Welcome to day 8 of my 12 Days of Freelance Writing series. You can view the whole series here.
Job boards for freelance writers can be a hit or miss. You can find amazing starting opportunities, and you can be hit with low-paying duds.
On the upside, writing job listings are an easy way to access paid opportunities and clips for your portfolio. If you want to have more success winning positions on job boards for freelance writers, try these tips out.
1. Check and apply often.
The key to get jobs on job boards is to check and apply often. If you see an amazing job listing and think, “I’ll apply to that later today,” you have missed your window. Devote time each morning and afternoon to apply for jobs in your area of expertise. Don’t just stop after a day or two of applying. It can take time to build up a profitable client list.
2. Make it about them.
It can be easy to go on and on about how great we are when applying for a job. We want the client to know they are getting someone that fits the job perfectly, right? While it is important to mention a few of your highlights and experience, try formatting the email’s focus on them. Instead of, “I am an expert dog writer who has been published on Dog Fancy,” try “My two-years of experience writing for Dog Fancy gives me a valuable edge because I am able to give your readers the content they truly crave from a dog blog.”
3. Be a human, not a salesman.
Don’t try to win a client over by pulling a rabbit out of your hat. Just be you. Of course, I mean be the you that is an amazing writer, not the you that rolled out of bed to the chorus of, “What’s for breakfast, Mom?”
Instead of selling at them, saying, “I can deliver the best content in under 24 hours at the best price,” just talk to them. “I love what you are doing on your mommy blog, and I am already bubbling up with several article ideas that I think would be a perfect fit for you,” sends a more genuine tone.
4. Don’t copy and paste a template.
You work hard to get your pitch email just perfect, so why not send it to anyone and everyone, right? Each pitch email needs to have some level of customization to fit the potential client. Template emails are easy to spot. Writing customized emails will take longer, but it will gain you more clients in the long run.
5. Follow up.
A good job listing can receive 400+ emails. A lot of clients get overwhelmed by this and either shut down and hire no one or they hire the wrong person because they are desperate just to get the hiring process over. This is why a follow up email is a great way to win a client over. A good follow up time is a week. I like to keep the email subject line very concise, like “Following up on X job” or “Did you ever hire an X writer?”
If they did hire a writer, I would put them on my calendar to email again in about two to three months. You might even be able to research if the client is getting the content they wanted through regular blog posts. This email is not meant to be pushy, but just as a friendly email to initiate communication.
Job Postings to Stay Away From
Wherever you have good honest people trying to make money, you will have scammers. It is just a fact of the internet. In order to protect yourself and your money, steer clear of the following:
- Anyone asking for a Skype interview: Just say no to Skype interviews since most are phishing scams. The ones that might be legit are a waste of time. Most clients can decide if they want you to write for them through a few emails. Phone interviews are sometimes necessary if the job is complex or the client likes to explain things over a quick call rather than email. However, calls can be costly time sucks, so it is best to limit them when possible.
- Clients who will pay you to get published on high authority sites: Some clients want ghostwriters to write articles for top websites such as Forbes and Huffington Post on their behalf. The problem is that the client does not already have an established relationship with the publication and is looking for you to do all the dirty work. Many of these jobs will only pay you for the article if it is published on a top site. This is just a big waste of time.
- The cheap and demanding: If someone is offering to pay pennies per word and has a long list of requirements and demands, then quickly move on. This person thinks they are God’s gift to freelancers. What they really are is cheap and impossible to please. They will be a headache to work with, and you won’t even have a decent paycheck to make you feel better about it. Another hard pass – exposure. Exposure doesn’t pay the bills, honey.
Feel like you have sent a hundred emails with no success? Don’t lose hope. Evaluate your application or pitch. You might not be giving off the right message. Be sure you are following all of the directions in the listing, too. Some clients want to filter out writers and will use a keyword or phrase to do so.
Increase your writing productivity with my Productivity Planner for Freelance Writers.