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How to Position Yourself As Freelance Writer for Hire on Linkedin

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Until recently I never considered taking LinkedIn seriously, but that was before I changed my perspective from freelancer to potential client.

LinkedIn seemed stuffy and full of over-inflated titles, complex buzzwords, and industry jargon.  It really wasn’t a place I cared to even find clients, but that line of thinking only makes us out of touch with the reality of the online world and the freelance writing marketplace.

If a client is looking for someone to hire as a freelance writer, one of the first steps a potential client could make is to search for one on LinkedIn.  Because of this, it is important for your potential clients to recognize that you can be professional, after all, since they run a business — they know that being able to position themselves as an authority or leader is key to gaining trust.

This is why I believe having a profile on Linkedin is essential if you are looking to create a professional image.  It pretty much is the only successful professional social network out there.  (As of April 2017, LinkedIn has over 500 million users and was recently acquired by Microsoft.)

To help put you into the mind of a potential client, here are a few ways they may search for a writer on LinkedIn.

Potential searches a client might make:

  • Freelance Writer
  • Freelance Blogger
  • Hire a Freelance Writer
  • Where to find a Freelance Writer
  • Freelance Writers in [ insert city / province / state ]

Each of these potential searches could attract a client to your profile by showing up as a person who is listed as a “freelance writer”.  You will most likely show up to a potential client under “People With This Title”.

LinkedIn Search

When looking to stand out on Social Media, and in this case LinkedIn I look to others who have already established credibility online.

Four that come to mind are:

Elna Cain

She has a very popular online presence in the world of freelance writing.  She has a free 6-day email course and a paid course called Writeto1K where she teaches aspiring and already active freelance what she knows. Personally, her writing style and the sites she runs are what inspired me to create a blog on freelance writing.

Jorden Roper

She is the founder of the Writing Revolt blog where she is a freelance writing coach & blogger she also is the founder of Cutthroat Copy, where she is the copywriter.  Her services page on Cutthroat Copy is amazing and her laid back approach to proving her credibility is totally my style.  She also runs an amazing group on Facebook called the Writing Revolters

Carol Tice

She has been a full-time freelance writer since 2005.  In 2008 she started a blog called Make a Living Writing where her aim is to help other writers learn and make more money.  She has published traditionally published books as well as eBooks.  She runs the Freelance Writer’s Den, which is a simple low priced month to month subscription where you can access e-courses, job listings, and a forum.

Sophie Lizard

Sophie writes a blog called Be A Freelance Blogger where as her byline says on her blog you can “Learn to Make Real Money blogging for hire”. Her attitude is edgy and thus, expect to see some cuss words (I don’t mind, others might). Her blog is a straightforward creation that focuses on content rather than flashy graphics. She is also the creator of Lizard Creative Chaos, which functions as her portfolio and business site.  Her blog also offers a freelance writer job board where you can find clients.

So right now you might be thinking, well all these people are obviously well paid and they make money with courses too, how am I supposed to stand out?

Here’s what you need to focus on when looking at their LinkedIn profiles:

Description

This demonstration of my profile is what you would see if you were logged in as me and it is how it would look to you when you are logged in to your LinkedIn profile.

The arrow pointing to the little pencil image is where you click to edit all that is shown in the above image.

The arrow pointing to “Freelance writer + Blogger for Hire” is called your “Headline”.  What you put here is entirely up to you, and so I chose to demonstrate that I am now a freelance writer and blogger who is available to be hired.  You may choose to position yourself as one of the following (and there is no limit what you put here): freelance writer, freelance blogger, content strategist, or freelance writer specializing in health, or even an editor.  Don’t overstate what you can do, just promote what you know you can do.

The arrow pointing to my website is pulled from what you’ve listed as your “Current Position”.  To edit your current experience, click on the + symbol further down your profile page.  It will open up another window where you can fill in the details relating to your current job, and if you do have a blog, that is the best place to put it.  I put the title as “Content Writer & Editor”, and the company as LisaHallman.com.  So if you run a website, it goes a long way to show your background (don’t discount your experience).  If you do not have a website, make sure you position yourself with a suitable title and put your company as “self-employed”.  Then fill in your description of what you do, or intend to do for your clients.

