Can social media help you get copywriting work?

The relentlessly helpful® blog by John Espirian

1 May 2017

Can social media really help writers get freelance work? Which social networks are most effective for copywriters?

Did you know?

Only 37% of the 538 copywriters surveyed by the PCN have used social media to get new clients.

Source: PCN 2017 survey

I’ve been using social media for my business since 2014. In that time, I’ve set up profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and SnapChat. I’ve had LinkedIn and Twitter profiles for longer than this but wasn’t making use of them.

I’ve picked up some good jobs through LinkedIn and a couple of small things through Twitter, but nothing through any of the other networks.

With my strategy hat on, I recently decided to restrict the vast majority of my social media activities to LinkedIn and Twitter. The other networks weren’t doing anything for my business, so why bother continuing with them?

Quick interruption:

  • Wear a suit and tie? Connect with me on LinkedIn
  • Never do up the top button? Hit me up on Twitter

Before committing to any cull, I thought I’d ask some copywriting colleagues for their thoughts on whether social media can help you get writing work. Here are the responses of a quick poll of 72 copywriters:

Question 1: From which social networks have you directly secured a copywriting job?

Question 1: From which social networks have you directly secured a copywriting job?

Question 2: Which social network is most important to generating leads for your copywriting business?

Question 2: Which social network is most important to generating leads for your copywriting business?

We can’t draw too much from such a small sample size (the poll closed sooner than I was expecting), but the broad conclusions seem to be that copywriters are getting:

  • some work from established networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter)
  • less work from newer networks (Snapchat, Instagram and Google+).

What other copywriters said

As well as capturing this data, I asked some copywriting colleagues for their thoughts. Here is a selection of the replies I received:

Smart move pulling back and narrowing the focus. I’ve been a busy fool too. It’s back to intent. And the intent for all my marketing is to have a real human conversation.

More conversations = more opportunity.

I’ve been in business for a little over two years now. In that time there have been two sales that I can put down to social media. Both of them from Facebook. AND… both of them from non-business related content.

Kev Anderson
Kev Anderson
The Story Edge

People need to see more than your foot before they’re willing to let you through the door. Social media is a great way to warm up cold leads, show a bit of personality, and get that initial connection.

Social media has definitely got me not only copywriting clients, but increased my online profile.

I apply attraction marketing principles in my social media marketing strategy so that clients are attracted to me. I employ this instead of cold calling or emailing prospects, a practice I feel is outdated, time consuming and largely ineffective.

Eleanor Goold
Eleanor Goold
Kreatív Copywriting

I’ve made £17,700 through LinkedIn in the last 10 months. Before that I got a few jobs from it but it really started picking up in June last year when I was contacted by a marketing agency and started working with them.

I spend about 4 to 5 hours a month on LinkedIn. If that took away from billable time, the opportunity cost would be roughly £300 to make £1770/month, which is nearly a 600% ROI. There can’t be many forms of marketing that can replicate that!

Sally Mayor
Sally Mayor

How I get my copywriting work

Almost all my new clients come to me from two sources:

Source 1: Google searches

I get most of my work because of my search ranking. If you’re in the UK and use Google to look for technical writing services, you’ll find my website at the top of page 1, underneath the paid ads. That’s the result of putting in a lot of effort to raise my profile via my blog posts. I’ve written about this here: Being on page 7 of Google sucks.

Source 2: LinkedIn

I haven’t had quite the success that Sally’s had (see her figures above), but I often pick up good jobs via LinkedIn. What I’ve noticed is that clients who come to me via LinkedIn tend to be more willing to accept my day rates than are those who find me via Google.

If you’re interested in using LinkedIn to find clients looking for your services, check out this post: How to get freelance work on LinkedIn.

One more insight: where do bloggers share their content?

ConvertKit’s 2017 report on the state of the blogging industry (based on a survey of 850+ bloggers) shows that most content creators are sharing their posts primarily on Facebook and Twitter.

Where are blogs promoted?
Source: ConvertKit 2017 State of the Blogging Industry report

The graph shows that LinkedIn lags behind and yet, in my experience, that platform can be the most effective in terms of getting work.

My recommendation to copywriters who blog would be to get their content published on LinkedIn Pulse.

Let’s wrap up

Some people were enthusiastic about the power of social media to help copywriters get work. Others were less convinced, and the sensible middle ground seems to be that social media should be used as part of a self-employed writer’s strategy but not as the be all and end all of it.

Overall, I’m happy with my decision to focus my social media efforts on LinkedIn and Twitter. But more than this, I think it’s important to continue to add more value to my blog, as that’s what’s most effective for raising my profile and appealing to customers looking for a half-decent technical writer.

Over to you

Which social networks are working for you when it comes to getting new copywriting work?

If you’re someone looking to hire a copywriter, would you be inclined to look on social media first? Would seeing an active stream of social media accounts be more likely to convince you to hire someone? Or might it put you off?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below. Or catch up with me on Twitter (job offers optional).


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John Espirian

I’m the relentlessly helpful®️ LinkedIn nerd and author of Content DNA

I teach business owners how to be noticed, remembered and preferred.

Espresso+ is a safe space to learn how to ethically promote your business online and get better results on LinkedIn.

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