I’ve been freelance writing for around a decade, and there is only one way I’ve found to consistently land high paying freelance writing jobs and clients.
This method works whether you’re a complete beginner or have been freelancing for years, and in the last month alone, has;
- Helped me open negotiations with clients for thousands of dollars of work
- Ensured industry authorities in my client niche shared a new article I created
- Was a major contributor in that article getting curated by the Medium editors and included in Medium’s largest active publication
This. Method. Works.
But the crazy thing is, despite this method being so obvious, few people use it.
Because there’s a tonne of bullshit advice out there advocating you basically chase your tail.
Too much of the advice out there isn’t helpful. It has you;
- Competing against dozens (or hundreds) of other more experienced writers
- Waiting around for clients to respond instead of taking control yourself
- Sharing easily ignored messages of “hire me” on social
- Filling your schedule with low paying jobs, leaving no time to find higher-paying
I’d say a good 90% of the advice on finding freelance writing jobs is bullshit.
It’s worrying because the best method to grow your freelance business is the most obvious. It’s just people don’t seem to want to talk about it.
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How Anyone Can Land Freelance Writing Jobs – Without Resorting to Job Boards or Bidding Sites
This isn’t rocket science.
It’s the way company’s across the globe – from freelance practitioners like you to Venture-backed startup brands – are landing clients.
Do work people would want to pay you for and then get it in front of the ideal customer.
Simple. Effective. Evergreen.
Doing this is better for a number of reasons.
First and foremost…
You have complete control over your client pitching processes.
After you’ve been doing this for a while, you’ll understand how many pitch emails you need to send to land a new client.
So next time you need a new client, you know how to get one. Send that number of emails to people you could help.
It’s far better than shooting an application out into the ether hoping beyond hope that it even gets read.
With this, you’re in control. You’re sending direct communications to the people you can best help.
And you’ll eventually understand what it takes for you to convince one to hire you.
It’s the only method that works at every stage of your freelance career.
This is the only way I recommend freelancers – from absolute beginner writers to seasoned pros – pitch for work.
Absolute beginners can pitch to find work whilst waiting for their network to grow to maturity and their SEO to kick in for organic lead generation.
Even established freelancers can fall back on direct outreach to find their next freelance gig and a quick cash injection.
It’s still the fastest method of landing work that pays more than a livable wage no matter your experience.
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It’s proactive and faster to implement
Job board applications ask for the most ridiculous information.
You resumé, X article ideas, the blood of your firstborn, prior companies you’ve worked with, an X word sample, and so much more.
You spend half a day writing that all out for 3 potentials and sit back and wait to hear back.
Pitching, on the other hand, makes use of smart templates.
You can send dozens of pitches in a day and then track their effect on the end recipient so you know how to follow up.
This is more focused
One of the primary things that kills freelance careers is how unfocused many people’s actions are.
They spend 20 minutes searching site A, 20 minutes on-site B, 30 minutes looking through Forum 1 etc.
This means they never get deep into the flow of things.
And they haven’t spent enough time doing anything to set up the processes, systems, and routines that will really help make this a quick, repeatable task.
Direct outreach, however, can be systemised.
You can have a repeatable system allowing you to send dozens of outreach in a day, massively increasing your chance of getting noticed.
Couple this with the comparative lack of competition, and it’s a win-win.
Lower risk of getting scammed
There are so many unscrupulous businesses out there.
And most of them will make use of the crappy job boards to find cheap labour.
And I can tell you from experience, the cheap clients are the fucking worst to deal with. They expect the most for the least amount of pay.
They’re overly aggressive and often nitpicky.
Job boards attract them because they know they won’t have to shell out large sums of money.
Compare that to someone out there who understands the value of good writing and the difference is night and day.
These folk will pay you your worth, and they’ll work with you to create something valuable.
And the guys who are paying higher fees are often far less inclined to try and scam you.
What this all really comes down to is this.
As a Freelance Writer, You’re Operating a Business
So act like it.
Do what other big businesses do.
Forget the tiny steps that might make you an extra $25 here or $50 there.
Do what big businesses do. Create something of value and aggressively sell it to your target market.
You’ll find you get better clients and they treat you with the respect you deserve.
Because they’re a business owner now working with another business owner.
Not a cheapskate hiring an expendable contractor.
But enough of the why, let’s get into the how.
