The Web makes building a writer platform much easier than it would have been years ago, with more of an emphasis required on local networking, securing major media coverage, and setting up speaking engagements.
Now in no way am I saying those things aren't still important. The Web just makes them less of a requirement as you have far more tools and resources at your disposal.
Chances are good that most, if not all, of your prospective clients are on the Web. Chances are also good that after exhausting their network for leads before hiring a writer, they'll turn to the Web in some way to continue their search. Maybe they'll post an ad on a job board. But many won't. Instead they'll search. They'll look for professional sites, blogs, online portfolios, testimonials, case studies, and other things on the Web. They'll look for you. This is especially true for higher-end Web writers, where most of your portfolio pieces are probably publicly available somewhere online (unless of course you're a ghostwriter), and where a large portion of clients never publicly advertise to find their writers.
Throughout this week, we'll talk about Web-based tools you can use to build your writer platform (including specifically to promote the work of Web writers). Check back tomorrow for information on why I feel most, if not all, freelance writers should consider setting up a professional website as their "home base."
In the meantime, tell me: how important is the Web in your promotional plan?