Here’s Where All the Writing Gigs Are
A lot of writers in our last Freelance Writers Blast Off asked Carol and me where they can find freelance writing gigs. Is there some super-secret website where clients and editors are posting gigs? Or should they scour Craigslist and eLance every day and apply to the job ads there?
Here’s the thing: The clients that pay well aren’t out there posting job ads on free and cheap sites. You’ll rarely see, for example, a Fortune 500 company or a magazine like Family Circle on Craigslist or any of the freelance job boards.
Job listing and bidding sites like Craigslist and eLance are a race to the bottom: The clients are usually bottom-feeders looking for the lowest price, and the freelancers there go crazy trying to underbid one another. You can write an article for 10 bucks? I can do it for five. The places that pay well don’t need to place an ad and then wade through 500 responses from writers looking for a quick gig.
Don’t get me wrong — every once in awhile you’ll find a gem on the mass job boards. But typically, applying to one of these gigs, and competing against 500 other writers who are all trying to underbid one another, is a huge waste of time. Just like in the 9-5 world, the best jobs are usually not advertised.
So where are the editors and clients hanging out?
On specialized job boards. If you write in a certain niche, you may find gigs listed on the websites of organizations that cater to those industries. Even if the company or publication is looking for a full-time writer, you can sometimes convince them that using a freelancer instead would be beneficial to their bottom line.
In-house. You need to put on your researcher hat and find out where the best opportunities are for you. That means you use Writers Market, Yahoo’s Magazine Directory, Google, and so on to find the clients you want to write for, and then hit them with a query letter, letter of introduction, or sales letter, depending on the type of writing you do. The boards like eLance attract lazy writers who expect good work to come to them. If you show initiative and resourcefulness by proactively going after assignments, you can unearth some great opportunities.
Out there looking for the best writer. I’ve had editors and corporate clients approach me after seeing my website, articles I’ve done for other magazines, my profile on LinkedIn, and my guest posts for other blogs. So wow the world with your stellar skills by kicking ass on every assignment you get, look for opportunities to get your name out there, build a great website to showcase your writing, and present a professional image on social media.
Talking to your current editors and clients. This is another reason to kick butt on your assignments: Your editor or client knows other people who are in a position to hire you, and if they like you, they’ll mention you to their friends. But don’t wait for it to happen: If your editor works for a company that puts out several magazines, ask if she’d be willing to put you in contact with the other editors there. It’s worked for me! And if you do get a referral that turns into work, don’t forget to send the referrer a nice note or even a small gift. [lf]
If you liked that post, you might also like:
- Do You Want to Market the Easy Way — Or the Way That Will Land You Freelance Writing Gigs?
- How to Crowdsource Your Way to Better Article Ideas, Great Sources, and More
- How to Break Out of Your Freelance Writing Comfort Zone
- Are You Getting the Most Out of Client Compliments?
- Stack the Odds in Your Favor: How to Have Perfect Timing When Pitching