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5 Places to Look for Freelance Writing Opportunities

By Katie Sluiter

So you’ve decided you want your writing to earn you some money. But where do you start?  How do you find something that will pay? A good rule of thumb is to start with what you already read and branch out from there.

dollar sign

Local Publications

Poke around your local paper’s website for the name of the submission editor.  Years ago I submitted a piece on celebrity baby names to my local paper and was unexpectedly hired as a freelancer for their print paper.  But local publications aren’t limited to newspapers.  There are probably many local publications—newletters, magazines, blogs, etc.—that you don’t know about yet because you haven’t looked.  You may have the edge over another writer, because you are familiar with the local beat.

Online Magazines

These are generally bigger and get many submissions, but they are worth a shot. Babble, Curvy Girl Guide, AllParenting.com, etc. are some that usually offer open submissions.  Places like BlogHer takes submissions for syndication (which pays) and will often highlight work (which sends your site pageviews) Somewhere on the site you want to work with will be a “careers” or “submissions” link/button.  There you will find guidelines and pay information.  Watch social media as well, Babble, for instance, will tweet when they are looking for new writers for a specific section or column on their site.

Print Magazines

Some Large scale print magazines will run essay contests and hold open submissions for articles.  Watch for reputable, well-advertised contests, not the hidden ones in the backs of the magazines.   Real Simple holds an annual essay contest that is legitimate, for instance, and gets the writer published in the magazine and a cash prize.  Trade and scholarly journals will also have a section in the front of the magazine for calls for articles.  The English Journal, for instance, has a space devoted to what themes and subjects it is looking for to publish in future editions.

The Google

It probably sounds obvious, but searching Google for writing opportunities will bring up various communities/groups you can join.  Some come with a membership fee, some are private and you need to apply, but some are open to anyone.  For example, Linkedin has a group you can apply to be in that posts paid writing opportunities and lists companies looking for freelance writers.

Company Websites

Corporations like Best Buy have programs where they hire bloggers to do their product reviews FOR them.  You join their network and receive the latest products and gadgets to use and review.  The catch is that you need to have your own blog to work with some companies as they do not have a review site.

It is undoubtedly overwhelming for the beginning freelancer to know where to look, but remember: The opportunities are out there.  You just have to go find them.

katie sluiter
Katie Sluiter
is a freelance writer and teacher who should probably be grading papers or changing diapers but is more likely blogging, tweeting, or just overusing social media in general. She chronicles all this on her blog, Sluiter Nation.

 

Image credit: ba1969

Business Writing for Beginners: 5 Types of Business Writing You Need to Master

By Sherri Ledbetter

business writingBusiness writing. When I was a fledgling writer, the term business writing was new and scary to me. BUSINESS. Business was important; business was BIG right? I wondered, what is business writing anyway?

In general, most writing for business is geared toward informing and persuading the customer. For non-profits, it may mean writing in a compelling way to obtain donations or funding.

The main goal in business writing is to get the message across in a clear, accurate and simple manner. Below you’ll find 5 types of business writing you need to master as a freelance writer in this niche.

1. Website Content: Trading Paper for Bullets

The hottest form of writing is for company websites and blogs. Web writing often includes the additional requirement of establishing a good rapport with your online audience. Web writing is more casual, with a more relaxed language and attitude.

Because computer screens are harder to read than printed paper, it’s a good idea to…

  • Break paragraphs into chunks; 3 to 4 sentences at the most.
  • If you have a series of items, use bullet points to save readers’ time.
  • Boldface important words and phrases so readers can quickly see key points.

2. Press Releases: What’s the Company Up To?

Press releases, sometimes called news releases, are written to inform the news media of a company’s new product or service, award, promotion or other recent event. The goal is to attract media attention and generate publicity.

3. Technical writing: No Jargon Please.

Technical writing requires communicating about technical or specialized topics, such as:

  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Medical procedures
  • Environmental regulations

Technical writers provide detailed, how-to instructions. Examples of technical documents include: user guides, installation guides, tutorials and E-learning modules.

4. Grant Writing: Show Me the (Free) Money.

Structure, attention to detail, concise persuasive writing, and the ability to follow guidelines are skills needed as a grant writer. Grant writing involves writing proposals or completing applications in order to apply for funds. Companies requiring grant writing skills include non-profits and educational institutions.

5. Commercial White Papers: My Stuff is Better Than Their Stuff.

Commercial white papers are marketing documents written to emphasize the benefits of a particular product, technology or method. The goal is to convince the customer that the company’s product is the best choice. Commercial white papers are often used to generate sales leads and educate customers. The three main types of commercial white papers are:

  • Business Benefits: Stating a case for a certain technology or methodology.
  • Technical: Describing in detail how a certain technology works.
  • Hybrid: Combining the two types above in a single document.

