We’re talking about freelance writing experience today. Many writers mention how hard it is to get their proverbial feet in the door without having to take entry level web opportunities. It’s true, these jobs are the simplest to get, but there are other ways to get started as a freelance writer. They may not take the easy way out, but they’re tried and true. Continue some of these ways for getting started as a freelance writer.
Ten Ways to Get Your Freelance Writing Foot in the Door
- Work pro bono – Though I don’t recommend writing for free, I have been known to do so for a good cause (and sometimes a few relatives). For example, few years ago a friend approached me about writing a brochure for a Habitat for Humanity event. Though they offered to pay, I didn’t accept. It was for a good cause and I felt the clip to be a resume booster. It was and still is. Charity work pays in more ways than money. Since then, I’ve more than a few pieces for charity and even some for local businesses that needed a boost.
- Contact local newspapers and magazines - Many small newspapers, magazines and “Pennysavers” don’t pay much, but offer good opportunities for getting started as a freelance writer. Local newspapers often look for articles of interest to the community. Pitch public interest pieces or offer to cover town meetings and events.
- Contact local businesses: Who writes the paragraphs for real estate in the real estate magazines? Call Realtors to find out. Who handles brochures or web copy for businesses in your area? Contact them to find out. Businesses always need writing but they don’t always have the time to look for a good, affordable writer. Make a list of the place that might have a need for writers, and give them a jingle.
- Talk to friends, family and neighbors: Let everyone know you’re open for business. In their travels they might find someone who needs a writer and recommend you.
- Advertise: If you don’t mind putting out a little money you can advertise in the newspaper, local business publications, the church newsletter, and on community bulletin boards. You might also create a writer’s website and use keywords to direct local businesses to your site.
- Network: Join clubs, especially those geared towards the community or small businesses. I had a few very good gigs come from being the president of a local women’s organization that I originally joined for recreation. Attend conferences and seminars and even non-business-y events like local dances or lectures.
- Join a professional organization: Why not join your local Chamber of Commerce or a small business owners group? How about a freelance writing organization, The Society of Professional Journalists or the National Organization of Women Business Owners? The people who are members of these different organizations like to hire within.
- Write for the web: Web writing opportunities are plentiful and profitable. They range in all levels of pay and will help to build up clips and experience.
- Start a blog: Start a blog in a topic you know well. Not only can this help establish as an expert, but it will also catch the attention of potential clients. For example, say you’re a former wedding planner and you decide to start a wedding planning blog. Someone looking for a wedding writer might come across your blog and contact you. You will also have several posts to use in querying for wedding writing opportunities.
- Create your own clips: If you need some clips to land work and don’t have any, write a few in your areas of expertise. Run them through a second pair of eyes to be sure they read well – and then use those clips when you apply for available opportunities.
How did you get your foot in the door?