Photo by Stuart Miles

Looking to increase my professionalism and the amount of money I could command for my copywriting services, I signed up for an online course in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques and business skills about six months ago. One of the first things I learned in the course is also the most memorable.

Clients don’t necessarily care about your personal life, your skills, or even how much money you charge. It’s not that they’re cold people. In fact, most of them are lovely. They’re just busy. When they scan the writer profiles at Content Runner, they’re looking for someone who can solve their problem. They need content and several writers offer to provide it. Who do they pick? Allow me to let you in on the secret I paid good money to learn. It’s the writer who can most effectively answer the question “What’s in it for me?”

Details, Details

Creating a profile that attracts the attention of potential clients is difficult, time-consuming work. However, it could earn you a significant Return on Investment (ROI) when you’re the one new clients contact to inquire about long-term work. I have revised my profile here at Content Runner as well as LinkedIn and other places I go to find copywriting assignments several times. Each time, I try to provide more information about my qualifications while demonstrating to clients what they have to gain by hiring me. I do my best to project professionalism and confidence in everything I write.

My profile starts out by stating what I am (SEO certified online copywriter) and how long I’ve been in business (4 years). That’s as much as I say about myself for a while. By the second sentence, I tell anyone reading my profile what I can do for them. I ask them what their need is. Blog writing? Press releases? In-depth article? Service pages? Let me tell you why I’m the one you want to hire.

Tell Them Only What They Need to Know

After spending a few sentences discussing my education and experience, I let future clients know what current clients think of me. I appreciate that they’re busy people and don’t always have the time to read the list of feedback further down on my profile. That’s why I decided to include one paragraph each from my top two clients that highlights what they could expect by working with me through Content Runner. After developing a good working relationship with these clients, I asked them to recommend me on LinkedIn. I then pasted their most relevant words on my profile for other clients to see.

I also highlight the industries where I have the most experience. I think including this information has gotten me the most new clients because several have indicated that they looked down the list to see if I had specific experience with their industry. I listed over two dozen subject areas at first, but whittled that down to around 10. I chose to focus on topics where I had significant experience so I could produce the best possible work for each new client.

I highly recommended being ruthless with editing your profile. Cut out anything that isn’t necessary, such as your hobbies or details about your family. It needs to be informative, yet short enough for people to read it all the way through. Remember that your profile is your online business card. It should prompt people reading it to contact you for more information. If you’re serious about making a living as an online freelance writer, a strong profile is essential.

Don’t Forget the Writing Sample and Links to Your Social Media Accounts

While your profile gives clients a good indication of how you write, they need to evaluate other forms of content you have produced as well. Content Runner allows you to include one writing sample at the bottom of your profile. Be sure to choose something that shows your unique writers voice that is also relevant to a broad audience. For example, I chose “Five Tips for Writing an Article That People Share Online” that I wrote as a sample for another site to include here.

Lastly, take advantage of Content Runner’s transparency policy by including links to your social media profiles. I have my business Facebook account, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a site where I do personal writing all listed here. It gives potential clients the chance to check out other work and get a feel for what you’re like as a person. That being said, keep in mind that clients contacting you offsite about working together directly is a violation of Content Runner’s Terms of Service. Just keep everything legitimate and you’ll go far in your online writing career. Good luck and go give that profile page a shake-up.