5 Ways Introverted Freelance Writers Can Do Painless Marketing

Carol Tice

Shy freelance writer peers around computerBy Nillu Nasser Stelter

If you’re anything like me, one of the reasons you are a freelance writer is that you enjoy solitude.

Whether you write best in a hideaway or in a crowded cafe, you’re comfortable inside your own head.

But good writing skills and original ideas aren’t enough to make you a success in this business. You need kick-ass marketing skills, too. If you’re an introvert, you may find marketing doesn’t come easily.

You still need to do it, though.

Here’s how you can market yourself painlessly if you’re an introverted freelance writer.

1. Use social media that suits you

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn … the sheer number of social media options out there is daunting.

To do social media well, you need to update your content regularly, so why not play to your strengths?

If you’re a succinct communicator, you may take well to Twitter.

Happy to share personal information? Then Facebook may be a good fit for you.

Or if you prefer connecting in a professional capacity, try LinkedIn.

Do what comes naturally and don’t spread yourself too thin.

2. Try one-on-one, in-person queries

If you’re an introvert, you may balk at going to networking meetings. If too much interaction with strangers drains your energy, there are equally effective alternatives.

Build confidence by arranging one-on-one meetings with prospective clients where you can impress with your research and attentiveness. You may even win extra brownie points for taking the initiative.

3. Make your business cards a talking point

If you must attend a large meeting, make life easier by bringing business cards that are a cut above.

Show off your creativity by opting for handcrafted cards over standardized ones. Create a talking point by including a generous offer for first-time clients — a free consultation, perhaps — or using a memorable logo.

Stand out from the crowd on your own terms.

4. Let your website do the talking

For the introverts out there, a strong writer website can do the hard work for you in presenting your brand to the world.

On your landing page, tell prospective clients about what you offer them. Write an engaging bio, add a picture of yourself, include your contact details — you are good to go.

Hundreds of repetitive conversations saved, and you can breathe easy.

5. Choose to listen

It’s a competitive market out there, but who said we have to compete on the same terms? Allow your personality to work for you and turn your pitch upside down.

Instead of focusing on what you can offer your client, tease out their concerns with insightful questions. Then, impress them with your ability to recognize the subtle nuances of their business. Close by wowing them with your perfectly tailored solutions.

Regardless of your personality type, in a world where many are shouting “look at me,” the quiet ways you market yourself may be the most effective.

How do you play to your strengths when marketing? Tell us in the comments below.

Nillu Nasser Stelter is a fiction and freelance writer living in London, UK. She identifies as an ambivert and is married to an introvert. Learn more about Nillu at NilluNasserStelter.com.

Freelance Writers Den


  1. Tom Crawford

    I think the direct approach works the best. Simply visit blogs in the niche you specialize in, see if their content is old, sporadic or could be improved – and then pitch them your services (selling the benefits). Do this often enough, and you will have a slate of good clients to work with.

    • Emelia

      I am currently busy with this strategy (direct approach) Tom and I am hoping for the best.

      • Nillu Nasser Stelter

        Good luck in continuing to build your business, Emelia.

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Hi Tom,

      yes that’s a really important point. Marketing has a reputation of being about spin, but really what it should come down to is what can we do for the client.

      Regardless of personality type, persistence pays off as a freelance writer.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Nillu.

  2. Gowtham Kare

    Nice post.
    What does “Use social media that suits you” mean. Are you advising us to choose only one social platform to promote our business?
    But you can’t expect all the target customers at a single place. So, I think it’s better to make our presence everywhere.
    Am I right?

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Thanks for reading Gowtham. I think there is so much information out there to be consumed at the moment that consumers are overloaded. Because of this – and I know Carol covered this in a recent post – they are looking for better quality interactions and writing.

      If you pick a few platforms you are comfortable with and excel at those, I think you will see results. I find there is just not enough time in the day to fit in all in, so better to focus your efforts. That way your target market is smaller, but my bet is that you’ll convert more of that market into clients. It’s best to be a big fish in a small pond…

      • Carol Tice

        I’m with Nillu — you definitely don’t want to try to be on every platform there is!

        Also, don’t neglect LOCAL social media — mom’s lists, neighborhood groups. They can be a great source of leads, and maybe shy people will feel more at ease talk to their neighbors than the whole wide world.

  3. Casey

    Nillu, this is a great list for those of us who are filled with dread at the thought of a networking meeting, and who don’t have time to keep up with every single social media platform. (I’m also finding that different social media are good for reaching different market segments.)

    Listening is marketing advice that writers don’t see very often, but it’s right on. After all, clients aren’t nearly as interested in a writer’s CV as they are in what that writer can help them accomplish.

