I never planned to be a content marketer. In fact, due to some criticism from my high school English teacher, I didn’t read or write much for the next 20 years. Instead, I focused on technical work, figuring I’m “just a math and science girl.”

So now that I am writing marketing content for a living (I’ll save that life story for another post!), I get asked all the time how I find new clients.

The answer lies in both finding and being found. Here are the four basic steps to increasing your visibility. There is so much more that can be said about each one of these, so you may see them pop up in more detail in a future post. Anyway, here goes:

1. Establish your niche – Most all of us have had multiple jobs. This gives us a variety of experience, though many of us tend to stay in a particular industry. Whether that is healthcare, manufacturing, telecom, retail or something else, it’s what you know best. Let me just say, it is so much easier to create marketing deliverables in an area that is your comfort zone! Once you have narrowed it down, find out where your prospects go. Are there industry groups you can join? Conferences you can attend? Trade publications they read?

2. Create your platform – These days, you must have a website. It’s like your home base. It serves as your online brochure and helps people get to know you. It’s a must that you post samples of work you have done in your online portfolio. So, once that’s done, it’s time to be a little more creative and show people what you are all about. One of the easiest is to start your own blog, related to your niche. You might also choose to produce a regular newsletter. There are some great (and free) tools out there to get started. Check out WordPress to get your blog started.

3. Leverage LinkedIn – It is also imperative that you have a fully developed LinkedIn profile. It’s the ultimate online resume. Once you’re comfortable there, search for and join groups in your niche. That allows you to submit articles (even ones you wrote!), start discussions, and learn what others in your group are doing. As for finding and being found, I had two prospects cold call me because they found me on LinkedIn. I also use the advanced search to look up people with “marketing” in their title, and who work for a specific company I want to reach.

4. Twitter with your “Tweeple” – The whole Twitter thing still amazes me. I was one of those nay-sayers who couldn’t see the value. Well, I’m a complete convert now! I found and followed people in my niche area, business intelligence. I was fortunate in that these techie, fairly early adopters, organized a group and collected Twitter handles on a Google docs spreadsheet. Barring that, you can search for people in your niche (try Twello), and not only follow them, but follow who they follow. Start your own collection of niche Tweeple and advertise the list. Now get out there and tweet. Check out TwiTips for more help with Twitter.

If you’re doing these things, you are well on your way and can consider yourself an “advanced social networker.” This won’t guarantee you’ll get new work, but I can just about guarantee you’ll meet new prospects! The rest is up to you.

I’d love to hear your story about how you’ve been able to find new clients.