These five types of business writing are just the tip of the iceberg. How about speech writing, game writing, resume writing or book reviews? The list goes on and on. Which type of business writing do you think you would enjoy doing the most?

sherri ledbetter
Sherri Ledbetter is an Oklahoma freelance writer, editor and food blogger. Visit her online at Sherri Ledbetter Writes
 
 

5 Tips for Overcoming Your Freelance Writing Insecurities

By Marie Lapointe
overcoming freelance writing insecuritiesYou’re in the midst of or planning a major switch and want to become a freelance writer but you’re riddled with fear. You’re not the only one. Career change. That’s a scary title Stephen King never thought of!

It’s a frightening move and transitions are never easy. In order to deal with these monsters of self-destruction let’s pinpoint their source:

1: Is my writing good enough?

Tip: Write daily.

The only way to be good at something – anything – is to go out there and do it. A lot. Not a day went by where Tiger Woods didn’t hit at least 1,000 balls in order to become Tiger Woods.

Start a blog, join online writing communities, and comment on other blogs. Slowly comments will start trickling in. Blogging will give you plenty of practice and amazing feedback. It will also give you a sense of what people want to read. Internet users are fickle; some posts will draw in hundreds of hits and comments where others will leave you listening to the crickets. As you’re posting frequency increases – your stats will give you valuable information.

2: I’m not as good as they are.

Tip: Don’t compare yourself.

This is especially true when you’re left with feelings of inferiority. Use others’ articles to bring you up, not down and be inspired by them. What kind of writing draws you in? What do you like about it? Without replicating, allow it to influence your own voice and style.

3: How will I ever pay my bills?

Tip: Plan ahead – before quitting your day job, do what you can to clear your debts and reduce your living expenses.

Most people live above their means. Don’t be one of them. If you’re like me that means you don’t have rich parents or a willing spouse earning a 6-digit income to support your dream. Start by making a list of your biggest expenses and set a budget with clear strategies on how to reduce-reduce-reduce. Move to a smaller apartment, sell the new car and buy a cheaper used model or better yet take the bus!

4: Who will hire me?

Tip: Start small – do volunteer work.

Join an organization that matters to you like the Humane Society or the YMCA. Offer your services and submit articles. Chances are they’re so overwhelmed with their workload they’ll welcome you with open arms. This will provide published work content for your portfolio.

Any career specialist will tell you the key to finding a job is to have a job. Employers would rather snag an employee from the competition than hire somebody who’s unemployed.

5: I’m not even getting paid, how can I call myself a freelance writer?

Tip: Say to yourself daily, “I am a writer.”

Don’t wait for your first paycheck (it will come). The more you repeat those four words, the more you will believe it and ultimately believe in yourself.

 

Marie Lapointe
Marie Lapointe is an ex-race car mechanic and now lives and travels on a boat with her best friend Leo. This quirky writer dreams of running away with the circus and has been writing about her vida loca since 2010 on my cyber house rules.
 

3 Reasons Freelance Writers Need to Understand SEO

By Eric Storch

SEO writingIf you own a website, understanding search engine optimization (SEO) is an important factor in driving traffic to your site. As a freelance writer, it’s also important for you to understand it and be able to use it well. SEO is what search engines look for when scanning the internet in order to provide a list of the most relevant websites to the searcher. Having good SEO for your site will place it higher on a search engine results page (SERP).

Small companies may not have an SEO specialist

When a company doesn’t have an SEO team or just doesn’t have the money to spend on a specialist, they are going to look to the writer to provide SEO for their site. You will need to know all you can about SEO in order to make yourself more marketable. Companies will hire freelance writers with SEO experience over those who don’t. There is a wealth of information on SEO to be found on the internet and a simple search will get you started on what you need to know.

SEO is connected to content

Since the majority of SEO is content related, it can be a simple thing for the writer to provide SEO in an article. In most cases, the company is looking for certain keywords to be placed within an article and some companies may even require a certain percentage of words in the article to be keywords. Companies and SEO experts both agree though, that content should always come before SEO. SEO may bring a reader to your site once, but good content keeps them coming back.

Being ignorant of the rules of SEO is no excuse

Search engines don’t like scraping or plagiarism and when it’s detected, it can hurt a website’s showing on a SERP. It should go without saying, but original content is preferred, both by companies and search engines.

Does a freelance writer have to understand SEO? The short answer is no. You will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least have a grasp of the basics, though. Companies will love you if you can do your own SEO work, and the knowledge will give you a better chance of getting repeat business.

Eric Storch
Eric Storch is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire where he runs Studio30 Plus, a social media website for writers. His fiction is featured on his blog, Sinistral Scribblings, including his web serial, “The Linden Tree.”