Finding regular writing work
No longer are writers dependent on their local newspaper offices or ad agencies for a job. These days, getting published is ridiculously easy given the number of websites hungry for fresh online content. You can even start your own blog, self-publish your own eBooks, or write articles on LinkedIn if you want to showcase your work immediately.
That said, you do want to position yourself to be employed by reputable companies (ideally with deep pockets). Here are some of the best ways to find your first paid writing jobs.
Frequent freelance writing job boards
This is probably one of the easiest ways to land a writing gig. Individuals, content agencies, and other businesses are constantly posting requests for writers on job boards like Freelance Writing and BloggingPro.
You can even find writing gigs in specific niches in places like Sports Collectors Digest (for sports writers) and HealthyPlace (for medical writers).
Bear in mind that some job boards are free while others require freelancers to subscribe to them. Some jobs also don’t pay as much as top-freelance writing gigs.
That said, freelance writing job boards also have a low entry point, so even beginning writers can start finding consistent paying work. You’ll also build a portfolio of published clips, increasing your confidence.
However, once you do start finding writing jobs, you’ll want to get better paying work, which you can find through other strategies.
Join freelance communities
Joining a community of like-minded freelance writers is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only will voicing your questions and concerns to other writers help your emotional health, you’ll also gain access to job opportunities—including some that don’t make it to the job boards.
A lot of times, busy freelancers receive too many job offers from their clients and decide to share these potential gigs with other writers. Or a writer might come across a job that doesn’t fall in their niche area and decide to let their writing community know about it.
Either way, you’ll get the inside track on the many freelance writing opportunities out there before other freelancers. Take advantage of them by signing up for the job opening or contacting the client and offering your services.
To find your fellow freelancers, you can join one of several Facebook groups, sign up for a Slack chat room, or frequent LinkedIn and connect with like-minded people. Freelancers want to connect and share with others like them, so be proactive and seek them out!
Send cold emails out to companies
One thing that hasn’t changed since the early days of freelance writing is the need to contact potential employers. Sure, email might make the process faster, but you still need to write great cover letters that get editors and managers excited about what you have to offer.
This is particularly important when you send a “cold email” or an unsolicited message to a company you think could use your services. In some ways, this is a great technique since that company hasn’t issued a formal job offer, meaning you won’t have to compete against multiple applicants.
On the other hand, these companies may also be receiving hundreds of other cold emails from freelancers who send generic, cookie-cutter form letters to hundreds of companies, hoping the law of averages will get them a few positive responses.
Make your cold emails stand out from everyone else’s. Do some research on each company and learn what their business objectives are. Read their blogs and come up with some unique pitches that complement what they already have.
Set a goal to send out anywhere from 5 to 10 cold emails a day until you get some responses. That might sound like a lot, but if you take the time to craft your emails carefully, you won’t have to send out hundreds before a client becomes interested.
Start your own blog
Want to know a great technique that can get you a nice contract from a company in need of your writing services?
Start writing articles on your own blog (which you can connect to your freelance writer website) that delve into the problems the companies you want to work for solve for their clients.
For instance, if you want to write for a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that creates online fundraising platforms for nonprofit organizations, you can write an article on the challenges nonprofits and charities face in choosing a good online platform for their fundraising events.
In the course of your article, name-drop some of the companies you want to work for in your article and include links to their websites.
Then, include a link to your article in the cold emails you send to these companies—and let them know you can keep producing more blog posts like this for them if they put you on their payroll.
Since you’re already promoting these companies (instead of saying you could promote them like other freelancers), you can bet this technique will help you stand out from other freelance writers!
Other freelance writers have monetized their blogs by including affiliate links in their blog posts or using Google Ads to collect ad revenue. Some have even been approached by clients who pay them to create a custom-made article on the freelancer’s blog. The money-making possibilities a blog offers are truly limitless these days, so it really pays to include one on your website!
Maintain an online presence
As you start collecting published clips, be sure to share your work on your website and social media channels. Make it easy for clients to read your work and contact you—either from the email address you include in your bylines or the links to your LinkedIn and Facebook page on your website. Interact with people online professionally and socially, showing people you are available to help others with their problems.
The more you do this, the more you promote yourself as a valuable resource companies want to hire. That—along with your growing body of work—shows clients you’re worth paying to write their blog posts, web copy, and emails. It may take some time, but eventually businesses will seek you out, making job hunting even easier.