If you work in freelance writing, you care about getting high-paying clients. Not only can higher paying clients better support your livelihood, but they often have more respect for what you do. They understand how much value you provide, and are willing to pay market rates—or higher—for what you offer.
When I feel that clients value my work and are willing to pay top dollar to work with me, I work extra hard to give the client exactly what they need. With a few high-paying clients rather than several small ones, I can prioritize quality and dedicate more time and energy into creating great work that makes me—and the client—proud.
But how can a freelance writer or content strategist find better paying clients? I asked five freelance experts to get their best tips on how you can attract high-paying clients.
Why do high-paying clients hire freelance content creators? Usually, they have goals that they want to reach and believe freelancers can help them accomplish these goals. As a freelancer, you want to provide services that help your clients succeed, and pitch material that makes sense for your clients. This will show your value, and encourage clients to pay you high rates for your services.
“Focus on tying your writing to your client’s goals,” says Shayla Price, a freelance B2B marketing strategist. “For example, if your client wants more leads, write an eBook or white paper as part of their lead generation strategy. People are willing to pay more if the content will produce revenue.”
Many companies have in-house content writers who can spend significant time crafting copy for a company. The key to landing higher paying clients is to find companies that are not able to hire in-house writers but still need high-quality content. Kate Talbot, a San Francisco-based content writer, recommends looking at startups who have recently received rounds of funding and are entering their growth stage.
“Content writers can land higher paying clients by tapping into their network to find venture-backed startups that don’t have the resources to pay for a full-time content specialist,” says Talbot. “These startups need content to grow their user base and brand, and they will usually pay a decent amount for content on a monthly basis. You can look on AngelList for startups that need content and have Series A or further funding.”
Of course, enterprise brands are also turning more and more to freelance content creators to power their content marketing programs. As a Skyword contributor, you could have the opportunity to work with well-known brands like IBM, GMC, and Tom’s of Maine.
Joanna Wiebe has built an empire around conversion-oriented copywriting, and one of her strategies has been to become a resource for all things copy. In that way, she’s been able to attract high-quality clients that understand her value before they bring her on to their teams. “In order to attract better clients, you need to build authority on the web,” says Wiebe, founder of Copyhackers. “That means writing for highly-trafficked sites and creating your own blog. This shows clients that you know what you’re doing.”
Can you provide proof of your value to attract better clients? Writing case studies—even short ones—and sharing them on your website can encourage higher pay. “Just about everyone starts at the bottom. But you need to be smart about how you use those experiences to land the next, better client,” says Rob Marsh, a conversion-oriented freelance copywriting and marketing strategist. “If possible, don’t work for a client that won’t let you create a case study from the engagement. Do great work, then write a case study about it. Once you’ve got a few successful case studies under your belt, you can use them to ‘level up’ to better clients.”
Giving a presentation to a large audience is an immediate way to gain some authority in freelance writing. If you speak convincingly, you’ll show prospective clients how knowledgeable and professional you are, and they’ll be likely to seek you out.
“Give a presentation at conferences your target clients attend,” says Mary Iannotti, a marketing strategist, copywriter, and website designer. “Educate the audience on topics related to your brand’s unique value proposition. Teach people about techniques and strategies that set you apart from other content writers.
“During a presentation, you have a higher likelihood of getting people’s undivided attention. You can field questions, and that kind of dialogue is great for building relationships and trust. Sharing content that’s educational and valuable to my audience has always worked well for me. It shows people my skills and expertise, and that’s what higher-end clients are looking for.”
In order for a client to value your freelance writing work, you have to value it, too. If you try to out-compete other freelancers by offering the cheapest rates, you’re never going to attract high-paying clients who care deeply about the quality of their content. You need to value your own time and energy, and be willing to walk away from clients who can’t give you what you need.