Just like in the brick and mortar world, most freelance writing jobs are not advertised. Making contacts and developing relationships with people is the way to tap into the hidden job market for freelance writers. Discussion forums are a good place to get information that will help you in your search for freelance writing gigs, as well as an effective way to find potential clients.
A Google search for “discussion forum writers” (without quotes) brings back over 25 million hits. There is an active forum at the WAHM.com web site for WAHMS Who Write. The threads feature a combination of discussions about different aspects of writing and clients posting ads looking for writing help.
I still visit the forum often, mostly to lurk. I like to see what people are discussing and I get some good ideas for blog posts based on threads that I see on the board.
Part of the value of visiting discussion forums like this one is the fact that members share their experiences with different clients. You can find out who is hiring and get an idea about pay rates before you apply. This type of forum is also a good place to find out which clients you may want to avoid, since members will sometimes discuss negative experiences they have had.
The discussion board is also a place where people who are looking for writers can post ads. I’ve been able to find several gigs from discussion boards by answering ads directly. Don’t assume that all opportunities posted on a discussion forum for writers will be low-paying; I’ve found some high-paying ones as well.
Keep in mind that for every person who is participating in the discussion, there are many more who like to stop by and read the threads. Some of them are people who are, or will be, looking to hire writers. You can stand out from other participants by offering thoughtful comments and good advice to members of the forum.
When you sign up for a discussion forum for writers, be sure to include a link to your web site or blog in your signature line. People who visit the forum who want to learn more about you or contact you directly will click on it, and you want to make it easy for them to find you.
Do you have a favorite discussion forum for writers where you have found leads or clients? Share it in the comments section!