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3 Proven Ways to Get Freelance Writing Work That Few People Know About

freelance writing work

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There are many ingredients to succeeding as a freelance writer. But at the top of the list is your ability to find writing work. 

The usual strategy is to check out job boards and related online resources, which makes sense seeing as prospective clients often flock to these platforms when looking for freelancers. 

However, it is not always effective. Sometimes you come across prospects with ridiculous budgets and unrealistic expectations. Other times, the market’s dry and there’s just nothing forthcoming.

The point is you need to have other sources of freelance writing work outside of job boards. Not just to increase your scope for growth but to have a steady source of work. 

Being proactive when searching for freelance writing work goes a long way…

If you’re looking to open up new sources of consistent freelance writing work, then you’ll need to take a proactive approach. For instance, you could look for companies and professionals who would benefit from working with a writer, but are not openly soliciting such work.

Such people already know why they need to hire a freelance writer. They just need a nudge to go for it and a compelling reason to pick you for the job. 

To help get you started with this, let’s look at three types of businesses that fall into this category, how to find them, and how to contact them for freelance writing jobs. 

1. PR Agencies

Lots of PR agencies produce copy and content for their clients. This demand level, along with with the client churn rate in this industry and the fact that clients have varying content needs, means PR agencies are almost always on the lookout for freelance writers to complement the output from their in-house writing team. 

PR companies looking for freelance writers will often advertise the job offer on the websites or Linkedin pages, so it’s a simple matter of following the application instructions provided. 

The ones who do not post job advertisements may also be open to taking on more freelance writers, provided you can demonstrate quality writing and reliable output. 

There are three steps to approaching these companies:

  • Finding the agencies 
  • Identifying the person in charge of hiring and getting their email address
  • Pitching them your services.

Let’s break down each step so you can understand the process better. 

Finding the PR agencies

This part is easy. A simple Google search will bring up agencies in your local area. 

Starting your search within your local area is a good way to go since it appeals to people’s preferences to “buy local”. Plus it makes for a nice hook in your outreach when you tell the company that you live just a few blocks away from where they’re located. It also tells the company that you are a native speaker of the language that they operate in.

After you have gone through all the agencies in your local area, you can then widen your search nationally and even internationally.

So for this step, simply Google “PR agency in [my local area]” and note down the local agencies that the search brings up.  

Now that you have a list of local PR agencies, the next step is to find the person responsible for hiring freelancers and getting their contact details.

Identifying the person in charge of hiring and finding their email address

The best place to begin your search for whoever is in charge of recruiting for freelance writing work at a PR agency is the company’s Linkedin page. Go to the “people” tab on the Linkedin profile page and see if you can find the HR manager among the list of profiles. Most large agencies have a dedicated Human Resources manager. Your job is to find this person.

If you can’t find them among the profiles, you can try searching with the following keywords: 

  • “Human resources”
  • “People”
  • “Staffing”
  • “Recruitment”
  • “We’re hiring”

If your search turns up empty, then you can look for the company’s Managing Director (or equivalent). 

The next step is to find this person’s email address.

If the email is not listed on the person’s Linkedin profile page, you can do a quick Google search using some advanced search parameters.

Use this search string in this order: “@domain”- email – target person’s name 

So let’s say you wanted to find the email address of Oli Graham at Rightly Written, this is what you would enter in the search box: 

“@rightlywritten.com” email Oli Graham

This search forces Google to bring up any pages that contain the words Oli Graham, email, and @rightlywritten.com. 

If this search proves unsuccessful, you can just use a generic company email (@info or @contact), or simply use the company’s contact form on their website. In either case, make sure you reference who your email is for so it gets the attention of the right person. 

Sending an email pitching your services

Before pitching your services to a PR agency, first make sure you can deliver a wide range of content quickly and without sacrificing quality. 

The crux of your email pitch should revolve around relevant examples of your previous work. You could include your resume just to provide an overview of your writing background and any special training you’ve had that’s relevant to the execution of your freelance writing work. 

The idea is to keep your email straight to the point about who you are, what you want, and why you will be a good fit for the company. 

Here’s an example email template that you can use: 

Hi {first name}

{Briefly introduce yourself.}

I’m emailing you to see if you are looking to take on any writers on a freelance basis?

I know that your content demands from clients tend to go up and down, so I’d appreciate it if you allowed me to help you lighten the load during busier periods.

I have extensive writing experience in the following industries: {{list industries preferably those that relate to the company}}. I’m happy to try my hand at writing for other industries as needed. 

Please see my portfolio {{ link to your website or portfolio}} and links to a couple of the articles that I am most proud of.