Here’s a brief overview of some ways you can reach out to potential clients in a way that will get them to hire you.
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How to Proactively Find Freelance Writing Jobs, Even as a Beginner
This really comes down to three distinct steps.
- Step 1 – Create something of value
- Step 2 – Find those who would benefit from it
- Step 3 – Aggressively promote it to them
Forget all the bullshit of applying through various sites.
Focus on building an asset that showcases your ability and create a process that allows you to promote it like crazy.
Step 1 – Build an asset that will get you hired
If you want to build a freelance writing business, the first thing you have to get good at is writing.
I’ve built writing teams and marketing departments for several clients over the years and I can tell you what makes people stand out to me.
That is, they’re proactively doing what I want to hire them for.
If your pitch message includes any of the below, you’re getting ignored;
- I’m passionate about writing
- I might not have experience but…
- Even though I’m a new writer…
Stop. Shut up. No one cares.
Again, this is a business decision. Your passion doesn’t qualify you. Your lack of experience puts editors off.
You want editors to view you as a safe bet for their team. Someone who can do the job and not cause them any issues.
I’m gonna run through an example here using my own client-facing business, PJBoyle.com.
Long story short, I reworked my services and needed to get word out about what I was now offering to attract clients.
I needed to build a little credibility of this service so clients would take a chance on me.
This trust-building works whether or not you’re looking to land your first client or your 1000th.
Here’s what I did, and I recommend you do.
Start with some research. I’ll often go to places like;
- Medium publications focusing on the industry I want to break into
- The blogs of the biggest brands in the industry
- The Twitter feeds, LinkedIn pages, and Facebook Groups of relevant people/companies
I’m gonna look through them for articles that get a lot of engagement.
As I work with a lot of tech startups, I went to the logical publication of, “The Startup”.
Here’s their top-performing piece.
After that, I’ll Google around my topic to find the top-performing posts in the biggest industry blogs.
This is the top Google result.
A little self-congratulatory as I actually wrote that piece for Crazy Egg…
You can check it out here if you want.
Finally, I’ll hit up respected industry groups and communities to see what people are talking about.
This post has with 14 likes and 38 comments. It’s asking for SaaS copywriters. Specifically those to help with landing pages and web copy.
Now, whilst not an exhaustive level of research, you could use even these three examples to create something unique.
For example, there’s a strong focus on three things;
- Copywriting (specifically focused on conversions)
- Landing page copy (not blog posts, case studies etc)
- There’s a focus on checklists and shortcuts almost
So you might want to create something that answers that need.
An article along that offers a checklist type approach to improving your SaaS landing pages might be a good option.
Perhaps something like;
”The 6-step process to audit ANY SaaS landing page”.
That answers the needs of the industry and would help me get my name out there, right?
I’d recommend you do more research than the above. But it doesn’t have to be a week-long endeavour.
Perhaps 1-hour doing research and then a few more creating a sample piece based around content with the highest engagement.
When it’s complete, publish the article.
If you have your own blog. Publish it there and it’s now one of your new assets.
That’s exactly what I did with the above. If you want to see the article outlining my 6-step process for copywriting audits, just click here.
If you don’t have your own blog, don’t worry. There are plenty of free services allowing you to publish your work.
You might want to publish it on Medium before submitting it to one of the larger Medium publications in the industry.
That in itself can help get your name out there.
You now have an asset people want, it’s time to make sure they see it.
Step 2 – Find those who would benefit from your article
You now have a piece out in the wild that’s based on the industry you want to break into’s trends.
That alone puts you above like 80% of the wannabe writers out there.
Now, you have to get this piece in front of someone in a position to hire you to do the same for them.
You already know what industry you want to work in, right? That’s what informed you research for stage 1.
Size doesn’t matter so much.
Go from the fortune 100s all the way down to the mom and pop or recent startups.
Just write out a list of the brands you most want to work for.
When that list is complete, go through and be ruthless in culling those who aren’t a great fit for the kind of writing you want to do.
For example, my example above was on copywriting audits for SaaS brands, right?
Brands that might benefit from it would include;
- Those offering services to SaaS brands
- SaaS brands themselves
- Those offering advice on copywriting and marketing to SaaS brands
- Any general digital marketing blogs
Cull your list of dream clients down to those who also fit the ideal recipient for this kind of article.
