Finding and getting hired for freelance writing jobs is tough. Here are a few tips to help you stand out and snag those coveted writing gigs.
Part of being a successful freelance writer is keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the freelance writing jobs world—who’s hiring, where to find your next gig, and what kind of opportunities are out there.
But where, exactly, do you look for those opportunities—and what steps can you take to make sure you’re the writer that gets hired?
Let’s take a look at some of the best places to find freelance writing jobs the internet has to offer (and a few tips to help you stand out and snag those coveted writing gigs!)
- The Ins and Outs of Freelance Writing
- What Is a Freelance Writer and What Do They Do?
- What Do You Need to Become a Freelance Writer?
- How Much Money Can You Make as a Freelance Writer?
- Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Industry-Specific Job Boards
- Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Freelance Job Boards
- Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: General Job Boards
- Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Twitter
- Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Agencies
- SEO Agencies
- Content Marketing Agencies
- Web Design Agencies
- Digital Marketing Agencies
- Ad Agencies
- Content Mills
- Tips for Finding Agencies to Partner With
- Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Cold Pitching
- Tips for Finding—and Getting Hired for—Freelance Writing Jobs
- Make Sure Your Cover Letters and Messages Are Well-Written
- Build an Online Portfolio
- Send Relevant Samples
- Gather Client Testimonials
- Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
- Get out There and Find Your Dream Freelance Writing Job
The Ins and Outs of Freelance Writing
First things first—before we jump into where to find the best freelance writing jobs, let’s quickly cover the ins and outs of being a freelance writer.
What Is a Freelance Writer and What Do They Do?
A freelance writer is exactly what it sounds like—it’s a writer who gets hired on a freelance or project basis.
There is a huge variety of freelance writing jobs and opportunities. A freelance writer could be hired by a brand, an individual or an editorial outlet (like a magazine or newspaper). While the variety of freelance writing jobs are seemingly endless, some of the main categories of freelance writing opportunities include:
- Content marketing. Content marketing is a hugely popular marketing strategy where brands create content to connect with their audience—and they need writers to create that content. This includes content a brand can use to market their business, such as blog posts, lead magnets, or case studies.
- UX writing. User experience (UX) is incredibly important for digital products. UX writers create all the written content that helps guide the user experience within an app or digital product (think menu copy and error messaging).
- Copywriting. Copywriting is all about writing persuasive copy that inspires readers to take action. Freelance copywriters create things like landing pages, website copy, and sales letters.
- Editorial work. Writing articles for newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc. would all be considered editorial work.
- Technical writing. Tech companies and products are always in need of how-to guides, instruction manuals and other highly technical copy—which is where technical writers come in.
What Do You Need to Become a Freelance Writer?
Unlike some other freelance careers, the barrier to entry for freelance writing is pretty low. You don’t need a specific degree or educational background. You don’t need any special equipment. All you need is yourself, your laptop, and a desire (and ability) to write.
That being said, there are certain skills and qualities that can help you succeed as a freelance writer, including being:
- Tech-savvy. While you don’t have to be a tech whiz in order to land a freelance writer job, you do need to know your way around a computer. And of course, be able to navigate any software or tools your clients ask you to use during the writing process.
- Adaptable and diverse. If you’re able to work on a variety of different projects across a variety of different industries with a variety of different clients, you’re going to have more freelance writing opportunities.
- Tenacious. You’re likely to face a lot of rejection in your freelance writing career—but the most successful writers don’t let those noes stop them.
- Professional. It doesn’t matter what kind of writing skills you have—if you’re difficult to work with, it’s going to be hard to keep clients. The most successful writers are courteous, easy to work with, and bring a level of professionalism to their working process.
How Much Money Can You Make as a Freelance Writer?
Here’s the million-dollar question: How much does freelance writing pay?
