According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 120,000 professional writers working in the United States. If you're one of them, you know that post-holidays can be lean times...and this year is no exception. Many clients are still re-grouping after the holidays and re-evaluating their budgets to see how much content they can afford for the new year.
>If these clients enlist the help of an advertising agency to secure their content, that adds even more time before they start offering work to copywriters. If you work within writing platforms, you know that what that means for the job boards.
What's a professional copywriter to do? You could spend the month cleaning out your closets, soaking up the rays in Florida or working on that great American novel you started in 2005. However, if you want to be able to pay the rent during these lean times, you need to be proactive. Below are a few tips for doing just that:
1. Contact existing clients and ask for work.
Your clients are busy, too, and sometimes trying to think of good topics can prevent them from posting orders for articles they need. When the job board is slow is a good time to run through your approved orders and send a brief message to clients you've worked with in the past, suggesting one or two article topics. You might be surprised how quickly such messages can turn into orders.
2. Send a thank you message to a client for the order.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (and isn't being a professional copywriter really a small business?), one of the most effective ways to get repeat business is to follow up with each and every client. On writing platforms, that means just sending a nice message on the private message board thanking the client for the order and telling them that you would like to work with them again (if you do.) If it's a new client and the platform you're working on has such a function, consider rating the client. Not only does that help other writers, but it helps the client attract qualified writers.
3. Make the most of the work you have.
This one can be a little tricky. Certainly, you don't want to write fluff or be repetitious. However, if you can maximum the word count on your orders by giving the client the full maximum of quality words and content, you'll also maximize the amount of revenue you get from each order. If you're the type of professional copywriter who waits until the last minute to start an order and then just gets the minimum number of words written before the deadline, maybe it's time to re-think your approach, at least during lean times.
4. Work on your profiles.
If all else fails, make sure that you're ready when the orders start pouring in come February and March by updating your profiles. On Zerys, for example, that means making sure that you've chosen all of the first, second and third level categories that you're allowed. On other platforms, it can mean making sure that you've completed all of the biographical and professional information and that it portrays you in the best light.
Having been a professional copywriter for nearly 10 years, I can say that the good news is that this job slump will pass. The new year will likely bring at least a few changes to the copywriting job front before it's done, but, if history is any indication, the number of writing jobs will start picking up about the time the weather starts to warm in the Midwest and Northeast. In the mean time, spend a little extra time on making the most of the clients, the orders and the writing jobs that you have.