How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs Online
Freelance writing can be a lucrative and rewarding career that let’s you work anywhere, anytime, and wearing anything (or nothing!). If you’re wondering how to find freelance writing jobs online, then read on. This article will detail where and how to get freelance writing jobs without ever leaving home.
There are two main ways you are going to get steady, well-paying clients; job boards and cold emails. The key will be to present yourself as a very niched writer who knows how to fulfill your desired client’s exact needs. You also need to make sure you’re not wasting time on the wrong job boards, or applying for positions without having the proper presentation.
You don’t need to have a degree or a long list of guest posts and published articles in order to get freelance writing jobs from high paying, consistent clients. In the rest of this article we will take a more in-depth look at both ways to find freelance writing gigs, as well as how to position yourself as the professional that can take care of their exact needs.
How to Look Like an Expert? Pick a Niche.
When a business or blog is looking for freelance writers, they don’t just want a generalist that writes about everything. Instead, they are looking for someone that they view as having a specific set of skills that relates to their exact business, topic, or concept.
Let’s say a blog about construction and DIY is looking to hire a freelancer to write an article or two each week. A lot goes into building say, a deck, and if you have no experience in such things, you aren’t going to be able to write about it from an experienced perspective. Which website headline do you think they will choose to continue looking at: “Professional freelance writer: Articles, blogs, social media posts that your readers will love” or “Professional DIY and construction blogger: I can help simplify projects for your clients, providing value to keep them returning for more.”
By showing your potential clients that you know what their needs are, and explaining how you can meet those needs, they’re more likely to feel that you are the fit for their readers.
You Don’t Need to be an Expert
It’s important to keep in mind that you do not need to be a world class expert on a subject to write on it professionally. You just need to understand it better than the majority of readers.
If you have good research skills, you could potentially write on any subject you enjoy. And that is what I recommend, picking niches that you actually enjoy.
When you enjoy the subjects you write about, it won’t feel like work! That’s part of why many of us chose to get into freelance writing in the first place.
More importantly, if you enjoy a subject, you will spend the time learning and understanding about that subject, which will help your writing improve.
Also, you can have multiple niches. You will need a separate way to present yourself for each, so that a potential client still sees you as a specialized writer.
How to Pick Your Niche
Start with any careers you’ve had, or long-term hobbies or skills that you’ve invested a lot of time into. It can be anything at all. Maybe you worked in construction so you have enough skill to make it easy to write in that field. Perhaps you have been an avid photographer for many years and you know more than a layman about the subject. Possibly you’re super into dogs and dog training, maybe having even worked at a training facility previously. All of these would be great choices for niches you could write on.
If you still can’t think of a passion, hobby, or career skill that you could or would write about, then think a different way. What is anything at all that you would like to learn about? In the age of the internet, learning a new skill or hobby or anything is easier than ever before.
If you have enough desire to learn about something, you wouldn’t mind spending the research time learning about it to write about it. You only have to be one step ahead of the readers. You can research a topic, understand it, then turn around and write about it! Your article will be the collection of what you’ve learned through your own research. Just be sure to avoid plagiarizing anyone’s work on accident!
Starting a Portfolio
Once you have decided about the topic or topics you’re going to write on, you need to start building a portfolio to show potential clients so they know what your work is like. You can’t expect them to hire you without seeing what you’re capable of, so think of your portfolio as your electronic business card and writer’s resume in one.
When getting started, you do not need to have published articles online in order to land your first freelance writing clients. If you have, it will certainly help, but you can get clients without them if you show them your capabilities.
You’re going to want to write 2-3 well thought out articles on relevant subjects to your niche. If your niche is going to be photography blogging, then you don’t want your portfolio articles to be on the fastest growing social media trends or health recipes to help you lose fat. You would need to write articles like “What’s the Best Size Lens for Macro Photography” or “DSLR vs Mirrorless Cameras in 2019.”
Specific, niche centered articles will show your potential clients that you understand the niche and the readers. This will give them confidence that you can meet their needs, even if you’ve never written professionally before.
How to Pick Article Topics for Your Portfolio
Look around on websites that rank high in searches relating to your topic. For example, if one of your chosen niches is photography, you might search for something along the lines of “photography tips” or even “photography articles.” If you type the first phrase in on google, you’ll see a list of high ranking photography sites, like exposureguide and photographylife.
