How to Get Started as a Freelance Writer

So you wanna be a freelance writer? Awesome!

Chances are, you have no idea where to start. But that’s OK, because that’s where everyone starts out. Generally speaking you have a few options if you’re starting out freelance.

You can:

  • Build your brand up and hope clients come to you
  • Seek clients via traditional job postings (although these tend to want people on board full time or on a contracted basis)
  • Seek clients via remote work positions
  • Seek clients via agencies
  • Send off hopeful submissions to websites in the hope you get a publishing credit

So let’s look at these one by one and break them down.

Building up your brand and hoping clients come to you

This will 100% be the slowest way of attaining business, so if earning money in the short-term is important for you (as I would imagine it probably is) I definitely don’t recommend this.

Brand building requires a few different balls to be in the air at once and it takes time to build up yourself, your audience and then convert that engagement into clients willing to pay money.

It also requires a lot of time and input commitment on your part – as you will need to be online, present and selling yourself regularly to maintain the footholds you’ve clawed out for yourself.

Seek clients via traditional job postings

This is possibly the easiest way of getting some work initially, even though the application processes this way tend to be more time consuming for you, as you’re effectively applying for a job each time you’re bidding for work.

It’s a good idea to set up alerts on a few different websites, so that you can have a steady stream of options coming into your inbox (e.g. Reed, Indeed.) You can upload your CV and pre-write a covering letter on both of these, so they save you a bit of time.

Seek clients via remote work positions

Remote working gives you the same flexibility as freelance, as often they’ll contract you on a part time or project by project basis. You need to check each position before you apply, but some great sites for job hunting this way are Remotive, Remote.co)

Seek clients via agencies

Be careful with agencies. They take a cut of your earnings, so you’re never realising your full earning potential. However, they can be a good stop-gap to make sure you’ve got some money coming in while you get your ducks in a row applying for longer-term positions or trying to attract more clients.

You also need to see whether there’s a subscription fee, because this can often outweigh the potential benefit. Some examples include Contena, and Fiverr.

With agencies you need to make sure that it makes sense money wise. Sometimes the quantity of content you’d need to produce to be earning sufficiently versus the time it would take you to produce all that content doesn’t balance out.

Send off hopeful submissions

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of this:

Pros

You might get published

You might get paid

Cons

You might not get published

You might not get paid

You’ve still invested the time in producing a piece of content

If you need to build your portfolio then it’s definitely a good idea to send them work you’ve already invested your time in, perhaps work you’ve already self-published somewhere like LinkedIn or Medium. Don’t invest in new work unless you’re able to self-publish it as well. Your time is your money, so make sure you’re balancing the spending and earning in both senses.

Finally, here’s something extra that sounds obvious but that you should definitely do:

Tell your friends and family you’re going freelance

Mention it to them. Reach out to anyone that you think it would be relevant to.

In the words of Tesco: every little helps.


Penguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

Why You Need To Be Guest Posting

So you’ve got a blog. Or perhaps even a whole website. And you’re using it to build your brand, build your audience and try and get your fans engaged.

But who’s reading your blog? Who’s looking at your website?

If you get a lot of repeat visitors, but not a lot of organic, new traffic, chances are you need to cast your net out a bit wider.

So now the big money question: How do I get new people to come and visit my blog?

The answer is what is always is: good quality content.

But if your blog is already full of lots of great, valuable content and it’s still not attracting the amount of new traffic you want, then you need to start thinking outside of the box.

Or, thinking inside another very exact box: Guest Posting.

What is Guest Posting?

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Guest posting is when you give someone else some of your content to host on their blog. That’s right. You write a killer post that’s going to get tonnes of engagement and then you give it to someone else.

Why would you do this?

Because they then send your awesome blog out to all of their hard-earned subscribers and BAM. You’ve suddenly got a whole new pool of readers for your content.

Add into this that they’ll backlink to your website (which literally just means they will link back to you) meaning you’ll have a new funnel of traffic coming straight through to your blog.

