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How To Land A Freelance Writing Gig

land a freelance writing gigAfter you read this article, take a look at the category: How To Find and Get Freelance Writing Jobs

So often  new writers will look at the list of freelance writing jobs,  fire off a few emails, get no response and quickly become discouraged because they failed to land a freelance writing gig this way. Even freelance writers who have been successful in the off-line world find landing freelance writing jobs listed online daunting.

On the other hand, freelance writers often  email me saying they got one, two, three and even more freelance writing jobs from my posts. What makes the difference? How do you land a freelance writing gig?

The Advertiser Has A Problem

The first thing to know and remember is the person who placed the ad has a problem to solve. I know, you’ve got a problem too – you need writing credits and money to live on. If, however, you focus on your problem instead of the advertiser’s you’re almost sure to fail.

Within the ad for a freelance writer is at least a hint of what that problem is. It may be they need blog posts or articles, or a press release, or something else. They might need help writing a book or generating something specific for their website. Freelance writing jobs come in all shapes and sizes.

Demonstrate that you can solve their problem and they are likely to land a freelance writing gig or several.

Follow Writing Ad Directions Exactly!

The first mistake writers often make is not to follow the directions in the ads exactly! You’ve simply got to follow the instructions. If the ad for a freelance writing job says “no attachments” and you attach your credit list or a sample, your email won’t even be opened before it’s trashed.

If the ad requests you to send your resume or a sample in the body of an email, do it just that way. Sure, pasting an article into email is messy at best, but if you copy it first into NotePad or some other strictly text editor, you’re likely to get more readable copy. Email yourself a copy of what the email you intend to send first to make sure it looks reasonably okay. Your attention to the client’s details mean you may just land a freelance writing gig.

You will occasionally see ads that ask you to use snail mail – if you want that freelance writing job, send it by snail mail. Sure, it’s old fashioned. But you’ll get nowhere trying to help them into the internet age before you’re even hired!

Paying attention to their directions is part of the way you demonstrate you can solve their problem.

Don’t Ask For Additional Information

I can’t tell you how many people have written me complaining they’ve responded to ads by asking for more information about the advertised freelance writing job, only to receive no reply at all.  If you want to land a freelance writing job you’ve got to demonstrate you can solve their problem. When you open by asking a question you’re actually adding to their problems. Besides,  enough people will have gone ahead and cobbled together a response that is actually satisfies the job description in the ad.

Yes, I know. Many of the ads cry out for additional information. They aren’t clear. It doesn’t matter. Asking for more information instead of actually applying is a sure-fire way to lose.

Your goal in your initial response is to get the person placing the ad interested enough to start a dialog with you about the job. It’s after that conversation has started that asking questions is both acceptable and advisable.

Make Sure You’ve Got The Right Skills

Don’t waste your time trying to land a freelance writing gig if you have no qualifications for at all. It’s one thing to stretch, and another to overreach.

If, for example, you’re tempted to apply for a writing job writing white papers, and you’ve never read one, don’t bother. Skip this ad, find some white papers to read and decide if learning how to write them is something you want to pursue. If you do, take a class, or find someone you can help write at least one white paper. Once you’re sure you can deliver, start applying.

On the other hand, almost anyone who can construct a complete sentence can write the short articles that are aimed at search engine optimization. Use good judgment about the ads you want to reply to. From article writing you can move to other higher paying gigs.

What should you do to land a freelance writing gig?

So, what should you be aware of as you craft your reply? Keep these things in mind:

  • The advertiser has a problem. If you can demonstrate that you can solve it, you’re likely to get the job.
  • Pay attention to the tone of ad and try to match that tone in your response.
  • Take time to craft your response. Make sure you demonstrate you understand their problem and can solve it for them. Do this and you’ll stand out.
  • Respond the day or the day after the ad appears. Most ads get hundreds of responses, sometimes thousands. The advertiser will often quit reading responses after a day or two.
  • Don’t expect to hear anything from your response unless they are interested. Sure, it would be nice if the advertiser at least let you know they’d gotten your application. It doesn’t work that way. Usually you won’t hear a thing until and unless they want to take it to the next step. That lack of response is usually more about the number of replies than anything you’re doing wrong.
  • On the other hand, if you’ve replied to a lot of ads and you believe you’re qualified for, get some help with how you’re crafting your response.

You Need Your Own Website!

If you’re serious about being a freelance writer, editor, blogger, translator, etc., you simply must have your own website, with your very own domain name. Sure, once and awhile some ad will state they don’t want links or to look at a site; most do. And once your site has been up awhile, potential employers will begin to find you on their own. I’m always amazed at how many find me at www.annewayman.com.

If your name is available, use it, or some derivative. It gives people a way to find you on their own. If that won’t work, pick something that’s easy to say and easy to spell.

Read You’re a Writer – You Need a Website! to get an idea how to get your own site up and running.

Here are two additional suggestions to help you get a freelance writing job:

  1. The category, How To Find and Get Freelance Writing Jobs, has all the articles about finding and getting freelance writing jobs on this blog and there are quite a few.
  2. The 3 Keys to Making Your Writing Pay! – free ebook by me and a free subscription to our newsletter.

I no longer post freelance writing jobs. You can purchase the ebook with all the links I used plus other helpful information.

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Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, freelance writer



Image from http://www.sxc.hu

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