And the answer? It all depends. For example, some freelance writers:
- Earn only pennies per word while others earn $1/word (or more)
- Charge $15/hour for their time while others charge $100+/hour
- Hustle for $30,000/year while others easily clear $100,000/year
How much money you make as a freelance writer is going to depend on a variety of factors, including:
- How much you charge (per hour or per project)
- The kind of writing services you offer (for example, blogging vs. UX writing)
- Your expertise and background
- How long you’ve been in business (typically, freelance writers earn more as they gain more experience)
- The clients you work with
- How much you work/how many clients you work with
The good news? As a freelancer, your income is, in many ways, in your own hands. If you work hard—and you work smart—a career in freelance writing can be extremely lucrative.
So, if freelance writing sounds like the right move for you, here are some of the best places to find freelance writing jobs.
Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Industry-Specific Job Boards
There are a ton of different places you can search for freelance writing jobs. But the best place to start looking? Job boards catered specifically to writing talent.
Industry-specific job boards are one of the best places to look for freelance writers jobs. Why? Because they’re a win for both you and your would-be client.
As a writer, industry-specific job boards are great because you know every opportunity is going to be writing-related.
As a client, these job boards are a go-to because they know they’re only going to get writers responding to their jobs (which means less time sorting through irrelevant or unqualified resumes or pitches).
Here are a few industry-specific job boards and platforms you’re definitely going to want to check out on your search for the perfect freelance writing opportunity:
- Journalism Jobs
- Freelance Writing Gigs
- Blogging Pro Job Board
- Freedom With Writing
- Freelance Writing Jobs
- Government Bids
- Online Writing Jobs
- ProBlogger Job Board
- Writer Bay
Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Freelance Job Boards
Freelance writing job boards are a great place to start looking for opportunities. But if you don’t find the opportunity you’re looking for, what’s the next step? Broaden your job search.
Freelance job boards are a great place to find a wide variety of freelance job opportunities—including freelance writing jobs.
In fact, general freelance job boards could have opportunities you might not find on more niche, targeted job sites. Because these freelance marketplaces are more well known, they tend to attract a wider variety of employers that are looking for all sorts of freelance support—and that includes freelance writers.
Here are some of the larger freelance job boards you’ll definitely want to check out on your quest to find the perfect freelance jobs:
- Genuine Jobs
- People Per Hour
- Solid Gigs
- Student Freelancing
Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: General Job Boards
The more general job boards have a huge variety of job types, from full-time to freelance, contract to creative—and just about everything in between.
Now, it’s probably not the best use of your time to search through these ads every day, but they do occasionally have jobs you won’t find elsewhere. Searching for freelance writing jobs on general job boards every so often (for example, once a week) can help you find those diamond-in-the-rough opportunities.
Just make sure to use the filters so you only search for freelance jobs. That way, you won’t waste your time scrolling through a bunch of full-time job opportunities that aren’t going to be the right fit.
Some of the more well-known general job boards that are worth a look during your freelance writing job search include:
- The Muse
Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Twitter
If you’re more of an editorial writer, Twitter is the place to be when it comes to social media platforms.
Editors are always on Twitter putting out calls for pitches. It’s a great place to see what editors are looking for—and pitch relevant story ideas that are sure to get their attention.
If you know what publications you want to write for, do a quick search to find relevant editors on Twitter—and then follow them to make sure that when they put the call out for writers, you’re in the loop. You can also use hashtags like #callforpitches or #pitchparty to see what editors are looking for and use that to guide your pitch strategy.
Twitter is also an ideal place to network with other writers. Not only is connecting with other freelancers a great way to build out your network, but it’s also a great way to learn about writing opportunities from your fellow writers!
Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Agencies
Not all brands hire freelancers directly. Instead, they hire agencies to handle their content and marketing needs—and then agencies bring freelancers on board to help get the work done.
There are a number of different types of agencies that hire freelance writing talent, including:
SEO agencies help businesses rank better in search engines. And one of the ways they do that? Writing keyword-dense content—and they need writers to create that content.
