Being a freelance writer is a dream job for many. It includes perks such as being your own boss – allowing you to set your schedule, workload and time off – and doing something that is creative, challenging and engaging.
But all careers have their trade-offs, and freelance writing is no exception.
One of the difficulties you will face as a freelance writer when starting out is finding clients. Promoting yourself may not come naturally to you; however, being able to market your skills is all part of the game. (Of course, you also will have to register yourself as self-employed.)
This is where social media can be used to your advantage. However, it has to be used effectively if you want to maximize your chances of getting your talent noticed.
Whatever you write and publish, don’t be afraid to share it. Even if you think it’s the worst thing you’ve ever written, at least one person out there may still find it fascinating or useful.
Even if it gets heavily criticised, that’s ultimately positive, since accepting and addressing criticism – whether it’s a differing opinion or someone pointing out genuine flaws and mistakes in your work – is what helps you to grow as a writer.
Dealing with criticism, especially harsh criticism, can be difficult to stomach at first and can lead to all kinds of bitterness or thoughts about being a terrible writer and wanting to give up. But the best writers are those who carry on anyway and learn to embrace the criticism and see where improvements are needed.
Share on all possible channels
When it comes to sharing stuff you’ve written, Facebook and Twitter are the obvious channels to go for. But in order to guarantee that your work reaches the most people as possible, you want to utilise all channels at your disposal.
If you have a blog, be sure to add all the social media sharing buttons that are available (StumbleUpon, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest etc.). Get into the habit of sharing your content on each channel after it’s published.
Become familiar with primetime sharing
There is also an ideal time to share your content so that it reaches the most people. You don’t want to share one of your articles on Twitter when most people are (supposedly) busy working.
According to research, the best time to tweet is in the early morning, which is when tweets receive the most clicks. Evenings and late at night are also good times to get sharing on Twitter and Facebook, as this is when people (except lawyers) finish work and spend a portion of their precious evenings on Facebook and Twitter.
Evenings and late at night are when tweets receive the most favourites and retweets. Interestingly, this isn’t when most people tweet, as the most popular time to tweet is between noon and 1pm. So use this data to your advantage.
Find work on Twitter
Twitter itself can actually be a great resource for finding new writing opportunities. If you search hashtags such as #journorequest and #prrequest you can find people posting about writing gigs.
On Twitter, you can engage with all kinds of people, and have people reach out to you as a result of your tweets, so being active on the Twitterverse is highly recommended.
Join groups on Facebook
There are many groups on Facebook which can be a valuable source of support and advice for freelance journalists and writers, as well as places to find job opportunities, courses and networking events.
One group that any budding writer should consider joining is Freelance Journalists UK, where discussions often take place around pitching, payment and all the various struggles that freelance writers face. JournoAnswers is also worth joining in this respect.
You may be an extremely talented and insightful writer, but in this day and age, if you don’t also become adept at using social media to promote yourself, then your brilliantly written pieces won’t get the attention that they deserve.
Sam Woolfe writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To browse graduate jobs London and graduate jobs Manchester, visit their website.
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