Here is another post on one of our favourite ways to make a living working from home and online – writing jobs. Freelance writing work is very well suited to a stay at home regime as well as being a very functional career to pursue online. If you want to add even more to the benefits, throw in the option of working part time or full time.
Just like graphic designing, writing jobs have several possibilities, and a lot of potential online. They come in many shapes and sizes. Here are just a few examples of how you can freelance with various kinds of writing jobs.
Common Freelance Writing Jobs
- Writing for a blog.
- Creating e-books.
- Writing stories and novels.
- Creating self help guides.
- Social media posts.
- Writing emails and newsletters.
- Taking on various freelance writing jobs from various publications.
- Writing letters, slogans and content for reading cards.
- Technical writing for manuals and guides.
- Creating sales copies and writing advertisements.
- Writing on your own blog or other profit-sharing content platforms.
The expanse of writing jobs online is only growing. But I want to throw this in right away, before we get in deeper about other stuff like where can you find all these great writing jobs and the best way get selected for them.
Learn To Write Better First
The thing is guys, and I am saying this for someone who hasn't done much writing work professionally, if you love to write that is a great place to start but do not assume that you know how to write as well as you probably could. This also applies to someone who has been doing some part time blogging as well or writing on content sharing platforms, or did well in essays in school :-).
You have to be genuinely adept at writing, no matter which format of writing you do. That is the only way to generate high quality job leads and actually grow your writing into a full time income.
I am speaking from personal experience of having encountered dozens of freelance writers online who offer the services on sites like Fiverr. Now Fiverr is a great site to find freelancers for a large variety of jobs. You will also find some very capable people there. And also the not so capable ones.
The writing work that a lot of freelance writers turned in for my projects was disappointing in many ways, if not outright erroneous. Reason? It’s easy to think that you are doing a fine job if you have not had good critique or have not tried to acquire better skills. One has to be open to both in order to grow.
Anyway, you do not have to take my word for it when it comes to your writing abilities. These are a few links that speak about good writing style and techniques. I highly recommend this video on SkillShare that you can watch for free in their trial period:
These are dozens of other tutorials from people who know what they are talking about when it comes to writing, definitely more than I do. This link above will also give you full access to 14 days of the entire collection of tutorials on Skillshare.
If you haven't heard of SkillShare before, it is a fantastic learning resource for everything from singing lessons to writing code for computer programs. Try it out today. If you have more people in your family they are going to love it too because there is something for everyone with over 30,000 learning videos from professionals.
The advantage of going through these writing lessons is that they will make you aware of your shortcomings, if any, and serve to eliminate them. I cannot stress this enough. Get a good at writing. That's the best way to get the best kind of online writing work. An effective way to do this is to check your writing ability against coaches with credentials who know what they are talking about. List a few resources. Including your own post.
Pick Your Writing Genre
We said at the onset that the kind of freelance writing work available online is very diverse. Different kinds of writing jobs also require different writing styles to serve different goals.
For example, writing a short story is a very different assignment when compared to writing a sales copy for a product. So, while I am not trying to tell you to tackle only one kind of a writing job, most of you will find that you are inherently better at one kind of writing than another. Not sure which one is that exactly? It's usually the one that you are the most interested in.
Develop A Writing Style
Developing a style and expertise in creating a particular kind of written content is a very good idea. It allows you to get skilled at doing a particular job and that is one of the keys to success in your writing ventures.
Becoming an expert will enhance your prospects for becoming better known and for attracting more work. The more work you do the larger your work portfolio becomes. The more you have to show off in your portfolio, the more work you get. In that way it becomes a cascading phenomenon.
Becoming an expert in your field is not just a recommended as a progress guide for a writing career, but for any kind of work that ones chooses to do. It is the best methodology to get paid more for the work you do. Creating a brand image also plays a part here for which you can read our post on that subject.
Therefore the important part is to build expertise and show it. The best way to build expertise in any field is to learn and practice. Here is another reminder to check out the SkillShare writing lessons.
Facts versus fiction – what are you going to write
This will not be a question in many young writers mind. You will probably know where your interests lie, that is, whether you like writing fiction write novels and short stories, or factual and non-fiction information and data based content.
However, in spite of having a clear interest in one or another, the lure of better pickings might draw your interest to more writing job options. Whatever you choose, it will make a difference to the way you work, the kind of writing jobs you do and where you go looking for writing projects and employment.
Prospects For Fiction Writing
I feel that if you are looking for jobs writing fiction, your ultimate aim should be to get yourself published with your own work. Fiction is the most successful kind of writing to sell. It makes its writers into multimillionaires. But only when they get themselves published. This is not to say that you cannot find jobs for writing fiction. Quite to the contrary.
