The desire to find freelance writing gigs that pay well is the perennial quest of every freelance writer. Here are 12 ways you can find the kind of work you want.
Answering writer wanted ads makes sense if you pick and choose your ads well. I list my favorites here. Note there’s also a link to the craigslist locations I’ve found fruitful in finding freelance writing gigs.
Contact your personal network
Remind everyone in your personal network that you write and ask them who they know that might want to hire a writer. Don’t badger them, but if you gently remind your family and friends that you’re always on the lookout for writing work, over time you’re bound to get some solid referrals.
Ask for referrals for freelance writing gigs
You can actually ask perfect strangers if they know anyone who could benefit from hiring you as a freelance writer. I don’t mean you should stop people on the street, although if you did it with the right attitude you could make even this work. I’m actually thinking of the people you meet in your normal day. Strike up a conversation when you’re in line and after saying hello ask them who they might know. Be prepared with your business card for those that show some interest. Or start by asking them what they do in life – every business needs some writing done.
Pick a type of business you’d like to write for, Google for that and try calling the first 10 or so businesses that match your criteria.
Okay, I can hear the groans now, but have you ever tried it? You’ll need to write yourself a script and just do it. Chances are for every 10 or so calls you’ll make a contact that’s worth working with – some of those will actually hire you.
Sending cold emails may sound easier, but you’ll have to send out many more before you get a bite. Remember when you’re writing the email, you want to focus on them and helping them find solutions.
One way to improve your results is to address each email to a specific person. You can call the company and ask who handles freelance writing. Note, you could just ask to speak to that person and proceed from there. Another trick is to say in the email you’ll be checking with them by phone – that way you can say so and so is expecting your call.
Knock on doors
It’s literally possible to offer your writing by knocking on doors. I’ve done this in light industrial centers where I find all sorts of interesting people. By the way, even if they don’t hire you, some of them would make ideal subjects for articles.
Give a talk
Giving talks to business people about topics like how to hire a writer or how to get good content for your website can bring in a ton of leads. Most service clubs are looking for decent speakers.
If you’re not comfortable speaking in front of a group, join a Toastmasters meeting for several months – they’ll teach you want you need to know about making speeches. Take your business cards anytime you speak, and pass them out freely – even better, exchange cards so you can follow up.
Contact former clients
How long has it been since you’ve talked with former clients? Ideally you should probably call them at least once or twice a year, and send them some sort of helpful email monthly.
By the way, if you’ve moved into writing from another industry, by all means contact your former company and let them know what you’re doing. The same thing is true for any former clients or contacts you had during that time of your life.
Focus your social media profiles
Take a look at each of your social media profiles. Make sure it’s totally clear what kind of writing you do. If it’s blogging, say so; if it’s social media management, spell it out. We probably should look at our social media profiles annually if not more often.
Strengthen your professional website
Query letters sent to magazines can create income for you. Don’t forget trade magazines – they often pay better than consumer magazines.
Letters of Introduction
I consider Lori Widmer queen of Letters of Introduction, aka LOIs. Follow her lead and you can land freelance writing gigs.
Of course, the real secret to consistently landing freelance writing gigs is to market yourself consistently. If you took three of these 12 ideas and used them every work day for a month, you’d most likely have plenty of work.
Write well and often,
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