Note: A version of this post was originally published on Make a Living Writing.
Do you keep in touch with former freelance writing customers?
Do you have a client that “got away?” Do you ever think about them or wonder what they’re doing?
I’ll stop now, before I start sounding like a relationship guru…but the point is if you answered “no” to the above-mentioned questions, then I urge to consider this thought: Maybe you should.
Keep tabs on past clients
Just because you’re not working with them anymore doesn’t mean you can’t check in to see how past customers are doing. Following your previous clients’ activities can re-open communication lines and pave the way for more writing gigs.
Did they get quoted in the press? Send them a quick email congratulating them on the media attention.
Did a former client start a new company? Reach out to say good luck and send a friendly reminder that you’ll be there in case they need a writer.
These little acts of thoughtfulness increase your chances of getting re-hired. They keep you top of mind, so whenever the need for content arises, you’ll be the first person they contact.
Use online tools
Keeping tabs on past customers doesn’t have to be a cumbersome task. You don’t have to visit their blog every day, nor do you have to read through countless news articles to catch a press mention.
You can effectively “stalk” your clients and be the most thoughtful writer they’ve ever encountered with the clever use of a few online tools.
Google has a great service called Google Alerts that lets you monitor the web for specific search queries. For example, if you create a Google Alert for the search term “Make a Living Writing,” Google will send you an email every time it indexes a page containing that particular phrase.
Google Alerts are a convenient way to monitor a developing news story or to track mentions of your name or brand online. It can also allow you to keep tabs on former clients so that you can get back in touch whenever a story or mention comes up. (Hat tip to Peter Shankman for giving me the inspiration to do this.)
This worked out beautifully for me some time ago when I got an Alert that a celebrity just tweeted about an iPhone app created by one of my former clients.
I wrote a quick congratulatory email and sent it to my former client along with the Twitter link. They already knew about it of course, but they appreciated the fact that I took the time to email them.
Then they said that they’re planning to release a new version of their app and would hire me again once it’s completed.
And when it was ready, they did.
Here’s how to track your former clients on LinkedIn:
Pay attention the “Ways to keep in touch” box found on the upper right part of your LinkedIn homepage. This section displays recent updates from your contacts, and will tell you whenever someone adds a new job or celebrates a work anniversary.
Skim the updates and keep an eye out for new ventures, projects, or companies. If you see that a former client is on a new path, do a little research on whatever it is that they’re working on then touch base with them to send your regards.
Doing this scored me a new set of projects with another former client. I found out they launched a new startup, so I reached out to say congrats.
They were pleasantly surprised and were very happy to hear from me. Within a few weeks, they hired me to work on their blog posts and press releases.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of time to stay on top of past-client news — and it can pay off big.
What’s your relationship to your former clients? Share how you stay in touch in the comments.