Win Your Ideal Writing Jobs – Freelance Writing Jobs For Beginners
You may be seeking freelance writing jobs for beginners, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pitch like a seasoned pro. Follow our 7 steps to winning work, and you will be putting yourself in the best position to win the kind of writing jobs that you’re actually passionate about.
We’ve taken our favorite pitching formula and broken it down into 4 simple steps so you can tweak it to your needs and put yourself in pole position to land the writing jobs you’ve always wished you could have.
In our example, we talk about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but you can tailor this pitch to whatever your strengths are. SEO skills aren’t a necessity for freelance writers, but they can help you earn jobs, so if you want to learn a little bit more about SEO, check out Larry’s article, 7 Ways to Use SEO to Take Your Freelance Writing to the Next Level!
Whether you’re an SEO hero or not, tweak our pitching formula to incorporate your strengths, and you can be pitching like a pro in no time at all.
1. Find Content You Love
Finding freelance writing jobs for beginners doesn’t have to be difficult. There are tons and tons of people who are looking for good content, you’ve just got to find a way of matching yourself with those people.
One of my favorite ways to do this is through being passionate about my niche. I’m always reading up on things that are happening in my niche and when I find some content I really love I let the people know.
Peter Gasca writers in Master These 4 Simple Pitching Concepts to Capture a Room’s Attention “as an observer, mentor, and judge, I have seen numerous pitches fall flat because the entrepreneur failed to deliver even an ounce of passion through their pitch.” If you’re pitching to someone whose content you love, this is never going to be a problem though!
When you’re passionate about something it shows, and when you contact someone to tell them how much you love their work your passion for that subject is going to shine through. Obviously, these guys have already got some good content, so they know what they’re doing, but even the best blogs need a little help from time to time, so why not ask if you can do some writing for them?
I recently found an amazing website in my niche of tennis. This guy had some unbelievable content that was focused on tennis statistics (pretty nerdy, but I loved it), so I thought why not let him know how much I enjoyed his work.
Here’s how I started out my message
The amount of research you’ve put into your website is unbelievable! This is such a valuable resource for anyone connected with tennis and I’m very grateful to have found it.
I am a tennis writer myself and run my own tennis blog and I know that your statistics can add great authority to some of my posts. Statistical analysis is an area of tennis that I find is severely overlooked and I believe that by understanding the numbers of the game, we can massively improve our performance on the court.”
Of course, this isn’t rocket science, all I’ve done is used the fact I like this person’s content as an excuse to get in touch with him! However, I’ve created a connection and hopefully, I’ve positioned myself as someone who shares his passion for tennis statistics.
This is just the beginning of the pitch though! Once you’ve established your passion for the topic and made a connection with the person, you move onto the next step.
2. Find Where You’re Needed
In 12 Easy Steps to a Perfect Pitch, Bruna Martinuzzi recommends establishing the need for your services early on in the pitch, she says, “one of the questions that goes through your listeners’ minds when they set out to listen to you is ‘what problem are you trying to solve?’ Convince them that there is a need.”
Immediately, I could tell from the way Bob’s website was laid out that it probably wasn’t well optimized for SEO. So, I did a little research and checked out how the website ranked for its keywords.
(Again, SEO might not be your thing, but there will be some way your skills can improve this person’s website, you’ve just got to find it.)
It turned out that this website had 5-star content, but it was portraying itself as 1 star-content. For example, the titles of the blogs were very technical, but people rarely search in technical terms. The information in the blogs answered simple questions in clear terms, but the titles didn’t portray that. Everyone knows that a good title is important, but this was just one of the things that could use huge improvement on this blog.
Anyway, here’s what I found and how I continued my pitch
“As far as I’m concerned, any article that’s ever written about tennis could benefit from quoting your statistics. That’s why I was a little bit surprised to find there aren’t many websites linking to your blog. I’m sure there are many people who would love to be linking to your website, but the problem is it’s very hard to find.
Your content is some of the best out there, but unfortunately, you’re only ranking on page 1 of Google for about 10 keywords. In my opinion, your content is so good that your ranking possibilities are unlimited if you just make a few changes.”
