Finding 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,