How to Sell Your Services as a Freelance Writer

Sell Your Services as a Freelance Writer in studio illustrated

Want to sell your services as a freelance writer? Don’t make the same mistakes many newbies make. Read this.

Raise your hand if you can relate to this story:

You decided to start freelance writing to have more freedom and income. After setting up a website and profiles, you began pitching clients for website copy and blog content.

But it’s been crickets so far. Most prospects request samples (which you don’t have yet) and then ghost you. Any nibbles you did get led nowhere.

Months go by without a single client. Self-doubt starts creeping in. You wonder if you should just throw in the towel on this writing dream.

I’ve totally been there before too!

For a bit of background –

I’ve been a former head of marketing for a national coworking brand and a professional freelance content writer & copywriter since 2015. At one stage, I had a content agency with 5 freelance writers and 2 editors.

I’ve been on both sides of the equation – hiring freelance writers and being one myself. So I can relate to your struggle.

I learned things the hard way (so you don’t have to!)

But looking back, I realized I was making some major mistakes in what type of content I was focused on writing and how I positioned my services. I was operating like an unproven content writer instead of a results-focused marketing specialist.

Making the following key mindset shift changed everything. I went from struggling writer to fully booked content marketing specialist.

So if you want to attract high-paying clients, here are the steps you need to take:

Become a Content Marketer, Not Just a Content Writer

Here was my big mistake – I thought clients would hire me based on my writing skills alone. And some did initially, but a few months went by, and I started losing clients.

Just let me write you high-quality content, and all will be well, right?

Wrong. Many decent writers can string together well-written content.

But in today’s noisy online space, especially with a lot of AI-driven content that’s produced at lightning speeds, quality content alone doesn’t cut it anymore.

Think about it from your prospect’s perspective:

  • They don’t just want content; if they’re paying money to hire someone, then they want content that delivers tangible business results like leads, sales and ROI.
  • They face fierce competition and need proven marketing strategies that work in current conditions.
  • They’re sceptical because low-quality freelancers overpromise but underdeliver.

So if you want to win clients, you need to expand beyond just writing to become a marketing expert. This means understanding topics like:

  • Conversion optimization – how to craft content that compels action.
  • SEO – producing discoverable content that ranks highly.
  • Analytics – tracking key metrics to optimize what works.
  • Promotion – getting your content in front of the right audiences.
  • Outreach / partnerships – sending good outreach emails and collaborating with influencers, brands, thought leaders and experts to incorporate their expertise into your content (borrowing their credibility). Then earn the opportunity for them to share your content with their audience after it’s published.

Yes, this will require learning new skills outside your comfort zone. But it’s what sets you apart.

Build a Portfolio That Proves Your Marketing Results

As an unproven writer, I made another big mistake – I didn’t have a results-focused portfolio.

In hindsight, I did a good thing by getting a full-time job working for that coworking space and spending two years producing content for them. What I could have done a better job at was making a note of all the experiments and results produced during that time.

(By the way, don’t sleep on the idea of going to work for someone else and getting paid to learn how to produce content for them. You’ll be able to leverage their resources and gain on-the-job training to level up your content marketing skills. Just don’t repeat my mistake – be sure to track the performance of your work!)

So although I had been blogging and producing content since 2009, I had no clear results or social proof to show prospects. It was all talk but no real demonstrations of my marketing abilities.

If you want to attract clients, you need a portfolio packed with tangible results – not just well-written content.

For example, showcase client case studies proving you:

  • Increased website traffic
  • Ranked their content for target keywords
  • Generated more leads or sales

Back up your claims with hard metrics and data. The more tangible your results, the more confident clients will be in your services.

A quick way to build this portfolio is to offer discounted rates or free trials in exchange for demonstrated results and testimonials.

When I launched a new case study writing service in 2020, I reached out to a few respected influencers in the B2B space that I already had relationships with. I offered to produce work for them for free in exchange for a testimonial.

(Side note: I call this the “big fish networking strategy”)

Not only did I get testimonials like this:

And this:

But now that they’d experienced collaborating with me and saw the results for themselves, they were more than happy to recommend my work to others on their platforms.

Samantha Riley, for instance, invited me to talk about case studies on her popular podcast.

Related: How to ask someone to share something (without being annoying)

Adopt a Client-Centric Mindset

As you become a content marketing specialist, adopt this mantra:

Clients don’t care about content for the sake of content. They care about content that supports their business goals.

That means you need to align your content and services directly with what clients want:

  • Increased visibility
  • More qualified leads
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Maximizing ROI

This mindset shift is powerful. Prospects will see you as a strategic partner rather than just an order taker.

Position yourself as the marketing specialist with battle-tested strategies to grow your business. You’re not just creating content but solving their biggest marketing challenges.

Learn how to actually sell your services as a Freelance Writer

This might sound obvious, but everyone who is trying to make a living from selling services will need to learn how to sell properly.

This includes everything from:

  • Prospecting
  • Pitching
  • Managing a sales conversation
  • Follow-up

I could write an entire blog post on this topic (one day, just not today), so to help you get started, I recommend you dig into these resources from proven experts in the field.

Recommended resources to help you sell better:

Become A Lead Generation Machine (Easy Way To Get More Clients) Masterclass w/ Joana Galvao (The Futur Podcast)

The Bottom Line

If you want to start attracting high-paying clients consistently, you need to make the shift from content writer to content marketer.

Build a portfolio that proves you can deliver tangible marketing results. Adopt a client-centric approach focused on achieving their business goals.

This elevates you above the sea of mediocre writers, makes you stand out and demonstrates your true value. (This is also how you become irreplaceable.)

It’s time to start positioning yourself as the marketing specialist prospects can’t afford not to hire. You’ve got this!

(This article was drafted with the help of Claude AI and edited by yours truly. Featured image by Leonardo AI)

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