Ever wonder how to leverage LinkedIn marketing to get freelance leads?
Yes. Businesses are still hiring. Companies still need content. And if you’re showing up on LinkedIn, you’re one step closer to connecting with prospects and landing assignments.
Not convinced this social media and business networking platform is worth your time?
Consider this…With more than 500 million members, LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for getting your name in front of professionals who need freelance writers, or can refer you to someone who does.
Got your attention?
When I got fed up with spaghetti-at-the-wall marketing tactics, and trying to figure out how to show up on a long list of social media platforms, I decided to simplify and focus my efforts on LinkedIn marketing.
With a few creative tweaks you can use LinkedIn to grow your freelance writing business. Here’s how:
Emily Jacobs: How to leverage LinkedIn marketing to get leads
Meet Emily Jacobs. She’s a freelance writer, editor, and self-published author based in Ohio.
As a mid-career freelance writer, she tried generating leads with cold emails, direct mailings, guest posts, pro bono projects, social media, content mills, and freelance job listings.
And it just got to be too much. Sound familiar?
Instead of spreading her marketing efforts across many different methods, she decided to concentrate on a few effective methods, including LinkedIn marketing.
“Just having a LinkedIn account isn’t enough,” says Jacobs. “You also need to use it correctly.” But it doesn’t have to take you a ton of time.
Do it right, and you can use this platform to research clients, grow your online presence, and generate leads. Here’s what I recommend:
Optimize your LinkedIn profile
Even if you can’t fill in all your profile sections thoroughly, it’s important to optimize what you have. Here’s some easy tweaks you can make in a few minutes:
- Update your profile picture. Use a clear, professional-looking profile picture and keep it publicly visible.
- Write a compelling headline. Your headline should include the terms that potential clients are searching for (e.g., Freelance Engineering Technical Writer, B2B Marketing Content Writer).
- Include a niche-specific description. Below your profile picture and headline, your description should be short and include a value proposition. This explains how you benefit your clients and what makes you different.
- Updates settings for SEO. Check your settings to make sure you can be found through search engines. If potential clients can’t find your LinkedIn profile from an outside search engine like Google, you could miss out on serious opportunities.
- Include all freelance writing gigs. Add all your previous employment experiences, no matter how trivial they seem. If you ghostwrote a single article for a company, or did a pro bono project just for the experience, add that company to your LinkedIn profile. Don’t list anything you can’t legally disclose, but otherwise, you never know what might lead to an opportunity.
Note: I had one lead who agreed to an introductory call partly because of a client I had listed on my profile that got his attention.
Grow your online presence with LinkedIn
Schedule time for LinkedIn marketing into your day, just like you would any other important task or appointment. Just 30 minutes a day of focused LinkedIn marketing can connect you with a lot of good prospects over time. And focus on quality leads and connections instead of quantity.
Here are several easy ways to get started:
- Connect with people you know, such as friends and former coworkers, and branch out from there. LinkedIn actually recommends Connections based on your role, your location, your niche, and the groups you belong to.
- Always send a customized message when you invite someone to connect. You get 300 characters to introduce yourself and make a positive first impression.
- Follow the pages of companies you’d like to write for, and interact with their posts.
- Consider following some influencers in your niche.
Share niche-focused quality content
It’s a great way to help position yourself as a knowledgeable, qualified writer in your niche. This also helps you show up more often in your connections’ news feeds. Here’s how to do this:
- Share links to your work, such as an article or a guest post.
- Use LinkedIn’s publishing features to write short, helpful content for your target audience.
- Repurpose your own content into LinkedIn updates. For example, if you have a blog, pull out a quote from one of your posts and share it as a LinkedIn update.
- Share relevant content to connect with your idea clients. Besides your own content, look for articles or videos that are of interest to your audience. Use an app like Buffer to schedule posts to keep your LinkedIn feed active even when you’re away.
- Engage with the content your ideal clients publish. Read the articles and announcements that your connections share. Leave thoughtful comments if something comes to mind. Not sure what to say? Ask questions instead.
Note: Once, after reading an article that showed up in my feed, I had a question that wasn’t addressed in the article. I left my question on the LinkedIn post. Two different people (and ideal clients) responded, and both sent me connection requests, specifically because of the interest I demonstrated. Ya, this works!
Research potential clients
LinkedIn should be one of the first places you check when researching leads for freelance work in your niche. Companies often share news like mergers, rebranding, and job openings on LinkedIn.
This can give you an idea of a company’s size, and whether or not they’re a good fit for your writing services. Aim for companies with at least 50 employees present on LinkedIn.
No LinkedIn presence? They may be too small to hire freelancers, so proceed with caution.
Here are some ways to research potential clients using LinkedIn:
- Search for the right people in your niche. LinkedIn can help you figure out the right contact within a company. If you write marketing materials, search LinkedIn for the Marketing Director or Creative Director.
- Look for people with possible connections you can use as an introduction. This can include people who went to your college or university, former co-workers, someone in the same LinkedIn group as you, and second-degree connections (someone with whom you have a mutual acquaintance on LinkedIn)
Here’s the path to search for people in your niche on LinkedIn:
Search > People > All Filters > Industries > Title
Note: While researching one company, I found an employee who had graduated from my college. I sent him a connection request, pointing this out, and that led to an introductory call.
- Check LinkedIn job postings for the type of writing you do. This can tell you which companies are looking for writing help. Consider contacting some of them to find out if they’d be open to working with a freelancer instead of, or in addition to, a full-time writer.
Use LinkedIn to get freelance writing clients in your niche
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by your marketing options to find potential clients when you’re a freelance writer. But it doesn’t have to be that way. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms you can use to find potential clients, grow your online presence, and land more freelance work. Go tweak your LinkedIn profile…and wash your hands.
Are you getting results from LinkedIn marketing? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
Emily Jacobs is a freelance health care writer and medical content strategist. She lives in in Toledo, Ohio, with a bearded dragon, too many books, and a KitchenAid mixer.