There are many different motivations behind making the choice to freelance. Perhaps you’re the sort of person who prefers to work mostly by yourself, on your own schedule. Or, maybe you want a more flexible schedule that’ll allow you to have more time for a social life. However you’ve chosen to make your entrance into the freelancing world, there’s always going to be that need for financial stability. Your success as a freelancer ultimately comes down to two things: the skills you have within your niche, and your outreach plan.
Put your game face on.
The concept of outreach is both infuriating and intriguing. You can be the most established of freelancers and think you have your plan all set (also known as the “It’s always worked before” approach), then have it completely go the other way. Trends, audiences, algorithms…they all change. However, if approached from a video game/competitive sports/ mentality, optimal outreach is a goal to be met with ferocity – just not too much, which brings me to my next point…
Don’t get stuck on repeat.
Have you ever noticed how, especially on platforms like Twitter, people are in repetition mode when promoting their work? The exact same (or slightly reworded) Tweets sent several times a day for maximum outreach isn’t productive, it’s annoying, and can actually cost you followers instead of gain them.
Instead, post strategically and uniquely across your social media platforms no more that a couple of times per day, with some hours in between each. Remember, audiences want to stay in the loop by not only learning new information, but also through conversation – hence the very purpose of social media.
The formula: equal parts networking and marketing.
Outreach should never be consigned strictly to the spheres of social media. First, if you haven’t already done so, I suggest researching the opportunities potentially and/or realistically available to you within your niche. Then, make a list of those individuals/companies that you’d like to work with, and proceed to the art of the email.
Don’t be that person who sends that outreach message everyone has seen before. All you’ll get is crickets (if they open your email at all).
- Part of your initial research should have included identifying specific likes and dislikes, if at all possible. Use that information to create compelling email subject lines (be that a question, compliment, or otherwise positive statement) and segue into what should hopefully become more than just a pitch. Don’t get caught up in boring templates.
- Check out Aja Frost’s HubSpot blog post, “7 Awful First Sentences That Are Killing Your Outreach Emails”
- Always assume that whomever you’re sending this outreach email to is exceptionally busy and only has a tiny window in which to read your email. (think opening sentence, short paragraph, closing sentence).
Getting to the heart of it all.
Don’t give the impression that you’re desperate – you’ve got to have confidence when competing in the freelancing arena. At the same time, however, you can’t come across as condescending or demanding. Restrict yourself to one follow-up email if it’s been more than a week since you first sent any given outreach email. Still no answer? That, in itself, is an answer that you should move forward to other opportunities. Whether it’s through social media or email, know that the purest form of outreach is always rooted in sincerity.
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