Is writing all you need to land a freelance writing job?
For a lot of people, that’s what they focus on when they try to land a writing job. If they can get A’s in school, then surely they can be a freelance writer.
But, they soon wonder why they aren’t landing consistent work. Sure, they can land a project, write the piece, but after they get paid, they don’t hear from the client ever again. If that has happened to you, doubt probably set in, right?
You wonder if you really are cut out to be a freelance writer. If only you knew what editors or business owners really wanted in a freelance writer.
Well, guess what? I’ve been freelance writing for over two years, and in that time, I’ve worked with editors, solopreneurs and small business owners.
I asked some of my clients a while back what non-writing skills they look for when deciding on a freelance writer.
Because if you didn’t already know, there’s so much more to being a freelance writer than being able to write. This is a whole business, not a hobby; you are replacing your job (hopefully) so think of freelance writing more as a business than just writing about your passions.
There are skills, tools, and strategies you must learn to succeed as a freelance writer online. I’ve said this before, but the majority of freelance writers never make it past the first year. They give up, quit, or no longer want to do this.
It’s sad really. These freelance writers probably struggled, had no idea where to find lucrative jobs, and once they did land a gig, it was either low-paying, ghostwritten or a one-off piece.
New freelance writers may also be under the impression that this is normal – one-off pieces, ad hoc basis, and bulk writing projects.
This is not what freelance writing is about. There are a lot of successful writers (particularly students in my course) that have a goal to quit their full-time job and make a living as a writer. Many are already living that dream.
So, if you haven’t landed a recurring gig, here are three insider tips to help you out!
1. You Need Industry Knowledge
Do you have a niche and are you an expert in it? This one thing can turn a one-off project into a consistent project.
Industry knowledge is a huge factor in editors’ and business owners’ hiring decision. Just think about it:
Freelance writer A’s niches are relationships, health, parenting and home decor. Freelance writer B’s niche is financial intimacy for newly married people.
The editor of a new publication, Love Amore, is looking for a writer that understands the nuances of marriage and how forming a bond can make other roles harder like the division of labor, financial harmony, and parenting cohesiveness.
Looking at the two candidates, which writer will the editor lean towards? Ding, ding ding!! Freelancer B come on down!
This freelance writer only writes about financial intimacy for newly married people. This writer understands how there’s a lack of communication between partners and a lot of confusion about their money.
The editor wants articles for married couples, and this fits the bill.
So, as a freelance writer, have you looked at your niche and niched down? When I first started, I had three niches – parenting, health, and education. This helped me figure out what I liked writing about and surprisingly it was about digital marketing.
It’s okay to have several niches when you’re new, but if you’ve been freelancing for a year and write on a variety of topics, it’s time to niche down.
2. You Can Work On Your Own
Can you work independently on your freelance writing projects, or do you constantly email the client questions?
One thing many of my clients told me that they liked about my work was the fact that I didn’t have to email the client numerous times about the project details.
Once the topic was given, I wrote the piece and submitted it. Of course, there were times when I submitted an outline first to make sure I was on track with what the client wanted, but other than that, it was my job to do the rest.
Remember, a client not only hired you for their content but to make their lives easier.
Work towards being more independent with your projects. Do your own research instead of asking the client. If you have a question about the company, look at their website and see if you can find the answer that way.
You can also look on LinkedIn profile or even at their Facebook page to get more help.
3. You Have Connections in Your Niche
Let me ask you this:
Have you connected with at least five other freelance writers and are on social media sharing posts and interacting with influencers and potential clients?
If you haven’t, now is the time to connect with the right people to boost your freelance writing biz. This might mean going out of your comfort zone and attending a Twitter chat or looking on MeetUp and attending a local event.
You can start small though, and connect with other freelance writers and comment on some blogs that you would like to write for.
Be consistent and grow your network. I know that a lot of clients hire me because they know I’m connected with influencers, certain native digital companies and certain platforms like Huffington Post.
Because of my connections and my social presence, most of my work comes to me or through referrals. I don’t have to pitch much, if at all, and I can pick and choose with whom I want to collaborate with.
Can this be you? For sure, if you put the work in, have the type of writing tone for your clients, and you have a strong marketing plan to work from.
Because when you think about it, the best freelance writers are the ones that know how to market their services online.
I Want to Hear From You
Now it’s your turn – what skill do you think you need to land a recurring gig? Are most of your projects recurring or one-off? Let me know in the comments.