Today’s market has opened up tremendous writing opportunities for freelance writers. Opportunities abound every which way you look. There are already thousands of people who earn their living writing from home.
Here are ten proven techniques and methods for breaking into today’s freelance writing market:
1. Write for the web.
Online communications have opened a floodgate of opportunities. Billions of dollars are spent daily on creating content online, and you don’t have to be a big corporation to capture your share of that pie.
There are several reasons why so much money is spent on creating content online:
- According to Google’s latest seo updates, fresh content is rewarded with higher search engine rankings. Static sites, on the other hand, are penalized with lower rankings.
- Web visitors like to see fresh content.
- Site owners constantly need to attract traffic to their sites and will invest in paying writers to produce new material.
Current opportunities include writing articles, blogs, managing content on social media, writing ebooks and newsletters and managing discussion forums and groups.
Writing for the web is easy but requires acquiring certain skills and techniques. Here is a post on Web Content Writing Basics, that covers the basics of how web content writing differs from writing for other media.
An easy site to begin content writing is for eHow.com. This site is good to build a portfolio to show clients samples of your work. Search engines also give a good ranking to eHow. It may not be the top site for earning solely through your writing but it is definitely a great starting point.
2. Blog for fun and profit.
The key to learning how to become a blogger is to start blogging! It is really that simple. The advantages of blogs as a small business are very low start-up and operational costs. The only real cost is the blogger’s time. The challenge for all for profit bloggers is creating a large enough audience to support the business.
Most for-profit blogs run ads. Blog networks such as Blog Ads and Goggle’s Adsense make it easy to add advertising to a blog site. However, only the top sites in terms of traffic generate more than a few dollars per day. Most ecommerce sites have affiliate programs, and they are easy to use. For example, The Amazon Affiliate Program rewards sites that sell Amazon products.
3. Bid for your next freelance project at freelance-bidding sites.
These sites connect freelance writers to different markets that require their skills. The membership process is simple. You register and often pay a small fee. Once you are registered, you can browse through all the active projects and bid on the ones that interest you. These websites make a small commission on all projects that are awarded. The buyer is billed directly. Sologig, Elance, Guru and The Freelance Work Exchange are a few examples of freelance-bidding sites.
4. Contact the editors of local newspapers in your town or city.
Local newspapers are excellent places to start building a network of contacts in the industry. They run on a tight budget and have a skeleton staff. They constantly need writers to cover stories as “stringers”. Stringers are freelance journalists that are paid per piece as opposed to being paid a regular salary. Check out Newpapers.com for an online database of newspapers across the country.
5. Write for an international publication.
The world is flat and this global marketplace is a haven for writers. You can reach an ever-widening audience thousands of miles away. NewsDirectory provides a list of newspapers and magazines around the globe. Worldwide Freelance Writer highlights many paying markets in its market section.
6. Turn your hobbies into a lucrative freelance writing career.
Hobbies can be fun, exciting and expensive. Most of all, hobbies are the result of a passion or love. At the risk of stating the obvious, a passionate love for a subject makes for truly ingenious copy. Check out the latest Writer’s Market, which provides detailed descriptions of magazines that hire freelance writing talent.
7. Write for professional trade journals.
Fitness instructors, computer geeks, artists, astrologers, doctors and lawyers have become well-published writers in their field of expertise.
Join writers’ organizations in your field and also visit various websites and blogs that specialize in your topic. You could also contribute by being a guest blogger to a blog that caters to your field or profession.
8. Take advantage of your ethnicity and write for ethnic markets.
There are two types of markets available to journalists of ethnic origins. The first is the English speaking and writing market.
Join an association for a particular ethnic community and broaden your contacts and enhance your networking skills. These websites have special information for ethnic writers:
SAJA (South Asian Journalists Association)
AAJA (Asian American Journalists Association)
Journalismnext.com (Website for minority journalists and media professionals)
NAHJ (National Association of Hispanic Journalists)
The second market open to ethnic journalists is the foreign language media. According to the U.S 2000 Census results, 45 million people aged 5 and older spoke a language other than English at home. Wikipedia has a listing of foreign language newspapers in the U.S
9. Contribute towards nonpaying writing opportunities.
An unpaid opportunity is an excellent way to build up a portfolio and hone your writing skills. Non-profits need content for their websites and often require proposal and grant writers. VolunteerMatch is an online network of thousands of participating nonprofits. Your local church, homeowners associations’, local clubs and community groups need volunteers to write their newsletters.
10. Use the internet in your search.
The internet is the most powerful tool for research and is also the most easily accessible tool for finding your next freelance project. The following resources are helpful:
American Society of Journalists and Authors