5 Fresh Ways to Score More Freelance Writing Jobs

{flickr photo by mr-numb}
{flickr photo by mr-numb}

Every freelance writer is skilled at something. Maybe you’re a social media whiz or a marketing pro  (If so, email me.). Or you’re just savvy with your “born-this-way” natural writing abilities. Bravo! We should all celebrate what we’re good at.

As for me, I think I’ve got a hankering for getting or at least almost getting jobs. Call it years of experience from being a job hopper, but it’s how I was able to get a job as a PI and a RA and graduate with a MFT.

It’s the type of learn-on-the-job info that’s helped me get responses like these:

“You were one of over a hundred applicants for this position.”

“It’s between you and another writer.”

“You got the job!”

All welcome responses writers want to receive especially the last one.

Want to know how I did it? Read on…

1. Remember you’re emailing a real person. This may seem like a given. But surprisingly, it’s not. I’ve also been on the other side of the coin reading applications. Some people think that saying you can do the job are enough to make you want to hire them. But it’s not. If you’re applying for a writing position, write like it. Write you’re a real person writing to another real life person. You don’t have to write like you’re emailing your best friend (in most cases, you shouldn’t). But there is a difference between being professional and personable versus being unprofessional and personal. Which comes to number 2.

2. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential client. You need to think about who your client is, what they are looking for, what would float their boat. And deliver it in a paragraph or so. They want someone who is flexible, motivated, writes in a casual style? Use your letter as your first writing sample to them. Be the one to show, not just tell them what you can do.

3. Remember what your last client loved about you. We’re not always good at knowing our strengths. But if you can remember what your last happy client said about you, you’ll have a good idea. Use this in your letter to express your strengths and how you can use it to help their company succeed.

4. Check all their boxes. When I’m looking to hire someone, I’m looking for certain things, experience being one of them. Yet, I don’t always have a ton of time to read every application thoroughly so I skim through them for years of experience, work-related experience and anything else related to what’s important to me. If you can deliver exactly what the client is looking for by explaining how you’ve spent 10 years in the business, you’ll have already beaten out much of your competition. Which comes to my last tip.

5. Make it easy for them to hire you. A lot of clients who hire me say they were impressed with the amount of work I’ve done and my versatility. I think it’s because I put it all out there and I mentioned it at the very beginning. Because I know that most clients dread searching for the right candidate among hundreds of applications, I try to make my cover letter stand out from the very first sentence and I’ll leave my contact information so that they can get back to me quick. I don’t waste any time going on about my education or my desire to write for them. Those go in there only if it’s relevant and if it is, only at the bottom of my letter. I know I’m going to need to grab the client from the beginning so I’ll hit them with all the reasons why I’m qualified. And if they need more? Here’s my number and contact info.

That’s what has worked for me. How about you? Got any great strategies you’d like to share?


5 Less Travelled Paths Toward More Freelance Work

As the holiday approaches, you may be winding down your freelance writing business. Or you may be reaping the benefits of less saturation in the market. More writers taking a holiday means more work for you!

If you’re looking for fresh ways to add more work to your portfolio, here are a few tried and true methods that have worked for me in the past and is sure to work for you:

1. Peruse your local pubs.

I get about 5 free local publications sent to my address every few months. They’re like hidden job ads for writers sent straight to my front door. No money necessary. Just read, research and apply.

2. Take advantage of social media.

I never thought this would work in a million years. But it did. I searched for editors in my area and contacted one who’s work impressed me. I didn’t just hear back, but I scored my first assignment for their magazine. And it’s not just LinkedIn that can help you, but Twitter, Facebook and your blog too. Send it out there that you’re looking for new freelance writing gigs and you never know who may respond back.

3. Be opened to lesser paying gigs.

Yes I’m quite sure there are a lot of writing gurus out there who would disagree with me. But I have a good reason to risk selling out. It can open future doors for you. The more work you’ve got to show for, the more evidence you have that you’re an experienced writer. That adds up to higher pay in the long run.

4. Think outside the box.

You may flock to online writing job ads and your local newspaper to find freelance writing work, but if you want to travel the less travelled path, you need to think outside the box. This means being open and curious to every opportunity you’re given. For example, I often research the people who comment on my blog. You know that the people you’re attracting to your blog share your similar interests and passion as your own. They may own an organization you would love to write for or may be able to use a writer like yourself. You never know so make sure to ask!

5. Seek to be a solution solver.

If you’re out there searching for more work, chances are you’ll meet people who need website help, newsletter content or copywriting. It’s the reason why business cards are so important. But don’t just email a contact and ask if they need writing help. Check out their website first. Find out what it’s missing and how your skills can help make it that much better. The more specific you are about what you can offer, the more likely they will be to hire you. Besides that, it’s a whole lot easier for potential clients when you come to them offering help solve their latest problems. No need for busy entrepreneurs to go on a hunt to find the best writer. You’re right there, a qualified writer willing to help and ready to work.

What less travelled path did you venture on to score your latest writing gig?