Written By Ash Jurberg

How to Land Writing Clients With LinkedIn

I started my business eight years ago. Being a startup, I had no income and limited funds to spend on Sales and Marketing. I turned to LinkedIn as my primary avenue to build my fledgeling business and drive sales.

Without spending a cent on LinkedIn, over the last eight years, I have generated 80% of my business from connections made using this channel.

When COVID-19 hit, my business was hit hard. It relied on travel and with borders closed, I had to close the company indefinitely. I had done some freelance writing in the past, but now was the time to turn it from side hustle to full-time occupation.

I believe that being a writer is 50% writing and 50% marketing. And the best way for me to market was to go to the formula I had used before. To focus on Linked In.

Having joined many writers groups, via Facebook and other forums, in the last few months, I’m surprised at how few used Linked In as a way to drive business.

Unlike Facebook, Instagram and the new Social media darling- Tik Tok, Linked In is devised purely for commercial reasons for the user.

When I decided to move to writing full time, I jumped straight on Linked In. I wrote a short honest post

Due to COVID, I’ve had to close my business. This has allowed me to turn to my first love- writing. I’m available to write content for websites, brochures, emails, even Tinder profiles.

I then posted a link to an article I had written a week earlier.

Thirty minutes later, I got a private message. From a CEO of a medium-sized business that I had met ten years ago at a function and added on LinkedIn. I hadn’t seen him since then but had liked his posts every so often so my name would appear in his notifications.

After a Zoom call with him, he signed me up to do all the writing for his business.

The reason he messaged me, is he appreciated my honesty, the sense of humour I used in the post and most importantly, the article I had linked.

Seeing the early success and knowing that people generally follow, I then posted about my first client a week later and how it was due to Linked In. This resulted in a few more messages coming in.

I was signing up clients- without pitching. Without advertising. And without using those freelance content mill websites where people compete to see who can charge the least.

I did have an advantage in that I had built up eight years of contacts. But its never too late to start.

5 Steps for Making the Most out of LinkedIn

Step 1 — Work on your profile

Your LinkedIn profile is like your online resume. You need to market yourself and your business. To effectively market yourself as a writer. And if you can’t write a good profile then, you aren’t a good writer!.

List each job you’ve done and what that entailed

If you are a writer — list the type of writing you’ve done, subjects you consider yourself an expert in, any clients or publications you’ve worked with.

Showcase your work

If you have a website — list it. If you work for yourself or don’t have a corporate website create one. There are plenty of free website templates available.

Show you are an expert in your field

How is that done? By others saying you are an expert. Ask friends, colleagues, fellow writers to endorse you for relevant skills. There is nothing better than having advocates. People use Trip Advisor and choose hotels based on reviews and feedback. Same principle for LinkedIn.

Endorse others

This way, you also feature on their LinkedIn profile. Again it builds your brand and credibility.

Edit before publishing

Just like you may edit a story numerous times before pushing the green PUBLISH button, do the same with your profile. Make sure it’s publish worthy!

Research

When you want to submit to a publication on Medium, you read an article on that publication. Have a look at the LinkedIn profiles of other people in your industry/occupation and see what they write about themselves.

Don’t purchase a LinkedIn premium account

It’s not related to your profile, but I wanted to mention it early. Save your money. I have only ever had a basic free LinkedIn account.

Step 2 — Add easy connections

Popularity breeds popularity. You need to build connections. When someone with barely any connections reaches out to me, I often ignore them. Call it LinkedIn snobbery, but that’s my initial reaction.

Start by adding friends, colleagues, family members. Just to get some numbers.

Accept every invite you may receive.

Search for anyone you have worked with previously and add them. Initially, LinkedIn is a numbers game.

Step 3- Build a dream connection list and work through it

You want to use LinkedIn for a reason. For a new job. To get a new client. Whatever the reason, you have an ideal outcome. Now you need to list which connections can help get you there.

You may have a dream Medium publication list. Build a dream LinkedIn connection list.

Be daring.

I have reached out to CEO’s of big companies. To famous people. Many will accept your invite. And if not? No big deal. As a Medium writer, you are used to rejection, right?

A simple click is enough.

This is where I differ from the LinkedIn manual. LinkedIn suggests sending a brief message with a connection request. I have never done that. It may be different, but it has worked for me — and I have a high rate of acceptance requests.

Look for people who have lots of connections to add.

Then when they accept your request — you can view and work through their connections (known as 2nd-degree connections to you. Or the first degree to Kevin Bacon)

Think of an interesting post related to your industry.

Remember it’s not Facebook so post nothing personal, make it business or industry-related. No photos of what you ate. You want it to generate interest and have people read it, to like and to comment. And the best thing is when someone comments it will appear in their feed and to all their connections. A good LinkedIn post can go viral.

Comment on other posts.

The more people that see your name, the better. Make sure the comment is relevant!

Step 4- Work with your connections

This is the most critical step. There is no point in having a lot of connections and not utilizing them. Having 1000 LinkedIn connections doesn’t impress your Bank Manager.

When someone accepts your LinkedIn request, there are three options available:

Do nothing. Not an option! Forget this. There are only TWO options.

Thank them for accepting the request and say you look forward to seeing what they post etc. This is recommended if there is nothing you can work with them on for the moment.

Thank them and mention how you could work together. You don’t want to rush out of the blocks — same as you wouldn’t on a dating app — but I find people are on LinkedIn for business so don’t mind.

But — and I can’t stress this enough — do your research first. Look at their profile. Look at their business. Incorporate that into your pitch.

I get hundreds of messages from salespeople trying to sell me all sorts of things. Most I ignore as they have done no research and sent a generic email. Either for something I don’t need — or would ever need — or for a completely different industry.

