The Best Ways of Selling Your Services to Research Companies and Clients
Although academic writers aren’t salespeople per se, they do need to engage in some amount of sales work to promote their skills in the marketplace. How much sales work you’ll have to do as an academic writer depends in large part upon whether you work for a company or for yourself.
If You’re Working for a Writing Company
Definitely, working for a company greatly reduces the need to sell yourself as an academic writer. However, don’t think you’re completely off the hook. First, you have to sell yourself to get a foot in the door of your dream company. You can accomplish that by having stellar samples combined with a succinct cover letter that tells companies you are not only an expert writer, but willing and able to be personable with clients.
Once you’re in and start taking projects, you will find that clients request your services (if you’re good, that is). You can maximize the chances of this happening by letting the staff at the company know you welcome return clients and/or by letting the clients themselves know you would be happy to work with them in the future (if you have direct contact with them – some companies allow it and others don’t). It also helps to be willing to go the extra mile with clients; if you happily make five-minute edits for free, they will remember that the next time they order a paper.
You can also sell yourself by making it clear you are willing to help out the company in other ways, such as by writing SEO articles or performing other tasks. This lets the staff know you are committed to the growth of the company, and they will keep this in mind when other kinds of work arise.
If You’re Working For Yourself
If you’re freelancing as an academic writer outside the boundaries of a company, there are lots of ways you can promote yourself. First, you can set up your own personal freelance writing site. This is different than an actual company site, and is therefore much easier to create. This allows you to direct clients to your site (which should be clean and professional), where they can view your work and get a sense of how you operate as a freelance writer.
You can also join the many established sites for freelance writers such as freelancer.com, elance.com, odesk.com, writeraccess.com, and others, including craigslist.org. Review the posts from other writers to see what yours should look like, and make sure you cover your bases – there is a lot of competition out there and you want to stand out from the crowd. It also helps to participate in industry forums, also accessed via freelance writer sites, to hear what other writers are saying about ways they found and hired clients, companies with which they’ve worked, and so forth.
You also might want to consider seeking out working relationships with other writers. Many successful freelance academic writers – those who are working for themselves – get far more work than they can handle. If you let a few of those writers know you’re happy to take their overflow, you’re not only helping out a fellow writer, but you have the chance to score yourself some clients in the process.