There are a few different strategies to land paid writing jobs online, and one of the easiest methods for beginner writers is to apply for job listings because people are requesting you to contact them about your writing services. Of course, with this strategy, you are also competing against hundreds of other freelancers too.
Here are my six freelance writing job board hacks to get noticed and get paid.
1. Stay Focused
Don’t get distracted by fun postings that aren’t in your niche. Similarly, don’t get sucked into job postings that are below your desired pay rate. It is not worth your time, even if you are hard up for cash at the moment.
If you are starting out, then you might find that the lower-paid jobs are easier to obtain. However, don’t let your rate stay there very long since you want to get to the point of earning a decent monthly income from freelance writing.
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2. Don’t Pay for Any Freelance Writing Job Board Postings
Some sites like Contena’s job board charge a fee to see job board listings. You don’t need to pay to look at a freelance writing job board. Do this instead. Look for specific listings that are easy to find elsewhere with a simple Google search.
3. Look at Past Job Postings
No one recommends this tip, but I think it is an important one when you want to increase your clients through the use of a freelance writing job board. Look at past job postings. Most job boards keep job postings for a few months. I like to go back to the oldest job listings to gather more info on potential clients. I assume two things when I do this. First, this company needed a writer and are open to remote workers. Secondly, not all freelance writers work out, so there is a good chance this company needs another writer now or in the future.
With these two assumptions, I send an email to that company telling them I saw their old job listing and was wondering if they are still in need of a writer. There is a good chance you will get a reply because you are no longer in competition with hundreds of writers that saw that post two months ago. Even if the company says they have a writer, you can keep their contact information on file and follow up with them in six months.
4. Add a Personal Touch
Job posters are reading hundreds of similar job application emails each day. These emails are usually blasts of how amazing the writer is. You can really stand out by adding a personal touch at the beginning of your email. These simple ways will make a difference, but they might take a few more minutes of research before you can send your pitch:
- Find a name. No one likes to be called Dear Sir or Madam.
- Read something on the site and briefly mention it.
- Talk about your experience while talking about them.
Here’s a job posting for a blog writer in the beard/men’s grooming niche. To make your pitch stand out, you want to address the job posters by name, which they made easy by including their names at the end of the posting. Then you want to visit their site and look for something comment-worthy. Their blog is lackluster, but they have an interesting Facebook page. I would start the pitch email like this:
Hi Maddy and Drew,
First off, I want to tell you how much I love your Facebook page. That beard transformation photo you just posted is crazy amazing!
And then move on to a brief paragraph of how my experience will help them and whatever else they might have requested for the job application.
I picked the casual tone for that line because that is the tone of the company. If I was pitching an accountant or bank, I would not be throwing around phrases like “crazy amazing.” Instead, I might say, “I appreciate your recent article on financial pressures and depression and think that this crucial message is not shared enough in the finance world.” Bottom line: know your audience.
5. Make Your Presence Known Without Stalking
The last thing you want to do is to come off as the crazy stalker. You want to increase your chances of being remembered though. When possible, email your job applications to a direct email rather than a job board application. This can usually be found on the job poster’s website.
I like to also try to find the person on LinkedIn, connect with them with a short note that says something like, “I was excited to see your job posting and wanted to connect on here as well.” You aren’t selling yourself on LinkedIn, just giving them a face to your email. If they don’t have a LinkedIn, pick one social media platform to follow and make one or two meaningful comments on recent posts.
For example, if I wanted to apply for the beard blogging position, the owners are not on LinkedIn. I would instead follow their page on Facebook and pick two posts to add valuable input. This is not your chance to leave a note about yourself or to drop a generic “cool picture” comment. Instead, I might answer one of their prompts. The beard oil company posted about facial hair being banned at sport competitions and if you agree or not. I would then comment, “This is a fascinating issue, and while I definitely believe that beards belong on the mat, I would hate for someone to experience a beard injury. I think someone needs to design protective beard gear.”
6. Keep Track of Connections and Pitches
That brings me to my next point. Keep all of your connections and pitches organized. You can do this by hand, Trello board, or even a fancy Excel sheet. I have a pitch tracker in my productivity freelance planner that is super helpful.
Whatever works for you. You want to keep track of who you emailed, what you pitched, and who is a future possibility. For example, if you receive an email from a pitch that says, “We love your experience, but unfortunately we have filled the writing position already.”
You can email them back saying, “Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. If you don’t mind, I would love to reconnect with you in three months to make sure all of your writing needs are met. Would that be okay?” The other solution would be to wait three to four months and email them again – something along the lines of, “I applied to your XX writing job a few months back. While I know you filled the position initially, I was curious if you were in need of any more writers?”
I find that short emails with direct questions get the best results. You don’t need to ramble on or explain your situation. You just need to ask.
If you want to land more writing jobs, then you need to perfect your pitch and not get discouraged when you strikeout. Do as Dory from Finding Nemo would do if she were a writer, just keep pitching. Over the past decade, I have worked for hundreds of clients, and I have also been turned down by or ignored by three to four times as many potential clients.