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Craigslist Writing Jobs – How To Reply

Searching for a freelance writing jobDear Anne,

First of all, let me thank you for your wonderful and helpful website.

I am just getting my feet wet in the freelance writing pond and blogs like yours have been a lifesaver.

I do, however, have a query-related question: specifically, about how to query for Craigslist postings with little/no information.

I realize that the regular method of sending a query or applying for a job is to research the company, find out who the editor is, and tailor your application to pinpoint exactly what the client wants.

In many cases, however, I find that Craigslist posts give so little information that it’s nearly impossible to do this. They will not give a company name, a “real” email address or anything to help with a google search, so you can’t do any research, and their requirements will be extremely vague.

For example, I’m trying to apply to one job that just says, “We need someone with blogging experience to run our company blog. Please submit your portfolio and your compensation requirements.”

Do you have any tips for how to write a query letter under these sorts of circumstances? Obviously following directions is one thing, but is there a way to help my query stand out even if I have no information to go off of?


Michelle Clough (in comments) – http://michelleclough.wordpress.com

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for the compliments; I’m truly grateful you find the site helpful.

You’re right, ads for writers etc. on Craigslist rarely give you any information. It’s impossible to really target your response. Look at it this way:

Responding to a Craigslist ad is really an attempt to start a conversation with the prospective employer. If you get that conversation started you can then get specific.

To the ad you quote I’d probably email something like this:

Hi – I might be your company blogger. I’ve been blogging successfully for 3 years, for myself and for others, including two companies. Details on my resume at www.annewayman.com/resume. Price will depend on length and frequency of posts and how I get the information needed to do dynamite posts for you.

I’m available to talk on the phone most mornings between 9 and 11 Pacific time – other times also available – let me know what works for you.

Thanks for your interest



Anne Wayman
www.aboutfreelancewriting.com– writing blog with 3x weekly job posts.
(Phone Number)

I’ve also learned over time that  I’m lucky if I get one response out of a dozen or more pitches I send, but if someone does respond I probably get hired by about half of them. And, I have landed a few well-paying gigs when I respond this way.

It’s kind of funny when they call because I have to ask them which job they’re talking about. Generic job posts get generic responses.

I do it this way because it’s quick. If there is a web address or an email that lets me know what the web address is, I’ll take a look and may shape my response based on that. But if there is no way to figure out who they are I respond along the lines above and don’t worry about it.

Sign up for a series about finding Freelance Writing Jobs – it’s FREE; all you need to do to get it is sign up.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman freelance writer




Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Hi! Just want to say thank you for this very informative article about Craigslist.
    By the way my name is Lesli and I am from United Kingdom – Winster.
    craigslist auto recently posted..craigslist autoMy Profile

  • I have the opposite experience: ads on Craigslist that are ridiculously overdone with way too much detail. Now that I think of it, though, it’s the “real” jobs, not the freelancing, that list every single computer program you need to know…I actually prefer something more succinct, and my responses are similar to yours, Anne. The only thing, though, is I usually tell them to email me, not phone. Is it better to ask for a phone call?
    Marcy Sheiner recently posted..Ghostwriting Sample #1My Profile

    • Yes, there are some that go way too far the other direction… my theory is that it’s easier for folks to pick up the phone than even respond via email… most of them don’t call, but a few do.

      • Thanks, Anne. I’m going to be sure I tell people to do either, whichever they prefer, from now on. This is why networking is so important–it’s a small thing, but small things add up. I thank you for running this site, Anne. Very generous of you. I invite you and your readers to visit my business blog and ask questions there of me, I have a slightly different kind of knowledge and it could be fun and beneficial.

        BOOKBUSTER (business website): http://marcysbookbuster.wordpress.com
        And this one is my general writing site:
        DIRTY LAUNDRY (general writing): http://marcys.wordpress.com
        Thanks again!
        Marcy Sheiner recently posted..Love and Other IllusionsMy Profile

        • You’re more than welcome… link back where you can.

  • Hi Anne,

    I chanced upon your site while looking for other freelance article writing jobs. I am connected with odesk for almost 2 years and has been doing it as a part-time work. At present, I do blog postings and ezine articles for my client whose into the furniture business. I decided to make writing a full time career and have also started my blog on cruising. (I still have to learn a lot, though.)

    However, it is also risky. I also had the experience of not getting paid by two clients. (Well, it is partly my fault, too. ) I gave in to a client’s request to work outside odesk after a few articles because of fees. This is actually disheartening considering the fact that I pay for my electric bills and internet service. I am a Filipino and is so trusting. Anyway, I wanted to look for a another more permanent writing job as I still have hours to spare. My blog still has a long way to go before I can really earn.

    I have not tried craigslist writing jobs or elance yet. But, thank you for a nice site.



  • Very helpful post, Anne. I’ve been kind of wary of Craigslist so far because of its (perhaps unearned) reputation for being a center for spam and super-low-paying gigs, but maybe I’ll give it another go.

    • Anne

      There is lots of dreck on craigslist, but there’s also gold… I’ve used it for years for all sorts of things including even writing jobs.

    • As far as super-low paying gigs go, EVERY site on the web is trying to pay super low! We are in transition in the world of communications as we move away from print, to online venues. It’s very hard on professional writers. I’ve been doing this work for 30 years and used to be able to support myself freelancing. I can’t anymore, because they’re paying so low. $3 an article?! I used to make $50, $100, $250 in print! I look for editing and book writing now, it’s the only decent pay. Partly it is because everyone thinks they can write now, and everyone believes other people can. For instance, see the post right on this page by someone whose native language isn’t English. I don’t say this to be “mean,” but there was a time when you simply couldn’t print grammatical errors like hers; these days, it’s fine but she won’t be paid like a professional–and they won’t hire a real pro either. Tough times.
      Marcy Sheiner recently posted..Love and Other IllusionsMy Profile

      • Okay, that’s one accurate view point, but I don’t think we have a clue where writing and pay will be in another 30 years with the web. I’ve actually been hired from India to write articles at more than 10 x the $3 figure because I can write with an American accent as it were — yes, I’ve been hired out of India… it’s going full circle.

        • You too are accurate in saying we don’t have a clue where things will be 30 years from now–about writing that is. But in 30 years I know where I’ll be–DEAD! so it is irrelevant to me.
          Marcy Sheiner recently posted..Ghostwriting Sample #2My Profile

  • I tend to ignore all vague posts as they never seem to turn out to be good-paying clients. Real companies tell you who they are and exactly what type of expertise they need.

    But definitely if you’re going to respond to vague Craigslist ads, Anne’s right — don’t spend a lot of time on them!

    Here are some of my rules for responding to online job ads.
    .-= Carol Tice´s last blog ..When Writing Clients Create Crises =-.

  • Thanks for the advice, Anne. I’m a fairly new freelance writer and I’ve been wondering if trolling Craigslist for writing gigs is a good way to go – I’ve gotten a few nibbles but so far no deals. I’ll often try to tailor my response to the ad. If it’s a formal sounding ad with a long list of requirements, I’ll give them a formal response. If it’s a goofy ad with lots of humor inserted, or it asks for humor or creativity, I’ll be humorous in my response. (So far my humorous ads have worked better.)

    Though I do get discouraged sometimes by the lack of response, I know from my fiction writing that you just have to keep pushing – one good response from 30-50 queries can make the whole hunt worthwhile.

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