How to get freelance writing jobs while avoiding content mills.
When looking to expand your client base as a writer, there is a whisper in the back of your minds driving you to content mills. This may have sounded appealing as a new writer. However, they are inconsistent, low paying, and rarely lead to long-term clients. There are plenty of ways to get freelance writing jobs while avoiding content mills.
Market yourself as a freelancer.
Every social media account you have is an opportunity to get freelance writing jobs. There are key components you need to utilize to use them to their full potential.
Most platforms have a place for you to list your employment. Here, list that you are a writer. You can be more specific such as: freelance writer, ghost writer, or white paper writer. In the end, what matters is that is say ‘writer’.
Social media pages give you the opportunity to link back to your website. Ideally, this will be your blog or portfolio. If someone is interested in you, this is how they will find your experience and examples. If they can’t find any previous work, the chances of them contacting you are slimmer.
Have a portfolio that dominates.
Whether you are a seasoned freelancer or just starting, having a proper portfolio is a must. Your portfolio is where you will point your potential employers to see you best work. Portfolios are a simple way to showcase your expertise and experience by using your previous freelance writing jobs.
There are three big points to consider. Firstly, you need to be mindful of what you include. You should have confidence in every piece you publish. Second, it should reflect your current skill set. Keep it updated so you best work is at the top. Lastly, add a call-to-action to seal the deal.
For a full guide on making a portfolio that will hook potential employers, check out How to Create a Writing Portfolio That Is a Business Magnet. This article will lead you through what to include, how to be memorable, and how to use it to convert business.
Create your own website.
Having your own website is like having the ultimate portfolio. It shows that you are capable not only writing quality content, but that you can manage it as well. You’ll learn about what is significant to running a site. This knowledge is valued by your clients.
When creating your own website, you get to choose what to write about. This isn’t somewhere you would put your previous freelance writing jobs. You create jobs for yourself. This is what I love about running my own website.
Another benefit of creating your own site is that you can add a payment portal. The WordPress plugin I use to do this is Woo Commerce. You can find more detail about it and other plugins I use here.
Cold pitching is when you email an entity to start a conversation about future business. That entity could be established businesses, start-ups, non-profits, bloggers, or other websites. The goal is to determine their needs and present yourself as the solution to that need.
Cold pitching is most successful at acquiring freelance writing jobs when you implement the following tips. Firstly, find a company website that fits your niche. Once you do that, create a personalized email directed to them. If it is an oblivious template, they may consider your email spam. Include who you are, why you would work well with their site, and how you can help them.
Below is the email that got me my first freelance writing job. I included my education, pitched three relevant ideas, and included my latest three posts.
In contrast to cold pitching, warm pitching is another method that can land freelance writing jobs. Begin warm pitching by identifying the entity you would like to write for. Follow them on social media. Interact with their posts. This includes commenting and sharing. Also, follow their website. Subscribe if possible. Be an active participant in their posts. The purpose of this is to make your name recognizable.
At some point, it should begin to feel like the relationship isn’t one way. One way to tell is if they are responding to your comments. At this point, look for an opportunity to contact them. You can do this through the contact page of their site or through the personal messaging option on social media.
Either way, follow the same steps to composing the message as you would for cold pitching. State who you are. Let them know they fit your area of interest. Tell them why you are the right person to write for them. The worse thing they can do is not respond.
Guest posting is a great way to get your name in the blogosphere. It also spices up your portfolio to land more clients in the future. Sometimes, they will even include a byline and link back to your website. Guest posting may not be a great source of income, but it’s a start.
Finding places to guest post are surprisingly easy. By typing ‘write for us’ into a search engine, it will pull up endless possibilities for you. You can also narrow it by niche. Simply add the niche to the search with a plus sign. For example, ‘finance blog + write for us.’
Often sites with guest post pages include information about what they want and what they will provide. They can include everything from minimum word length to whether or not they will give you a back link. You can narrow down which entity you would prefer to write for this way. This is a great way to get your name out there and build your portfolio, leading you to more paid freelance writing jobs in the future.
Join social media groups.
Joining groups on social media is a wonderful tool to add to your arsenal. No matter the platform, there will be groups tailored to writing. They are a way to get multiple inputs to your questions. Some even allow self-promotion.
I am in a few groups for each platform. However, there are a few that stand above the rest. When I first started freelance writing, the Reddit subreddit I found most useful was r/freelancewriters. You can post questions freely. The community is very informative. Chances are, the questions you have will have already been answered here.
Network with friends and family.
Friends and family are always there for you. So, why should this be any different? Unfortunately, this is often over looked. While you may think that your mom will name-drop you every chance she gets, that’s not the case. Most people in my family don’t even know what I do.
To successfully get freelance writing jobs from personal relationships, you have to ask for them. Send a personalized email. Ask them at the next family dinner. Post it on social media. Make sure they know what you do and ask them to refer you if the opportunity arises.
Ask clients for leads.
The best referral you can get is from someone who has hired you before. This means they realize what you are worth. So, if you already have a client with whom you are on good terms with ask them for a referral. This may be a bit uncomfortable, but if you do it right, you can benefit greatly.
Personalize it. I know that you’ve been told this about nearly every step thus far. That is because it is one of the most important and easiest things you can do. See if they know someone who can use your services. Reassure your current client that it will not affect your work with them.
For example: Hello Client Name. Do you know of anyone that may require content writer? I have space on my calendar for another project. How easy was that? With three sentences, you acquired a new lead generator.
Freelance writing jobs are just a step away. Don’t sell yourself short. While I don’t have anything against content mills, I don’t feel like they value writers. Find what’s best for you. If one method isn’t working, switch it up. What way works for you? Share with us in the comment section below.