So this is the area in my pitch where I have really positioned myself as an expert. I have analyzed Bob’s website, understood the requirements that this website needs to meet in order to be successful and suggested reasons as to why it might not be reaching its full potential.
The danger here is that I alienate Bob by being critical of his website but in all probability, he probably knows there is something not working on his website and he is eager for someone to help him fix it. SEO specialists are generally very expensive, so by approaching him as a writer, I am positioning myself as being able to fix his problem at a much cheaper rate.
We said in our article Freelance Writing For Beginners – 7 Ways to Learn From Everything You Do that you need to become your own business analyst, well here’s just another example! Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t know how to analyze a website or magazine, it’s something you will get better at with time.
Just think about how you can use your skills to make this person’s posts better. Write out some ideas and develop them into a coherent plan.
3. Offer Up a Specific Strategy
So, you’ve found Bob’s content and you love it. But, you’ve noticed some flaws with his website and you thought you’d be a good Samaritan and let him know. Well, we’re not quite that altruistic because we do want something in return!
This is the most important part of the pitch, the part where we tell Bob how we’re going to help him solve the problems with his website and achieve his business goals. This is where we offer up a specific strategy that’s going to change the fortunes of Bob’s website.
All businesses love a strategy and without one, your pitch just isn’t going to have the same authority. In 5 Benefits of Strategic Planning, Vera Ong recommends that “a strategic plan offers a much-needed foundation from which an organization (Bob’s website) can grow, evaluate its success, compensate its employees and establish boundaries for decision-making”.
We want to show Bob he can grow his website, achieve his goals, and we want to get compensated, so this is a great place to really nail our pitch!
This part can be a bit of a balancing act as we want to show Bob that we are the answer to his problems, but we’d also like to leave enough in our pocket that he doesn’t go off and do it all on his own.
Here’s how I pitched my strategy to Bob:
“I really do think that with a few fixes your website could be ranking on p1 of Google for hundreds of keywords, and you could easily increase your traffic 10 fold.
What I would suggest is reworking your titles and targeting them to specific keywords and adding in a summary to each of your blogs. At the moment, your content is presented in a very number focussed way which might be leading Google to think that your content is thin.
By writing summaries of what your statistics mean, I believe you could improve on your content and most importantly, make Google sit up and take notice.”
Now, this is a simple fix in many ways. It really is just a few tweaks. Bob has done all the hard work by putting 11 years worth of statistics in one place, all that’s left to do is optimize them for keywords and write a summary. But when you’ve got 1000s of blogs, suddenly the job becomes more complicated and Bob might need a hand, as well as some guidance!
So here’s where we move on to step four and really drive home our value.
4. Back Up What You Say
You’ve pitched Bob a strategy, but how does Bob know it’s going to work and you’re worth giving a chance? This is where you back up your words and show Bob all the great work you’ve done in the past.
Talk about the successful writing you’ve done in your niche. How many visitors does it attract each day? Did it rank on p.1 of Google? How many comments did it generate? Whatever success stories you’ve had, link it back to your strategy and show how you have a track record of making this strategy work.
This is how I did it with Bob:
“By targeting keywords through high-quality written content, I have successfully implemented this strategy with my own website and have seen great results. We started the website 6 months ago and now rank on p1 of Google for around 200 keywords, which generates us a substantial amount of traffic.
I think that with your website you could achieve even bigger results because it is more established, having been running for over 2 years now. I’m confident that a little bit of work and some small changes could make a big difference for you.
If you’re interested in my ideas then I’d love to organize a time to Skype and discuss them further.
As I said, I love your content and would be very excited to help out.
So my pitch is now complete and I think we can agree it’s a little bit more thorough than just posting my name on a jobs board. It shows that you’ve got expertise, you understand your potential client’s goals, and that you’re willing to put work in to make this blog a success.
Bob may not agree with my analysis of his business, but the chances are he is going to be impressed with my efforts and I’m certainly going to stand out from the crowd.
This pitch does take a fair bit of work, but, nothing worthwhile is ever easy. If you follow these steps then you might be looking for freelance writing jobs for beginners, but you’ll be pitching like a pro.
