Freelance writers are part of a constantly morphing job market that becomes more complex by the day. The concept of being a freelance writer is simple – write articles, send them in, and get paid for your work. However, slogging through hundreds of websites to find jobs that will pay well can be a full-time job in itself. There are, of course, websites listing gigs that are more trustworthy than others, but between searching for said websites, researching a variety of articles, and pitching editors who may or may not respond, who has time to actually write?
Thankfully, there exist organizations and destinations whose missions are geared toward helping freelancers. These companies are experts in the freelance world and therefore can help freelancers find the best places to look for writing jobs, and productive ways to ensure more gigs using methods outside of applying to every job on a specific job board. Below is a compilation of expert advice on freelance writing job goldmines, including best places to find freelance writing gigs as well as best tactics to ensure more pitches will be accepted.
The Obvious Places to Start
Chances are, if you are a freelance professional, you have a Linkedin profile listing past experience, writing features, and current employment. It is a must-have network that helps connect professionals with other individual professionals or companies. However, many freelance writers do not correlate their profiles directly to finding jobs. This is not because Linkedin is useless. It is likely because many freelancer profiles are not set up in a way that companies would be able to find them.
The trick to optimizing Linkedin as a freelance writer is flooding your profile with keywords, utilizing the blogging feature, and navigating the job board in a different way. Every freelance writer’s profile on Linkedin should include keywords that showcase their different talents. It is not good enough to list yourself as a freelance writer, for example, you also must also include ‘blogger,’ if you write for different blogs. Other keywords would include ‘journalist,’ ‘health writer,’ ‘food blogger,’ and more. The more specific these keywords get, the more of a chance companies looking for a freelancer with your expertise will find you.
Additionally, blogging on Linkedin is a good way to solidify your standing as a good writer and a thought leader in your preferred field. Companies will already have access to a portfolio of your work through this, so keep the posts informative and professional. Lastly, when navigating the job board, try paying more attention to the companies than the specific jobs. Since most freelance writers are not concerned with full-time jobs, look for companies that interest you and, instead of applying to a specific job, ask if they are looking to work with any freelancers. This is a good way to pick up extra gigs from unexpected sources.
Upwork is a well-known hub on which freelance writers can set up a profile advertising their talents and companies can post up specific writing projects for which they need a writer. Its sole purpose is to connect freelancers with suitable jobs, and many of the gigs lead to repeat clients. Additionally, instead of looking for jobs that fit your pay rate, you set a pay scale up front in your profile and log your time directly through the website so no hours of work are unaccounted for. There is a percentage attached that Upwork takes to make its profit, so keep that in mind when setting your rate.
Upwork is a no-brainer for freelance writers because it is easy to use, clients are charged automatically (on most projects), and companies looking for freelance writers are quickly connected to them. It is important on this platform, however, to be ready at all times to accept a job. Upwork sends push notifications to your phone when you are connected with a job, and jobs go quickly, therefore a rapid response time is your best bet for picking up the most gigs. It is also important not to sell your writing short on Upwork. Do not entertain job offers that will pay you less than you know you are worth, and be sure to thoroughly research a company before accepting a gig from them. There are several people who make hundreds of dollars on Upwork a month because they are choosy about their clients. Finally, every time you finish a project for a company, suggest a future topic. This will raise your chances of being able to work for the company again.
Freelancer is a very general website that connects freelancers with different companies, depending on need. This is an important website to be on as a freelance writer because you can create a detailed, polished profile page and use it to bid on different freelance projects. The trick to using this website is to bid on as many projects as possible, and constantly check your profile. This is an example of a ‘you snooze, you lose,’ website, so be ready to jump in and bid at any moment.
Freelance writers are constantly searching for flexible work, which is where Flexjobs comes in handy. Their targeted job search algorithm is helpful in finding jobs suited to every kind of writer in record time. While this website provides only a paid service, it is worth it for the expanse of freelance jobs listed and the quick connection between job-seeker and job. The monthly payment on this website ensures that only quality jobs are listed, and gives users access to all of the resources they need to find a good next gig.
