Your current workload is drying up? Craving new challenges in your writing? Winning a new freelance client is always a good idea—even when you’re fully booked for the next month or two.
It future-proofs your income and keeps you and your services visible.
Whatever your current situation, finding new clients does not have to be stressful. And no matter how anxious you may be about it, this list makes it achievable.
How to use this list of client-winning strategies
The 17 strategies for landing a freelance writing job are divided into three categories:
Warm asks: approach that relies on an existing connection with a writer or past client
Inbound or ‘passive’: activities that indirectly promote your skills, experience, and results
Outbound or ‘active’: proactive pitches to potential clients or open job opportunities
Warm asks and outbound pitching will serve you best when you’re actively looking to fill up your workload.
Inbound activities fall on the subtle promotion side—great for when you already have work on your plate and don’t mind waiting longer for a new client in your roster.
The warm ask client-winning methods
These three strategies rely on asking for recommendations. In many writers’ experiences (my own included), clients that came through a referral are almost always some of the best clients to work with.
So don’t miss a chance to tap into your existing network.
1. Email a fellow freelance writer for a referral
The great thing about the freelance writer market is that there are always writers who have more than enough on their plate and those that’d love a couple more jobs in their schedule.
Think of three to five other freelance writers you have an established relationship with. This could be someone you’ve exchanged a couple of emails or DMs with, or someone that regularly comments on your LinkedIn posts and vice versa.
Send them this note:
I hope you’re doing well!
I wanted to check if you’ve had an overflow of work recently, or if you know of a company looking for a freelance writer. I’m just a client short of fully booking my next month, so I’m on the lookout for referrals.
If you have anyone in mind, an introduction would mean a lot. If I can do anything for you in return, don’t hesitate to let me know. I appreciate you!
Thanks so much,
2. Email a past client for a referral
Even if a past client no longer needs your services, there’s a huge chance their industry acquaintances do.
Content managers, editors, marketing leads, and CMOs often hang out in closed communities or support each other through work challenges, so reaching out to a past client lets you tap into their network.
Have a client you stopped working with, but left on good terms? Send them this note:
I hope you’re doing well! Just wanted to check in to see how things are going at [company].
It’s been a while since our last conversation, so I also wanted to let you know I’m currently taking on new freelance writing clients in [niche]. If you know anyone who needs that type of freelance work at the moment, I’d really appreciate a referral.
If you’d like to see some of my recent work, my portfolio is on this link. Referrals mean a lot for my business, so I appreciate your help with this.
Thanks so much,
3. Email a past client to pitch them again
You may have worked with clients that were a great fit, but hired you on an as-needed basis. It’s worth reconnecting with those clients and soft-pitching your services again.
Of course, make sure it makes sense to reach out to a specific client. For example, if a client had decided they can no longer afford your rates, they may not be the best candidate—use your best judgment here.
Once you find the right client, send them this note:
I hope you’re doing well! Just wanted to check in to see how things are going at [company].
It’s been a while since our last conversation, so I also wanted to let you know I currently have a couple of client openings. Is there anything in your content plan I can take off your plate in the coming month or two? I thoroughly enjoyed the last time we worked together.
If you’d like to see some of my recent work, my portfolio is on this link. Any questions, just let me know.
Thanks so much,
Inbound aka ‘passive’ client-winning methods
Although these activities are targeted towards your ideal clients and the goal of finding a freelance writing job, they depend on chance. Someone looking for a writer like you needs to run into one of your posts at the right time—that’s what makes these strategies passive.
That doesn’t make them less valuable or powerful! It just means you’ll likely use them when you want to build a recognizable name for yourself as a freelance writer and aren’t urgently looking for new jobs.
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4. Build and share your portfolio
Dedicate a page on your website to your portfolio. For potential clients to trust you with a writing job, they need some form of proof you can do it. The better you do this, the better, higher paying opportunities you’ll have access to.
Your portfolio doesn’t need every piece of your writing in it. As few as five or six well-chosen pieces can do the job perfectly. If you want to share more than that, divide them by publications, subtopics, or another criteria that fits.
⚡ Bonus tip: Don’t want to build your portfolio on your website by yourself? Use a tool like Authory that does it automatically for you and backs up everything you’ve ever written. Not just that—you can divide your portfolio into collections and promote collections most relevant to the type of jobs you want to win going forward.
Once your portfolio is ready, you can add the link to it in your social media profile description, to your email signature, and share it in individual social media posts.
5. Share a client’s testimonial or feedback
I’m a big believer in screenshotting and saving every positive piece of feedback clients share with you.
Google Doc comments, emails, Asana/ClickUp comments, casual statements, or official testimonials—they all count. Not just for days you need a mood booster, but also for regular self-promotion on platforms you’re active on.
