If there’s one key to success as a freelance medical writer, it’s this: never stop marketing.
Of course, marketing is a general term that can encompass a vast array of activities. Marketing for one freelance medical writer might look like networking at conferences and other medical writing events. Marketing for another freelance medical writer might look like a strong LinkedIn profile and frequent activity on Twitter.
7 Marketing Tips for Freelance Medical Writers
Experienced freelance writers understand that regularly marketing themselves helps them to maintain relationships with existing clients and find new ones with ease. Consider the following best practices for marketing your new or established freelance business.
1. Define your ideal medical writing client.
If you’re a new freelance medical writer, you’ll need to decide on a focus within the medical communication field. For instance, do you want to focus on promotional writing or educational writing? Will you write for a public audience or for medical professionals?
Once you determine the type of medical writing you want to do, you need to define your target audience. This includes your preferred clientele. Pinpointing the types of businesses and organizations you want to write for will help you identify and research prospects.
2. Send targeted direct email to prospects.
Developing prospect lists and crafting emails targeted to each prospect takes a lot of time but is very effective. When you’re doing this, you might spend 20 to 50 hours a month on marketing until you’ve achieved your goals for billable hours.
3. Consistently follow up with key prospects.
It’s easy to get discouraged when discussions with an interested prospective client taper off before a contract is signed. But remember that projects stall or get put off for a variety of reasons. Radio silence could mean that the prospect is busy, not disinterested.
So set aside time to follow up with prospects who’ve expressed interest in you but haven't yet hired you. Make this a regular part of your monthly business tasks.
4. Maximize your LinkedIn profile.
Start optimizing your LinkedIn profile by completing your profile to 95% or more completeness. Make sure the information is well written and includes a professional headshot. Like your website, your profile acts as an “introduction” to the outside world.
Once you’ve filled in pertinent information, find LinkedIn groups that are unique to your field. Join them, then start posting and responding to messages in those groups.
5. Use social media.
Social media is a powerful tool for virtual networking. There are many social marketing tips for freelance writers, but perhaps the most important is to get social. Actively engage in online discussions. Build a reputation as an expert in your field. Respond to posts you’re tagged in, and always seek to keep the conversation going.
6. Schedule marketing tasks in advance.
As a freelance medical writer, you’re also a business owner. When business is booming, passive marketing such as word-of-mouth referrals and nurturing long-term client relationships will sustain you. When there’s a slow season on the horizon, it’s time to schedule more marketing tasks.
By tracking your projects on a spreadsheet, you can see where things are beginning to slow a few weeks out. That’s a sign that it’s time to send out a newsletter or email some clients you haven’t heard from lately. A quick note alerting contacts about an opening in your schedule works wonders.
7. Regularly update your medical writing portfolio.
Whether your portfolio is housed on your LinkedIn profile, business website, or both, it acts as the storefront of your business. Your listing in the AMWA Freelance Directory functions similarly.
Expert freelance writers recommend highlighting the kind of work you want to do. Showcasing health communication articles, for instance, is likely to lead to more health communication writing than regulatory writing. So keep your portfolio current with your best projects, recent projects, and the kinds of projects you want to repeat.