Marketing That Doesn’t Work

If you ask five writers what kind of marketing works (and doesn’t work) for drumming up clients, you’ll get five different answers.

This is partly because every freelance writing business is different.

What works really well for an established writer in one market may not work at all for a novice writer in a different market.

But that said, there are a few marketing methods that generally don’t work well for freelance writers.

Which is why I don’t recommend them to my coaching clients.

Before I list them, I want to add some caveats:

  • There are exceptions to every rule. I’m speaking in general terms here. Every business is different, and every target market is different. If these methods are currently working for you, then great! However, please don’t leave other methods of prospecting untried. You might be surprised at the results you get and wish that you’d tried them sooner.
  • If you’re just starting out, don’t write these methods off completely. When you’re launching your freelance writing business, you need to be willing to do almost whatever it takes to get those first one or two clients under your belt. And if these marketing methods will get you there, then go for it.

So without further delay, here are three marketing methods that I generally don’t recommend for freelance writers.

1. Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meetings

Chamber of Commerce meetings (especially regular breakfast meetings) tend to attract small, local businesses, such as realtors and financial advisors. And these businesses usually target smaller, local businesses for their products and services.

As a result, they often won’t have healthy budgets for professional copywriting or content marketing, and many won’t place much importance on it.

Even if you do manage to land one of these businesses as a client, it can be a slog. You may have to accept less than desirable fees. And you may have to continually convince them that what you’re doing for them is important.

That said, I do know of several freelance writers who’ve built successful businesses around the people they’ve met through their local chamber of commerce.

Also, these meetings are still good opportunities to practice your elevator pitch, get out of your home office and connect with business leaders in your community.

So they can still be worth attending as long as you’re not relying on them as a source of good clients.

2. Advertising

Whether you want to give Google Ads a try or put a print ad in your local newspaper, advertising isn’t a great fit for freelance writers for a couple of reasons.

First, it can be very expensive. Whether you advertise in a print publication or online, it can get pricey fast, which makes it hard to get a good return on your advertising dollars.

Second, advertising tends to attract a lot of tire kickers. So even if you do manage to get some leads, you might have to spend a lot of time separating the wheat from the chaff.

3. Upwork, Craigslist, and other Job Boards

Responding to work that’s posted on job boards like Upwork and Craigslist can also eat up your time without generating great results.

Usually, the person posting the job is more interested in getting a low price than a quality product — and everyone joins in on a race to the bottom.

There are exceptions, of course. Some freelancers have successfully used Upwork and similar sites to grow their businesses.

But generally, I would say there are better ways to use your time than throwing spaghetti at the wall.

Your Biggest Marketing Mistake…

So if you shouldn’t spend your time on these marketing methods, what SHOULD you be doing?

Well, you have lots of good options available to you, including:

The biggest mistake you can make with these methods is not giving them a fair shot.

When in doubt, do more. Because most people give up (or slow down) way too soon.


By the way … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1. Grab a free copy of my new book for writers who are NEW to freelancing.
It’s called “The 3 Magic Levers: How to Get Your Writing Business Off the Ground and Land Your First Paying Client.” — Click Here

2. Download a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.
You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here

3. Join our “Get Better Clients Academy”
You’ll get a personalized action plan based on where you are today in your business. Plus all the tools, scripts, checklists, cheat sheets and templates you’ll need to escape feast-or-famine … grow your income … and land clients who love and respect you. — Click Here

4. Get your website DONE!
If you’ve been struggling to get your website done … or if you’re not happy with what you’ve got today… let my team and me build you a beautiful website for your writing business. We’ll do all the hard work! Email me at [email protected] … put “WEBSITE” in the subject line … and I’ll reply with the details.