Flexjobs is an organized website. It has categories and subcategories that connect to every possible aspect of the freelance writing industry. So, when a job is suggested to a user, that job is actually suited toward their knowledge base. A good tactic for finding jobs on this website is to take as many of the skills tests as possible. This will make it easier for potential employers to find you. Additionally, be sure to create a resume directly on the website so potential employers do not have to go searching for it.
More often than not, startups look for freelance writers to create quality content to enhance their website. From blogging to growth marketing and many more opportunities, writers and startups tend to overlap quite well.
This is why Angellist is such a helpful tool. It is a job board that lists only job positions open in startup companies, and it is a great place to find companies that may be looking for freelance writers in the future. What’s also great is that most jobs list key details about itself and the job they are hiring. Want to make sure you’re working for a credible startup AND want to know the pay range for this job? AngelList is great for that.
The trick to this website, like Linkedin, is to put freelance writing keywords in your profile and to connect with as many companies as you can. Applying to different positions on this website is as simple as clicking ‘I’m Interested,’ and writing a brief paragraph about why. While there may not be many ‘freelance writing’ jobs listed, being able to reach out to the CEOs of startups on this website is an invaluable advantage. When you come across a company that interests you, go to their website and take a look at their blog, if one exists. If one does not exist, brainstorm content ideas that would be best suited to the company. After you have done your research, message the company to pitch your ideas. Putting yourself out there is the best way to connect with jobs on Angellist, so pitch as many companies as possible.
Have You Looked Here for Freelance Work?
Working Not Working is a selective place for a range of creatives where top jobs are found. If you’re an advertiser, copywriter, animator, or any other profession that appear on this list. The catch is that you need to be one of the best in your industry to join WNW. There’s two ways to do so: get nominated or apply and get accepted (you can find more info at the link above). Once granted access, you have a free membership to find work with clients like BBDO, AirBNB, Apple and so many more. Best of all, these companies are the ones actually paying to be part of the community, so you know that they’ll want your bang for their buck. This should reduce some of the headache in finding less than ideal companies to partner with, like how you might find on other obvious job destinations.
Also, it usually means you’re getting offered the rate you deserve. Can’t beat that, right?
Contently allows freelance writers to create an online portfolio in order to connect with clients. This is a great platform for those looking to build themselves up in the freelance writing community and can lead to some steady, high-paying gigs. The portfolios are attractive and easy to follow, so editors can look over work samples and contact writers as they see fit. So, even if you opted to use Contently as just a platform to showcase your work, it’s still worth it. (Hint: If you don’t feel like migrating all your blog posts to your personal URL, linking to your Contently is a great way to save time.)
Even if it takes a while for editors on Contently to reach out, joining this website is worth it for the portfolio alone. All of your work becomes organized and can be shared all over the internet. Set up your Contently portfolio, and do not be afraid to post it to other websites, such as your Linkedin page and personal website, as a place employers can go to look at your work. Don’t consider it your prime job search destination, but when you do find work on Contently, it’s usually a client you’d love to write for.
Muck Rack is a free portfolio-building website that is built on sharing content. Like many mentioned here (and the internet as a whole pretty much), keywords are key in these profiles. Those searching for freelance writers will be sent email notifications when a writer pops up with a keyword that they searched. However, the biggest part of this website is social sharing. Everyone on Muck Rack has the ability to share a writer’s work on a social page. Analyzing the amount of shared each month can help a freelance writer get his or her work spread around more often.
This website serves as a conversation between freelance writers and companies, and the Mudrack team is there the entire time to facilitate successful freelance working relationships. Shareable content is a must when creating a portfolio on this website. And while this might seem like a rehash of Contently, it should be noted that journalists will get significant benefits from Muck Rack as it is the go-to source for trending news. It also is great for finding publications, journalists, and industries to want to cover. Heads up, membership can get pricey.