You wouldn’t pitch a to a Medium Publication without reading their submission guidelines and understanding what they were looking for. The same rule applies here.

Saying “Hi” and nothing else doesn’t work on Tinder. Sure as well doesn’t work on LinkedIn.

So do your research and write a targeted and personal message. If you get a no, at least they will know you took the time to research.

Step 5- Be Active

Once you’ve done Steps 1–4 you can’t sit back. You need to be active.

Keep liking and commenting on posts. Make sure your name is on people’s minds.

Congratulate people on anniversaries. Much like a birthday on Facebook, LinkedIn displays work anniversaries. Like these or comment on these.

Try and post a few times a month. Don’t overdo it with posts. You don’t need to post a link to every Medium article you write. Your connections will soon lose interest. Post your best articles only.

If you haven’t heard back from someone, you messaged try them again. I always wait two weeks and then send a follow up asking if they have had time to read my message (you can see if they have read it or not, but it’s good to ask).

My BIG FAT takeaway — using these steps helps, no matter what stage you are at.

You might get to the stage where you rely less on using LinkedIn. But then you return to old faithful. Like I just have.


Ash Jurberg is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He is a single father of twin boys, former comedian and has travelled to over 100 countries. He believes in the power of words to connect, entertain and inform people. View his LinkedIn Profile.

Your Comments:

  1. Chinedu Ihekoronye says:

    Thanks so much for the tips. I am deeply appreciative.

  2. Jean Lagacé says:

    Hello Ash. You suggest I leave reply. So, I will. I have a saying. Writing is easy. Being read isn’t. You might have realized the same and did something. I did too and it doesn’t work much. Why would someone read something written by perfect nobody when you are disappointed most of the time. I read a lot myself, mostly literature by people like Irving, Jack London, Galsworthy, Nora Loft, Penman, Tom Wolfe, Clavell, Herman Wouk, Steinbeck and such. What gives me right then to expect from others what I don’t do myself? Whatever, I did as you suggest. I am on FB and put there all what I write. I am on all those sites that I don’t know what to do with, linkedin being one of those. I have an internet address of my own. I doubt anybody ever visited that page. My problem I guess is my disliking the concept of harassing others with oneself. I am not good at that. I know it’s important but it is not in me to attract attention that way. I write both in French and in English. I wrote Faith une histoire américaine, 42,500 words, 192 pages and it has been published by Lys Bleu. Not self published mind you. And Spinelle will soon Le billet de loterie. 70,000 words, 268 pages. And should be published later this year in the USA The Manuscript, 150,000 words. (300,000 in French.) Too long I know. My point is, will these books sell? Faith which is a great baseball story didn’t and doesn’t. The publishers produce the books and do nothing much to sell what they print. How do they make money, only God knows. Anyway, here I am, a fellow writer like yourself that sure could use a bit of advice.

  3. Charmaine Cloete says:

    Thank you for this eye opening article, it really made me stop and think. Currently I am writing in my language Afrikaans and has been wondering how to make money as a self published poet and future writer. Please enjoy the weekend.

  4. Kurt Nemes says:

    Great article!

  5. Beckie Gaskill says:

    Excellent advice! Thank you for the information.

  6. RAJU NARAYANAN says:

    I want to write some articles and post it in Linkedin. What should I do?

  7. Linda Turner says:

    Love your tips about LinkedIn, it is time I start connecting. I have been on that site since about 2005 and have made many connections, however have not spent much time there. It’s time that I do.

  8. Suzie Abrie says:

    Learning how to market your words takes time and patience. Play for the long game. Everyone wants thier book to make them famous by next week.
    Helping someone to find your words or book may take years. Just keep making connections and read the words of others.

  9. Jeremiah Gitaga says:

    I hit this page am I’m learning a lot from my fellow writers. Like Jean above, I feel that I’m pestering people when advertising services. But necessity finds an answer to my brim-filled worried. For instance, content marketing is critical to the survival of startups. Great ideas, superb products, and perfect services will be known through content in this Google age. Otherwise, your website will be fancy, but DEAD!

  10. MUSA ADEKUNLE OYEYEMI says:

    A stir-up advice for people like me who have been on LinkedIn up to three years without doing anything with it.

  11. Orowole Olamilekan says:

    Thanks for the tips, looking forward to seeing and appreciating ur write-ups!

  12. Emily says:

    While it’s not worthwhile to pay for a premium subscription, you can get one month in every 12 as a free trial so long as you remember to cancel it. Make sure it’s a month you will be able to focus on building your LinkedIn connections to get the most out of it.

    Another thing to remember is that you can ask to connect with people who are in your groups, and who were at your previous education establishments. Use this to get to a specific contact free, sometimes even “leapfrogging” from lower tiers of the company they work at to get there.

    Another thing to bear in mind is that people rarely turn down connection requests that include a polite request for advice.

  13. Jaime Canonizado says:

    Thank you very much for your timely advice

  14. Leon Ng'ang'a says:

    I got the advice, I would love to write since am passionate about writing but I would love to do it for the first time on an online platform. How would I then get to write an earn from it?

  15. Patrick Masika says:

    Great tips there. Thank you

  16. Lois Maina says:

    Those are great tips.I will definitely follow them. Thanks

  17. Cheryl Jorgensen says:

    Thanks for the tips Ash. I have been a writer for years but not used such platforms as LinkedIn before. In these dangerous, uncertain times we are currently experiencing it is time for me to start. I’ll give it a go.

  18. Tainers says:

    Thank you for writing an inspiring piece. I am pretty sure many will get to gain a lot from your advice. I will put the tips to work.

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