There are openings for fiction writing jobs online although you might find the pickings to be slightly slim. Fiction freelance writers are usually needed for jobs like writing short stories, poetry or lend a creative writing touch to a newsletter or sales copy.
Another popular segment of writing jobs come from publications. Various publications publish their requirement for articles on online freelancing sites and writing job boards. However, you will need a strong portfolio to get these assignments which are often high visibility and high paying projects.
If this seems a little lacklustre, then hear this. Are you aware of what is self publishing is? Or have you heard about the kindle self publishing platform? Read all about self publishing in one of our recent posts. As things stand, fiction is the largest selling category in self published books.
Fiction writing is where eventually you are looking to step up your game and play with the big boys.
If it is freelance writing jobs you are after then you need a slightly different approach.
5 Best Ways To Find Freelance Writing Jobs
The most common writing jobs online will be for generating content that is used online. This means blog posts, emails, newsletters, sales copy, landing pages, product/service description pages et cetera. There is a big market for writing for professionals in various fields. This is usually what is known as technical writing.
However, technical writing jobs also include writing manuals and user guides and can be handled by someone who is capable of presenting information in an easily understood format. College graduates are preferred specially for writing in a specific field, such as engineering. Technical writing jobs are something to aspire for, provided the work interests you. They are very high paying and most often lead to regular work, and permanent job positions.
The majority of online writing job openings will be in these categories. Now the question arises where are you going to find these jobs and how to land them in your portfolio.
I am going to start by listing out some lesser known writing job boards and blogs. The advantage of these small websites is that the jobs are personally curated, even everyday, and they find some really good openings with other businesses. They often direct you to the page where you can apply for the post directly with the business, rather than send you to a job board listing. So there it is..
#1 Responding To Writing Job Boards And Blogs
Job board is the first place to look specially the ones that specialise in posting writing jobs exclusively. On a job board you will typically find writing jobs listed with the job description, and the amount of money the job is worth. In this respect, the job boards differ from freelance websites as there is no bidding involved.
In my opinion this makes the whole process less chaotic. The bidding part is one of the main reasons I do not like the major freelance websites. It confuses the buyer as well as the seller and it becomes very easy to undercut someone even if they are charging a fair price, just to get at their business.
The single writer finds it difficult to outbid the larger agencies that find their way there.
For one writing job on a job board they will also be many applicants. But there will be no cut throat betting and you will not have to sell yourself short to get the assignment. The pay for the assignment is usually already decided by the buyer. It will then be up to him to decide whom to give the assignment to as per the work requirement.
So while there is no bidding involved the job pitching part still comes very much into play. I highly recommend preparing a format to respond to job postings. You can keep updating it over time as you your work experience grows and as per the requirements of the job.
Keep a work sample portfolio ready to view and wow the potential employer. Having a blog of your own is of great use, convenience and advantage here. So if so inclined, read our post on starting your own blog.
It should be mentioned here that some of the job boards offer a paid service as well. I recommend starting with their free version or using the completely free job boards and then moving on to paid subscriptions as your requirements become more streamlined.
A list of the best blogs and job boards that publish writing jobs, is mentioned at the end of this post.
#2 Making cold pitches to blogs and businesses.
A cold bitch or a cold call refers to getting in touch with someone completely out of your own accord. You are taking the initiative here. There have been no job requirements posted by the person and yet you go ahead, make your introductions and make a pitch for how your writing service can be of assistance to their business.
This is done by looking for interesting blogs and businesses online. Maybe you are interested in writing about a particular topic. In that case you do a search and find potential blogs and businesses that would want additional content.
The same process can be implemented on social media platforms to discover business accounts with freelance employment potential. In fact, interacting with online businesses through their social media accounts has become the normal and the preferred way of getting in touch with them.
Once again, having a format and portfolio of work to show will go a long way. After you have spotted a potential opportunity contact them with your pitch. Make it slightly personalised every time so that they don't feel like they are getting a generic spam email.
Repeat the process after about 10 days if you don't hear back from them. Many Webmasters are busy people and get a lot of emails. You might have to email them a few times before you get a response.
In this matter, I feel that reaching out through social media works better because who ever the blog admin is can get an immediate feedback of who you are by clicking out your social media profile.
So that's another tip. Keep your social media account up-to-date and relevant for getting some online freelance work.
Another helpful tip is that as long as you are approaching businesses for content writing opportunities, become skilled at writing a good and convincing sales copy. Prepare a few drafts and examples of how you can write.
