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How I Approach Landing Freelance Writing Jobs

landing freelance writing jobsOver in our forum someone asked me if I ever have luck landing freelance writing jobs from FreelanceWriting.com’s Morning Coffee email list. I replied that I do, and after some banter where it was suggested I must land all the jobs because the person asking has never had any luck there, I volunteered to spell out exactly how I do land writing gigs.

First of all, remember I’ve been doing this for years and years. Experience does count. The person who asked the question is a good writer and is fairly new to the game. That does make a difference I’m sure.

I have a website, and have had it for years and years. It’s www.annewayman.com. It has my credit list, some samples, some testimonials, and my pricing. Yes, several times a year I land a client just because they found me there. I’ve made many thousands of dollars off my site. But here I’m talking more about how I go about reaching out and landing gigs.

12 tips for landing freelance writing jobs

  1. I’m consistent in my search. I search almost every day, week in and week out. I search when I have plenty of money in the bank and when the bank account is less abundant. I suspect there’s something about letting the universe know I’m looking regularly that helps.
  2. I’m highly selective. I know what I write well; I also know what I like to write. I apply only for those gigs that appeal to me.

  1. If a low price is quoted I skip it. I’ve set minimums for the type of work I do and if the price is lower than that I don’t apply. Oh, if it’s a topic near and dear to my heart, I might, but that’s rare.
  2. When the application process is convoluted I tend to move on. You’ve seen the complicated application processes. I don’t apply for those because I’ve never managed to land one. I suspect most of those are by largish corporations and I don’t really fit that model.
  3. I read the job description carefully. When I find a writing job I think I want, I read the description again, carefully.
  4. I dig to find out more. If the job is still something I think I want, I dig for more information. That includes following any links to the actual job posting in many cases. I google the name of the company to find out more about who they are and what they do. If it all seems to fit I apply, but I skip many of the postings as a result of my digging more deeply.
  5. I use my intuition. If the writing gig is still of interest to me I sit quietly for a few moments and listen to my inner voice. Now if it feels right I’ll apply, but if something seems or feels off I’ll move on to something else. Landing freelance writing jobs doesn’t many just any kind of gig for me.
  6. I follow the instructions exactly. When I do find a job I want, I follow the application instructions as precisely as I can. If they want my cover letter and resume in the body of an email, that’s what they get. If they have a code word they want in the subject line, they get it. When the instructions are vague or missing I just do the best I can. I will make the email a brief cover letter and include links to my site and appropriate samples.
  7. The cover letter. I use a cover letter almost every time, unless the ad says they don’t want one, which rarely happens.
  8. The cover letter is where I sell myself. I show them how I can solve their problem. I base this on the ad first. For example, I regularly write for the iHouseWeb blog giving tips to real estate agents in their network. They asked for a writer who had experience writing real estate blogs. At that point I didn’t, so I opened with something like this:

Hi, I might be your real estate blogger. I’ve been blogging for years and what doesn’t show on my list of credits is the fact that I also sold real estate in southern California for years. I left that industry to write but I still follow home sales and such.

I followed with links to my blog and my website and said I’d like to talk with them about the writing gig. The editor called and liked our conversation and hired me.

When the ad has a list of requirements I spell out briefly how I meet each one. If there’s a specific skill I don’t have, I state that clearly and equally clearly tell them I’m generally a quick study and more than willing to take the time to come up to speed.

I keep the cover letter brief, often editing it down several times. When I’m satisfied I send off my application.

  1. I don’t keep track of applications. I no longer try to track applications. They either call or they don’t. .
  2. When they call. Sometimes when they do call I have to ask them what ad they’re referring to. Surprisingly that doesn’t seem to put up a barrier. I work to listen carefully and to respond openly, honestly and briefly. I keep in mind that I’m there to solve their problem.

There you have it – my approach to landing freelance writing jobs. I suggest you take what appeals to you, or that you think will work for you and leave the rest. This isn’t the only way to do it, but you may find nuggets here that will be helpful.

I’d love to hear if this or any part of this approach works for you.

Write well and often,



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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Hi Anne,
    Consistency is the key. It makes the difference between a writer who sees themselves as ‘professional’ and those who may think of their writing as more of a hobby. It takes effort to move up the scale. I have really enjoyed reading your tips on looking for jobs. Thanks.
    Sarah Charmley recently posted..Day 27: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Five Retro Blog Posts to check out on this BlogMy Profile

  • That’s great stuff Anne. I don’t apply to just anything either but I do hate that I rarely hear back from folk that I’ve applied to. I do understand because I’m sure they get a lot of responses but I still don’t like it.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Popups Ruin A Blog Readers ExperienceMy Profile

    • Hi Mitch, glad you like it. I have run into a couple of places that actually send an auto-email saying ‘we got your application’ or something similar. The first time or two it was nice. Now I don’t even want that… it just clutters up my inbox. Off to read your article on popups… suspect I’ll agree.

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