There’s no better promotion than the one coming directly from people working with you, so why not take advantage of it?
Share official testimonials (like below) or screenshots of great client feedback (leave out their name unless you get their approval to mention their name), and pair it with a call to action to book a client slot with you for those that crave a similar result.
Just like client feedback, client results are a mighty self-promo tool. That’s because they speak for themselves.
Think about what you made happen for a client. It could be a high search engine ranking or a featured snippet (like below), a conversion rate or traffic, new leads or sales generated, and many other relevant metrics. For many of these, you’ll need to ask your clients to proactively share them with you—but once they do, you’ll acquire a new self-promotion skill.
As always, get the client’s approval before sharing any numbers they’ve provided directly to you.
The only time I suggest you take on free work is when pitching and writing guest posts for industry publication.
Why? Because that’s how you can build your name as a writer in a specific industry—and to make that happen, you can start with a handful of posts. It’s a marketing strategy and your investment into your future client pitching and job winning efforts.
Early on in my freelance writing career, when my portfolio was thin, I contributed free guest posts to publications big and small, including Jeff Bullas, Gather Content, and State of Digital. Many of my ideal clients—content managers, leads, and editors in software companies—were reading these blogs, and many of them saw my writing there and reached out to me for a freelance writing engagement.
Each of these guest posts took only a couple of hours of my time, but I was getting the return on that effort for years that followed:
Reach out to your ideal publications independently, or look for open guest writing opportunities by searching [niche] + “write for us” (make sure to include quotation marks).
9. Connect with relevant roles on LinkedIn
Once you determine which internal role is the one that would hire freelance writers like you, you can get intentional about who you connect with on LinkedIn to expand your network of potential clients in a strategic way.
For example, my target client roles have always been:
Head of inbound marketing
Head of content
Chief marketing officer (CMO)
That’s why I made it my priority to actively seek connections with people within these roles, especially in software and B2B companies. This way, I can see the content they share and engage with, the struggles they have, and even the freelance writing openings they may have.
And they can see the content you share, including your testimonials, results, guest posts, and client openings.
You can add a short (non-pitch) note when sending a connection invite, or keep it blank. Try both and see which ones help you get the most connections.
Here’s an example of a filter I’d use to look for ideal connections. Search term is ‘content manager,’ category is ‘People,’ connection level is 2nd, and I switch between different locations (one at a time) to explore them because it otherwise defaults to my country—so that filter is optional:
10. Create a quiz for potential clients
Once a potential client reaches your website, there’s a great tactic that can turn them into an engaged lead: a strategic quiz.
Think about those BuzzFeed quizzes that we all devoured years ago (“Which Friends character are you?”)—this version follows the same logic. It’s fun and engaging, but it leads the quiz taker closer to what you have to offer as a writer.
One of the best tools for this is Interact. It’s exactly what Kayla Hollatz, a website copywriter, used on her website and converted over 3,200 quiz takers into leads (and closed five figures of projects based on that):
11. Get opportunities in your inbox
Let freelance writing jobs come to you so you can easily choose which ones to pursue. While this activity isn’t a marketing one (like the ones above), it will drastically increase your access to active writing opportunities and give you a regular stream of writing opportunities.
This is the most demanding category of job-finding strategies. It’s the one that exposes you to rejections and the very real fear of failure.
But trust me when I say: it’s also an incredibly rewarding one. That’s because you don’t need 100 clients to be happy about your work; you need a handful or a dozen of those that really fit your skillset, treat and pay you well, and give you work you enjoy doing.
Actively winning freelance writing clients is worth it—here’s how to do it.
12. Apply to jobs from job boards
Job boards are the easiest place to find freelance writing jobs—which makes them also the most highly competitive.
Still, they’re worth your effort whenever you run into a job posting that matches your skills and experience. A solid application message can help you stand out.
The most important tip when it comes to job boards is to closely follow what the job posting is asking from a writer. What skills and experience are your advantages? What are the company’s goals and objectives to hire a writer?
So if the job description mentions…
Topics you’ll work on: mention your experience with those topics and/or link related portfolio pieces
Tools you’ll use: list examples of how you used those tools in previous work
Specific goals like traffic or engagement: list how your previous work achieved similar goals
Skills like SEO, editing, research etc.: explain how you’ve used those skills in previous work
Keep your application tied to the job posting requirements, concise, and easy to respond to. Your first goal is for the potential client to feel that ‘aha’ moment when reading it, thinking you fit their needs well so they can reply easily—they can always ask follow-up questions after you initially connect.