This is especially good if their website has a higher domain authority to yours. A domain authority is basically a measure of how awesome Google thinks your site it. It’s based on how old your website is, how popular it is and how big it is. You can use a tool like Moz to figure out what you DA is, and what the DA of your targets are. A rule of thumb is this: always seek out websites with a higher DA than yours for guest posts.

How Do I Start Guest Posting?

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Chances are, you already write some content. So you already know how to write witty, engaging blogs that people like to read. Which is great, because this is half the battle.

Now you need to start this process:

1. Seek out potential guest post opportunities

Think about what your fans might search for, or wider interests your fans might have. After all, you’re trying to appeal to a wider audience.  Let’s say, for example, that you talk a lot about marketing, but you’re also a keen traveler. So you could look up traveling blogs as well as marketing blogs, and start making a list of some of the biggest ones.

2. Make a thorough list

You’re going to want to do a few guest posts, ideally, so it’s good to keep a list. My list looks something like this:

Site Name Domain Authority Amount of Traffic Summary Blog Post Idea Blog Post Pitch
Best Blog Ever 31 125k They blog about blogging How To Write Great Blogs Hey (Name),

Etc.

You can use a tool called Moz to find out what the Domain Authority of a website is. You can also use a website called SimilarWeb to figure out how much traffic it gets.

Then you want to write yourself a little summary. This is basically a quick summation of what the website is about and what kinda things it talks about. It serves as a self-reminder, so when they reply you can check back at your notes and remind yourself this is the cat blog, not the dog blog (so no terrier jokes anyway they are terrier-ible! 🤣).

3. Come up with a great idea

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Arguably, the hardest part. Have a quick scan of their blog and see what kinds of posts they’ve covered already, because it’s no use you writing something that’s a carbon copy of something they already have. I don’t mean you need to trawl through every post, just check the titles. See what kinds of topics they talk about and have a think about what you can contribute. The key is that whatever you write has to bring value to their readers.

4. Write a killer pitch

This deserves a lot more of a detailed look, which is why we’re going to cover it in the next post. Needless to say, after you’ve put all the effort into selecting your targets, figuring out their domain authority and done the research on their blogging styles, you don’t want your pitch to let you down.

Check back next time for our post on How To Write A Killer Guest Post Pitch.

5. Hit send… and get ready to write

You need to be able to turn your content around quickly. So it’s no good pitching a piece of work you know it’s going to take you months and months to pull together. Keep it within your realms of expertise, something you could knock together in a day – or less – and make sure they know that they have very little (or even better, nothing) to do at their end.

To GIF or not to GIF?

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What is it?

No it’s not JIF the cleaning fluid! A GIF is a short video that is repeated again and again. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format.

Why would you use it?

GIFs can brighten up your day and your social media posts and even powerpoint presentations! Want to make people chuckle in your next presentation but struggle with writing suitable jokes? Pop a humorous GIF into your presentation and the work is done for you. You can also add GIFs to twitter and Facebook posts and even blogs like this one to spice up your timeline. You’ve got to admit it does command attention doesn’t it?!

Where can I find them?

Some social media networks now have built in libraries of GIFs with different categories or emotions to select the perfect GIF for your post. Twitter and Facebook for example offer a GIF option when writing your posts. There are also lots of GIF websites such as giphy.com that let you download GIFs or use the embed code to insert them into your posts.

You see a GIF is really a GIFT!

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penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

Guardian Masterclasses led by us!

The lovely people at Guardian Masterclasses have asked us to lead two workshops on 23rd February on ‘Social Media for Creative Freelancers’ at BVE 2016 at Excel London.

They are one hour workshops for only £25 and you can book here:

Book Penguin in the Room Guardian Masterclass Now

This is how we feel about doing the workshops:

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It’s going to be fun. See you there!

 

Penguin in the Room @prartsmarketing are some penguins with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email: info@penguinintheroom.com 

 Facebook.com/penguinintheroom 

twitter.com/prartsmarketing

or waddle over to the website: www.penguinintheroom.com

 

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