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. There is a big problem with many online writing job boards though. You take time to craft the perfect pitch and send it to what sounds like a dream job, only to find out that job pays pennies per word.
Contena is one of the higher quality job boards that I’ve come across. My favorite feature of the site is that it tells you how much the pay is for the jobs up front. Contena helps writers streamline the job process, which allows you to spend more time writing and earning money.
1. Stay Focused
When you sign up for Contena, you will notice there are several amazing opportunities listed. Don’t get distracted by fun postings that aren’t in your niche. For example, I love weddings and this wedding posting looked tempting, but I would have wasted my time since I don’t have very many published clips in the field. It is best to stick with my field of finance.
Also, see how the one finance job is $0.03 per word. I am not even going to look at it. That is well below my pay rate, and it would be a waste of time to think about it for more than a second. 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.
2. Pitch Early and Pitch Often
You are against several online freelance writers, so you don’t have time to waste. Check the Contena board daily and pitch to jobs that meet your niche and pay rate daily. Is there such a thing as pitching to too many jobs? I would say no, and here’s why. Say you apply for 10 writing jobs. Out of these 10, you will probably hear back from five or six (less if you are still building up your experience, more if you are an expert).
Out of these five or six jobs, you are going to probably not like one or two of them. Either the editor is hard to work with, the scope of work is more than you thought, or the pay rate is higher for the other jobs. If these are not your only job offers, then you can politely turn them down without worry, since you already have other jobs lined up.
Also, don’t take your pitches to the bank. Your pitches are not cashable. By this, I mean, don’t assume you are going to get the job just because you are the most qualified. I have interviewed with online editorials where I was clearly qualified, and still did not get the job, either due to my availability or because the editor just preferred a different personality. The key is to keep hustling and keep pitching.
3. Take Advantage of Job Leads
While Contena’s job board is a great starting place, don’t forget to look at their job leads section. This will give you an idea of which publications are currently looking for writers or have looked for writers in the past. Make sure to filter it per minimum pay to ensure you are weeding out the cheap sites.
Just because a job lead doesn’t have an open writing job doesn’t mean they aren’t in need of a writer. My motto is, “Everyone always needs a writer.” Don’t laugh. This belief has scored me plenty of jobs that were never advertised.
4. Look at Past Job Postings
No one recommends this tip, but I think it is an important one for job writing boards. Look at past job postings. Contena keeps job postings for two months, and I like to go back to 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.
5. 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. 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 strike out. 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. Do as Dory from Finding Nemo would do if she were a writer, just keep pitching!