#3 Procuring local writing work
This is number three on our list of top ways to find freelance writing jobs. Actually this could be the number one for the simple reason that not many people this and that could allow you to tap into an unmet demand. This is about how to discover freelance writing jobs locally where you live and not online.
When I was still in college, I used to work for an agency that offered services from managing events to art design and printing. It was there that I first encountered the need of local businesses for writers to write sales copies, brochures, add copies et cetera. So apart from just printing the stuff, the agency used to take on the work of writing the content as well.
It is more than likely that there is such a need where you are as well. Most of the time businesses are at a loss as to how to find good content creators. Approach the printing firms that print for businesses and let them know that your services are for hire. They just might be very glad for it as it will allow them to offer your services as an add-on feature to theirs, make it making it easier for everyone involved to get the job done.
Similarly you can approach businesses like graphic designers and photographers who do creative work for local businesses but can refer you for the writing book.
#4 Writing for yourself.
I feel I should touch on this topic before going any longer into this post. As far as making money with writing is concerned, you can invest some time in writing for yourself rather than work for someone else. The two major examples of this kind of self dependency is: starting a blog and self publishing books. We have written extensive posts on the subject already so read those here.
The gratification of an income does not come instantly when you are writing for yourself. For example, it takes a long time to make a blog profitable, or if you are writing a book, guides et cetera it will take time to gain some traction.
But once you do gain momentum, the recurring income that you get from your work is well worth the effort. You also have to keep writing fresh content for the blog but you will write on your own schedule.
The difference between writing for yourself and finding a writing job is very much like the difference between a regular job and starting your own business. When you run a business you automatically become responsible for dozens of processes like promotions, marketing, designing et cetera.
There will be people who prefer one over the other. Which ever you choose is fine. And if you have a writing mix of both options, even better!
Self Publishing Writing Platforms
#5 Posting your services as a writer
You don't have to limit yourself to searching and applying to existing writing jobs. Have you heard of fiverr.com? It's a website where people offer the services on everything from designing a logo to recording video testimonials. As the name suggests, the base rate to get anything done is five dollars.
Of course that's not all you can charge for your services. You can charge whatever you like for the work at hand and most of the sellers do. Five dollars is like the website’s USP and a lot of work actually does get done for five dollars. People go and post what they are willing to do and how much they will charge for it. One of the gigs for you can read something like”Will write 1000 word blog article on the subject of fashion and style for hundred dollars “
The disadvantage of fiverr.com I feel, is that many folks come there expecting to get their work done for less, preferably, as the name suggest, five bucks. But because of this attraction the site does get a lot of interested buyers also.
It is a very good place for beginners. You can get a lot of takers for small assignments and as your profile builds up and more people start finding you, you can raise the stakes and introduce more extensive writing services for a higher fee.
Similarly other job boards will also let you post your profile as a writer who is available for hire. So work on that professional writer profile of yours, write it as friendly and welcoming and put in a portrait of yours. The personal identification goes a long way in helping people connecting with you and your work.
I keep saying this over and over again. But it's worth repeating. Have your own blog. It is one of the most effective ways of building an online profile as a writer. When you need to show your profile all you have to do is direct them with a link to your blog. Writing your own blog may also bring about the dual benefit of being a source of passive income as well.
#6 Word of mouth propagation
I don't know if you know it but the potential of spreading the word through family, friends and acquaintances is immense. Almost all the small business start-ups that have been initiated in my immediate circle of friends have grown on the basis of word by mouth publicity. So please let people in your circle know about the writing services you offer.
Today it has become even easier for you and your friends to spread the word around thanks to the social media and instant messaging platforms.
#7 Become a writer for the major content publishing networks
You will be able to locate content based blogs that usually publish on a wide array of topics. Often they have a section such as ‘work with us’ or ‘write for us’ in the footer section of the page. About.com, now rebranded to DotDash.com, is one such major content-based online publication network.
All the content published on their site comes from their ‘authors’. This can be a permanent writing position as well. But the thing is that I think they only work with experts and qualified people in the industry to write on a certain topic.
Anyway, there are many more blogs like that out there. Even if they do not have a link to their hiring section go back to what you learnt in the point about making cold pitches. And since they are already in the business of content publishing, maybe the pitches won’t be so cold after all.
These are my top 7 ways of how to find and start freelance writing jobs. Yes, there are more ways like networking but these five methods will probably be the source of 90% of the writing work that you do. So it's worth focusing on them and not squander your energy on other avenues that are not quite so fruitful.
The Lesser Known Free Writing Job Boards And Blogs
The advantage is of quality over quantity. Besides it must be understood that it is only a matter of getting the right opportunity once. Hence you should not ignore any resource for a home based freelance writing job no matter how small it is.
