One of the most important skills for a freelance materials writer to develop is marketing yourself. It doesn’t matter how good you are at writing materials. If the publishers have never heard of you and don’t know that you can write well, why would they get in touch to offer you work? Some writers also feel uncomfortable about marketing themselves but if you have a skill to offer, why not tell everyone about it?

What do I need to do?

If you are just starting out as a materials writer these are a few things you need to do. Firstly you need to think of ways of getting your name associated with whatever kind of materials you want to write.

Social media

The first and obvious place is social media. LinkedIn is a useful place to start as the site was designed for connecting professionals. Think carefully about the information in your personal profile and have a strategy to make contacts and build relationships. Post interesting links related to your specific area of interest and take time to comment on the posts of others. Follow publishers and other writers and send messages with connection requests to commissioning editors and project managers. Consider other social media platforms too but think about where your ideal clients are before spending too much time on setting up new profiles. Check other social media platforms too. Check to see whether there are active publisher pages before setting up a new profile. If you aren’t sure, ask other writers or teachers for advice.

Teachers’ Associations

Some Teachers’ Associations have a ‘special interest group’ for materials writers. They organise events such as conferences and webinars. They also have blogs, newsletters and interviews – all of which might be of interest. Here are some examples:

IATEFL MaWSIG (International)

https://mawsig.iatefl.org

JALT Materials Writers SIG (Japan)

https://jalt.org/groups/sigs/materials-writers

BrazTESOL Materials writing SIG (Brazil)

https://braztesol.org.br/sigs/materials-writing

Other freelance materials writers and editors

Get to know other freelance materials writers and editors. This will most likely be online but there might be some people living in your area too. Freelancers love to talk about all kinds of aspects of their work. Sometimes they aren’t able to talk about specific details of an ongoing project, of course but you can find out about things like professional development courses, which publishers operate in different locations and contexts, offers of work, etc. Regarding the latter, make sure people know what kind of work you are interested in doing. Writers often get asked whether they can recommend someone for a job they’re unable to take on.

Give a webinar or speak at a conference

A great way to get known for being a specialist in any area is by giving a webinar or doing a talk at a conference (See C is for Conferences). This is a golden opportunity to show your stuff. If you are used to this kind of thing, it will be easy but if you’ve never done such a thing before, look for help and advice. Ask a more experienced presenter to give you a hand or to mentor you beforehand.

Blog posts and articles

You can also market yourself by writing an article or blog post. Look around for a journal or blog where your special interest would sit well. Get in touch with the publication to ask for writing guidelines. Then, when the article or post is published, share it far and wide to get as many readers as possible. Publishers and Teaching Institutions often have blogs and welcome guest writers. You might also consider starting your own blog, of course.

Podcasts

These days there are lots of really interesting educational podcasts out there. Listen to a few to find out what kind of format they have. Lots of podcasters welcome guest interviews so you could get in touch and suggest yourself. Think about what might be of interest and keep in mind that you are marketing yourself as a writer so try and show your knowledge in your chosen area.

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Do you have any other suggestions of how to market yourself?

How comfortable are you with marketing yourself?