Many people have tremendous writing skills and are curious to learn how to parlay that into regular freelance writing opportunities. These quick tips offer a Get Started Guide to the World of Freelance Writing.
1) Identify Publications
Most online magazines, newsletters, blog or newspapers accept freelance writing submissions. Before you approach a publication, you’ll want to be sure to know what their guidelines and standards are. You’ll likely have to browse the publication’s site a bit to find their policies with regards to freelance work. Some publications maintain topic or word count guidelines, others require new material only. It’s also likely they’ll indicate a preferred method for how they prefer to accept submissions.
Understanding these requirements will help you to be successful. Additionally, you’re best served to begin by targeting local publications where the pool of competitors won’t be as large. This gives you an edge as your local knowledge allows you to provide something to the story other writers couldn’t.
After you’ve chosen a few publications that you’d like to pitch for freelance work, you’ll need to come up with some ideas. You’ll be best served to incorporate anything that makes you unique or sets you apart in the market. Come up with several ideas that you feel you couldÂ comfortably write and go from there.
A key item to remember:Â Most freelance articles are expected to be written in third person, not first. Be sure to check out some of the publications’ articles before you submit to see how they’re written as this may influence your topic choices.
3) Target your Articles
Next, you’ll need to figure out which of your ideas would work best for which publications. Some may be better suited to one place than another – that’s perfectly fine. Just be sure to know which apply where. For instance, an article about traveling with kids might apply to a parenting magazine, a travel magazine and possibly a humor column. Once you’ve figured out which ideas match what publications, you’re ready for your last step.
After you’ve done all your research above, you’ll need to refer back to the submission guidelines for each publication. Then, write a pitch letter addressed to whomever is listed as the contact. If you don’t have a specific contact, that’s ok. Not all publications are going to make this easy for you. Try to write the pitch in a similar tone to what the publication uses.
An important to note: You should pitch these articles before they are fully written so that if the editor wants to make any specific requests about tone or length, youÂ can easily accommodate the request.
When your first start out, you might practice targeting and pitching freelance articles somewhere that’s low key and doesn’t intimidate you. You can also do a few pitches to friends or blogs that don’t intimidate you to get your feet wet – then go after the more prestigious opportunities.
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Be sure to check out freelance writer Emily Suess’ upcoming Writer’s Week! The event includes a writing contest and freelance advice from 11 writing professionals!