{links to articles}

Please do let me know if this is of interest to you. I’m happy to take a call or quick chat to discuss further: {{leave phone number/Skype ID}}

Thank you,

As with any cold outreach, make sure to follow up with your prospects.

2. Online Businesses and Blogs

Businesses whose operations are 100% online typically require more content compared to brick and mortar businesses since building their brand is entirely dependent on digital content.

The key here is to demonstrate your capacity to write the kind of content that will drive traffic to their website and boost conversions. If you can, then most online business owners should be more than happy to give you a shot. 

One important consideration is that online businesses tend to revolve around a specific niche, meaning the bulk of the site’s visitors are passionate about that niche.

The business owner will be more open to working with you if you can show that you thoroughly understand this niche and have proven experience writing articles within that industry. 

For this reason, your first step to connecting with these businesses is to compile a list of all the niches that you have experience writing for. Take your time and try to include microniches that you have worked with in the past so you can have a wider target base. 

Once you have your list, Google the following:

Industry – “affiliate disclaimer” 

Let’s say your chosen industry is yoga. Enter this phrase into the search box: 

yoga “affiliate disclaimer”.

As we can see from the screenshot above, the first four results are for businesses that market yoga products. 

The reason this type of search returns online businesses in a particular industry is that affiliate marketing is the most common form of monetization when selling online. 

Any website that engages in affiliate marketing must put up an affiliate disclaimer. As such, including this key phrase in your search will reveal affiliate marketing sites in that particular industry.

Again, you just need to find the email address of the business owner or simply visit the contact us page and shoot your pitch. If you can find the business owner’s name, all the better since it lets you craft a personalized email.

Here’s a sample template you can use:

Hi {first name},

I am a freelance writer with a keen interest in [industry] due to [explain your motivation for wanting to write about that industry – the more authentic the better].

I am looking to take on any freelance writing work and was wondering if you needed any help with writing articles. I’m happy to help with the ideation process if needed. 

I’m not looking to link to an external company. All the work will be for your business alone. And while I am looking for paid work. I’m happy to write the first article for free so you can see what I’ve got.

Here are some of my best works in this industry 

(link to relevant articles).

Please do let me know if you are interested.

Two important considerations: 

  1. Categorically mention that you are not writing with the aim of linking to an external company. In some instances, marketers pretend to be freelance writers so they can do some link building to third-party companies. Obviously, business owners will not want to work with someone with such an agenda/
  1. Offer to write an article for free. Your written samples are important, but at the end of the day, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If they like your free article, they’re more likely to want to onboard you. 

3. Local businesses with blogs

There’s no shortage of local businesses that have started a blog with the aim of educating their target audience and driving traffic. Unfortunately, many of these businesses run out of steam and stop updating their blog pages after a few posts.

As a freelance writer, this presents an opportunity for you to pick up the slack.

Much like with online businesses, you will have a much better chance of landing the gig if you can demonstrate relevant industry experience. That’s why you should focus on local businesses that operate in an industry that you have worked in before. 

Again, all you need is a simple Google search to find these businesses.

Simply search:

 industry in – chosen area – “blog”.

Let’s say you have ample experience writing in the optometry space. You’ll then Google: 

Optometrist in new york “blog”

As you can see, the results page contains New York-based optometrists that have blogs.

Now you’ll check through their blogging history and look for those that are not updated regularly. If you see a post and the next one is published two months after, that’s a good sign that the blogs are not being updated on a regular basis. 

The next thing is to reach out to these businesses. Check their About Us page or Linkedin company page to find the owner of the business and their contact details. 

You can use this sample template to make your pitch:

Hi {first name},

Brief introduction about yourself. Say that you are local.

I am a freelance writer and I’m keenly interested in writing about the [industry] due to [say why you’re interested in that industry – remember to keep your reason relatable and authentic].

I see that your website blog page could benefit from regular updates. If you still want regular blog posts, I’m happy to help you with that.

Ultimately I’m looking for paid work, but can write the first the post for free, so you can see the quality of my writing.

Here are some industry-relevant articles I have written in the past:

(link to your best relevant samples).

Please feel free to give me a call on: (phone number) if you are interested.

Thank you,

It’s important to offer to write the first post for free since it tells the business owner that you are fully confident in the quality of your work and are eager to bring your wealth of experience to benefit their business. 

Final Thoughts

Today’s gig economy is expanding exponentially. And while that’s good news for freelancers, it also means the competition will only get fiercer so having a few tricks up your sleeve for finding freelance writing work will definitely come in handy.