How to bomb out all the time when looking for writing gigs

You apply for one or two gigs a month: There’s something to be said for the law of averages. If you’re applying for five or less blog or web writing gigs a month your odds of getting hired are slimmer than the odds of a blogger who gets out there and applies for 20, 30, or more gigs a month.

You apply for lots of gigs but most are totally inappropriate for you: While the above tip about applying for a lot of gigs is good advice, it’s also important to apply for gigs you actually might get. You’re not right for every gig out there. For example if there’s a Mac tech blog gig open and your knowledge base on that topic is minimal, it’s not a good fit. With 500+ applicants applying for that gig besides you, at least 100 of them will likely know more about the topic than you do. Apply for gigs that you’ve got a shot at.

how to get blogging jobs

You’ve never blogged or written for the web before: This seems like a given, but so many clients note that people apply for gigs when they’ve never even written their own blog before that I figured I’d mention it. You may be a rockin’ writer but that doesn’t make you a blogger and you’ll be far less likely to get a gig than one of those other applicants who has blogged before. This is easily fixed though – anyone can start a blog.

You think blogging sounds like an easy job to break into: It’s not. There is actually a skill set required to blog well. Blogging isn’t tough once you get the swing of it, but there are lots of little pieces that make up the whole of the gig. I’ve written for print, businesses, and the web; and web writing, in my opinion, is just as much work as other markets if not more so because the face of the market is frequently changing and you have to keep up.

You’re lackadaisical: Looking for writing work is not a passive activity. You can’t simply write a personal blog and expect clients to flock to you based on your brilliant prose. Trust me, in most cases your personal blog just won’t be popular enough to get you noticed. You have to look for gigs. You have to apply for gigs. You have to network. You have to pay attention to those email applications you send out.

You work for free or for pennies all the time: If you don’t think you’re worth paying; if all your resume shows is content sites or article mills that anyone can write for; then why on earth would a client think you’re worth giving a gig to? I’ve had clients ask why they should hire me when other people are willing to work for free and I always say, “You get what you pay for” and guess what – most clients agree. If you’re not confident enough to work for pay, why are you trying to get work as a blogger anyhow? Allow yourself and your time to be worth something or other people won’t take you seriously.

You’ve heard of Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, and all of that, but you can’t be bothered to jump on board: Two years ago, when applying for gigs, I never had potential clients ask me about my background in social networking. Now almost all my potential clients ask about my networking experience. If you’re not on board with some of the major social networking arenas, and at least somewhat versed in the less popular ones, you won’t get jobs as easily.

You spend most of your time whining about the lack of gigs out there: Whining will get you nowhere. No matter how much you whine it won’t change the fact that there are plenty of places out there still hiring writers and bloggers. All you’re doing is wasting time.

You’re too niche specific OR you’re not niche specific enough: Because green is my fave topic, I’ve concentrated most of my efforts on eco-issues for the last five years or so. However, I also stay on top of a few other specialty topics in case I see a job pop open in one of them. I can just as easily write about pregnancy, money or architecture. So, I keep it open but not too open. I think it’s smart to have a somewhat specific niche that you cover a lot because it makes you look like an expert in at least one area. If you claim to be able to write on dozens of topics you don’t look quite as valuable. Most of us don’t have enough time to follow trends and news on five topics, let alone dozens of topics, and following trends and news is an important part of blogging. When I’ve applied for gigs lately most of the potential clients have asked me about current trends and issues in my pet topics – if I was following too many niches, it’d be hard to stay current.

You give up too soon: Most probloggers I know (who blog for clients) have been at it a while. They’ve had ups and downs in the job market and they deal instead of giving up. If blogging isn’t working out, they’ll diversify as they continue to apply for blogging gigs. It can take years to establish yourself in the web writing world, just like it can take years to establish yourself in another writing arena.

Can you think of any other good ways to bomb out when looking for blogging and web writing gigs?

[image via stock.xchng]


  1. says

    Exactly. I think that it is also important that you stay on top of what is available even if you are happy and booked up. If you are not going fter new challenges you are not growing.

  2. says

    So many good points! I especially like your advice on not giving up too easily. I’ve been at this for a year, and I’m not where I’d like to be. But I do see the potential and have been positioning myself slowly but surely to get to where I’m going.

  3. says

    Yes, some of these definitely apply to me. I don’t apply to too many freelance gigs because I’m not fit for that many (and I’d rather have a full-time job instead). And I’m probably focusing too much on a niche market…I guess it is time to diversify a bit.

  4. says

    Great advice! I have just made the switch to full time freelance writer and I have started pushing myself to apply for more and more jobs. These are great things that I will keep in mind. Thanks!


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