The holy grail for any freelancer is a steady trickle of new clients and projects coming in. This gives you three great advantages:
- You can start being a bit more picky about what you take on, and what you pass on. No more boring projects!
- You can start booking your time weeks or months out - giving you a lot more confidence that you’ll be busy.
- You can start charging more.
But to get there, you need to do a bit of self-marketing. You need to have a large, consistently growing “pool” of people who know what you do and why they should work with you. The larger this pool is, the more frequently you’ll have someone reach out to you and ask if they can work with you specifically.
Over the past year or so, I’ve found Linkedin to be a free, easy way to build this pool of people.
Linkedin has a huge advantage over the other social media platforms: it’s easy to get your content in front of people.
If you’ve ever dabbled in posting on Facebook, you’ll know that it’s incredibly difficult to get people to see the content you post - even the people who follow you! One estimate is that only 10% of your Facebook followers see your posts.And that’s the people who have told Facebook they want to see your posts!
If you want more than 10% of your followers to see your content on Facebook, you need to open your wallet and pay for ads, This gets really expensive, really quickly.
Linkedin doesn’t work like this. When you post on Linkedin, the algorithm will serve it up to people who follow you. If any of those people like or comment on it, it will then go into their feeds as well. If those people like or comment on it, it goes further still - and so on, and so forth.
This means that you can get your content in front of lots of people for free - as long as the content’s good enough to get people engaged in it (more on that in a second). But that’s a lot more affordable than paying to force it in front of people.
What’s more, people on Linkedin are “primed” to read work-related content in a way that people on other social networks are not. I routinely post copywriting tips on Linkedin. By and large, these do quite well. I don’t think they would do as well on another platform, like Instagram, because people scrolling Instagram aren’t necessarily looking for copywriting tips.
So Linkedin gives you easy access to a receptive audience. Now here’s how to get your content in front of them:
Step 1: Post useful content
You’re an expert in something. That’s why people pay you to do freelance work - you have skills and knowledge that they don’t have. Otherwise, they wouldn’t hire you.
So post content based on that expertise!
This can look a little daunting before you get into the swing of things, so here’s a few tips to get some ideas flowing:
- Have a look at Quora - search for your field, and see what questions people are asking about it. Then just answer those questions in the form of a Linkedin post.
- Read (or re-read) a book or article about your field. Write a post about the most interesting ideas, and your view on those ideas.
- Address common myths or misconceptions about your field.
- Talk about how you approach your work
A lot of what you post is going to feel very obvious. That’s because you’re an expert. But remember, the people reading aren’t experts. And if they read something useful from you, they’re not only getting value from your post - they’re also being reminded that you have deep knowledge in your field.
The key is to not think about it too much. Just write something useful and interesting, press post, and move on. It’s not really about any one post. Rather, it’s about getting into the habit of posting on a regular basis.
Which brings me to the next point:
Step 2: Post regularly
Posting once every week or two isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to need to be posting at least a few times a week - preferably every day. And you’ll need to be consistent. Don’t just flame out after two weeks. You need to post a few times a week, week in, week out.
Remember what I said above about Linkedin not curating peoples’ feeds as much as the likes of Facebook and Instagram? There’s a downside to that - everyone is out there posting heaps. And people are posting good content!
So if you’re just posting every now and again, while other people are posting daily, you’re just going to get drowned out - even if your content is just as good, or better. That means you need to post a decent amount, and you need to keep at it.
Step 3: Grow your network
Once you start posting on a regular basis, people are going to start adding you as a connection. Accept them! If you don’t like their content, you can just hide it from your feed, but they’ll still see yours. And if they like what they see, they’ll engage, which will in turn amplify your content.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to add people as connections. I generally add people when they like or comment on my content. For some reason, that’s less weird on Linkedin than it would be on a platform like Facebook.
But you can do what you’re comfortable with. Just remember that the larger your network is, the more opportunities you have to get your content in front of people and show how talented you are.
Give it a go
If you take one thing from this article, it should be this: login to Linkedin and give this approach a go. The more you overthink any individual post, the more likely you are to talk yourself out of it.
Remember, this is a long term thing. No one post is going to make or break your career as a freelancer. Rather, you’ll build your reputation and authority over time as you consistently post useful content that showcases your expertise.
It’s not going to happen overnight! But at the same time, posting on Linkedin doesn’t take much time and it doesn’t cost any money. So try this tactic for a few months. I think you’ll like your results.