In Part One of Twitter: The Freelance Writer’s New Best Friend, I talked about the usefulness of Twitter in finding sources and stories. But what if you’re more focused on finding work? Even if you’ve got a huge stack of story ideas and sources to interview, a writing career isn’t about to go anywhere without places to publish them. Luckily, you can find at least a few opportunities on Twitter.
Jobs Through the Grapevine
When editors post calls for submissions or staff positions online, they want to make sure that those opportunities get at least a little attention. As more editors get involved with Twitter, many of them are tweeting about topics like queries for themed issues and other information that will certainly come in handy for any freelance writer looking for work. While such opportunities are often retweeted, there’s no excuse for not following any editor working in your niche. You’ll get a better idea of what they’re looking for — and they’ll get to know you through your tweets, as well. We’re all very aware that it’s ‘who you know’ that helps land a gig, so why pass up the opportunity to know every editor you are interested in working with.
Even if article writing isn’t exactly your thing, you can still find work through Twitter. Designers, copy writers interested in outsourcing, and a variety of other people in the market for writers will occasionally comment on the fact that they’re looking for a writer for a particular project. They may not post such an obvious invitation to submit as many editors will, but even a clue along the lines of “Browsing through writers’ resumes” can give you an opportunity to direct message and offer to add your name to the stack.
There are a few writers who also post opportunities — especially those who blog about job leads, like Deb Ng, the writer behind Freelance Writing Jobs. Deb, for example, tweets a community manager job every day — jobs that require high level writing skills.
Making The Most of Marketing
No matter how else you choose to interact with the people you meet through Twitter, it is a huge marketing opportunity. Assuming your name is at least a little uncommon, your tweets are likely to show up in the first results of a Google search. It’s a chance to showcase what you’re working on, promote your projects and generally show off your writing skills and it can cost as little as five minutes a day!
But to make sure your Twitter presence is solid, there are somethings worth thinking about:
- Write as well as you can in 140 characters. While I might drop some punctuation in my tweets, I try to avoid abbreviations. It’s worthwhile to edit your tweets just as carefully as a blog post or any other marketing material you’re sending out into the world.
- Keep a lid on problems. If you have a problem with a client, Twitter is not the place to announce it. Remember, every time you write about a client online, prospective clients down the road will probably see it. And if they can swap their name in for that past client’s and be very unhappy about the result, you are going to be at the bottom of their list.
- Tweet about your projects. No matter whether you’re blogging for yourself, or you just had an article appear in a big publication, tweet about it! You’re allowed to toot your own horn on Twitter and it helps you showcase your skill quickly and easily.
Keep An Eye on Twitter
Whenever you run any sort of marketing, you try to get metrics on what works and what doesn’t. You set up alerts to make sure you know when your name is mentioned, you look at numbers and you make predictions. Even if you’re using Twitter primarily for story ideas, it’s still worth keeping an eye on where your name and niche pops up. It’s easy to search Twitter (and run reoccuring searches), using search.twitter.com. You can search everything from your name and Twitter user name to something as specific as a particular company name or illness. Whatever the keywords for your niche are, it’s worth keeping an eye on how they pop up in Twitter.
I like one tool that goes a step further than Twitter’s own search function: Twilert. You type in your keyword, give the site your email address and every day you’ll receive an email with all mentions of that word in Twitter the day before. I’ve got alerts set up for my name, my websites and several keywords I write about on a regular basis.
I also rely on TwitterCounter when I want to look at the statistics of either my own or other Twitter accounts. It’s got nice graphs and some comparison tools — more than enough to keep me occupied when I really ought to be working on an article.
What’s in Your Twitter Toolbox
There are lists upon lists of tools that you can use in conjunction with Twitter. In this article, I’ve mentioned a few that I use on a regular basis — and if there’s one you rely on, I’d love it if you would mention it in the comments. If you’re looking for a few more Twitter toys, I’d suggest looking through Mashable’s many posts on Twitter tools. It’s in-depth coverage and covers a variety of tools for working with Twitter.