Every freelancer experiences the peaks-and-valleys trend in our business: some weeks, you’re overloaded with work and you might even be turning down offers. Then the next few weeks the gigs have dried up and you’re left wondering what the heck you should do beyond pitching editors or cold-calling potential clients.
I’ve been in that slowdown period, and what’s helped me is dedicated my mental energy to marketing. Since I have a website, I often tinker with web copy and the pop-up ad during my fallow weeks, or I might double-down on posting on Instagram or Twitter.
What should you post? It depends on your niche in freelancing. If you’re focused on tech journalism, you can comment on a major story of the day or promote a published article in the space. The more you can advocate for yourself as a specialist in a particular beat, the more you’ll burnish your image among social media users.
You can also learn about marketing as an entrepreneur. Read books, soak up longreads and Medium posts, watch online seminars and panel discussions…when you teach yourself about promoting your brand (ugh, I know, I hate that word too), you’ll be well equipped to activate various campaigns when those slowdowns happen.
Rest assured it’ll be painful at first to strengthen your marketing acumen. At least it was for me, when marketing myself wasn’t something that came naturally. I noticed how I improved gradually over time, perhaps due to how I valued marketing as a critical path to levelling up as a freelance journalist.
If you have questions about how to market yourself, I can coach you! It’s what I’ve been doing with dozens of creative and non-fiction writers for the past few years and I’d love to help you too!