CloudPeeps is a different kind of talent marketplace that encourages collaboration between companies and freelancers to create meaningful professional connections. The great thing about this platform is that it lists a freelancer’s availability, as well as content expertise. Companies come to this resource looking for a specific type of freelancer to add to their team, and CloudPeeps concierge helps them find said team member.
The success stories on their website say it all – this is a place where long-term relationships are built. Communication is key when becoming a part of Cloudpeeps, because, once you connect with a company, you officially are thought of as a part of their team. Speaking of team, it’s to know what you’ll be earning as a member of this team, right? Well, CloudPeeps sorts that out for you with its helpful pricing chart that delineates everything for both sides before any project gets underway.
Networking and Professional Associations
As a freelance writer, it is not only important to be present on specific job boards, but it is also helpful to be part of specific networking organizations. The SPJ is an online community of just that – professional journalists – in which you can find helpful connections and tips and tricks to get better jobs. There is a job board and discussion boards that help with finding jobs and figuring out freelance writing conundrums as well. If you’re looking for a community that happens to have some jobs, start here. Combine this and/or the other journo orgs below with your Muck Rack account and you could be in journalistic networking business.
Like the Society of Professional Journalists, this is another interactive community that holds awards, question and answer sessions, and writing events. This society is more of an offline experience for writing professionals, which is necessary to really connect with potential clients. It is always easier to sell your work in person, rather than online. Additionally, this society provides its members with a wealth of resources that help with anything from finding jobs to grieving to financial assistance.
The Society of Authors is all about working as a collective to help every member possible. The group makes its views clear while profiling helpful events, prizes, grants for you to take up. One section you should check out is the advice area where authors get to glean to knowledge they need in the field. Collaborating with others is the biggest goal in this society, and members do so through joining the society groups, giving advice, and lobbying for the fair treatment of writers. Each group has different discussion boards that relate to different areas of expertise and potential issues.
The Editorial Freelancers Association is dedicated to helping its members find specific work opportunities. It sends out a customized list of jobs to every EFA member and encourages connection and participation. As one of the oldest writing associations, the EFA encourages volunteer work from its members to keep its work as a nonprofit growing.
Like CloudPeeps, the EFA’s rate breakout is an incredibly helpful tool that helps you see where the market stands when it comes to setting your own prices.
Since 1912, Authors Guild has been at the forefront of protecting writers. Today, just like then, emerging writers have a home as members of Authors Guild, which hones in on the legal aspects of writing. They work for fair compensation for their members, as well as to provide legal services for any member who may need it. While these are two standout services, be sure to check out all that the Guild provides its members to see exactly what you can tap into. Additionally, members can network with the company and other members through their wide variety of events.
Social Media and the Internet
Online communities are great ways to get connected to writing gigs, as well as to ask questions about the industry as a whole. Reddit is a perfect resource for both. For example, their writing job board lists a wide variety of companies hiring freelance writers in different fields. Each thread is one in which interested writers can ask questions and provide feedback. While the posts don’t pour in here, there are quite a few quality jobs that make the board. Scan through and find some gems.
Another subcategory of Reddit that is helpful to freelance writers is the general freelance writing one. This is less about being introduced to potential work opportunities and more about learning more about the freelance writing industry. Here, redditors provide their view of freelance writing, including which websites are the best and worst for finding employment opportunities.
Believe it or not, Facebook groups can provide some amazing opportunities to freelance writers. For example, Binders Full of Full-Time Freelance Writers is a huge community that supports all women and gender non-conforming writers. This group does everything to helping members write better pitches, to posting opportunities, to critiquing individual pieces. Women and gender non-conforming writers come together here to help one another succeed in the freelance world.
This Facebook group is dedicated specifically to calling attention to jobs for freelance writers. It is an interactive type of job board, where conversations about job postings are encouraged. This provides writers with the unique opportunity to get answers straight from the person who posted the job.
The twitter hashtag #writechat allows writers to post up opportunities and start conversations about the writing industry. Many use this hashtag to post up writing contests and deadlines, while others use it to ask questions or call attention to their work. It is a broad enough category to include several aspects of freelance writing, so browse around a lot before diving in.