At first glance, it may seem as if there are only two types of freelance writing: writing for the web and writing for print newspapers or magazines. While print and online opportunities are plentiful, they don’t accurately represent the whole spectrum of freelance writing careers. In reality, there are many ways to make a living as a freelance writer. One of your biggest challenges may be deciding what types of jobs to pursue. I’ve rounded up a list of the most popular opportunities for freelance writers; let’s take a look at some of these jobs and learn how to land them.
Thousands of writers have done well building and monetizing their own blogs. While this can be a lucrative path, it’s not an easy one: It takes time and effort to develop a following and get a blog to turn a real profit. If you don’t want to be responsible for the care and feeding of your own blog, you might consider taking on a blogging gig for a client. Many website owners and businesses are looking for people to handle their blogs, and the amount of experience required will vary. Check out online writing job boards like ProBlogger to see what opportunities are out there.
2. Web Content
Many companies hire writers to generate content for clients’ websites. You may be asked to include certain keywords to help a website rank well in the search results, or you may simply write on a particular topic. Some of these content companies pay a flat rate per word or per article, while others base at least part of a writer’s pay on page views. If you’re just starting out in the world of freelance writing, creating web content is a great way to hone your skills while earning some income at the same time. Textbroker is a content site with excellent opportunities for beginners; writers with a bit of experience under their belt might want to try Constant Content.
Reporting for a newspaper may seem glamorous, but it’s actually a tough job with fairly low pay. You’ll be expected to search out breaking news and work on some less-than-desirable stories, and it’s common to work on weekends and holidays. Despite those potential downsides, newspaper reporting is definitely one of the more exciting freelance writing careers, and many people dream of getting contracts with newspapers. Most major publications want experienced journalists, so it’s best to start small: Build your skills and experience by writing for local newspapers and community publications.
4. Magazine Articles
Breaking into magazine journalism can lead to a steady stream of lucrative opportunities, but it’s not always easy to get your foot in the door. Magazines are swamped with pitches from writers every month, and they may only have a few spots available for freelancers in each issue. It’s not impossible to land a magazine gig: It just takes patience and persistence. It’s worth investing in a copy of the latest Writers’ Market to find out what each publication is looking for before you send a pitch. If you’re a beginning writer, stick with smaller trade publications for the best chance of getting your pitch accepted.
5. Real Estate Writing
You don’t have to look far to find flyers and newspapers filled with real estate ads. Have you ever wondered who writes the property descriptions in these ads? Some of the copy is written by Realtors themselves, but a busy real estate office may need to hire freelancers to handle the work. You don’t necessarily need experience to do this kind of work, but you do need the ability to make a shack seem like a dream home. Contact local Realtors to see if they’re interested in a real estate writer for their office.
6. Press Releases
Press releases are used for a variety of purposes: introducing new products and services, sharing company news or announcing a new hire or departure. It takes skill to craft an effective press release, because the release needs to be informative yet easy to read. These assignments are often posted on writing job boards, but you can also do some cold-calling to land a job writing press releases. Try inquiring at PR firms, but also contact individual businesses to see if they could use your writing services. Before you look for a press release job, make sure you’ve put together a couple of high-quality samples to show potential clients.
If there’s a topic you know fairly well, you might want to write an eBook about it. You can find countless templates and software online, and self-publishing is a breeze. I’ve written a few eBooks myself, and I’ve had the best luck selling them on Amazon. Promote your eBooks on your blog or social networks, and you can develop a source of passive income that can last for years to come. Not only can you write your own eBooks, but you can also pick up ghostwriting gigs and produce eBooks for others. You can find these assignments on Craigslist and writing-related job boards.
8. Legal Writing
Are you a career-changer with a legal background? If so, you can get some lucrative freelance jobs drafting contracts and other documents for law firms. You can also take advantage of your legal experience to do blogging for law offices. Once you get your foot in the door and produce some quality writing, word-of-mouth referrals can keep the work coming. To find these jobs, check out online job boards and law-related trade magazines.
It’s clear that there’s no shortage of job opportunities for an aspiring freelance writer. The ideas I’ve listed are just a few of the many directions a writer can take in the freelance world. I’ve tried a number of these options myself; over time, I learned which types of writing I preferred and focused my energy on those areas. Look into some of these freelance writing careers, and see which path might be right for you.