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8 Tips for Finding the Freelance Writing Jobs You Want

Freelance Writing Jobs You WantFinding the freelance writing jobs you want – that was the theme of several of responses to the two question survey (it’s still open if you’d like to take it) I ran recently.

While there are certainly lots of ways to market yourself and your writing, here’s an approach I’ve found particularly effective.

1 – Loosely define what kind of freelance writing jobs you want

Spend a few minutes developing a description of exactly the kind of writing jobs you want. This is a little bit different than figuring out what niche, if any, you want to work in. Here we’re getting set up to look for gigs. Start with a topic, the type of writing, the pay and anything else that’s important to you.

For example, I might look for:

‘blogging gigs on freelancing in general that want short form posts of 1,000 words or less, pay $100/500 words and need weekly or twice weekly posts.’

Another example I might use is:

‘Women CEO types that want to hire a ghostwriter or writing coach to get their experience/advice into a book and is willing to pay $xx,xxx for it.’

Over time you’ll probably develop several of these because most freelance writers work in more than one arena. Don’t spend a whole lot of time on this – you just want something that will help you focus on finding the kinds of writing jobs YOU want – which will be quite different than mine.

2 – Contact past clients

You’re past clients are often your best source of new work. Develop a system to touch base with them every so often, quarterly can work well. You want to see if they have any work for you on the horizon. Great time to ask for referrals too.

3 – Google up a list

What did we do before ‘the google’! The first search I always do is for writing jobs in the area I’ve chosen. “Freelance writing jobs for bloggers” for example. Things pop up often enough to make this worthwhile. Then I google for companies and even individuals that might need my work.

For example, I just checked ‘companies offering sustainable products.’ Google claims 93 million listings. What’s interesting, however, is the first handful of listings are actually articles about the top X companies working in this field. Any one of them can be approached by a freelance writer who wants to work in that are. I find the first two or three pages is usually sufficient. Enter the companies in a spreadsheet or use other tracking methods and start making phone calls.

4 – Check LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn is not a easy to work with as it once was; it’s now a longer-term project. Make sure your portfolio there shows the kind of writing you want and find groups in your arena. Sign up for two or three at a time. Watch the group for a bit and decide if you want to play there. If not, unsubscribe and try another two or three. When you find a group you think is interesting, fits your criteria, etc., start participating – maybe once or twice a week. Articles, comments on other posts, etc. can begin to help you establish credibility as a writer there, which can lead to work.

5 – Try that writing jobs you want phrase on FaceBook

Again, this is a longer term strategy unless, of course, you spot a person or a company your want to ‘chat’ with. Just go gently in contacting them this way.

6 – See if there are any Meetup Groups that fit

As near as I can tell there are Meetup Groups on every conceivable topic – particularly in large metro areas. See if there’s one that fits the kind of freelance writing jobs you want. Or close. Go to at least a couple of meetings before you start pitching, unless it’s a Meetup group designed for pitches – yes, there are some of those. The appropriateness of a Meetup Group for you depends on both your location and the topics you want to write about. Obviously, clients found this way would be local ones.

7 – Check your local Yellow Pages

Believe it or not, your local Yellow Pages – the paper edition – can be a source of both ideas and contacts. Take a bit of time and look yours over and see what ideas are sparked. Then look for companies in those categories to add to your list.

The online version, http://www.yellowpages.com/ has gotten better. It’s pretty easy to enter a category like web pages or insurance companies and find out who is offering those services near you… and you can pick areas that are not close by.

8 – Contact those people / companies

The goal, of course, is to create a list and contact each one offering your services. You can cold call, email, send snail mail, and physically knock on doors.

One of the tricks to making this system work is to track every single lead. I’ll talk more about the best ways to do that in another article.

Obviously there are other ways to find the freelance writing jobs you want. You’ll find a whole category about finding gigs here.

Do you have a strategy you like? Or questions? Share them in comments please.

Write well and often,


{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Hello Anne,
    Thanks for the useful tips. Agree with you about the past-client thingy. Networking and relationships with your past-clients can be very helpful sometimes.
    Have a nice day!
    – Pankaj
    Pankaj Kumar recently posted..Content Delivery Network (CDN) – A Detailed Guide 4000+ …wordsMy Profile

  • First of all, thanks for sharing…I just started writing and not a good writer at all…i admit…i generally write around 400 words for my recent health care blogs…is it enough or should i keep it little longer?

