Earning more as a freelance writer isn’t always about increasing the volume of work. It’s more about strengthening your position, skills, craft, and expertise to command higher fees and higher-quality clients. That’s because clients are looking for an expert they can trust to do the work properly and deliver what they need.
But instead of just looking at a new service you could offer your clients or switching to a different industry to serve, why not change your perspective? When you think about specialization as broadening your expertise in an area, market, or skill, it’s easier to deliver more value to more clients and increase your revenues.
Expertise Is Automatically Seen as Higher Value
Consultants from large firms like McKinsey and Bains command massive fees from their clients. Why? Because they value their expertise in a domain, and their customers understand that it took them years to develop it. They’re willing to pay for the time and effort it took for McKinsey and Bains to become experts.
You should develop the same mindset as a freelance writer. You don’t have to call yourself a consultant to command higher fees. You just need to position yourself, your experience, and your skills as “expertise” when you talk to prospects and clients. They’ll understand automatically what that means and not balk at the fees you quote them.
For example, my website outlines my 20+ years of experience in the B2B technology industry and my 12+ years spent as a technical copywriter. My fees for blog posts and articles are about 20% higher than other copywriters I know, and rarely do my clients question it. They know what it means to have worked for so long in tech and what type of expertise and skillset I can bring to their projects.
Clients WANT Experts
The main reason why your expertise gets you hired faster and at higher rates is that clients are looking for an expert. They want someone who knows what they’re doing and whom they can trust to deliver what they need, even if they don’t know exactly what they need.
With extensive knowledge and advanced skills, you’ll have more engaging and meaningful conversations with clients because you’re educating them and evaluating each other. They’ll immediately see you’re the expert because you ask different questions than other prospective writers. They’ll feel more comfortable with you because you anticipate their needs even before they articulate them. They’ll trust you immediately because you can talk confidently about them, their industry, their requirements, and how you perfectly align with them.
Becoming an expert is a matter of choosing a writing focus and doing a deep dive into the nuances and little things in that focus. For example, if you’re an email newsletter writer, you’ll:
- Know the different types of emails companies tend to send out today.
- Understand the difference between B2C and B2B email newsletters.
- Be able to use various email marketing tools like MailChimp, MailerLite, and ConvertKit.
- Have quick processes or templates you can use as a basis for every client so you can get started right away.
- Know how to apply your skills to their industry or market, even if it’s new to you.
How to Enhance Your Expertise
As freelancers, we should always be learning. That means reading industry publications, following relevant industry sites, and meeting with industry experts at events. Personally, I chat with other copywriters online, read copywriting blogs and tech marketing blogs, and listen to content marketing podcasts to stay updated. I incorporate new ideas, trends, and methods into every new project to ensure I remember them and help my clients gain those advantages too.
Improving your expertise and honing your writing craft may look different for you, however. You might prefer attending live events and webinars to reading books. You might even dig into adjacent subjects that aren’t immediately relevant to your expertise but can still teach you something.
My favorite example of this is attending direct-response copywriting sessions at AWAI’s Copywriting Success & Getting Clients Bootcamp. These sessions aren’t outwardly relevant to me, a B2B technical copywriter, but the master copywriters giving them always give me a nugget of info that helps me. It might teach me how to think about my audience differently, create better project outlines, or remind me to infuse emotion in my storytelling. Every session makes me a better copywriter, even if it might not be obvious how.
No matter what you do, as long as you’re learning something and applying it to your work, you’re expanding your expertise. And that’ll help you deliver more value to your clients and improve your bottom line.
The next time you think about raising your rates or how to deliver more to your clients, think about your expertise. Discover ways to expand that and practice positioning yourself based on your expertise; it’ll be much easier. Clients will immediately realize your value and understand why your new rates are what they are.