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Hi Casey, thanks for reading. The world has become so noisy, hasn’t it? If I was a client, I would like someone to really listen to what my concerns are, to make an effort to understand before jumping in with a hard sell. As you say, the client comes first.

  4. Jennifer

    Great post! I really like the points about making sure that your business cards and websites are a notch above. I also think that introverts should make sure that they have a kick tail letter of introduction as well to send to trade publications and content marketing clients. I have gotten most all of my clients through sending letters of introduction. If you aren’t comfortable with other types of marketing, spend the time to create an excellent LOI and focus on sending these to potential clients.

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Hi Jennifer,

      thanks for taking the time to comment. You know, I read somewhere that some food writers use edible business cards! While memorable, that does of course make it difficult to contact them after the card has been eaten…

      And you are right on the money – a well-written Letter of Introduction is a real door opener. Carol has some great advice on LOIs on this site.

      • Jessie Kwak

        I once got a business card that had a rad temporary tattoo on the back of it, and I’ve always thought that would be fun to do!

  5. Emelia

    Hi Nillu, I thought I was the only one struggling with social media marketing. I decided to take it one bite at a time and I’m glad you wrote this article.

    I just think it is important for freelance writers to conduct SWOT Analysis on themselves. We were born different, hence these marketing strategies doesn’t work the same for all of us.

    I believe it is better to start slow and challenge yourself day by day to do ‘uncomfortable marketing’. The reality is-we have to market our services.

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Hi Emelia,

      thanks for reading. Yes, I agree with you. Social media can be daunting, and I find it even more daunting that new platforms spring up often. To learn the rules of multiple platforms is quite a feat, and as you say, the best strategy is working out the best fit for you.

      With so much competition out there, marketing is a must. Finding a way to be a savvy marketer and play to your strengths is where we will get the best results. I think if the marketing feels authentic, you are onto a winner.

      Can I just say that the sums you have to do when you submit comments get harder the more you comment – I’ll need my calculator in a minute 😉

  6. John McCoy

    I did all of what you suggested here by accident because more aggressive marketing does not fit my wallflower personality. The social networking tool I chose was LinkedIn because I am targeting B2B websites.

    It worked. My first project was for $75. I am finishing up today earning $1800 for 8 pages!

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Hi John,

      thanks for reading. I’m really glad that you used the methods instinctively. Hopefully this article will be helpful to those who haven’t found their way yet. Congratulations on the steady improvement of your income stream – it just shows what hard work and persistence can do.

  7. Susan B. Bentley

    Yes to all of these! The biggest step to keep peace of mind is to try to ignore all those incoming messages about marketing in lots of different ways – choose what you feel most comfortable with and stick to it. Meeting people one to one is always a good way forward as you’re not worrying about what everyone else in the crowd thinks of you. As an ex-shy girl, who still gets really flustered in certain social situations, it’s great to see advice for introverts becoming more frequent.

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Hi Susan,

      yes, I’ve noticed more articles about introverts too. I think you’re right. Sometimes, the hardest thing about something new is to ignore the whole spectrum of advice out there. Often, the best way forward is to listen to the advice out there, then to pick the bits that work for you and stay true to your course.

      Good luck with your business, Nillu.

  8. Lori Ferguson

    Thx for the good pointers, Nillu. I am not a big fan of large networking events–I end up feeling overwhelmed–but I’ve found that one on one meetings work well, so I’ve made it a point to reach out to a couple of new folks each month and invite them for coffee or even a chat by phone. I’m finding it to be a very effective strategy for me. As you so wisely point out, do what works best for YOU.

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Cheers for reading, Lori. I’m with you there. I’ve been to my fair share of networking events, and while many people I know would think I’m an extrovert, in fact, I find it very hard to be at all engaging with large groups of strangers around. There’s no one right way, as you say. We just have to find a way to play to our own strengths.

      Your idea of making a couple of new contacts a month is a brilliant one. Going full throttle with a strategy we are not comfortable with often backfires – we dread that part of our working day, we come across as awkward. For me, your way is a great compromise.

  9. Shauna L Bowling

    Great post, Nillu. You address many, if not most of us freelance writers in the first paragraph. We are introverts who are almost allergic to marketing. I love all of your ideas. I use the media sites as often as possible. I’m also experimenting with sending emails to targeted prospects. I’m taking the slow road for now and learning from the feedback I’m getting from those who respond to my email efforts. In gathering feedback, I have a better idea of to whom to direct my introduction and which “voice” is more likely to earn responses.

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Hi Shauna, I’m thrilled you liked the post.

