I live in Ashburn, Ga. Which is half way between Cordele and Tifton Ga. on interstate 75. Never heard of Ashburn? I doubt you have. It is a small town surrounded by small towns. Most of my freelance work is found outside my local area. Not because there are no opportunities locally, but because people in small communities suffer from a skewed thought process that seems to lead them to believe anything good must come from someplace larger. At least that has been my experience.
I do not have a reason for this kind of thinking. I can only assume there is envy at play or perhaps the writers, web designers, graphic artist and such in larger cities have found a marketing scheme that implies they are better because they live in a large city. For whatever reason, this kind of thought process is flawed. If it were not flawed, I would not have any clients, but here I sit writing this before reading and responding to email from clients.
Do not get the wrong idea about what I mean. I am sure the goal of local businesses is to find the best product for the best price. I believe they are overlooking valuable local talent and could contribute to the local economy by looking locally first, but it is their business and they can run it as they see fit.
Ok, I am getting off my soapbox now.
There are ways to find local markets many freelancers may be overlooking. It is possible freelancers assume there are few clients to be found locally and do not market locally. Perhaps this is the reason local businesses look elsewhere for writers and other creative people.
In an article she wrote for sitepoint.com, 10 Ways To Win Your Local Freelance Market, Tara Hornor talks about using social media, the yellow pages and some other great marketing ideas for local marketing. One things she mentions, which I think is important for writers, is writing for local publications.
Local publications need content like any other publication and you might be able to fill a void from time to time or regularly. Local markets are what you are searching for right? Find out more about local newspapers and magazines even if you think the pay will be low. If the pay is low, see if they will include a link to your website or favorite social media profile. Consider the money you are not making as an investment in local marketing. However, try not to get roped into 3000 word features for low pay.
A great resource for all things freelance writer related is Carol Tice’s website Make a Living Writing. Carol’s post, 10 Effective Marketing Strategies for New Freelance Writers, is a goldmine of local marketing insight. She talks about using friends and family to help promote your freelance business. No one will be as ready to help you as friends and family and they may be the key to opening a door to new clients.
Marketing is an important part of any business and as a freelancer- you are a business. When you are developing a marketing plan do not overlook marketing your services locally.
Here are a few more posts to get you started developing or tweaking your marketing plan:
Got a hot marketing tip for freelancers? What marketing strategies do you use? Let me know in the comments.