Knowing where to look for freelance writing jobs can mean the difference between working for peanuts and building a full-time income.
Does finding legitimate freelance writing jobs feel like a constant struggle? Does it ever feel like, no matter how hard you try, the jobs just aren’t there? Here’s the thing—they are there. You just may not be looking in the right places.
Half the battle of freelancing is searching for a job. Even when you have a gig, you’ve still got to keep an eye out for new opportunities. Depending on where you are in your career, this could be anywhere from 10% – 50% of your working hours. It’s important to make sure you aren’t spending too much time on the search but it’s equally important to make that time count.
It’s important to make sure you aren’t spending too much time on the search but it’s equally important to make that time count.
Here are several strategies for finding freelance writing jobs, as well as a couple hundred resources to help you get started.
Freelance Job Boards
If you ask a freelance writer, chances are, they’ve used a job board to land gigs. It’s important to note that, while job boards are a great resource for available freelance jobs, the competition is tough. You’ll be going against writers with years of experience, as well as strong overseas writers charging a fraction of your prices.
Although it can get intense, job boards offer high rewards as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.
Here are a few favorites:
Heather L. Seggel sums up content mills pretty accurately:
“A lot of naysayers are going to tell you to walk on by, but this maligned corner of the freelance world has a lot to offer if you know how to approach it correctly. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the content mill, the P90X of freelancing.”
Content mills are companies that don’t charge a whole lot for content then hire a bunch of freelancers to do the work. Subsequently, these writing jobs often don’t pay a ton of money.
Despite that, it’s a pretty good place to start out when you don’t have a lot of experience. You’ll typically have a steady influx of work and can make a full-time income if you’re willing to churn out the words.
Think of it as the difference between working as a line cook vs. a 5-star chef. Yes, you’re both cooking a burger, but the way it’s prepared, polished and served is much different. And remember, no one wakes up one day as a 5-star chef. You’ll probably have to cook a few fast food burgers on your way there. So content mills are a terrific place to build your portfolio and gain experience when starting out.
Digital Marketing Companies
The best freelance writing jobs actually aren’t advertised—you’ve got to go find them. But don’t worry, they aren’t too hard to discover if you know where to look.
Have you ever considered pitching your services directly to digital marketing companies? With content marketing becoming more and more popular, these opportunities are everywhere and often pay much better than content mills.
Digital marketing companies offer various specialties and often call themselves agencies. While there’s no guarantee these companies are looking for writers, it never hurts to ask! Here are some of the best digital marketing companies to look into, broken down by specialty:
In order to rank in search engines, websites need to update their website with fresh content on a regular basis. The best way to do this? Blogging.
SEO agencies are a great place to start pitching your services to because they’re often lacking freelance writers. Here are some agencies that would likely be happy to hear from you:
There are hundreds more out there. But these should get you started. To dig even deeper, try localized Google searches. For example, SEO companies in Toronto.
Web designers create beautiful websites. But websites need content too. Partnering with web designers and web design agencies is a great way to increase your income.
You’ll mainly be creating website content, which means you’ll need to be good at interviewing business owners and capturing the essence of their business. These gigs – much like web design itself – are typically one-time projects.
Although most of these jobs are typically one-offs, it never hurts to connect with the business owner and maintain a relationship. If they are impressed with your web content (which they will be of course) it could lead to ongoing contracts in the future.
These are the crème de la crème of digital agency freelance jobs. Content marketing companies spend their time exclusively selling the same thing as you – words. If you want an opportunity to test all sorts of writing styles, try to land a gig with a few companies like these.
You’ll need a strong sales strategy to make this work. But for the writers willing to hustle, you’ll enjoy reaping the rewards.
Ok. Take a breath. That was a lot of information to digest. But this list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding freelance writing opportunities.
There’s money to be made with writing—you’ve just got to know where to look. And once you’ve found it, ensure you get paid for your work by using the free freelance writing invoice template. Here, you’ll be able to quickly download, fill out and send every invoice, helping you look more professional to your freelance clients.
Where are you finding freelance gigs? Do you have any other tips, resources or companies to add to the list? Feel free to give you contribution in the comments.
This is an archived post from the FreshBooks Blog and was originally published in May 2016.
about the author
Chelsei Henderson is a content marketing consultant helping freelancers and entrepreneurs build successful companies in the digital world.