KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf
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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Marketing Tips for Freelancers

These are the marketing tips for freelancers that I posted to Twitter throughout May and June 2009. Please keep in mind that each one, including labels and hashtags (keywords) that don't appear here, had to be 140 characters and spaces or fewer to fit Twitter's limits on the length of individual tweets. I have not rewritten them here; they appear in the same telegraphic speech that I used on Twitter to meet those limits. When I wrote them, I had generalist freelance copyeditors in mind, but I believe that most of them will work for freelancers of any kind. Use them and prosper:

  • Network. Join & participate in professional associations and e-mail lists.
  • Post résumé everywhere you can, such as the EFA'S directory: http://tinyurl.com/lo256q.
  • Hand out business cards absolutely everywhere. You never know who'll need your services.
  • Be helpful to colleagues. It's fun & can also get you referrals from grateful associates.
  • Maintain a professional-looking Web site. It's your calling card on the Internet.
  • Keep in contact w/ clients. The one whom clients remember is the one who gets the gigs.
  • Advertise judiciously. I'm med editor & have ad on CSE site; http://tinyurl.com/3zus79u.
  • Send small thank-you gifts to clients so they have something tactile to remember you by.
  • Put your name & contact info on everything: mss., style sheets, invoices, e-mails ...
  • Always be on lookout for new clients: mentioned on e-mail lists, in news, online ...
  • During both feast & famine, schedule time each week to contact potential clients.
  • Approach clients—current & potential—from perspective of their needs, not yours.
  • Buy "Freelancing 101: Launching Your Editorial Business": http://tinyurl.com/3j3wwzz.
  • Buy "Getting Started as a Freelance Copyeditor": http://tinyurl.com/3cfww27.
  • Use the Copyeditors' Knowledge Base: http://www.kokedit.com/ckb.php. [Note: This tip was updated April 29, 2012.]
  • Buy audio CDs: getting started, http://is.gd/2Tqh3; medical editing, http://is.gd/2TqRZ
  • Don't look like an employee: Résumés for Freelancers; http://tinyurl.com/3h6gkp6.
  • What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants. http://url.ie/1ozz.
  • Search online to learn who publishes materials you want to edit. E-mail those pubs.
  • Find potential clients by looking thru ref work Literary Market Place at library.
  • Improve marketability by honing your skills—learn from books: http://url.ie/1p4s.
  • Improve marketability by honing your skills—take classes: http://url.ie/1p4u.
  • Actively give & take on editing e-mail lists to build contacts: http://tinyurl.com/c2m66z4.
  • Monitor publishing job listings; where there are jobs, there are freelance gigs.
  • Publishing job listings to watch: http://url.ie/1pac, http://url.ie/8yax, http://url.ie/1paf.
  • More publishing job listings to watch: http://url.ie/1pag, http://url.ie/1pah.
  • Use TwitJobSearch to find freelance gigs: http://www.twitjobsearch.com/. [Note: This tip was updated August 18, 2011.]
  • Set up a profile at LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/, and share your expertise.
  • Use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to showcase your skills & what you're like to work with: http://tinyurl.com/2bqknek [Note: This tip was added here on August 18, 2011; it was not tweeted.]
  • Contact former employers about the possibility of freelancing for them.
  • See feature story on co. that’s doing well? Contact them re need for editors.
  • Don't limit the hunt for clients to your geographic area. The Internet is your friend.
  • Snail-mail small periodic newsletter to clients so they have tangible reminder of you.
  • Snail-mail "Happy New Year" cards to your clients, thanking them for their business. Enclose biz cards.
  • Don't wait till your current gig is done to look for more work; contact clients now.
  • Keep up with clients as they move from job to job, & they'll take you with them.
  • Do pro bono editing for a charity? Request a credit line in the published work.
  • Newbie? Sign with temp agencies that handle editors. Gigs may lead to good contacts.
  • Join networking groups and tell them what you do. Be an active member.
  • Treat all clients with the utmost respect and expect the same in return.
  • Make sure authors know you're on their side. Query respectfully & give compliments.
  • Booked up & have to turn down a gig? Thank the client for the offer & check back soon.
  • Referring a client to trusted colleague when you're booked up helps client and you.
  • It's exciting to land new clients, but don't let old clients feel taken for granted.
  • Ask what you can do for clients. Never: "Got work for me?" Focus on clients' needs.
  • Notify clients about your upcoming vacation. Some will offer projects for afterward.
  • Never complain about your clients on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or e-mail lists.
  • Seek work from an attitude of abundance. Desperation rarely attracts project offers.
  • When clients praise your work, get written permission to quote them on your web site.
  • You’re an independent contractor. Don't just accept "This is what we pay." Negotiate!
  • Clear, frank communication during projects heads off problems and pleases clients.
  • If you make a mistake, be professional: own up, apologize, fix it, move on.
  • Get project parameters before accepting a project, so you can set an accurate fee.
  • Put this in all your contracts: If project scope increases midway, your fee goes up.
  • Specify payment terms in all of your contracts, for your protection and clients'.
  • A client contract can consist of your e-mails to and from client regarding a project.
  • If you want offered gig but you're booked, ask client if there's schedule wiggle room.
  • Don't keep accepting projects from a client who hasn't paid your invoices on time.
  • Clients fold and contacts leave. Ensure your income by cultivating multiple clients.
  • Protect your income. Vet new clients—research their payment history with freelancers.
  • It may be comfy w/ just 1 client, but IRS may call you an employee. Get more clients.
  • Never assume; get client's approval on overall style points early in project.
  • Secret to keeping clients? Always do your best work. Don't get lazy.
  • Get off feast-or-famine roller coaster: spend time each week marketing your services.
  • Thank colleagues for referrals w/ thank-you notes, small gifts, reciprocal referrals.
  • "Businesslike" doesn't equal "humorless stiff." Be professional but be yourself.
  • Avoid dry spells by having more than one project at a time, each in different stage.
  • Remember—the author is the subject-matter expert; you're the editorial expert.

Can you think of additional tips? Let me know.

7 comments:

Mandi said...

What a helpful list - thanks, Katharine!

Funny about Money said...

Nice list!

Things sure are parched around here this summer. I'll have to try some of these.

I'd add attending conferences (to the extent you can afford it); joining organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau where you may meet people who can use your services; give presentations in front of various groups; join trade groups such as CSE and STC that do active outreach to employers; seek state, county, and federal contracts.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Thanks for the additions, FAM. May I have your permission to adapt and use your tips on Twitter? I could include a link to your blog in those tweets.

Kelly Besecke said...

Wow! Thank you! What a generous and useful list!

Public Relations guru said...

Awesome! Thanks for such a comprehensive checklist!

Fran Fahey said...

Thanks, Katharine. I am circulating this among other folks I know. So comprehensive!

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

You're quite welcome, Fran. Here's to marketing success for all editorial freelancers!

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