Find Content You Love
Find Ways That Content Can Be Improved
Offer Up a Specific Strategy
Back Up What You Say
5. Treat Your Pitch Like Your Articles
If you’re going to put a ton of effort into writing a pitch, there’s no point doing it if you’re going to overlook the small details. You need to treat your pitches like your articles and that means making sure they’re grammatically correct and there are no spelling mistakes.
Impact writer Carly Stec writes that “one of the easiest ways to discount your business’ credability is to fall victim to spelling errors and poor grammar.” When you send in a pitch with a small mistake it’s automatically going to jump out of the page at the client. You’ve got a very small window to make a good impression and a grammatical error is a quick way to get rejected.
To put our minds at rest, we use Grammarly’s Writing Assistant, which is great at doing a first screening of all your writing. We know when we’re using Grammarly we’re going to be pretty close to perfect, but that doesn’t stop us doing an extra couple of proof readings.
It’s easy to get overly anxious about these small details, so trust yourself, but you don’t want all your great research and pitching to be ruined by some simple grammar mistakes. Do your proofreading, trust yourself, and send it off!
Always keep in mind that your pitches are just as important as your articles, so treat them as such. Freelance writing jobs for beginners are a competitive field, so put yourself above the competition by absolutely smashing the pitch.
6. Get Testimonials
One thing that is going to be very important to step four (backing up what you say) of this process is testimonials. If you can show prospective clients that you’ve achieved tangible results then you’re going to make your life so much easier.
To do this, you’re going to have to make sure you collect testimonials along the way. Many websites will encourage clients to write reviews of your work when you’ve submitted it, but don’t leave it to chance.
Make sure that if your client is happy with your work they leave you a review. If you’ve achieved something like ranking on page 1 of Google then remind them. They’ll be more than happy to write it for you if you’ve done this, but without you reminding them it might slip their mind.
In today’s world, people rarely buy anything without reviewing it first. The same is true of freelance writers. As a freelance writing beginner, you’re not going to start out with reviews, but if you do good work and make sure you chase up your testimonials then you’re going to have plenty of good reviews in no time.
Make sure you don’t just collect reviews though. Use them to market yourself as much as you can. Put them on your website (yes you should make a website – check out our article Choosing Your Niches – 7 Ways to Start Ahead of the Competition, point 6) and celebrate yourself when you’ve done good work.
7. Value Yourself
It’s very important when you’re talking to prospective clients that you understand your value. Freelance writing jobs for beginners can be difficult to get when you’re starting out, but you must remember not to undervalue yourself.
Everyone’s trying to save a buck in this world, so clients might look to talk you down, but don’t feel pressured into taking an offer that doesn’t work out for you. If you’ve written a great pitch, then you’ve already shown the kind of value you can offer, stick to your guns and respect the high quality work you’re going to be doing by getting the right price for it.
Likewise, if you’re not getting the jobs you think you should be getting and clients are suggesting you should be pricing your work a little cheaper then don’t bury your head in the stand. Make sure you’re monitoring your competition to see how much they are charging and remember you will be able to increase your prices as you collect great testimonials and build a killer body of work.
Understanding how to price your work is a difficult part of freelance writing, but it needn’t be complicated. To begin with, check out the competition and price your work accordingly. Once you start building an impressive body of work you can start to adjust your pricing to reflect your growing reputation!
At the end of the day, winning freelance writing jobs is the same as anything else. You’ve got to put in the hard work and make your pitch stand out from the rest. Freelance writing jobs for beginners are going to have tons of people applying, so you have to find a way of making your pitch better than the next one.
We love to do this by using our cold pitch formula to get jobs we’re actually passionate about. To do this, you simply have to follow these four steps:
- Find ways that content can be improved upon.
- Reach out to the owner of the content.
- Offer up a specific strategy.
- Back up what you say.
If you treat your pitch like you do your articles and make them word perfect then you’re going to find that potential clients are highly impressed with the effort you have gone to. Most jobs will have lots and lots of people applying, but you can guarantee that the vast majority won’t have gone to the same level of effort as you have.
When we were starting out in freelance writing this was one of our go-to strategies for getting work and it worked a treat. The main thing is you have to get yourself out there and start pitching for jobs. The more you do, the better you will get!