The Ultimate Guide to Finding Freelance Writing Jobs

Quill

As a freelancer, the ideal amount of time you want to dedicate to finding freelance writing jobs, is no time at all.

In reality though, clients can be hard to come by, especially if you’re a newcomer to the world of blogging.

Fortunately, the Internet is bubbling with booming industries, each filled with ambitious startup companies and Internet-entrepreneurs. The best part? Every single one will need a blogger or two, and that’s where you come in.

This guide will show you exactly how to find, contact and seal the deal with potential blogging clients.

After a year of emailing out applications, dealing with clients and working within a wide range of blog settings, I’m prepared to offer you my ultimate guide to finding and landing freelance writing jobs – with efficiency.

Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs

Many freelance newbies struggle to find their first client, mainly because they don’t know where to look. As far as I’m concerned, there are three ways to go about finding freelance writing  jobs, and here they are.

Job Boards

There is really only one job board worth mentioning when it comes to getting clients, and that’s the ProBlogger Job Board. It’s the only one I’ve ever used, and it’s the only one I’m ever likely to use.

New jobs are added on a daily basis, and you can find positions relating to a range of topics, all under one roof.

Blogs wishing to advertise their vacancies need to be cough up a $50 fee to do so, which does a good job of weeding out most of the smaller blogs which resist paying as well as they probably should.

In my opinion, the ProBlogger Job Board is the most powerful tool when it comes to finding work online. So, use it regularly.

Social Media

That’s right, there really is more to Twitter than Cat pictures. In fact, a quick Twitter search of the keywords, “freelance writers contact” will get you some pretty interesting results. Give it a shot.

Additionally, LinkedIn is a great place for an aspiring freelancer to be. Set yourself up with an account, join groups and start making connections. LinkedIn even has a built-in jobs section where a simple search for the term, “blogger” can work wonders.

Google

In pretty much any situation, Google can help you out, and this is no exception.

Plenty of blogs have a “write for us” page, which basically invites freelance bloggers to apply for a job. Google can help you locate such pages.

All you need to do is perform a simple Google search with the words, “write for us” followed by a keyword relevant to the niche you want to blog about. “Write for us football” for example would be perfect if you want to write about Football.

Landing the Job

I hate to break it to you, but searching for work is only half the battle. Once you find a job (or jobs) which tickles your fancy, you will then have the task of landing it – and you only get one shot.

If you’re an expert at finding the best freelance writing jobs, but a novice when it comes to applying for them, it won’t be long before you start running out of steam. So, here are some sure-fire tips to help you land that perfect blogging position.

The Email Pitch

Whether you find a vacancy through Google, a job board or a social network, your first step will always be to email the potential client and pitch yourself as the right man or woman for the role.

Below is my personal email template, which I have gradually honed since starting out as a freelance blogger. I have mocked it up in a way which I think is easy to understand, so feel free to use is as you see fit. (Click to enlarge).

Kaya's Email Template

Regarding the email template above, there are some things worth noting:

  • I’ve made it a habit of mine to include the exact name of the position in the opening line of the email, which in this case is the, “Freelance Tech Writer Position”. This immediately demonstrates to the potential client that my email is for that position specifically, which implies that I’ve dedicated some time to apply for that role in particular.
  • The three red sections, which highlight the areas where you should be selling your skills and personality to the potential client, should all be kept to a maximum of four lines. Some positions receive hundreds of email applicants, so it’s important to keep yours short and sweet.
  • Speaking of short and sweet, I like to offer a maximum of three links to my either specific articles written by me, or my author pages, depending on the nature of the role.
Developing Your Own Voice

Here’s a highly important tip.

Do not be tempted to use the above template (or indeed this entire guide) like a cookie-cutter. Sure, you can copy it exctly for your first few email applications, but be sure to develop your own voice as time goes on. Especially as you gain experience.

The way you apply for positions, negotiate fees and submit your work says a lot about who you are as a person, and clients will definitely pick up on those details. After all, what else do they have to go by?

So, be a copy-cat to begin with, but make sure being a lone-wolf is the end goal.

Negotiating a Fee

A lot of the time, you’ll be able to ascertain the fee being offered before you even send out your email application. In these cases, I highly recommend that you do not negotiate fees right off the bat.

If the job listing mentions a wage structure of some sort, then decide beforehand whether applying will be worth your time. Such clients know what they want, and they’ll almost certainly get it – either from you, or somebody else more willing.

So, in these situations, land the job, start working and re-negotiate your fees later. The trick is to get your foot through the digital door, prove your worth, and then begin discussions about an increase in pay.

However, some job listings don’t mention fees. Instead, the client may well reply to your email application enquiring about how much you charge. In such cases, negotiate away.

Getting to Work

Now that you’ve landed the job, it’s time to start working. It’s time to start working hard.

Depending on the nature of your role, you’ll be asked to submit some form of work before too long. This may be an article, or it may even be to type up a list of article headlines for the editor to consider.

Whatever your first task is, make sure you overdeliver.

It’s important to reinforce your client’s thoughts about you. They liked you enough to allow you to work for them, but they won’t be singing your praises for too long if you can’t prove that they made right decision by hiring you.

Overdelivering on your work, especially when you just start out, is a great strategy for actually keeping your new role.

So, if the client asks for five headline ideas, give ten. If they want you to create a top ten list, create a top twelve list. You get the picture.

Avoiding the Pitfalls

Every system has its pitfalls, even the freelance blogging system. Although you can find a multitude of good, honest work out there on the Internet, it’s important to know where not to look.

Steer clear of unprofessional looking start-up blogs, private websites and any publications which might come across as controversial. In other words, stick to the trodden path on this one, and you’ll be fine.

Before you apply for anything, do your research on blog or website in question. Run them through an Alexa and Who.is test to verify both their authenticity and reputation, and take a quick tour of their website to see if you can spot anything fishy.

Over to You

I’ve now given you pretty much everything I have to offer in terms of advice on finding, landing and keeping freelance writing jobs.

Now it’s down to you to implement whatever you think sounds right, and disregard whatever sounds off the mark. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post – it’s important to develop your own strategy for when talking to potential clients. So, go and do exactly that.

Image: Kazarelth

Comments

  1. Looks like a great guide, will try and put it to use this week when I do my next new client search.

    Thanks.

  2. Great tips! Love the template!

  3. Kaya Ismail says:

    Thanks Jo!

  4. This is exactly what I was looking for. I re-entered the world of freelance writing after a 20 some-odd year break. Boy, has life changed! I set up a website and blog in the summer of 2013. Prior to that I was writing for the mills (yeah, I know – just shoot me, right?). Now I need to find my own clients. I was looking for an email template to send to local businesses when I came across your blog. I found it very helpful.

    Thank you for reaching out to newbies – or in my case – old dogs who need to learn new tricks! 🙂

    • Kaya Ismail says:

      Hi Shauna,

      Welcome back to the world of freelancing!

      I’m really glad you found my email template helpful. It was precisely the kind of thing I was in need of when I started out too.

      It’s great that you have a website with some writing samples. Based on what I’ve read from your blog, you’re a solid writer! Keep up the good work, I’m sure the clients will start rolling in soon 🙂

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