You probably know the age-old dilemma: I don’t get the job because I don’t have experience, but I also don’t get experience because I don’t get a job!?
Even in freelance writing, you’re not safe from this vicious cycle. After all, if you’re still at the beginning of your writing career, you probably don’t have any work to show for it yet. Nevertheless, potential clients often want to see some references to make sure you meet their requirements. And that makes you wonder how you can even gain experience as a new technical content writer.
If that’s why you have trouble finding (great) clients, this article is for you. Here I’ll give you some tips on convincing potential clients of your skills and gaining experience as a new technical content writer.
Write and publish content on your blog.
An important aspect that companies pay attention to is the quality of your writing and how your writing style fits their brand and voice.
Sure it may be more convincing to show them an article you wrote for a reputable online magazine, but who says content from your blog isn’t valuable?
If you have a blog or publish articles on Medium and the likes, that content can just as quickly give your clients insight into your writing skills.
What to consider:
Be sure to publish content you’d like to create for your clients, like white papers, interviews, or tutorials. I also recommend you choose topics that are also interesting for potential clients. This may mean staying within your niche, targeting the same audience as your clients, or writing about themes that are at least relevant to your work and your clients.
You can find posts about writing and marketing on my blog, but I don’t write about these topics for my clients.
However, my clients and I have the same target audience (developers), and my content is closely related to my work as a technical content writer.
Tip: The best thing about writing for your own channels is that you have a free hand in writing. It’s a great way to practice writing, experiment, and get feedback from your readers so you can keep improving.
So don’t get bogged down in collecting external references. Because even though client work can be more convincing, a blog to show off your skills is better than having nothing to show.
(Besides, you can be sure that others have not changed the content!)
Write guest posts for other blogs and websites.
Companies often also wish that you already have experience working with businesses and the typical processes. They also want to assess how well you could adapt your writing style to their brand and target audience.
Thus, writing guest posts for blogs and websites is a great way to gain experience as a new technical content writer and gain references that you can present to potential clients. Additionally, you can use allow you to prove that you’ve worked with companies before and can write for different brands, audiences, and topics.
What to consider
Wondering how to find websites looking for guest writers? Query your favorite search engine for “write for us” + your niche or writing topic, and you should get a lot of results.
You can see the search results for “write for us react”:
Avoid making this mistake!
If you want to reach out to multiple sites simultaneously, ensure you don’t forward the same pitch! What if both sites want you to write the post for them, only to find out later that another blog has published the same content?
So keep track of your pitches and make sure an idea never circulates twice at the same time.
All in all, this approach is more time-consuming than creating content for your own blog. First, you’ll have to research websites. Then, you’ll need to learn about their processes, and prepare a pitch for them – and then you can’t even be sure if they’ll approve your pitch.
But if all goes well, you’ll soon have an impressive list of references to send to potential clients. You’ll also gain experience and learn about different workflows – and who knows, you might even find a client or two!
Final tips to attract clients as a new technical content writer
Below are some more tips that will help you get started as a freelance technical content writer:
- Include your author bio, especially if you’re writing guest posts. You want to show prospects your work, and the best way to do that is to have your name underneath. Here’s one of my author bios:
- Have a professional email address. Buy a domain and set up an email address with it – clients will find you much more professional if you don’t write to them from a Gmail or yahoo address.
- Create a writing portfolio. I know some writers who swear by the effectiveness of a good writing portfolio. I can’t comment on that, though, because I’ve never had one. But maybe it’s something you can benefit from, so why not give it a try?
- Offer a discount for first-time clients. This can double as a small incentive to try things out and see how the collaboration works. In return, ask them to publish the post with your name so you can use it as a reference.
How will you gain experience as a new technical content writer?
Becoming a successful freelance technical content writer is not easy. But if it were, everyone would do it, right? 😉
Take my tips to heart and invest time writing for your blog and/or publishing articles on other blogs. Of course, you’ll need a lot of patience and determination to do this. However, I hope you’ll soon be able to reap the rewards of your hard work!
Read more like this: Answering your FAQs on technical content writing
Think of this process as improving your skills as well. Not only will you get some links to pass on to potential clients, but you’ll also create a safe space for yourself to experiment and practice your writing.
Even if you’re not making money from writing yet, don’t sit idle and use this time to improve your skills.
I wish you the best of luck!
This blog post’s featured image is by Ilya Pavlov (Unsplash).