Where to Edit Experience on LinkedIn

The area outlined in red is called the “Summary” area on the edit page and this is where you get to be creative on how you want to position yourself and tie in your past to your present, but honestly what you put there is entirely up to you.  Try to think like your client.  What would you want your client to know about your past that may not be 100% about your ability to write, but could be a good advantage for them?

There is nothing wrong with being new to something, it’s more important to demonstrate how well you write.  As time goes on, you can always update with more measurable proof (such as having a guest post on a popular blog, or analytical data showing how many views [traffic], or how much engagement [comments and shares] you were able to pull in.)

Personally, I focused on my ability to work on the back end of WordPress and that I have an intermediate knowledge of it.  I felt that was important to bring up because a fair amount of small businesses, websites and blogs run WordPress as their main content management system (CMS).  If you are non-techie, don’t worry about what you don’t know about WordPress just yet. WordPress is simply a means to organize all the pages and posts (“content”) on a website.

The last area that I’d like to draw your attention to, is the skills and endorsements section.  It would seem awfully silly if you positioned yourself as a writer without actually putting that down as a skill. (The names in the below example have been blurred out for their privacy)

LinkedIn Skills Area Example

To add a skill, you would click on the pencil icon, in the upper right corner of that box, just like for the previous areas.  As you can see on my profile, writing is not listed.  However, it has been added and would show if you clicked on the “View 15 more” area.  LinkedIn will show the skills with the most endorsements from other people you are connected to by default.  So if you want your writing skill to show up higher, you will have to gain more endorsements or manually edit the order of your skills.

Click on the pencil, then just drag and drop the order you want your skills to show up, by clicking where the arrow is pointing and dragging it up or down.  If you have no endorsements for your new skill, it will not show as being currently endorsed by anyone you are connected to.

LinkedIn Skills Reordering Diagram

As you can see below, when I moved around my skills manually, you will see I have endorsements for Marketing, but none yet for Writing or Editing.

No Endorsements Example

Getting endorsements will come with time, but just make sure you have added the necessary skills (Writing, Editing, Copywriting, etc) you have to complete your profile.  Later on, you can connect with other high profile writers, who can endorse your skill. Do not directly ask them if they have no idea who you are.  

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t try to connect with a big name writer on LinkedIn without first having had some level of interaction with them through social media.  They have a reputation they must maintain, and as such probably will not connect with you until they believe you offer quality work.
  • Follow influential writers on LinkedIn so that you can be notified when they post something.  Commenting on their blog, or other social profiles is also a great way to leverage their audience for your benefit.  This also helps to create interaction between yourself (your brand) and them (their brand). Having other influencers notice you means that you will become recognizable and therefore, are perhaps more willing to connect with you.
  • Having a professional looking profile image on your social profiles is important, so find a way to take a good selfie if you don’t have a professional photo of you taken.  You can do this by making sure your face is illuminated by light, meaning you want the light facing you when you take your shot.  People like to be able to have a face to a name, it makes you more approachable and professional.
  • Make sure if you have other social profiles that you use the same recognizable photo of you across all platforms.  This demonstrates to them a consistent image which shows your professionalism and your ability to present a solid image (branding).
  • If you don’t have a college education you can add self-taught to your education information on LinkedIn.  You may think that it makes you look less professional, but being able to be self-directed and teach yourself goes a long way to show your dedication.  Not everyone is good at learning outside of a school setting.

Closing Thoughts

Focusing on high profile writers and credible people in that freelance writing niche is a good starting point, but it may feel like a lot to live up to if you have no demonstratable experience yet.  You have to be able to deal with feeling like you are inferior and it’s perfectly normal.  You have to remember that all these people started without any major experience, pitched their butts off to get a guest post, or went directly to pitching actual clients with nothing more than writing samples.

*Nothing proves your writing ability better than an actual sample of your work.*

As you gain more exposure by interacting with other writers, entrepreneurs, editors and small business owners your visibility will increase and help to prove your credibility to an audience who has yet to discover you.

At the end of the day, LinkedIn is just one of the many avenues a potential client could find you. But don’t discount the potential benefit of the professional image LinkedIn portrays and what it can do for you.

 

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Lisa Hallman

I'm a freelance writer & blogger who enjoys passing on tools, tricks & resources of the craft with other aspiring and active freelancers.My focus is to create highly actionable content, how-to's and guides to give clarity to my readers.
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