When I started out as a freelance writer, I created my own (appalling) website and started bidding for jobs on content mills.
Within a week I had made about three cents from my successful bids on content mills, but I had secured two well-paid commissions from my website — even though it was horribly designed and ranked absolutely nowhere.
How had I achieved this?
Honestly? Absolute beginner’s luck: A day or two after I launched my site, a local web design company did a search for content writers in my specific area, and my name came up.
After that initial success, I got my website redesigned by a pro, but I invested even more time and effort in a different form of marketing: reaching out to web designers.
Here’s why you should too.
1. Web designers’ clients are your clients
When you hire somebody to design a website for you, they leave you with what is essentially a shop window. But you still need to put stuff in the window.
That’s where writers come in. The client could put together their own web content, but in many cases it’s a bit like putting a lawnmower engine in a Ferrari: The website may look great, but it won’t perform as it should.
Most business owners who are willing to invest in a decent website will also be prepared to invest in good content, so when you reach out to website designers, you’re reaching out to a ready-made market for your services.
2. Strategic partnerships can help everyone succeed
Web designers don’t write content, so working with you means they can offer a comprehensive package to clients.
They can sell their services by offering the client a one-stop shop where a well-designed site goes hand-in-hand with quality content.
When my first website designer ed me, he wasn’t doing me a favor. He needed my services to present a more well-rounded service to a major client. By teaming up with designers you trust, you can expand your client base as a team.
3. You don’t have a marketing budget
If you are like most writers, you don’t have the money to advertise.
By reaching out to website designers, you can piggyback on their marketing efforts to secure customers.
When they take out an ad in a local publication or advertise online, you benefit because more clients for designers means more work for you.
4. Everyone loves ongoing work
One of the best things about my network of web designers is that every one of them has generated repeat business.
Instead of wasting your efforts on pitching for one post here and one newsletter there, focus your efforts on building relationships with good web designers and you will have a stream of quality commissions.
Deliver quality work on time, and web designers will be happy to refer you to all of their clients.
5. You’ll attract quality clients
People who contract good web designers are prepared to pay more for quality work. They are also more likely to pay you on time.
The clients I have secured through web designers have never queried an invoice nor have I had to chase any of them for a payment.
As long as you continue to provide them with content of a standard that works well with an excellently designed site, the clients you secure through a good web designer will be happy to pay you properly.
How to connect with web designers
Conduct a search for web designers in your area. Target those with good reputations, and avoid those who sell their services based on price alone — their clients are willing to cut corners on their website design, so they won’t be prepared to pay you much either.
Make a list of all the viable options and input their names, email addresses and phone numbers in a spreadsheet.
Now, draft a pitch or query letter, telling each prospect how you admire their work (include names of websites they have designed; you will find these on their portfolio page) and would like to help them offer a more comprehensive package to clients.
Include links to examples of your own work and tell them how convenient it is for clients to have their website designed and content written by a coordinated team of professionals.
Let them know whether they can refer clients to you directly or offer clients a package in which content is subcontracted to you. In this instance, you will need to decide on a basic range of prices, depending on the number of website pages and the level of research involved.
How have you teamed up with other professionals to build your freelance writing career?