If you want to go the SEO agency route, try searching for an SEO agency that has clients in your industry or the areas you’re interested in writing about, then reach out and pitch your services.
For example, if you want to be a food writer, look for an SEO agency that partners with food and beverage brands. If you want to break into your local writing scene, look for a local SEO agency that partners with the best small businesses in town.
Here’s an opportunity for NRM Marketing to get you started.
Content Marketing Agencies
Content marketing is a must for brands. But not every brand does their content marketing in-house—and that’s where content marketing agencies come in.
Content marketing agencies create content that helps brands engage, educate, and connect with their audiences (think blog posts, ebooks and white papers). And, again—they need freelance writers to help bring that content to life.
If brand writing is your forte, content marketing agencies will have freelance writing jobs that are right up your alley—so it’s definitely worth reaching out and making the connection.
Web Design Agencies
Web design agencies design websites. But designing a website is just the first step. Once the website is designed, it needs to be filled in with content—and that’s where you come in.
If you enjoy writing web content, landing pages or more conversion-driven content, web design agencies are a great place to find freelance opportunities.
Digital Marketing Agencies
Digital marketing agencies help businesses increase their reach in the digital space and typically offer services like social media management, digital advertising, and email marketing—all of which require writers.
If you want to give marketing writing a shot, a freelance writing gig with a digital marketing agency could be a great opportunity.
Ad agencies come up with creative advertising campaigns for brands across a number of verticals including print, digital and TV/video. They’re always looking for sharp, creative freelance writers to help come up with copy for their campaigns.
If you want to try writing for a variety of mediums—and you’ve got a creative voice—ad agencies could be a good fit.
Content mills don’t have the best reputation. Basically, content mills offer content to their clients at a low price and then outsource the writing of that content to freelance writers. Because they’re charging a low rate to the client, they’re also paying a low rate to freelancers.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not a viable lead. Heather L. Seggel pretty accurately sums up content mills with the following:
“A lot of naysayers are going to tell you to walk on by, but this maligned corner of the freelance world has a lot to offer if you know how to approach it correctly. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the content mill, the P90X of freelancing.”
If you’re just starting out and are looking for a steady stream of work to build your portfolio, content mills can be a great solution. And if you’re a fast writer who can churn out a lot of words, you can actually earn a pretty decent living.
Are content mills the best place to find freelance writing jobs? No. But if you’re just starting out, they can be a solid resource to find steady gigs and help get your career off the ground.
Tips for Finding Agencies to Partner With
Want to go the agency route? Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Go local. A quick Google search of “[Your city]” and the type of agency you want to work with (e.g., “Toronto SEO agency” or “Baltimore digital marketing agency”) is a great way to find local agencies to pitch.
- Check out agency award lists. A variety of industries—including advertising and digital marketing—give out awards to the best and brightest in the business. Checking these lists is a great way to get a sense of the agencies doing cool, interesting things—which are the agencies you want to partner with.
- Be willing to work on-site. Many agencies, especially larger ones, want their freelancers to work on-site. If you’re willing to work in the agency at least a few days a week, you’ll likely have more opportunities to choose from.
Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Cold Pitching
Is there a brand or publication you’re dying to write for? Don’t wait for them to put out a call for pitches or a job ad for a freelance writer. Stay a step ahead of the game and pitch them yourself!
Cold pitching is one of the best ways to find new clients and build out your freelance writing business. Not only does cold pitching show your would-be clients that you’re the kind of writer who takes initiative, but it also puts you at an advantage.
When you take a more reactive approach and respond to a job ad, you’re up against all the other writers who saw the ad and applied. When you take a proactive approach and cold pitch, you won’t have to fight with other writers for attention, making the entire process less competitive.
So, is there a brand you’d love to blog for? Do a little LinkedIn research, find their director of content marketing, and introduce yourself.
Is there a magazine you want to pitch? Find the editor on Twitter and send them a pitch.
Do you want to develop content to help a local business or nonprofit get off the ground?
Make a great first impression by pitching your writing services in person.
