Do you feel like you’re not doing enough to get freelance writing jobs?
You take a look at other freelance writers and think: “What’s their secret?”
The truth is this: no one method works for everyone. What works for you may not work for me. This is not because other writers are better than you. It just means that successful writers have tried different things and discovered what works for them.
So which method might work for you? Keep reading and find out!
1. Cold emailing
If you’re not already doing this on a daily or weekly basis, you need to get this done right now.
Cold emailing is basically looking for publications and blogs that are in your niche. You then send them an email, introduce yourself and ask them if they need a writer. Highlight your expertise and pitch a few topics that you can write for them.
You can usually find the blog’s contact info from their About or Contact Us page. Some of these websites will even have a Write For Us page.
If you can’t find a specific email address, you can use a free online service like hunter.io. Just enter a domain or website name and it will show you all email addresses listed under that domain. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a search result that includes the person’s job title. This would make it easier for you to personalize your email and address the specific person you’re writing to.
In the example below, I ran a search on a tech website and got several e-mail addresses that had a person’s name and job title (Social Media, Managing Editor). Hunter.io has a verify feature. You click on the gray check mark and it will check if the e-mail address is active.
Cold emailing is a numbers game, so the more you send, the better your chances of getting a reply.
If you want to learn more about cold e-mailing, pro writer Jorden Roper has an awesome free course. Check it out here.
2. Make your platforms SEO-optimized
Don’t let that term scare you away. SEO or search engine optimization is a necessary method for you to be found online.
What is SEO? It simply means, finding the right keywords that correspond to your content and using those keywords in your website or social media profiles so that you get ‘found’ in search engines.
If you’re a health and fitness writer, then those should be your keywords. Make it a point to incorporate these words into your website, blog, author bios and LinkedIn profile.
The most important thing to remember with SEO is to not overdo it. Strive to keep your writing sound as natural as possible. Use keywords only when it makes complete sense.
In my own Twitter profile, I keep it nice and simple. I define the kind of content I write and also add “blogger” to my title to be more specific.
You don’t have to limit yourself to this style. Add two or more lines to further describe yourself outside of your freelancing work – maybe mention other hobbies and interests.
If you have a writer website, you have more places to put your keywords. I used the same keywords on my About page as I did on my Twitter bio.
The important thing is finding an appropriate place to put your keywords in without sounding like a broken record (repetitive keywords).
If you have a self-hosted WordPress website, install the Yoast SEO plugin to make it easier for you to optimize your site for keywords. It’s easy to use and you don’t have to be an SEO expert to know how it works.
3. Ask for referrals from previous clients
There’s no harm in reaching out to your former clients and asking them for referrals. In fact, it’s a common practice for most successful freelancers.
Editors and content managers will always have someone else in their circle who would be looking for writers, so you need to be in their minds when that happens.
Remember these things for a successful referral:
- Do your best work. Impress a client so they will have no issues referring you to others.
- The best time to ask for a referral would be right after finishing a project, but you can also do this anytime a client compliments you on your work.
- Give your client a thank-you gift for every referral that hires you.
- Make a spreadsheet or list of your past clients and their contact information for future reference.
- Always thank clients who referred you – might sound simple, but it’s something you can easily forget.
- Create a shareable service portfolio to go with your e-mail so it’s easier for the client to refer you. You can use a free graphic design service like Canva to do this.
It will take some practice and people skills to nail down the art of asking for referrals. The earlier you start, the better. If you do this for every client, then it’s possible you’ll always have a steady stream of work.
4. Expand your niche
This is not to say that you become a generalist writer that content mills love.
Expanding your niche simply means finding topics that are related to your niche. Chances are you’re not clueless about this secondary topic. Whatever it is you’re not familiar with, you can always learn.
There are two ways you can expand your niche:
Find a related topic under the same category
For example, if your expertise is in personal finance, then there’s no reason you can’t write for other finance-related topics like investing, banking or debt management. They all fall under the bigger category, which is money management.
The advantage of this approach is that you don’t stray far from your original niche so there’s probably a lot you already know. Just because you haven’t written on a certain topic before, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Find a different topic that intersects with yours.
This is a different approach, but it still retains your original niche. In this method, you put a different niche and your niche together and see if there’s a valid topic in between.
In the diagram above, I put technology and health together. The intersection of that would be your new niche. So this new niche will open up article ideas like 10 Apps To Monitor Your Heart Rate, How 3D Printing Can Help Medical Research or 3 Gadgets That Will Help You Exercise At Home.
This approach does a great job at broadening your scope as a writer. You’ll attract clients from more than one niche, therefore being open to more freelance writing jobs.
Creatively, it allows you to keep writing about what you love while giving you space to venture into an unexplored territory. It will be quite exciting and your writing routine will be a lot more interesting.If you keep writing only what you know, you can't expect to grow. Click To Tweet
5. Automate your job search
Use a job board’s e-mail alert
Tired of constantly checking job boards every day for new listings? You don’t have to.
A few job boards can send you job alerts that match your keywords. One of them is Problogger’s job board. There’s an option to specify a keyword and receive e-mail alerts.
Create an IFTTT applet
For job boards that don’t have this feature, you can use IFTTT.
If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up for free. When you’re in the app, click the arrow beside your username and select New Applet.
Next, click the link on “this” as shown in the image below:
On the next page, select RSS feed.
In the Choose trigger page, click New feed item matches.
Type in the keyword that applies to the kind of freelance writing jobs you want to get notified on. Type only one keyword. Multiple keywords will not work.
Enter the RSS Feed or Feed URL of the job board you want to use. You can find RSS links in the website itself, usually located in the sidebar or footer of the website’s main page. In the example below, I am using the Bloggingpro job board’s RSS feed.
Click Create trigger when done.
On the next page, click the “that” link.
Under Choose action service, type in Gmail. A Gmail logo should come up. Click on this image.
You can search for Email if you’re not using a Gmail address.
Choose Send yourself an email as your action.
The next page will show you how the e-mail will look like. You don’t have to change anything here. In this example, however, I added “Job Alert:” to the e-mail’s subject title, which would remind me that this e-mail is from IFTTT.
Click Create Action to continue.
Hit the Finish button on the next page and you’re done.
Now there’s no need for you to spend hours on job boards looking for the “perfect” writing job.
Automation is great for this purpose, but your job ad response should be 100% manual and well-written. Follow all instructions indicated in the ad and proofread your e-mail before hitting Send.
The bottom line
Someone once said: If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.
This is so true in freelancing. You have to step out of your box and try new things — even if scares you. Listen to your gut but don’t dismiss other ideas just because you don’t think it’s going to work.
Sometimes, success can be the result of many little things than one big solution.
Do you have a proven way of getting more freelance writing jobs? Share them in the comments below!