If you check out these sites, you will see articles such as “Top football photography tips,” “Shooting and Posing with Model Cars” or “A Failed Landscape Photography Expedition.” These give you a feel for the type of reading that is getting high ranking page views on google in your specific niche.
Read several of these articles so you know what the readers of this type of blog are looking for. Then, write 2-3 articles that are constructed similarly, on similar topics to the articles you read, but that are uniquely your own. Make sure that you don’t copy anything from the articles you read, they are just so you can get a feel for what kind of content the readers of that niche enjoy.
Presenting Yourself as a Professional
Now that you’ve written a few articles for your portfolio, it’s time to make it presentable for potential clients. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and that impression needs to be one of professionalism. To put your best foot forward, you need to create a professional website for yourself as a writer.
If you have no experience with building websites, this can sound daunting. Don’t worry though, it’s really not that complicated or expensive. Check out this article for a walkthrough of how to launch your professional website today for just $4!
Remember when building your website that you need to be very specific about your niche, and what value you provide to clients. Don’t tell potential clients about how great your work is or how much there readers will love it. Tell them instead about the results. Explain exactly how this is going to keep readers on their site longer, or how this is going to add value for their readers.
Optional: Guest Blog Posts
With your site built and 2-3 articles posted for potential clients to read and get a feel for your style, you are ready to start landing your first jobs and clients. If you want to land the bigger ticket clients though, they’re going to want a little bit of social proof.
Social proof is just validation from an outside source that your writing is worthwhile. The easiest way for you to get this social proof is to write a guest blog post for another website. During your research to write your portfolio articles you found several sites directly related to your niche. These are perfect sites to pitch a guest post to.
Come up with a great idea for an article or post and write the outline and introduction so the main point is easily understood. You will then need to craft a pitch to the sites admin, and send them an email with your pitch laid out and clearly explained. Make sure to use a personalized email directly crafted to be sent to the admin of that specific site, and not a generic copy/paste email template. Your email should discuss how that site’s readers will benefit from the information you can provide them through this guest post.
Where to Find Freelance Writing Gigs and Clients
The first, and easiest place to find good work as a freelance writer is professional job boards. These are sites where the ones looking for writers have to pay to post their ad, so it stands to reason that they are serious about finding a good writer.
I personally got my first clients from job boards which gave me the confidence to pursue other avenues of client acquisition.
There are two main job boards that pertain specifically to freelance writing.
Those looking to hire a writer for any purpose may post their ad on ProBlogger. It costs $70 to do so, so the quality of the opportunities here can be quite high.
With easy access to great opportunities comes high competition. Expect that many other people are also applying for the same freelance writing gig you are, but don’t be discouraged. You can still get these jobs, so it is worth applying. I have gotten jobs off of this board myself.
When you find a posting that interests you and is in your niche, click apply to be taken to an application for the position. Here you will also have the opportunity to provide links to your other work or your portfolio site. This is where having that professional looking site will really help your cause.
Freelance writing gigs does offer paid job posts, but they also scour the internet to find any writing jobs currently available. You’ll find lots of different types of jobs on here from copywriting, to articles and blogs, to television series and more.
If you want a chance at landing gigs on this high competition job board, I recommend checking often and applying to offers you like within the first few days of them being posted. This will greatly improve your chances of getting the client.
This is where you can really explode your clientele and turn writing into a full-time career. It is also considerably more difficult than simply responding to a posting on a job board!
To do cold emailing you will need to first make a list of as many sites pertaining to your niche as possible. The best candidates are mid-sized websites or businesses that do have a blog or articles, but have been maybe inconsistent with their approach. This means they’re putting forth the effort, so they know the value of blogging, but they could possibly use your experience and writing ability to really take off.
You will need to determine who is responsible for blogging on each site, and make sure you send your email directly to them, and address them by name if possible. Each email you send out needs to be a carefully crafted, personalized pitch to that specific person.
In your pitch, you shouldn’t be talking about YOU. You should be talking about the VALUE that you can provide for your clients business and/or their customers. Talking about your credentials is all well and good, but they just don’t care. They want to know what you can do for them, and that means talking about tangible results only.
Cold emailing is going to give you the best opportunity to very quickly expand your client base. It’s also a bit intimidating for many. By first landing a client or few on a job board, you may get the confidence boost you need to start blasting out those cold emails and filling up your client list!
If you found this article helpful, feel free to share it so that it can reach others who may also find it useful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me directly at Dean@TheFreelanceResource.com.