When you start out in freelance writing, one of the issues you have to face is that no one knows who you are. In fact, you’re invisible, which means that it’s difficult for people to find you and it reduces the writing opportunities available to you. However, there is a way that you can raise your profile quickly and start to get the word out about your writing skills. Here are some of the ways to build your own buzz.
Get A Blog
First of all get a blog. I used to advocate getting a website, but getting and maintaining a blog is even better, because blogs are indexed quickly in the search engines. If you use WordPress, you can create static pages with links to your bio and clips, while using the blog as a place to showcase your writing.
Promote Your Blog
Getting a blog is just the first step. Once you have got your blog, you need to:
- write great content
- claim it at Technorati
- burn a feed with Feedburner
- submit it to writing directories
- start talking to other writers on their blogs
- respond to all comments on your blog
- link to your blog in your email signature
Since your blog is a showcase for your writing work, only include content that you are happy for everyone to see and that will enhance your professional image. I depart from this on my creative writing and fun blogs, but on this blog, I try to keep it focused. Even on those blogs, I assume that when people search for me they will find them, so I try not to upload anything I would be ashamed of or regret.
Bookmark Your Blog
Your next step is to delve into social bookmarking and social networking. This involves joining sites like delicious, blinklist, facebook and myspace, among others and bookmarking your content and other web content that you find interesting. StumbleUpon is an excellent source of traffic, so make sure that you encourage your visitors to Stumble your posts. The social aspect of these sites is important. People will usually review your site or send you a comment; return the favour and you’ve taken the first step in building a fan base which will read and promote your stuff.
In addition to submitting your blog to directories, consider joining MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog. Both of these will bring a new audience for your writing. Use some of your best blog posts to create a Squidoo lens with links back to your blog and portfolio. Join forums related to writing, post occasionally and comment often. This is all part of building your online reputation. (I have to admit that forums are my weak point; I never seem to find the time to visit and post regularly).
All of this stuff works. I didn’t set out to do any of it deliberately. A couple of years ago I started a blog, then I started another one. Through the second one, I met people who liked my writing, put me in contact with people who needed to hire writers, gave me a showcase for my writing, and worked with me. These days, I get many approaches from people who have seen my site and my lenses.
I’ve only scratched the surface with this post, as each point could be an essay of its own. But I hope this will give you a guide to some of the ways that you can build buzz and enhance your reputation as a freelance writer.