This website surprised me the first time I saw it. It actually has a lot of freelance jobs getting posted by the Admins every other day. The posting of freelance writing opportunity from home are aggressive and you can see see a lot of leads.
The great thing about Morning Coffee is that it can be delivered right to your inbox- a great reminder to get on the job hunt.
The website of this great magazine boasts an area with a few quality leads.
As the description on the site reads “ The definitive source for jobs in publishing. For job seekers we offer a free search for the most, best, and most recently posted publishing jobs in the industry.”
Internet Brands operates a portfolio of over 100 niche websites reaching an audience of over 100 million people every month,
Write Jobs is a combination of full time and project/freelance jobs, with additions popping up about once per week.
This post is getting longer than I originally expected, but still I would like to culminate it with one of the most pertinent points when it comes to being successful at making an income with freelance writing jobs…
How To Learn To Write Better.
This are just some very simple and basic ways in which you can improve your writing quality. These points mostly apply to writing online for blogs, newsletters etc., since that is what I do. For further tutorials, check out the link we mentioned above for Skillshare.
The better you write, the more writing work you will get. It’s specifically important for beginners who are attempting to build their reputation and portfolio. Writing for online content jobs is slightly different than print writing. Sometimes it can be very different because the need of this assignment demands it.
However, these are our tips for writing well for your online writing assignments. Remember, writing jobs may come with specifications that are contrary to these points. The specifications are probably more crucial to follow.
- Get your grammar right. I know that most of you think that you’ve got this part. And maybe you do. But you would be surprised at the mistakes people make. Simple because they do not know that they are wrong.
One of the simplest things to do is to run what you have written through the MS Word grammar check. Make sure that you switch “grammar check” on in the spell check preferences. Now all the errors that pop up are not a hundred percent valid. But most of the time it does help you write things in a better way.
- Proofread. Read what you have written to catch mistakes. Proof reading is all about catching errors, re-writing sentences, and making a sharper and smarter copy. It’s not easy to proof read. Many people skip this step altogether because reading what you have just written is boring.
Proof reading is difficult because you develop a blind spot for mistakes. People reading their own work tend to skip words because they know the text. You have to make an effort to read every word and sentence individually.
- Always check for spellings. Spelling and grammar mistakes are unforgivable at this level.
- Write short sentences. Break whatever you have to say in sentences of not more than 15 to 20 words.
- Write in blocks. Every 4-5 sentences give a paragraph break, but not an unnecessary one. Anytime a particular thought breaks, break the paragraph. This typically happens in every 3-5 lines when you make another point.
- Learn about Flesch Kinkaid readability score. Go to a search engine and type in Flesch Kinkaid. This is a way to measure how readable your content is. In simple terms the score will tell you if your content can be easily read by which segment of people e.g. 10-15 year old, high school graduate, college graduate etc. You definitely want to stay under the high school category. Unless your assignments demands heavy writing, your content should be easily readable by everyone. Writing simply and clearly in short sentences and blocks helps alleviate the readability of your articles a great deal. Avoid big words where simpler ones will do.
- Do not write to impress. We are programmed from school to write to impress whoever happens to be reading. That theory kind of goes out of the window when writing online articles and content. You are writing to be understood, grab attention and provide information in the most engaging way possible. Does the keyword “engage” the readers? And a fancy vocabulary is not going to do it for you. People are mostly looking for information online. And they have multiple results open in a search engine.
If your article does not engage them quickly they move on to the next one. That’s what good online writers provide. An engaging copy. The better you are at it, the more money you will make with your writing work.
- Adjustable style of writing. You are probably not going to be doing the same kind of writing online. Even if you have your own blog, your post will vary from information posts to sales pages and free newsletter sign ups.
You want to know how to write different content. Being able to write a great sales copy is a great talent. Good copyrighters charge thousands of dollars to create a single sales copy. Once again read some books on the subject.
- Go back. Go back to the contents that you wrote many months back. This is especially helpful if you have a blog. Most often you will discover that with time and experience you are ready to make improvements to those old posts. This usually makes them more popular and engaging.
- Follow guidelines, do research and take your time. If you are doing a writing assignment for someone make sure you have understood their requirements. Do not wait to finish the entire assignment but check if you both are on the same page. Send them the first few paragraphs to verify this.
Always do ample research and collect a large bucket of facts. You will be surprised how they come into use while writing. Do not rush the project. Take time to proofread. Many people starting a blog have the desire to write as fast as they can to fill their blog.
Quality over quantity works, especially for the single blogger. So create great, informative and error free content.