I’m not an entrepreneur. I don’t know how to run a business.
Those were the words that lived inside my head for months when I was first introduced to the idea of having an online business. I knew I was good at producing the work, but I doubted my ability to be a business owner. I saw running a business as something that was way above what I knew how to do, but it turns out it wasn’t as hard as I was making it out to be.
It’s possible to create an online business with nothing more than a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection, but the way you put it all together matters. I was blessed to have the support, accountability, and coaching I needed to be able to get off on the right foot when I first became a sales copywriter.
Today, I mentor freelance writers, and it’s my goal to make sure they have the same guidance I had. So let’s break it down. What does it really take to run an online business as a writer?
Five Core Functions
I love having an online business that I can operate from anywhere at any time. I don’t have a lot of overhead, there’s no physical product to worry about, and I never have to commute. But that doesn’t mean I can just let everything slide – not if I want my business to grow and scale.
There are five core functions all copywriters and freelance writers need in order to create a sustainable, scalable business: visibility, lead generation, sales, delivery, and customer service. In this article, I’m going to talk about visibility and break down easy ways writers can generate visibility online for their business.
Operating in the online world is a different beast. When you have an online business, you don’t rely on foot traffic like traditional brick and mortar businesses, which I think is a big plus. People can reach you without ever having to leave the comfort of their homes – or even their bed for that matter!
That doesn’t mean you don’t have to show up. Freelance writers may not have to drive uptown to open up a storefront, but you still have to be able to drive traffic to you, and that means you have to be present in front of your target audience so they are aware that you and your services exist and are attracted to them.
In other words, a writer still has to be visible, and they have to be visible consistently. If you don’t stand out and show up, there are plenty more writers out there who will. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a complicated or expensive set up to do so.
What Do I Need?
If you’re new to being a freelance writer or copywriter, you can build visibility and nurture your target audience online with nothing but a smartphone, a social media account, some content, and a clear idea of who your target audience is.
Does it matter which social media platform you use to get visible on? Yes and no. The most important factor is to find out where your ideal client hangs out and show up there. If you have the bandwidth to choose several platforms, then do so.
Choosing more than one platform for visibility doesn’t mean you have to exponentially increase your need for content. You can crosspost video content on Instagram Reels and TikTok for wider reach without having to produce twice as many videos. Facebook and Instagram feeds can be scheduled and posted at the same time.
Keep reading for more tips on content creation and repurposing for writers, but for now, let’s talk about the most important thing.
Who Is My Ideal Client?
Did you notice I’ve mentioned your ideal client several times? That’s because WHO you’re marketing to is the most important factor when it comes to your business’ visibility. If a writer doesn’t know who they want to serve, then how can they create content that will attract that person?
Marketing without a clear ideal client in mind means you’ll be shouting into the void, and you’ll likely be drowned out by your competition. I don’t want that for you.
Before you start putting content out into the interwebs, decide who you serve and what you do for them, and get specific about it. For example, if someone asks me who I serve, I tell them I write sales copy campaigns for 7- and 8-figure entrepreneurs and influencers who market their products and services via paid traffic. That’s pretty clear, right?
Taking the time now to set out a clear statement on who you serve and how makes it easy for your ideal clients to identify as … well … your ideal clients. And you want that. You want your content to be a beacon for who you are and what you do because that beacon will attract people to you.
Will you still have to go out and prospect and market yourself organically or through paid traffic? Unless you have a huge referral base and proven results, the answer is most likely, yes. But you’re way ahead of the game if you’re being proactive by posting content that attracts your ideal client WHILE actively seeking out and nurturing prospects.
I’ve been actively getting visible and putting content out into the market for about a year and a half now. Before that time, I was just kind of sporadically posting here and there. I told myself I was too busy to mess with content.
I’m a writer, not a social media celebrity. Why do I have to mess with that?
Well, truthfully, you don’t. No one’s going to make you … but if you want a real business that has an online presence and is searchable online, then it’s definitely in your best interest. The good news is, you don’t have to go full throttle from day one. You just have to start somewhere.
Pick a platform. Like I said above, it’s best to research where your ideal clients are hanging out and go there. If you write for corporations and trades businesses, LinkedIn is a great place to start. If you’re more into the entrepreneurial and digital marketing space, Facebook is a good starting point. Love products and small business? Try Instagram or TikTok.
The important thing is to just start. Master one platform, then add another. There’s no need to go for broke and burn yourself out on content from the get-go.
My Visibility Journey
I’ve been building visibility on social media for years now, and it’s been a pretty slow build up. Honestly – and I hope this makes you feel better, not worse – it doesn’t come naturally to me. I’d rather not be in front of the camera. I’m a freelance sales copywriter because I love the work, not because I want to be an online sensation.
As easy as it would have been to just head down and do the work, I knew that would be a bad move on my part. I knew that I needed to show up where my ideal clients were so I could stay top of mind. When someone needs sales copy, I want to be the person they think of first.
I also have training programs for freelance writers, so a big reason why I show up online is for them. I want freelance writers to know the potential that is out there for them to turn their hobby into an income-generating business, but how can they if I’m not showing up?
A couple of years ago, I started with Facebook and added Instagram and LinkedIn. Then I started blogging weekly and went all in on Pinterest, which has been a great source of organic traffic for my offers. Finally, I started creating video content, which has been a game-changer, and added Instagram Reels, TikTok and YouTube.
The crazy part is, I only spend a few hours each week creating content. First, I write this blog. Then I create graphics for Facebook and Instagram and send captions over to a team member who schedules them. I post the blog on LinkedIn as an article and share it to the newsfeed. Then I email the blog article to my Pinterest manager, who is absolutely amazing. She creates and schedules Pins and quote cards (which I also use as Instagram Stories and posts from time to time) for the entire week.
Then it’s time for video content. First, I sit down and brainstorm ideas for video content by checking in with Rachel Pedersen, a TikTok pro, to see what’s trending. I create all the videos, edit them in InShot, and post them as drafts in Instagram Reels and TikTok. I’ll go to TikTok and Instagram Reels and post them daily.
YouTube is my most recent addition, and it’s definitely a work in progress. It’s not where I want it to be yet, but that’s okay. I want to take things on piece by piece, so I master one before I add another. All in all, my journey from visibility on a single platform to multiple platforms has been years in the making.
More From Christa Nichols
You can do it too. I know you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect – perfection is overrated anyway – the most important thing is to just start … and I can help!
I’m hosting a FREE 5-day live workshop event called the Client Attraction Crash Course that starts Monday, October 4, 2021. Each day at 10 a.m., I’ll go live with one of my five secrets to attracting paid freelance writing projects and landing clients. I’d love to have you join us! Click HERE to register now.