Get a Freelance Writing Job: Choosing a Writing Market & Topic

freelance writing marketsWhen it comes to freelance writing the type of work you do is virtually limitless. And, because of this it can be hard to choose.

Just to give you an idea here are some of the choices you have:

  • Blogs
  • Business Websites
  • Magazines, Trade Journals
  • Copywriting (brochures, email newsletters, website copy, other marketing materials)

And in each of these categories the topic you write about is limitless as well.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of a few different types of writing.

Writing for Blogs

Writing for blogs is my main source of freelance writing income. For me, blog writing is fairly simple. I’ve been blogging for a while so the format and style comes naturally.

Advantages of writing for blogs

  • Usually ongoing work
  • Fairly easy to find jobs
  • Normally get a byline
  • Exposure

Another big advantage I’ve seen is how quickly bloggers pay.

For instance, when I write for a business website it usually takes at least thirty days to receive payment. When I write for a blogger I get paid literally within hours after submitting an invoice. I have never once been stiffed on a payment and sometimes I’m in utter shock at just how quickly I receive payment.

Disadvantages of writing for blogs

  • Lower pay
  • Coming up with multiple ideas on a weekly basis (this can be a challenge after a while)

Obviously the lower pay is the biggest disadvantage. When you write for a business website you’ll be dealing with a company who has a marketing budget and can therefore pay you better rates. When you write for an independently owned blog you’re not going to be paid the same.

In fact, I get paid about double when I write for a business website verses an independently owned blog.

Writing for Business Websites

Businesses need writers. The more a website is updated with the right content the better it does in the search engines and therefore the more customers the business can draw in.

Some businesses just post articles on their websites while others add a blog. I’ve worked with both.

Writing articles for a business website was actually one of my first freelance jobs. I wrote a batch of twenty insurance related articles and submitted them as a one time gig.

Advantages of Writing for Business Websites:

  • Higher pay than blogs
  • Clear direction – content schedules, topic ideas, etc.

Disadvantages of Writing for Business Websites

  • Usually at least thirty days to receive payments
  • Less consistent work – sometimes just a batch of work

Another disadvantage to some of the business websites I’ve wrote for (definitely not all) is less of a relationship.

 For example, with the independently owned blogs I write for I can bounce ideas off of most of the owners and put a face to their name. With some of the business websites it’s hard to develop a personal connection, which makes you feel less comfortable pitching ideas.

Writing for Magazines

Magazine writing is something I’ve had on my to-do list for a while but haven’t had much success with yet. I’ve taken the time to narrow down publications and have even submitted a couple queries. And since having articles or essays published in a magazine can be far more lucrative than other types of writing, I still have this marked as a goal.

Advantages to Writing for Magazines

  • Higher Pay
  • Exposure
  • Editorial direction

Disadvantages to Writing for Magazines

  • Harder to break into
  • (Usually) Not consistent work

As far as magazine writing goes I think there can be far more advantages than disadvantages. If you’re able to get published in a well-known magazine or two you can use those articles as clips to line up future jobs.

Writing for popular magazines can definitely increase your authority.

Other Factors to Consider

When you go to choose which type of job you’d like to go after there’s one key ingredient that will help you narrow it down: your topic.

Generally speaking, freelance writers want to write because it’s their passion. What makes you passionate? What could your write about and research on for days?

Start with what you know and what you love. Realize that you can change your mind later. You aren’t bound to the initial topics you’ve chosen.

Take Action

Choose one or two topics you want to write about. Your topics should be something you have insider knowledge on – like info you know from a former job or a life experience. (For me this was insurance and divorce.) Or choose something you’re highly interested in and have studied about.

Then narrow down what type of writing you want to do. Remember you can always change this later. The point is just to land your first freelance writing job. Once you get a couple gigs under your belt you’ll have broken a mental barrier and finding jobs you want will become much easier.

Anyone can become a writer. If it’s something you want to do then do it!!

 What type of writing are you interested in pursuing?

Comments

  1. says

    Love the tips here, Alexa. Writing for businesses and magazines still intimidates me a bit, but I do love writing for blogs. We’re also putting out some e-books, so hopefully some revenue will come from that too. I love writing about anything PF or anything parenting.

  2. says

    Landing a gig with a popular magazine would be great! That’s a much different beast than blogging so I would expect it is a lot harder to get that chance.

  3. says

    Thanks for the breakdown. Sometimes the idea of writing for money is kind of overwhelming so putting it into categories can help organize my thoughts and find my strengths. Next step, what do I write about, hmm. I’ve been a single mom for 12 years. I know the ups and downs of that. I write plays and have had some produced. I am learning the trials and tribulations of getting a novel published. And I am super cheap. I’ve worked in a hospital for 10 years. Hey, who knew I had so many areas I could mine for stories. Thanks for another motivating post!

  4. says

    Thanks for this breakdown, Alexa. I haven’t found the idea of writing for blogs to be that attractive due to the lower rates and my general lack of free time. But maybe writing for a company site would be the ticket: less frequent work for more pay might jive better with my schedule right now.

  5. says

    I have been writing for independently owned blogs thus I can totally relate to your words about low pay but yeah, it is quick. Now I wish I am some kind of a business savvy but well, I am happy anyway because I get to spend more time at home with the kids.

  6. says

    Great explanation, Alexa. I have been blogging for a few years now so that type of work is my ideal work. I started freelancing once a week at FeeX and I’m really enjoying writing for another site. I would consider ramping it up more but if I spend too much time on it I feel like it will take away from my site.

  7. says

    My writing has mainly been focused in trade magazines/websites with a few gigs with consumer magazines and major media websites thrown in the mix. When I freelanced full time, my biggest clients were all industry trade. I made a ton of money writing for them. I will say that you do get a lot of editorial direction and the standards are pretty high (you have to be prepared to scout for expert sources to quote in your articles, interview them and write up to 2,000 word stories). This level of reporting can be a hard thing for side hustling writers to swing.

    Now that I’m back to an office day job and freelancing as a side business, I pick and choose my clients more carefully. I’m focusing more on web writing when possible. Right now I have a regular blogging gig and I just picked up a print feature assignment.

    That’s some fast facts about trade writing. Of course, if you are a full time freelance writer, you have much more time to focus on labor intensive assignments.

  8. says

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