Freelance writers: Here's your secret to landing great clients

Why not stand out from the  rest of the freelance writing crowd?

Why not stand out from the rest of the freelance writing crowd?

Want to know the secret to closing more deals and landing more clients?

It’s all in your pitch.

What do you say when you talk to prospects (or chat with them on the phone?)

Do you say something like, “I’m a freelance writer with over four years experience. I write B2B copy and I specialize in web pages and blog posts.”?

Or do you say, “I transform existing B2B content into top-positioned and high-converting copy. My clients typically see a 25-60% increase in leads after my rewrites. I can work with your team as an outsourced partner or develop the content strategy for you.”

See the difference? One version pops with beefy benefit statements while the other version just … fizzles.

Many freelance writers are experts at creating USPs (unique selling propositions) for their clients. They can easily pinpoint exactly what makes their clients cool and what sets them apart.

However, these same super-smart writers get stuck when it comes to their own USPs. This is a huge disconnect. After all, there are thousands of other writers out there. You want to focus on what makes you unique. What you bring to the table. What makes you so good.

What makes you the writing expert that the client should hire? Right now.

The secret to wowing prospects and converting them into clients is to have a refined, sharp and snappy USP.  You’ve created them for your clients. Now it’s time to create one for yourself. A really good one.

Want to stand out? Here are some things to think about:

1. What past successes have you had? How have you increased your past clients’ conversion rates?

2. What specialized training do you have? Can you offer a service (such as copy testing) that other writers don’t offer?

3. Who is your target customer? What are their pain points and how can you help them go away?

4. What makes you different than all the other writers out there. Hint: It’s not “excellent customer service” or “attention to details.” All writers can and will say that. Think outside the box.

5.  Do you have a deep expertise in a certain subject matter? This is a big deal, especially in regulated industries.

6.  Do you package your services in a way that would be beneficial to your customers?

Feeling stuck? Ask another writer to help. Chances are she/he can pick your brain and develop a brilliant USP statement for you.

(And yes, you still need a USP, even if you’re brand new to the business. You may not be able to break out the beefy benefits yet, but you can certainly come up with something.)

Try tweaking your USP and see how it resonates with your prospects. Chances are, you’ll soon be closing more deals and making more money.

It’s all in the pitch. :)

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10 replies
  1. Kirsten Meyer says:

    Hi Heather just wanted to let you know I found this post you tweeted in my twitter feed and came here to check it out. 100% agree with you on positioning. I have a national B2B client for whom I’ve delivered 550% increase in lead volume over 2 years, quantifiable revenue, engagement, and desirable # of SQLs (though many opps. not closed by Sales, despite ball being clearly thrown). I feel like many businesses and clients just aren’t satisfied with anything less than solid $figure ROI (closing!), but so much of that seems beyond the scope/control of online marketing; do you agree? What do you tell clients/prospects who are bent on that?

  2. Kevin Carlton says:

    Hi Heather

    When I wrote my website content 18 months ago, I researched a hell of a lot of rival web copywriter sites.

    What was startling was just how few said what made them genuinely different. So, as long as I could find a distinct angle myself, I guessed I’d be onto a winner.

    So what I did was make a big play on my previous work in engineering and IT.

    I said in my copy that many copywriters were accomplished at writing for print, but lacked the specialist knowledge and analytical skills needed to make their marketing messages work online.

    That’s where I came in – as I offered a rare combination of technical know-how and professional writing capability.

    Whether other copywriters also had that same combination was irrelevant. The difference was that I actually bothered to say it.

  3. Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

    Hi Kirsten!

    Welcome! I’m glad you saw the post in your Twitter feed! :)

    You’re exactly right. Our role is to drive leads. We can’t control what the sales team does after that. If we drive 1,000 new prospects and sales sits on the leads and never contacts them, that’s not our “hit.”

    When I talk to prospects, I try to keep the conversation focused on how my firm increases leads – and that’s the purpose of the campaign. It’s also nice to have a couple case studies under your belt that discusses client revenue gains. As long as theres *some* mention of ROI, it tends to overcome the “did the company make any money” objection.

    Thanks so much for your comment! :)

  4. Kevin Carlton says:

    @Heather I always ask prospects how they found my site (e.g. if they found me in search then what keywords did they use).

    But one thing I don’t do is ask what it was that drove them to contact me.

    I really should do this. That way, I’ll have a better idea if that USP is working.

    I’m gonna add this question to my client briefing sheet right now. And if prospects mention that USP I’ll let you know.

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Yes, please do let me know. I’m curious!

      I think it was Derek Halpern who discussed asking why people purchased a product/service (or made an initial contact.) Not only is it great information for you, but it’s great testimonial fodder, too. :)

  5. Dan Stelter says:

    This post is a very good reminder and I love the example USP. The trick there for me is actually getting this type of information from clients, and isolating it to the copy. Most of my work has been done through agencies, so it’s hard to determine to what extent copy increased leads, and to what extent design did so, and what role link acquisition played in it all.

    How do you first go about that when you’re starting out as a copywriter?

  6. Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

    Hi Dan!

    Ah yes. Agencies tend to be pretty closed-mouthed about conversion rates. I think it’s fair to say that you worked on a campaign that helped the client increase conversions by X. You can also show before and after screenshots too – that way, a prospect can see how the page/site changed.

    I recommend newbies think about what benefits are important to their target audience and try to build an USP around that. For instance, I recently spoke to an ex solar engineer who wanted to write for renewable energy companies. The fact that he had years of experience in the field and knew the marketplace so well is a great USP for his market. Not very many people can say that…so that would definitely “pop” for the prospect.



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