With unemployment figures rising among journalists and media organizations cutting down their expenses across the Middle East, hundreds of young aspiring writers and editors tend to work as freelancers.
However, finding work as a freelancer is not an easy matter, as some employers require high experience, developed skills and other requirements that fresh graduates are lacking.
Despite these obstacles, the biggest challenge that could face freelancers is marketing and establishing wide web of contacts.
In her very detailed book The Freelancer bible, Sara Horowitz, the founder of Freelancers Union – a leading organizations of independent workers – presented her experience in outsourcing and freelancing, including marketing strategies for freelancers.
According to Horowitz, who, what and where, these are the main questions you have to answer, if you are aiming to become a successful freelance writer.
1- Who are you?
You can’t catch a fish without the right bait, so you have to review your skills and specialties which make you stand out from among your counterparts.
Also, it’s more important to know your goals, do you want to make significant money, or supplement the family income? Do you want to grow your career, or do you want to be a part-time freelancer in order to have more family time?
2- Where are they?
You have to ask yourself, where’s the growing edge of your market—the innovation, the energy, the spending? What employers are worried about and what skills they are looking for nowadays.
Hang out where potential employers and clients go. Find out what they read, what organizations they belong to, what discussion groups they visit and what blogs they follow.
Use the Internet to follow prospects. Check out their social media posts, blog, or newsletters. Study their website and read articles mentioning or quoting them.
3- What would work?
You could have the best skills and capabilities, but you won’t reach your full potential if your targeted market isn’t interested. Revise your market and your targeted commissioners. More importantly, the most important revise your ways of representing yourself and your experience.
4- Marketing strategies
As long you meet new people, lookout in new spaces and contact more companies, you’re increasing your chances of finding work.
However, this might need more social efforts. Here some guidelines you have to follow according to Horowitz.
– Make Friends, not Contacts: Be democratic about your networking. Hierarchy isn’t the only criteria for meaningful contacts. When you reach out to new organizations, find out who’s the smartest, most helpful, or most knowledgeable person there.
– Share things: When you use social media, share stuff you know your contacts and prospects will appreciate: an article about an industry trend, the link to a cool blog, a review of a movie they wanted to see.
– Offer to speak or teach for free: It’s great give and tell for your skills, it could be a lecture, workshop, or webinar; Business-to-business or for the public, this could promote your capabilities to hundreds.
– Working for Free: If you’re new to freelancing or looking to break into a new type of work, working for free can add to your credentials and spread word about you.
Recommended by Forbes Middle East