basecamp project when you have them, then come back to it when you’re working on it and see all your brainstorms, uploads, photos, (whatever!) in once place.

Feedly

Part of my content strategy is sharing useful articles with other freelance writers and also seeing what people in my industry are talking about.

Feedly is how I discover and track content from around the Internet. You set up your lists based on RSS feeds from blogs you want to follow or allow

Feedly to suggest blogs based on keywords. As new posts are available, Feedly pulls them into your feed and you devour them as you have time. You can save articles for later, push them to your social sharing apps, and more.

Editing | Best apps for freelance writers

Even if you’re working with editors you still need your writing to be as clean and correct as possible when submitting work. There are loads of tools you can use but I like to keep my editing simple. These are my best apps for freelance writers to help with editing.

Microsoft Word

For the most part I use Microsoft Word for writing, and I keep my language and grammar checking on with my customized settings but off for auto-correct. Part of my process is to go through my work, reading aloud before submitting.

Hemingway App

This is such a neat tool for helping you rework long, rambling sentences and making stronger word choices. It also helps you change passive voice to active voice (IMPORTANT!), which not only strengthens your writing but also communicates your message better.

Grammarly

Yes. You need to care about grammar. You don’t need to go out and police others’ grammar, but you do need to check your own.

This app helps you find mistakes and improve your writing. Just watch the comma suggestions, I think they’re a bit heavy handed in that area.

Images | Best apps for freelance writers

When I started freelancing I didn’t need to provide my own images, but these days it’s more like 50/50. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to produce high quality images, you just need to know which tools to use. Here are my best apps for freelance writers for creating awesome images.

Canva

The moment I heard about Canva I knew it was for me. It’s a web-based photo editing tool where you can create branded images, beautiful graphics, and more using pre-made templates or designing your own. It’s easy to use—kind of like a scaled-back Photoshop—and allows you to store your brand colours, images, and templates to use over and over.

Pixabay

Can’t take your own photos? Don’t have time to shoot? No problem. This free stock photography site offers more than a million images and videos including illustrations and vector graphics. It’s worth checking out.

If you want more options for free stock photos, here are five great sites to check out.

Brainstorm Ideas for Writing Worksheet

By the way, I may or may not have mentioned I’ve created a collection of helpful worksheets and tip sheets and house them in my resource library. For example, training on brainstorming ideas for writing!

To access this and other resources, pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

When you’re in the library, navigate to the Writing category and download the “How to Brainstorm Ideas for Writing Worksheet.

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Social media planning and scheduling | Best apps for freelance writers

I don’t know if you’ll ever get the same answer when asking what someone’s favourite social media tools are. People’s needs and preferences range so much, plus there are always new apps to check out. I’ve tried a LOT of them and will give you my personal best apps for freelance writers who are trying to plan and schedule their social media.

Hashtagger

I wrote about this app when I explained how to find and use hashtags but it’s worth mentioning again here. It’s such a great tool! There are lots of hashtag discovery apps, but this is the one I like for finding popular hashtags around a certain word or phrase when I’m on the go.

As in, I’m in the middle of posting and I need hashtags! The app is minimalist—your only option is to search for hashtags. You do this by typing in a word, pressing search, then selecting the hashtags from the list. You can copy up to 30 then paste them all at once into your post or comment on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc.

NOTE: This app is no longer available in the Canadian iTunes store so I no longer use it but I think it’s still available in the US iTunes store.

Hootsuite

There’s a lot to love about Hootsuite. I used to use it for all my social media but I’m finding it has certain limitations so I’m using a couple new tools, which I’ll outline below. However. I’m still team Hootsuite for all of my Twitter management. I schedule posts, track analytics, and keep an eye on the Twitter lists I follow. It’s easy to organize and keeps me sharp.

Recurpost

This is a new tool in my arsenal but I’m done with my testing and think it’s a keeper. This is a “productivity enhancement tool,” which is a fancy way of saying you can manage your social media for multiple platforms from its dashboard.

In this way it’s a lot like Hootsuite but where it has a leg up is the content library. Here, I can add evergreen posts and create a schedule around the different libraries. What does this mean? I can not only schedule my social media but I can have it repeat on whatever schedule I desire.

I have all my evergreen blogs set up in Recurpost and they now drip out to my chosen social networks on the schedule I set. It is awesome!

Later

Like Hootsuite, this is a social scheduling and planning tool. Unlike Hootsuite, it’s a visual planner. What does this mean? You can plug in your social media posts for the next week, month, whatever, and see how it looks as a collection—this is especially powerful for Instagram.

You can also save images, captions, and hashtags in the tool for easy re-use. Once your post is scheduled it either publishes it for you sends a push notification (on Instagram) when it’s time. I’ve used this tool for the past month or so and so far, I like it.

The visual plan helps me see how each image works together and helps me stay on brand.

File storage | Best apps for freelance writers

If you’re like me, then you’re working on multiple computers, devices, and networks on any given day. What this means is you need everything within easy access. Yes, you can drag your external hard drive around but you can also put everything you need in the cloud. Here are my best apps for freelance writers for working in the cloud.

Google Drive

If you use Google Docs, Forms, and Sheets, then you already know how awesome a partner Google Drive is. You can keep all your documents, images, and whatever else in one web-based place.

You can share documents or folders with the click of a button and you can collaborate on documents with ease, adding comments and track changes as needed.

Dropbox

This is similar to Google Drive but more people use it (at least in my circles). Used more for file sharing than anything else, this is a great way to send huge files back and forth. I use it in my podcast editing work and find it not only easy to use but quick and efficient.

I have multiple Dropbox folders for different reasons and I can customize which folders download to which computer so it stays clean and simple.

LastPass

You need secure passwords and you also need to log into different accounts a zillion times per day on different devices. And, if your day-to-day work is anything like mine, then you’re logging in and out of various client accounts all the day long.

There is NO WAY you’re remembering all those passwords and you are NOT keeping them in your phone or on a notepad. You need them in a password safe.

I love LastPass because I can use it on any computer or device and only need to remember ONE password. All the rest are stored in the password safe and are there when I need them.

Well, that’s my roundup of best apps for freelance writers. Hope you can find something awesome to help make your writing life more efficient.

Do you have any suggestions for best apps for freelance writers? Let me know! I’m always looking for new favourites.

With so many choices, how do you know which apps are time savers and which are time wasters? Here's my roundup of 15 best apps for freelance writers.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
With so many choices, how do you know which apps are time savers and which are time wasters? Here's my roundup of 15 best apps for freelance writers.