    • Hello Promil, and welcome.

      Please don’t cut yourself short. Each writer is different. Do what you feel comfortable doing, whether it be 400 words or 4,000 in any given time. As long as you keep writing, that’s the main thing, and the more you write, the more your skill will improve. Keep going, and please don’t feel self-conscious.

      Still, if you worry about the grammar or syntax of your posts, you can always ask someone to proofread them and offer suggestions before posting. This way, your articles will present you, as a writer, in a better light.

      In any case, we all have to start somewhere. Good luck with your writing journey and your blog.

    • 300 words is considered minimum – I like posts between 500-800. Others find 1,200-2000 or more desireable. In other words, your choice.

  • Errgh. The kind of writing I’m most comfortable with is the kind that pays the least–fiction.

    Errggggh. Blarrrggh.
    Elizabeth West recently posted..5 Myths about Writers That Will Get You Smacked with a BookMy Profile

    • Does it always pay the least Elizabeth? I’m not really familiar with anything but reading fiction

  • LinkedIn is really a very good platform to get freelance jobs. My one friend who is freelancer cum blogger is getting many works only from LinkedIn.
    Now I am trying to get works from linkedin & recently got some tasks to complete. Thanks for sharing.
    Pritam recently posted..61 Experts share SEO Strategy & Tools needs to follow to win SEO Goal.My Profile

  • Hi Anne,

    First off, thanks for the invite and signin/password you sent a couple of days ago. I will follow through with that as soon as I can.

    As for finding the freelance writing jobs you want, that’s important, but what I have discovered from both experience and education is that in order to find out what will work best for you as a writer, you first need to know what kind of writer you are and driven to be. I have considerable experience writing marketing content for various businesses, and I have even applied to ad and marketing agencies. That is fine, and it has allowed me to accumulate a continuosly growing network of work prospects, but I would feel more at home writing for publications, such as magazines and journals. I have experience as an editor in various publications as well. One of them was a literary journal I helped found. I also like blog-writing, too.

    Another point is following interests. Yes, writers can expand their knowledge base by writing outside their comfort zone, but they feel more confident writing on topics that interest them. As for me, I stay away from automotive, fashion and sports because I am not “in tune” with them, if that makes sense. Yes, I have written a few articles for automotive-oriented websites, but I don’t feel confident with them. Focusing on topics that are tied into my interests saves time and assures a greater amount of success.

    In the end, knowing yourself and what kind of writer you are and/or want to be can lead your career to where you want and need it to go. You waste little time and minimize the diasappoinment. You will also have a better chance of gaining more respectable compensation down the line as well.

    • Oops! Sorry about the typo above. I missed it. If you can fix the final sentence, I would be much obliged, Anne. Thanks.

      • Oh dear, I don’t see a typo… which doesn’t mean it isn’t there – but one of the sayings around here is ‘typos allowed.’ Don’t sweat it. BTW, one of the reason I love computers is my spelling is highly creative. The computer doesn’t fix everything, but it sure makes many typos go away.

        • The last sentence contains both “also” and “as well,” which when presented together form a redundancy. Sorry for the confusion. I simply forgot to eliminate one before submitting.

    • Somehow knowing yourself ends up be a good solution for lots of things doesn’t it, Mark. I too don’t touch fashion or automotive. 😉 I also skip most gigs that have qualifiers I don’t possess even when I think I could do a good job for them. Sometimes I break that rule.

      • So do I, Anne. Each situation is different and depends on a myriad of factors. You never know. 😉

  • A friend told me she gets leads from Linkedin Pro often. I really need to learn how to use that to my advantage.
    Nichole recently posted..Three Tips to Filtering out the Twitter NoiseMy Profile

    • Yes, so do I and several others have asked me about it. I’m on the lookout for a Linkedin expert.

  • Since my freelance work, I’ve been getting to know more business men from LinkedIn.

    It has helped me, its a place to join with real business men from all over the world.

    Thanks for this list..

  • Linkedin is one of the amazing platform to get Freelance work especially in writing.

    Thanks Anne for sharing complete list!

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