According to Google, in 2019 there were 500 million blogs out of 1.7 billion websites in the whole wide web. The playground for bloggers is gigantic and the writing opportunities are tremendous.
In this article, by "freelance blogger" I'm referring to writers who write short, medium, and long pieces for online publications regardless of what they call themselves. Thus, any modern-day writer should think of themselves as a blogger as well. I'll be using the terms "blogger" and "writer" interchangeably.
More and more online publications have morphed to become more blog-like. And many books that adhere to the more conventional formats, like magazines or newspapers, have a separate section called "blogs." Increasingly, there are highly-praised sites that call themselves blogs or a network of blogs, like The Huffington Post. Those who write for both the sectional blogs and the massive network are called "bloggers." And most business sites have a section called "blog," which mainly serves as the source of organic traffic. Yes, corporate blogs have become the hub for SEO-based content, which must be intelligently written by writers like you.
To find gigs as a freelance blogger, it's recommended to open yourself to all kinds of online writing assignments. Here are my 7 top tips for finding and winning them.
- 1. Have the right mindset and an impressive portfolio.
- 2. Master several types of writing and niches.
- 3. Announce your availability and ask for referrals.
- 4. Pitch to job board ads, including writing specific boards.
- 5. Pitch to editors and blogs.
- 6. Pitch to businesses and startups.
- 7. Pitch to digital marketing and content writing agencies.
1. Have the right mindset and an impressive portfolio.
Gone is the era of "starving writers." The internet now allows us to work without geographical boundaries. By accepting PayPal payments, you can have clients from all over the world.
The key to success, thus, is having the right mindset and a solid and impressive online presence.
What's "the right mindset"? That you're an international writer, not only a U.S. or a U.K. (or any country) writer. As a business, as long as you pay self-employed income taxes, there is no restriction on which client you can or can't accept.
To take advantage of this worldwide market, you need to have an impressive online portfolio. This means you need a specific site dedicated to showcasing your past work. Ideally, it's a hosted site with a unique domain name, which can be your own name (like this) or a specific brand related to writing (like this).
If you focus on several niches, consider creating separate portfolios for each so prospective clients won't feel that you're a "jack of all trades but a master of none." Make sure to include that you're familiar with the best SEO practices in content writing and remember to apply them in all of your work.
2. Master several types of writing and niches.
Three of the most lucrative models are content marketing, technical writing, and self-help writing.
Content marketing is basically writing online content that provides solutions to targeted readers within their buyer's journey. Some articles are intended to educate and others to close sales. According to the latest data, more than 80 percent of marketers rely on content marketing to spread the word about their products.
Today, most technical writing has a marketing element as well, such as white papers for lead generation purpose. Most blogs now offer an eBook or white paper giveaway. Thus, mastering this will greatly help your clients.
Self-help blogs are everywhere, especially those that inspire, motivate, and warm the heart. Self-help is also a $13 billion industry, so there is a slice for you if you know how to find it.
In addition, you might want to branch out to other profitable niches, such as IT, healthcare, beauty and fashion, food and beverages, travel and tourism, and others. Every niche you master opens a blogging door that may last for several years.
3. Announce your availability and ask for referrals.
Keep in touch with your past and existing clients by asking about how they're doing and whether you can help them in any way. Like in any relationship, the more you keep in contact with them, the more likely they'll think about you. When a client has ended a working relationship, ask for referrals.
Some past clients might have loved you so much that they'd willing to collaborate with you as a "referral partner." Ask about this possibility. Be transparent with them that you'd be willing to give them a percentage of the price from the clients that they referred. Discuss the figures, ensuring both sides feel appreciated and on equal footing. Referral fees range from 5 percent to 40 percent.
4. Pitch to job board ads, including writing specific boards.
Create a system to pitch at least five ads per day. Use an Excel spreadsheet to take note of the name of the company, the whole ad, where you found the ad, the contact person, and their email address.
In 20 days, you'll have pitched 100 ads. With a one percent to five percent success rate, you can expect to acquire at least one new client in a month and 12 new clients in a year.
LinkedIn and Indeed have many on-site positions and occasional remote positions. However, if you prefer working remotely, try checking these job boards:
- Problogger Jobs
- Media Bistro
- Freelance Writing
- Journalism Jobs
- Blogging Jobs
- All Freelance Writing
5. Pitch to editors and blogs.
Use online magazine or newspaper directories, Writer's Market 2020, and Christian Writers Market Guide 2020 for long lists of publications that pay writers. Pitch at least one story per publication per day.
In 30 days, you'll have 30 pitches. Assuming a ten percent success rate, you can expect to receive three assignments per month, which is a nice amount to begin with. You can increase the number of pitches as you see fit.
Remember that editors are very busy individuals, so be patient with them as it might take them a couple days or weeks to respond. Get to know their names and the topics they cover. You want to be as accurate as possible when it comes to pitching to editors and the topics they manage.
6. Pitch to businesses and startups.
With millions of businesses worldwide, your service as a corporate blogger is in high demand, especially since content marketing has become the staple in getting the words out about a product or a brand. Throughout the history of humankind, it has never been a better time to become a writer. And I'm not kidding.
Now, where can you find the businesses that are likely to hire you? You can start with your own community, as even mom-and-pop establishments need websites and regularly updated content to attract leads and for branding purposes. Consider introducing yourself to your local Chamber of Commerce by attending their meetings.
Next, use business directories, both general and industry-specific ones. You can also locate lists for businesses in your city or country based on specific niches or professional organizations.
Be professional when introducing yourself and your writing services. And be open to voice chat via Skype or by phone if necessary.
Here are some general directories to start with:
- PRWeb (check the contact address of each disseminated press release)
- Angie's List
- Merchant Circle
7. Pitch to digital marketing and content writing agencies.
When you work for an agency, most likely you'll be receiving a steady flow of assignments. And with today's business world relying so much on online marketing where "content is king," you can expect to work for several agencies if your skills match their requirements.
There are tens of thousands of digital marketing agencies worldwide, and there are many directories you can use to locate their contact information. The key to nailing assignments is your letter of introduction. Review and categorize digital agencies so you can create pitches that fit them like a pair of gloves.
Some agencies focus on startups and others in small businesses. Some others concentrate on healthcare niche, while others on travel and tourism. Identify the similarities and differences before creating unique pitch templates for each of them. These templates can be reused over and over again for other similar agencies.
Remember to use an Excel spreadsheet to record the activities, including following up. Below are some popular digital agency directories to start with. Note that they're categorized based on the specialities and regions.
- Hubspot Agencies
- Rnkd Top 50 Marketing Agencies
- Top Digital Agency
- Databox Partners
- Facebook Agency Directory
- Mailchimp Experts
- The Creative Ham
- Shopify Experts
- Agency Spotter
- TOP SEOs
- Relevance Directory
It's time to believe and pitch.
Now that you've noted these seven tips on winning freelance blogging assignments, it's time to put them into practice. Start by trusting yourself that you're an awesome writer with a strong work ethic and can-do attitude. Open your mind that the writing world is much more varied than twenty years ago, and the whole world is your oyster.
With 500 million blogs out there, there must be at least a few dozen that will become your clients. Believe and pitch.