Be clear about what you do as a freelance writer, and be careful about going beyond that description.
Over the course of the last two or three weeks, I've had several people approach me about performing social media tasks. While I do try to submit most of the posts I write to social media sites, I am in no way a social media expert. And I really don't do that sort of thing. (And, honestly, I outsource the social media submissions.)
I'm a freelance writer. I stick to providing content to my clients.
Should You Branch Out?
Technically, I guess I could branch out. I could run a company's weekly Twitter chat, or I could be in charge of trying to drum up Facebook Likes for someone else's blog. I have also been approached about doing PR work, trying to get mentions in mainstream media for other people.
If you are a freelance writer, and some of these opportunities present themselves, it might make sense for you to branch out a little bit. I, however, am not interested in branching out. There have been times in the past that I have tried some of these tasks, and I didn't enjoy them. As a result, I learned quick to just say no to being a social media expert, a search engine optimization expert, or a PR expert.
Plus, I'm not sure that I was very good at those other tasks.
Be Upfront about What You Do as a Freelance Writer
One of the best things you can do as a freelance writer (or any kind of freelance professional) is to be up front about what you do. I know that I'm pretty decent as a freelance writer and professional blogger. I am confident that I can deliver solid content. However, I am less confident about my abilities to help clients rise in the search engine rankings or get a link from a major media web site.
As a result I'm very up front about what I do.
I'm a freelance writer.
I'm even to the point where the social media submissions that I make as a value-add to my writing services are actually done by a virtual assistant. I make it clear, when I begin speaking with potential clients, that my services are limited to content creation. I'm not going to coordinate a social media strategy, and I'm not going to research keywords to help your site climb in the SERPs.
If you have a keyword that you want used, I'll work it in naturally. But I'm not providing you with SEO services. I'm providing you with content. And that's it. If you want it promoted heavily, or if you want to try and get someone else to notice it, that's up to you. Because I don't do that sort of thing.
Sometimes it's tempting for me to try out another way to do things. However, after my last efforts to try to place guest posts for a client fell flat on its face (I hate doing that, too), I returned to my policy of insisting that the client find a host for the guest post. I'll write the guest post, and even include whatever link you want, but you have to find a place for it. That whole experience drove home for me, yet again, that I am a writer.
Really look at your freelance business, and consider what you want it to look like, and what you want to do. For some, it can be a big break to get to coordinate social media efforts, or work on PR projects. If you want to expand your services to include those things, go for it. However, you need to be clear on what you do, and who you are. Figure that out, and let others know what you do. Everyone will be happier in the professional relationship, and your potential clients will know exactly what to expect from you.