Then, find the email address of the person who’s able to make decisions.
That could be the VP/director of marketing, editor, founder etc.
Find their name using LinkedIn and their email address using Hunter.io.
If you need a little help with this, check out the video I put together explaining the process below.
Now you have the two things you need to get this party started.
- Your high-value asset
- The contact address of people who could benefit from it
All that’s left now is to reach out.
Step 3 – Aggressively promote your content
Too many freelancers send a single pitch email and think that’s enough.
Most of the responses I get during outreach are on the initial or secondary follow up.
For each outreach, you should be sending 2-3 emails until you get a response.
An initial email to get the person’s attention, and two follow-ups if they haven’t responded.
Single emails aren’t enough. They often get missed because people are busy, and the folk you’re emailing have to field hundreds of emails every single day.
So make sure you follow up.
The initial email send doesn’t have to be anything particularly detailed.
I’d recommend something simple like;
Subject line – Thought you’d like this [NAME]
[ICEBREAKER ABOUT THEIR COMPANY]
I recently wrote an article on [YOUR ARTICLE TOPIC] I thought your audience would love. You can check it out here.
I’d love to write something similar for the [SITE] blog. If you’re accepting new writers I can send over my rates and a couple of article ideas I have planned out.
If not, no worries and enjoy the article I sent over.
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Be aware, you will get vastly more negative responses than positive. But that’s OK.
Because with the above template you can send around 20 of these in an hour, a few rejections are nothing.
Do that every day for a week and you’ve hit 100 potential clients. One of whom is bound to need your services.
With my article on copywriting audits, I took all of the above steps.
And then I went a little further.
After publishing on my own site I;
- Sent numerous emails to those in the industry
- Republished on Medium where…
- It got curated by the Medium editors for promotion in their newsletters
- It got picked up by The Startup publication for their own promotions
- Shared it periodically on social networks
And the results have been great.
Check out the below.
If you can’t make out the details, the above includes;
- One LinkedIn post containing one of my images that has been seen over 800 times (the other 6 posts for this article’s promo were all seen between 250 – 500 times each)
- Complementary feedback from multiple founders, heads of marketing, and influential decision-makers
- 2 offers of work
- Tweets from industry-leading authorities (including a chief editor for SalesHacker and a Senior Growth Manager for HubSpot)
From this promotion alone, the traffic to that one article saw a small bump in that week.
325 visits within a 9 day period on a brand new article.
Not bad considering the site is relatively new in its growth and has a low DA.
Add to that a small bump in views on Medium and the outcome is pretty good.
It’s not a great performance on Medium, but better than nothing. And it’s made me $0.50 so far.
So the beers are on me.
But what’s more important is that the single asset I created was seen by around 400 people in around one week.
To do that alone in job applications through job boars would require around 55 job applications per day.
Which is insane.
And the best thing is, anyone can do this.
It doesn’t require a reputation. It doesn’t require experience.
It just requires you to do some good work. Which can be achieved with a liittle research and some decent writing skills.
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Now, one last thing I’d recommend to create your own perpetual stream of freelance writing jobs.
Step 3.5 – Extra credit with email tracking
You can just send your emails and hope for the best.
But if you can sign up for an email tracking service you’ll know if and when the recipients are opening and reading your emails.
This gives you a much better chance of landing clients because, if no one is opening, you now you have to switch up the subject line you’ve used.
If no one is responding, you need to change the email body copy.
There are a few free services out there that can help you do this. I use HubSpot’s free CRM to get reports like the below.
You could also use one of the below;
Or any others that you can find on a Google search.
If you can master this simple process, you’ll be able to consistently fill your pipeline with potential customers who are desperate to work with you.
Don’t Leave your Freelance Future to Job Boards and Bidding Sites
Finding your first, or next, freelance job doesn’t have to be the crapshoot many other freelance coaches recommend.
I don’t understand why you would want to throw your hat into the ring with dozens or hundreds of other writers when you can, just as easily, stand out from the crowd simply by being proactive.
Finding freelance jobs, even for beginners, isn’t hard.
It just takes a little bit of hard work.
But you have to remember you’re running a business here. Hard work is par for the course.
Take some time over this coming weekend to trial this method.
If you can master it, you’ll find you’re never without clients. And if income takes a drop, you’ll have a swift process to quickly land more clients and quickly increase your income.