A Freelance SEO Writing Case Study: From 0 to 5 Clients in Two Months
One of the biggest fears many aspiring online writers have about starting a freelance SEO writing career is landing their first clients. This is completely understandable.
One SEO Writer’s Journey – from Startup to Success
I’ve been teaching others how to start successful online writing careers since 2009. Following is a recent success story. I wanted to share this to point out what she did right to illustrate how simple it is to duplicate her success.
July and August 2017
For the sake of this mini case study, I’ve nicknamed this freelancer “Go get’ em Ginger!” because that’s exactly what she did. Here’s how she started her SEO writing business – and managed to land a half dozen clients with just a couple of months after setting up her website and starting to market.
1. SEO Copywriter Training
I received the first email from Ginger back in July (2017). She’d invested in one of my SEO writing training materials, and had some questions.
As an aside, I can almost always predict who’s going to succeed as a freelance SEO writer because those who do ask questions. This means they’re taking the material seriously; not just buying it and letting it sit on their hard drive.
If you want to start a freelance writing career and you have no experience, the first thing you should do is get the proper training if you don’t feel comfortable striking out on your own.
And I just want to say, you can start with no training and no experience. Freelance writing is not rocket science and literally, thousands of freelancers have started this way. So it’s not a necessity. Simply google “How to Become a Freelance Writer” and start doing some reading if you don’t have the funds to invest in training.
With that being said, training cuts down on the learning curve – making you successful that much sooner; especially in a technical field like SEO writing.
Did you know?
SEO is the acronym for search engine optimization. “It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.” SEO copywriting (aka SEO writing, SEO content writing, SEO article writing) is simply writing copy using certain rules – heavily defined by Google – so that a website can rank high in search results.
2. Ask Questions
As I stated above, once this freelancer got some SEO copywriter training under her belt, she asked questions about things she didn’t understand.
When you ask questions, you lessen the fear. So throughout July and August, we went back and forth. She asked questions like:
How to set up her freelance writing website (eg, what to put on it);
What to charge;
Whether or not to get upfront payments from clients;
Outsourcing work to other writers (she was already anticipating being busy);
Again, this showed that she was taking starting her business seriously. In short, she was preparing for success.
3. Website Up; Start Marketing
About a third of the way into the month, she set up her website.
Professional web presence: She sent me the link, and let me tell ya, all those questions she asked paid off. She looked like a million-dollar company! I’m not kidding. It’s the best freelance SEO writing site I’ve ever seen – and I’m not just saying that. I’m not sure if she was a web designer in a past life, but her site is fierce!
Her services were well defined: She’d obviously put a lot of thought into it because she had package deals where she combined popular services (based on some of the advice in the training material she’d read, obviously).
Her rates were competitive: She’d obviously done her homework and priced so that she wasn’t too low, but wasn’t too high either. I personally think some of her rates are too low, but one thing I’ve found with new freelancers is they’re afraid to charge what they consider “high.”
I told her that as she gains more experience, lands more clients and feel more comfortable, she’ll have no problem raising her rates.
Encouraged ongoing relationships: She also had offers on her site that encouraged on-going projects, not just one-off writing jobs. For example, she has monthly minimums on some of her package deals.
Like I said, she’d given her SEO writing business a lot of thought – all of which is reflected in her very professional website.
4. First Clients Landed
Exactly one month after she got her website set up and started marketing, she landed her first client. It was a digital marketing agency that offered her lots of work. They made her their “go to writer” because they were so impressed with her, and get this -- they hired her to start writing for their site too (in addition to their client sites).
So it was like she landed two clients in one with this first client!
As exciting as that was, I reminded her not to stop marketing because she landed one client who kept her busy. A common mistake many new SEO writers make is that they get busy with one client, stop marketing, then that client disappears for whatever reason (that’s just the way it is), and then they find themselves with no work.
So she took my advice and kept marketing. About three weeks after she landed that first “two-fer” client, she landed another client. It was a high-profile client she found on Facebook. The other clients she found by cold emailing – which is a method I recommend because it’s worked so well for me over the years.
Marketing for SEO Writing Work Lesson
Diversify your marketing efforts. Don’t try to do too many things at once, but, for example, cold emailing and joining copywriting groups on LinkedIn may be two ways you consistently market for work.
5. Landing 3 More Clients
Literally four days after landing her last clients, she emailed me AGAIN and told me she’d landed another client. This one was social media account management, which is an add-on service I suggest all freelance writers offer.
As you write the content, it’s so easy to distribute it – and with automation tools, it can be much less time consuming than writing content, which means you, in essence, earn more from offering this service.
Almost two weeks after landing her third client, she emailed me again – to ask some more questions – and to tell me she’d landed two more clients.
That brought her grand total to five clients, and she’d only started marketing in September.
Freelance SEO writing is not hard once you learn how to do it. And really, these days finding clients is like shooting fish in a barrel because of the popularity of content marketing
If you have good writing samples, a defined marketing plan and are competitively priced, there’s no reason you can achieve this same kind of SEO writing success.
And thanks to Laura’s expertise in finding well-paying writing gigs on Upwork, you don’t even have to wonder where or how to find clients. That’s one of the reasons we decided to partner to offer the New Freelance Writer Starter Pack.
In my portion (the SEO writing course), you learn how to write SEO content, what to charge, what to expect when you start working with clients, which services to offer, and more.
In Laura’s portion, you learn everything you need to know about how to leverage Upwork to jumpstart your online writing career. Laura became a six-figure freelance writer largely because of the ongoing work from clients she found on Upwork.
These two courses are all you need to start a successful SEO writing career. And as you can see, all you have to do is make the decision to start. We’ll take you by the hand and show you how to do the rest.
Ongoing Help Starting Your SEO/Online Freelance Writing Career
FYI, there’s a Facebook group for students who enroll in the SEO Writing/Upwork Course, so if you have any questions during or after you finish the class, you can always pop in, ask it and Laura or I will get back to you.
Here’s hoping to see you “in class.”
About the Author:
Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com, a site that teaches you how to make money writing … for yourself (eg, self-publishing), or for others (eg, as a freelance SEO writer). She’s been writing SEO content since 2007, and is the founder of New Media Words (NewMediaWords.biz), an online writing company started in 2008.
HI, I’M LAURA!
You’ll find all my best advice about building a fulfilling and sustainable business here. It’s where I’ll give you all the juicy details about building a strong digital team or using project management to stay on top of tasks.