One of the easiest places to find work, or recommendations for work, is through the network of people you already know. People prefer working with people they know and trust. The old saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is quite often true.
Your network is probably larger than you think. When brainstorming who to reach out to, make a list of:
- people you’ve worked with — in your current organization and at other companies
- a vendor you’ve hired
- a vendor who hired you
- people you interact with frequently but not regularly, like the office manager at your doctor or dentist’s office
- local businesses
- networking groups and local events
- social media connections
- parents on your kids’ sports teams
- family, friends, and friends of friends and friends of family
When you start your HR writing career, tap into your entire network. You never know where that first referral might come from.
Social media also offers a powerful way to find your first writing assignment. To get the most out of social media, take the time to make a personal connection and make your profile stand out to potential clients.
For example, when connecting with a brand on Twitter, search for Twitter hashtags relevant to them and personalize your handle with a relevant tagline. Join Facebook groups and be actively helpful, not salesey. Comment positively on LinkedIn and post information relevant to your target market.
Make sure all of your social accounts include keywords that potential clients would use when looking for someone to write for them in your description and about sections. Be consistent in how often you post and in your efforts to build connections.
I honestly think online job boards can be hit or miss. I haven’t had much luck with them personally, but have heard stories about successful writers who built their businesses that way.
When you’re just getting started, it’s worth checking them out. However, be cautious with these outlets as they often pay lower rates.
All of that being said, some boards to check out are Contently, Fiverr, Blogging Pro, and even your local Craigslist may have opportunities. There are a variety of job boards out there, so do some research and see which ones may work for you.
There are also a significant number of HR publications. Good news for HR writers: they all need content. When you find a few you’d like to pitch, review their posting schedule and focus first on ones that put out a lot of content to give yourself a broader net to cast.
Before you pitch an idea, review their existing articles to see if there are themes or styles they prefer. Emulate what they like. Most sites will also have guidelines they expect their writers to follow, and instructions on how to pitch your ideas, including contact information for where to send the pitch.
As you reach out to these publications, make sure your communication stands out from the noise. Check out their social media feeds and website so that you can comment on something recent or noteworthy. Comment on a recent article and share why you enjoyed it, or how it helped you in some way. Create a personal connection to grab the editor’s attention.
Local Chapters of HR Organizations
Reach out to your local HR organization chapters. They need content for newsletters, websites, emails, event booths, member stories, etc.
This may be volunteer work instead of paid, but it’s a good way to get some quality content out there. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to grow your professional network which is always valuable.
HR Vendors and Tech Conference
The SHRM Vendor Directory is a good place to look for companies that need HR-related content. HR vendors need content for websites, flyers, case studies, booth materials, landing pages, emails, ads; the list goes on and on.
Even though the HR Technology Conference and Exposition is virtual this year, this is a great event to connect with HR tech companies. Check out their virtual booths and personalize your pitch with specifics from the conference.
I know, if you’ve gathered potential clients from all of the above sources, it might be overwhelming. It can be a good idea to pick one specialty to focus on first. Reach out to companies in that specific area of HR, then build from there.
Now it’s your turn!
I hope you’ve got some concrete ideas of where to look for clients and are excited to get started!
My last word of advice is to stay organized. Plan how many pitches you want to send each day or every week, and make lists. Keep track of the organizations you’ve contacted, the person you addressed, the date you reached out to them, and the specific date you’ll follow up.
Go get ’em, and keep me posted in the comments! We want to share your wins with you!
By the way…whenever you’re ready, get your copy of the Complete Guide to Becoming a Professional HR Writer, my comprehensive guide on how to launch and grow your HR writing career. Click Here to Learn More.