13. Apply to LinkedIn Jobs
An active LinkedIn profile is useful for another activity: applying to LinkedIn Jobs.
When you open LinkedIn Jobs, you’ll see the top jobs LinkedIn picked out for you based on your profile and search history. Beyond that, you can use the search bar to look for a specific job title, like ‘freelance writer,’ ‘freelance copywriter,’ ‘content writer,’ and more.
The results page may default to your country, but use the filters to switch to other locations, remote positions, and other options.
Two things to note here:
If a job you like seems to be a full-time job or otherwise not tailored to freelancers, consider pitching yourself to that company in a freelance capacity anyway
At the top of the jobs list in your search, you can toggle on a ‘Set alert’ option to get notified as soon as a relevant position is published, which may help you stand out with an early application
14. Cold pitch potential clients
Cold pitching potential clients is a big topic, and one that deserves its own guide. That’s coming—but until then, here’s a framework you can use to use this client-winning strategy.
You need three things:
Your portfolio, i.e. a few work examples you can link to in your pitch
The company + person you’ll pitch
An email template you can easily customize for each pitch
Your portfolio pieces should be within the niche you’re pitching, or adjacent to it (if you’re pitching a Formula 1 publication, you’ll ideally have portfolio pieces from other motorsport categories, or from sport in general).
Spending time on researching the company and role you’re pitching is worth it. Trust me. This allows you to tailor your pitch, including the types of content, writing style, recent news about the company, and more.
Your email pitch should be short and easy to scan/read, but they should also have some of your personality. Taking action after reading this email needs to be easy for the person on the receiving end—keep that in mind at all times while researching and emailing potential clients.
The email should go as follows:
Intro and hook
Who you are and your expertise
The pitch, including links to your writing samples and (optional) categories/topics you’d write about
Call to action and signoff
Here’s a simple email pitch template you can customize:
Hope you're well today!
[Your name] here, a freelance writer specializing in [your niche]. I’ve always enjoyed [company’s] blog and would love to potentially free up some of your time with my [describe your writing style, e.g. value-packed, conversational] content.
Some of my most recent work includes [link], [link], and [link]. [Writing sample] did particularly well with [describe the success of the piece, e.g. search traffic, conversions, conversations on social media, etc.]. My extended portfolio is [on this link].
If this is something you think you could use, I’d love to jump on a quick call with you and see if there’s any scope for us to work together on [writing type, e.g. long-form blogging]—I have a few ideas for your blog I’d love to share with you.
If you don't have time to respond to this, no worries! Thanks for reading this far.
Add or remove details and links as you see fit, but always keep it concise and to the point. A string of emails very similar to this template won me some of the best work I’ve done in the early years of my career—give it a try.
15. Cold pitch agencies
Marketing agencies are busy. They work with dozens of clients, and often need an additional pair of hands on deck.
That’s why it’s worth pitching them your services. They may have one client or project for you at first, but if all goes well, you may end up being their go-to person for multiple clients over a longer stretch of time. Consistent work? Yes, please.
The approach is similar to cold pitching individual clients. The only difference is acknowledging that you’d help the agency with the clients, but the research, portfolio, and focus on a niche are pretty much the same.
Try searching for marketing agencies or digital agencies, invest some time in understanding what they do, and tweak that email pitch template to kick off a conversation with them.
16. Post in dedicated communities
Check out online communities that either specify a niche (like marketing or writing), or a purpose (hiring or looking for jobs). You’ll find these on Reddit, Slack, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
These can be busy or even spammy if they aren’t managed well, so don’t jump into 25 of them at once. Try a few, spend some time inside, see the vibe, and try posting to promote yourself or responding to a job posting. The right post at the right time can win you the best jobs, so give it a chance.
Finally, use a simple Google search to find job postings that companies publish on their websites, social media, and press releases.
The search is “looking for writers” (quotation marks included).
This will surface temporary job postings, as well as permanently open calls for writers, so it’s worth repeating this search every couple of weeks and being thorough when reviewing search results you get.
From there, you know the drill: follow instructions and show why you’re the ideal writer for the job.
3 quick tips to help you land freelance writing jobs
Before I let you on the freelance job-hunting adventure, I have a few short but important tips to make this process easier, more efficient, and more successful:
Always follow up. Emails and messages can slip through the cracks of any busy person, so following up can make you stand out among dozens of other writers. Send one or two follow-ups to your leads in the weeks after your initial pitch.
Set a structure. How much time do you want to spend on these activities? How much do you have to because your client roster is empty? Define this early—it will be easier to stay sane in process, and plan around it.
Keep track of your efforts. Create a simple spreadsheet that lists the companies you pitched or job postings you applied to, whether you followed up, and whether you’ve heard back.