Tips For Becoming a Freelance Writer

Sunday, October 09, 2011

By: Weston Bonnelle

Tips on Getting Professional Writing Experience Outside of Content Farms
The market for writing professionally is becoming saturated, therefore in order to pursue freelance writing as career you need a well thought out strategy. Many freelance content writers started online therefore they are disconnected from how to develop viable relationships, without the knowledge to pitch for jobs or find writing opportunities and lack professional writing clips. However, now is the time to create your online brand, network offline to build your reputation and earn more experience for your résumé & portfolio. You alone are your business, therefore to be a freelance writer, think of yourself as a self-standing entrepreneur. Realize that it may be difficult to gain entry as a writer but once you prove yourself to the right people, the hard part is over. 

Some new freelancers are afraid of private clients; however the cliché that practices makes perfect ring true. America has developed this culture that if you are not good at a task at first then abandon it, you’ll always be bad it. However that is not true. This mindset keeps people trapped in poor circumstances due to the fear of trying something new. At first you may be horrible at picking honest private clients but with time you’ll be able to detect a dishonest potential client in minute. Some are afraid of networking. Yes, your first times networking may be uncomfortable and perhaps even futile. But with time, you’ll become an expert at building professional relationships.

Online Brand
1. Blogging- Your blogs will show your expertise even if you do not have formal education or previous professional writing experience. 
2. Guest Posting – Guest post with the goal of associating yourself with an established and well-known brands. This will also contribute to your online presence. 
3. Social Media – Connect with people within businesses that you are interested in writing for. Actively communicate with businesses using social media to show your enthusiasm and to help them become familiar with you.

Networking Offline
1. Organizations – Narrow in on organizations that are within your niche. The members can connect you to other organizations and notable leaders in your field. You may also be able to contribute to their publications.   
2. Conferences and Conventions – A great method to gain enthusiastic contacts. People who attend conferences are generally serious about their niche. Attend freelancer, blogging, etc. conferences and topical conferences that feature your niche such start-ups, technology, marketing, etc. 
3. Professional Associations – A great opportunity to receive perks such as exclusive job openings and connections with other professionals on your level. 
4. Meetup Groups – An informal and social form of networking that can help others develop trust in you.
5. Volunteering – Many times people think of doing the actual field work such as being the tutor or the building the houses. However I also recommend helping with events, assisting with fundraisers, recruiting other volunteers, marketing, grant writing and design. Also consider volunteering at institutions such as museums. 
6. Interviewing – Many publications require a quote from a professional, which gives you a legitimate reason to contact leaders that you interested in. Interviewing experts for your blog or other publications can help you build relationships. 
7. Alumni- Students at top colleges have a wealth of contacts that can assist connecting them to other contacts or providing insider access to hidden freelance jobs. 

* Tips: The goal is to be as social as possible. Americans are growing more and more distrustful of strangers, therefore you cannot be a stranger. It’s also not enough just to show up; you need to be passionate, excited and willing to take on leadership roles & responsibilities. Invest time in the organization and help out with major projects. Surround yourself with ambitious members within your community that are making an impact. Your interaction with them and participation in the community projects can really showcase your skills and help you get acquainted to the influential and active members in your community.

List of Quality Writing Experience and Skills to Enhance Résumé & Portfolio

* College and Other Educational Publications
* Grant Writing
* Nonprofit Organization Publications
* Niche Blogs
* YouTube Channel
* Local Newspaper
* Local Publications
* Local Radio Station
* Local Television Station
* Contribute to a Newsletter
* Write for Political Campaigns
* Lesser Known Magazines
* Blog for Small Businesses
* Certifications
* College Degree and Courses
* Internships

* Tips: Try to gain other skills that complement writing. For example some can learn how to build websites while others can learn design or marketing through social media. You may discover a new passion and stop pursuing a writing career altogether.

There are many other ways that you can branch out; however I wanted to provide a brief list to give you a starting point. 

You Can Make It!
You probably will have to struggle temporarily. But remember that this will not last forever. In five years you might in the beginning stages of becoming an expert in your field. The overall goal is to not be vulnerable to any one business or industry.

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Rochelle said...

Thank you so much for all these great tips!

Dianne Heath said...

@ Rochelle
Thank you!! I'm glad that you found the tips helpful.

DeeoneH said...

Great tips here Dianne! I have been thinking how and where to take my Freelancing to the next level, and you've provided me with some very awesome options. Thanks for sharing. :)

Dianne Heath said...

@ DeeoneH

I'm glad that you found the tips helpful! To start out as a freelancer, you really just have to take one step at a time. That's what I'm doing right now :)