Cold pitching is a great way to make an introduction and get your foot in the door with your dream clients—and, ultimately, can be a great way to land a freelance writing opportunity.
Want to make your cold pitching strategy even more successful? With FreshBooks’ proposal feature, you can craft tailored proposals that will grab your ideal client’s attention—and show them you mean business.
Tips for Finding—and Getting Hired for—Freelance Writing Jobs
Need a little extra confidence to go after your dream gig? Here are a few more tips for finding (and getting hired for!) freelance writing jobs:
Make Sure Your Cover Letters and Messages Are Well-Written
It’s incredibly important that your first communication with a potential client is well-written. When you reach out to a company or editor about a freelance writing opportunity (whether that’s through a letter of introduction, a cover letter with a job application or a LinkedIn message), it’s that client’s first introduction to your skills and abilities as a writer.
Before you send any correspondence to a potential client, make sure it’s an accurate representation of who you are as a writer. If you’re known for injecting humor into your writing, make sure that comes across in your first message. If you’re applying for a copywriting job, make sure you’re using persuasive writing in your letter of intent (LOI)—and selling yourself!
And no matter what kind of opportunity you’re applying for, make sure to proofread and edit your correspondence at least twice before sending it to a potential client.
The point is, you’re applying for a job as a writer—so make sure your LOIs, cover letters, and messages reflect your writing skills.
Build an Online Portfolio
The more you write, the more samples and clips you’re going to have. And if you want to appear credible and professional to potential clients, you should organize those clips and samples in an online portfolio.
Having an online portfolio is a professional way to showcase your work. When clients Google you (and trust us—most of them will!), they will be able to browse through all of your work in a single, streamlined space. That web presence will lend you a level of credibility that can put clients at ease—and increase the chance they’ll want to work with you.
Send Relevant Samples
While having an online portfolio is important, some freelance job opportunities might ask you to send a few samples for review (instead of a link to your portfolio). And while you might be tempted to take a one-size-fits-all approach and just send examples of what you consider your best work, there’s a better strategy: Send relevant samples.
Sending samples that speak to a particular client is going to be much more effective than just sending samples that showcase your writing skills.
So, for example, if you’re applying for a freelance writing opportunity with a fitness company, you’re going to want to send writing samples that showcase your work in the health, wellness, and fitness space—not an article you wrote for a tech company (even if that article is particularly well-written).
You want to not only show a potential client that you can write, but that you can write exactly what it is they’re looking for. So when choosing samples to send to a client, remember—relevance is key.
Gather Client Testimonials
Social proof is extremely powerful. If you can show that your current and past clients have been happy with your work, it will be much easier to convince a potential client that they’ll be happy with your work as well.
Whenever you write for a client, ask them for a testimonial (either written or video) to showcase within your online portfolio. Ask them to speak to your skills, your writing, and your work ethic, such as:
- Was the experience of working with you a positive one?
- How did your writing help them hit their goals and elevate their business or publication?
- If given the opportunity, would they work with you again?
The more positive testimonials you have, the stronger your social proof—and the easier it will be to convince new clients to hire you for freelance writing jobs.
Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
If you want to succeed as a freelance writer, you can’t just send in a pitch or LOI and hope for the best. Editors and brands are overwhelmed with pitches, applications, and other correspondence from writers (especially if they posted a freelance writing job).
If you don’t hear back, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested. It could mean that your information fell through the cracks or they haven’t gotten a second to read your pitch or email—which is why following up is so important.
Following up a week or so after sending a pitch or applying for a freelance writing job is a great way to stay on their radar and remind an editor or hiring manager to review your pitch, portfolio, or samples.
Get out There and Find Your Dream Freelance Writing Job
Finding freelance writing jobs can be tough. But you’re the one that gets to write the story of your freelance writing career—and now that you have everything you need to find (and get hired for!) your next opportunity, we have a feeling that story is going to have a happy ending.
This post was updated in April 2021.