Being an online freelance writer refers to a wide spectrum of work. According to the Writer’s Bureau, “A freelance writer is a writer who works on a self-employed basis. They can work for just one magazine or, more often, they write for several different publications at a time. The more diverse a writer can be, the more likely they are to be published and paid for their work” (“What Is a Freelance Writer?”). The last statement is essential: a freelance writer’s power comes from his or her versatility and flexibility.
Even more specifically, online writing on a freelance basis is a separate beast. “Online writing refers to any text created with (and usually intended for viewing on) a computer, smartphone, or similar digital device. Also called digital writing. Online writing formats include texting, instant messaging, emailing, blogging, tweeting, and posting comments on social media sites such as Facebook,” says Richard Nordquist of ThoughtCo (“Learn the Distinctive Characteristics of Online Writing”). As you can see, online freelance writing is large in scale.
That being said, to cover the vast array of tasks you can do as an online freelance writer, here are eight tips that can help any digital writer achieve greatness in his or her craft:
- Become a community writer
Getting advice and feedback from other freelance writers online is essential to one’s growth and sustenance. As Hustle & Co put it, “To keep those creative muscles flexed, it helps to be surrounded by individuals who have similar goals and skills. For writers, the community is massive and offers ample destinations for you to contribute. From broad groups to niche, there’s likely a writing community out there for you right now” (II, James Bennett). Join a few online freelance writing communities to lead a healthy freelancing life.
- Know how to hustle
To hustle means finding work in a pinch and to work hard for it. According to Elna Cain, “You’re a freelance writer and that means you’re also a hustler. You have to go out there and hustle hard for clients.This is not to say you have to do it ALL the time; after a while – if you market yourself right – prospects will start approaching you. So, even though you may earn enough to pay your expenses and live comfortably with one client’s work, be on the lookout for more work” (Elna Cain, et al). The online freelance writing world comprises fierce competition and a swashbuckling atmosphere. You need to be headstrong and willing to take on tasks that may present more of a challenge than you expect.
- Make a plan for marketing
Every successful online freelance writer is also a marketing genius. The website Freelance Writing states that, “Planning for success accounts for 50% of achieving it. The rest is hard work and dedication. So put down your plan on a spreadsheet or word document or a big piece on
paper, which will be taped someplace prominent” (“The Freelance Writer’s Marketing Plan”). In your plan, you should mention your clients, niche, goals, object of freelancing, how to achieve your goals, how to track goals, promotional plan, budget, funds, and etc.
Online freelance writing involves fierce competition, but it also incorporates a lively atmosphere for camaraderie. Elna Cain says that, “One of the best things I did was reach out to other freelance writers. Whether it was to ask them about rates or clients, having another person that “knew” what I was going through was helpful. I found most of my network of freelance writers either on social media or by visiting other freelance writing websites like Be a Freelance Blogger or The Write Life” (Elna Cain, et al). Through other freelance writers, you can also get intel on clients and they can even set you up with gigs.
- Take a course related online freelance writing
Being a digital writer might seem like something you don’t need an education for, though this is not entirely true. Knowing the ins and outs of the freelancing world, especially corresponding to online writing, will give you an upper hand in your business. Elan Cain says that, “Having a successful framework to go by just makes new freelance writers become successful faster. You learn the right way to pitch or submit your work or where to find freelance writing jobs and you don’t waste time” (Elna Cain, et al). So, if you want to streamline the process of becoming an online freelance writer, taking a course will be of benefit.
Through one’s failures, one should set one’s sights on goals. According to Writer’s Edit, “Without goals, you have nothing to work towards and no way of ensuring your career goes the way you want it to. Without goals, it can be hard to find the motivation to keep working hard and following your dreams. Plus, there are so many types of freelance writing jobs that it can be hard to decide which area you want to focus on” (Randall, Gayle, and Claire Bradshaw). Once you set your goals, try to follow them the best you can. Work hard to achieve your goals each day, and you will not be dissapointed.
- Create a blog
A blog is your professional and/or semi-professional platform to show off your stuff and your personality. You may not immediately land clients because of your blog, however you can use it as a sort of portfolio for your online freelance writing. Not only that, blogs demand (usually) that you should write daily. This will help you improve your writing. You have to be careful with your blog, however. There should be no grammatical errors and such in your articles, as remember, this site is your personal brand. Your reputation partly rests on it. Before creating a blog, have a plan for its content and design. Rushing into making a blog without the consideration of these aspects will result in less readers and less substantial material.
- Make pitching a daily routine
Just because you may have stuff to work on at the moment does not mean you should stop pitching to clients. Your gigs will run out before you know it. Instead, create a habit of pitching to new clients each day. Yes, even on the weekend. The best thing is to make pitches for long-term work. Short-term gigs are alright, but long-term work is what will earn you a stable income.
Now that we are done with the tips, let’s explore some of the requirements for online freelance writing:
Most employers appreciate when their writers have at least a bachelor’s degree in writing or a related field. Having a master’s degree is not necessary, but it is considered an extra plus. Those freelance writers with only a high school education, hopefully your portfolio will be impressive enough to snag a client.
You can have a portfolio in many forms: as a blog, as a website, as a database, or in print. Having all these together is ideal. Your portfolio shows your best work, and also the variety of writing you can complete. It is best to have this portfolio edited to a great degree, as employers will be looking at it with scrutiny. In light of this, it is good to send your portfolio to a writer or editor you trust, and for him or her to give feedback to you. Weigh the feedback accordingly, and edit where needed.
For online freelance writing, previous experience is not always needed, but it’s preferred. Employers like to hire writers that have at least a few years of experience in writing various types of compositions. Even having completed an internship will be helpful to put on your resume. Any experience in writing and editing will be valuable when it comes to online freelance writing. This brings me to the point of a resume: it is best to get a resume expert to look at your information to work on a resume with you. Writing a resume is a craft of its own, and knowing how to connect your resume to employer’s wishes and demands takes a special type of attention and expertise. So, write your resume on your own first, and then set up an appointment with a professional resume writer to help you craft it to its maximum potential.
I hope these pieces of advice and bits of information has been of assistance. The best thing I can say to start you on your journey in online freelance writing is that you need to have determination, a desire to improve your writing skills constantly, and flexibility in your work.
“What Is a Freelance Writer?” Writing A Novel – Ten Steps To Planning A Novel, www.writersbureau.com/writing/what-is-a-freelance-writer.htm.
Nordquist, Richard. “Learn the Distinctive Characteristics of Online Writing.” ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, www.thoughtco.com/what-is-online-writing-1691358.
II, James Bennett. “10 Great Online Communities for Freelance Writers.” AND CO, www.and.co/blog/freelance-knowledge/10-great-online-communities-for-freelance-writers/.
Elna Cain, et al. “7 Tips for New Freelance Writers.” Elna Cain, 28 Mar. 2017, elnacain.com/blog/tips-for-new-freelance-writers/.
Writing, Freelance. “The Freelance Writer’s Marketing Plan.” FreelanceWriting, 1 Aug. 2016, www.freelancewriting.com/freelance-writing/the-freelance-writers-marketing-plan/.
Randall, Gayle, and Claire Bradshaw. “Writer’s Edit.” Writers Edit, writersedit.com/freelance-writing/set-achievable-goals-freelance-writing-career/.