Monday, November 30, 2009

The Value of LinkedIn for Freelance Writers

Yesterday someone in my online writers group inquired about LinkedIn. She asked other writer members of the group, “What do you think? Is it worth it?”

A lot of freelance writers are wary about becoming too involved with social networking. We don’t need anything that takes away from time spent working on our precious projects. Many are learning about the promotional value of sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – when used in moderation.

Most of us have no trouble finding our way around Twitter and Facebook, but consider LinkedIn a whole other animal. I knew Linkedin was worth it when I began receiving inquiries about my services by people who had come across my free profile. Freelance writer Yolander Prinzel reportedly received over $6000 worth of work within four months from LinkedIn, so you tell me if you think that it’s worth it.

If you’re new to LinkedIn, or have no idea what to do with the account you have, here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Present your best foot forward. Create a profile that will impress prospects. They should know exactly what you do and what you can do for them. Make sure to provide links to your website, blog or portfolio.

2. Optimize Your Profile. Optimizing certain keywords (e.g. your name/name of your business, writer, marketing, copywriting, etc.) can give you good search engine results making it easier for prospects to find you online. Even better if you are the top result on LinkedIn when your specialty is searched on the site.

3. Get Recommendations. A recommendation on LinkedIn is like having a testimonial. Anyone who finds your profile will see that you come highly recommended. Make sure they’re relevant and reflect the services you provide.

4. Use Applications to Your Advantage. If you have a Twitter account, you can allow your Tweets to show up on your LinkedIn profile. If you have a Wordpress blog, you can set up the application on your profile to show your most recent blog posts.

5. Contribute to Group Discussions. This is where you can really stand out and reveal your expertise. Linked in has hundreds of groups you can join. It’s a good idea to choose groups that reflect your specialty. For instance if your specialty is in the legal field you can join groups within that industry. Sometimes group members will post questions related to copywriting or marketing. Providing the right answers can get you new clients in no time.


Yo Prinzel said...

Hey Kimberly. Since I wrote that e-book, that number has changed dramatically. I have gotten another 2 gigs through LinkedIn. Both are long-term and are within my normal rates. Also, one of my former LinkedIn clients recommended me to an associate and I got another gig there.

The only point in your post that I disagree with is networking Twitter to a LinkedIn account. I'm not always careful about the things I say on Twitter and I don't want to take any chances ;-)

Kimberly Ben said...

Hey Yo (I LOVE saying that)! Good point about the Twitter app on LinkedIn. I keep my Twitter posts very tame and mostly writer/marketing/business-like (unlike my personal Facebook account which is set on private for a reason).

You're right about making sure that a writer's online profile reflect the professional image they want to be recognized for.

BTW, congrats on your growing success at LinkedIn!

Lori said...

LinkedIn is the professional site for me. Twitter is too, but I mix in some personal. Facebook is totally off-limits for anything business-related. A girl's gotta have a place to go to unwind, you know? :)

I hadn't thought to connect Twitter and LinkedIn, but it makes sense.

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