      I love the concept of being allergic to marketing! Voice is so important as a writer, and you’re right, pitching the communication appropriately can be the difference between gaining and keeping new clients, and not getting anywhere at all.

      Good luck in growing your business, Nillu.

  10. Joyce Morse

    This is a great post and right on for me as an introvert. I loved your tips and I’m going to focus on one or two, especially the listening part. One thing I have learned at least for local marketing is to make it a natural part of your conversation. When I was getting ready to quit my job to write full-time, I mentioned that to my daycare and of course, they asked about what I do. That conversation resulted in me creating a website for them. I also talked to someone who works at the local bowling alley and they mentioned they need new ways to market to people.

    The key is to always have it in the back of you mind that you are looking for new clients so you don’t pass up an opportunity to promote yourself. I’m not very good at that yet, but I’m working on it. It also helps if you have family and friends marketing for you. The “I know someone” speech can often open doors because they know the person recommending you even if it is family.

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Hi Joyce,

      thanks for taking the time to comment here. You make some fantastic points. Nobody wants to feel that an actress/actor is selling to them; the best way to win people over is to be yourself. Personal recommendations will win over stranger contact everyday so yes, we all need to make the most out of our existing contacts. One of the hardest – but equally most exciting – things about running your own business is that you are never off the job. The idea of always being on the look out for opportunities as we go about our everyday lives is spot on.

      Best wishes for your work going forward, Nillu

  11. Kalen

    These are all great tips Nillu and I would say they can apply to everyone. I am technically an ENTP on the Myers Briggs personality inventory, but even as an extrovert I find that marketing can still be intimidating at times (despite working in the field). Striking up conversations at networking events is easy for me, but actually pitching myself isn’t so much for some reason. I think most people find it can be hard to push themselves out of their comfort zone when it comes to trying to convince someone else to hire them.

    You raise some very good tips to make marketing easier for everyone! Thanks for the post!

    • Nillu Nasser Stelter

      Hi Kalen, thanks for reading. You’re right, self-promotion is not an easy skill. It can feel unnatural and pushy. I guess the trick is to focus on the client’s needs more than the hard sell of your skills. That way, the marketing feels authentic and part of a normal conversation and hopefully it will end in a happy transaction for both parties.

  12. Tanya Adams

    Thank you for this article, Carol. I’m an introvert and find marketing frightening. The crazy thing is that I can market for others, but find it hard to do for myself. Maybe it’s because I’m putting myself out there. I’m more comfortable selling for others. I found these tips very helpful and less scary.

  13. Joan Anderssen

    As an ultra-introvert (more than 70% I according to MBTI test, beat this) I would add: enjoy the blessings of online marketing. I absolutely, without any doubt hate tagging along in events, small talking, exchanging cards, etc. Online marketing saves me from a dreadful prospect of leaving my cubicle. Plus, approaching potential clients online is fine for me. No problems with that.

    One more thing: optimize your strategy is such way which allows you to put minimum effort for maximum result. In other words, more long-term, passive methods and less loud and shiny fireworks that fade away after a second or two. Have a lazy cat approach to marketing. Cats are, after all, an animals that can teach you a thing or two about freelancing… Wait, I think I have an idea for blog post. See ya!

    • Shauna L Bowling

      I’d like to read that too, since I have 3 cats that keep me company in my home office and I, too am more geared towards passive marketing. Your forthcoming blog (hint hint) sounds like it’ll be right up my alley, Joan!

      • Joan Anderssen

        Took a few days but all done now.

        I have one – my chief editor. He’s never satisfied with anything I write. Probably because if I write, I do not pet him, play with him, etc. Nevertheless, he’s my most beloved.

  14. Taiwo Adeyemi

    Blogging tips, like management theories and practices, are a jungle; the good news is that no one approach is supreme except that one needs to understand and atune to the needs of the existing clients – this is golden. Thanks to Nillu and to all the contributors here for yet another refreshing ‘conference’ on moving our market forward and ‘shoving our products into clients’ faces’ without offending their audio-space; and without having to ‘borrow’ other guys’ personalities. The simple point here is: regardless of what your social courage may be, the market is wide enough to accommodate you – but please, be good because in the long run, the best marketing tool is still the quality of your product.

  15. Zimmy

    I think your example #2 would also work by directly contacting a blog owner and asking them if they would want your services to spruce the content of the site up a bit. If you get hired or not will probably come down to what your own blog/website looks like.

    You have some excellent content on your blog. 🙂

  16. Patrick icasas

    Referrals are also an excellent way for introverted freelancers to get gigs. Your client does all the selling for you! And I found that clients who are referred to me are usually value my services more and are easier to deal with!


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