The success of any freelance writer hinges on the ability to find and land a steady stream of paying writing projects. You know the writing jobs are out there. The question is, how do you find them?
1. Dig Deeper.
If you’re just starting out, you’ve probably begun your search in the most obvious place: job boards. Places like www.mediabistro.com, www.freelancewriting.com, and www.freelancewritinggigs.com are just a few of the places designed to help you find new freelance opportunities. But, if you are just scanning the ads for writers, you aren’t digging deep enough.
Once you’ve scanned all the writing jobs, take the next step. Read the ads for editors, too. Why? Because editors need writers. It’s part of the package. Those ads for editors often list, among the many layers of job description, gold nugget words like: “manage freelance writers” or some variation on that theme. If the editor manages freelancers, you can bet the company uses them. If the company sounds like a good fit for your writing, be sure to write down the company name, website, and any other relevant contact information for later. (We’ll cover what to do with it in Part 2 next week). Apply this same strategy to ads for Creative Directors, too.
2. Don’t overlook the obvious.
The Internet is one of the biggest research tools writers have at their disposal. You probably have a gigantic list of bookmarks for places you routinely visit for information. Those places could be the source of your next writing gigs.
Let’s say, for example, that you’ve taken a couple of small assignments writing about fitness. In the course of your research, you encounter dozens of websites filled with fitness information. While you’re clicking through the research, take time to do a little market research, too. Check out the About Us and Contact Us pages on the site for clues that they use freelancers. Even if they don’t have any obvious signs be sure to bookmark or make a note of the contact information you find. Even an Info@address.com email can be useful later.
3. Make Google your friend.
Many magazines and websites have online contributor guidelines specifically for freelancers. Google can help you find thousands of them if you know the keywords to use. Here are some to try (don’t forget the quotation marks):
“Write for us”
If you want to fine-tune your results even more, add another keyword that identifies the type of writing you’d like to do. For example: “Contributor guidelines” sports
A word of caution: many results returned by these searches will be for non-paying markets. You must be willing to wade through the results to find the paying gigs.
Stay tuned! Part 2 (next Wednesday) discusses what to do with your new-found job leads.
Do you have another job-scouting tip to share? Tell me about it in the comments!