Writers ask me one question more than any other: "Where can I find high paying freelance writing jobs?" My response is usually along the lines of: "Most of the best gigs aren't advertised, so you don't really 'find' them; you have to help them find you!"
We talk about writer platforms. We talk about networking. We talk about marketing and PR. But still writers want a magic pill (or magic place in this case) that will solve their problems. Today I'd like to explore those unadvertised writing jobs, and three ways you can land those high paying gigs you won't find posted on your favorite job board.
Why High Paying Freelance Writing Jobs Are Often Unadvertised
As a writer, unadvertised jobs can be frustrating. Wouldn't it be great if they were all available on your favorite job boards or job search engines? Actually, there are some serious perks to keeping them private. For example, you don't face competition from the masses if they aren't aware of the jobs. But let's look at it from the client's perspective. Why don't they post an ad? It could be for several reasons, including:
- They don't want a huge number of queries coming in from an ad. They would rather solicit writers through their own search to find a good match.
- They prefer to ask for referrals from people they trust.
- They have no idea where they should advertise to find the type of writer(s) they're looking for.
- They don't even realize yet that they need to hire a writer (or editor).
The good news? While those things may stop gigs from being advertised, they don't stand in your way of getting them!
How to Get Unadvertised Freelance Writing Jobs
There are three primary things you can do to start landing unadvertised writing jobs, no matter where you are in your writing career:
- Attract them. - The gigs aren't out there for you to find, so it's vital that you are easy for prospective clients to find instead! Platforms. Networking. I'll say it until I'm blue in the face. Just do it. Get to know your colleagues. Get to know people in your target market, even if they're not your client directly. Start a blog. Start a podcast. Write a report. Write an e-book. Get interviewed. Be active in niche communities. Focus on SEO. Build that visibility and reputation in your specialty area in any way(s) you see fit. Make sure that when someone is looking to fill an unadvertised writing job and they're searching for prospects, they find you! Make sure that when a client or colleague is asked to refer someone for a project in your specialty area they think of, yes, you! You don't have to do everything, but do you have to do something.
- Hunt for them. - You may be surprised to know how many unadvertised writing jobs are actually "advertised" after all! Visit your favorite job board, and do a search for "freelance writers." You'll often find a few gigs, but far more that seem completely irrelevant. I've already given you this tip previously, but it's worth repeating: forget about the actual ads recruiting freelance writers, and instead look at jobs for full-time editors. Why? Those ads were returned for that search string for a reason--often because within the editor's job description in that ad, the company notes the editor will be responsible for hiring and supervising freelance writers. Interestingly, many of the companies I've found this way never advertise for writers themselves. They work through recruiting firms and referrals often, so the public never finds out they hire freelance writers at all (and these are a very diverse group of client types!). They've admitted they work with freelance writers, so go ahead and contact them! A little bit of digging can turn up a lot of unexpected results.
- Ask for them. - Sometimes getting an unadvertised freelance writing job is as simple as asking. Magazine writers do this all the time. They query publications even if they're not directly soliciting a specific type of piece at any given time. You don't have to use a formal query process though. Just ask your existing clients if they need something done. For example, if you wrote a holiday newsletter for them previously, you might offer to do the same for another holiday down the road. If someone hires you to write blog posts for their site, you may want to pitch additional content to be used for article marketing to build their expert status and bring in more readers to that blog, all with a consistent voice from you, their blogger. Notice a site filled with grammatical errors in an industry where it's probably costing them business? Mention it (tactfully), and you may have created a job for yourself that the client didn't even realize they needed! You can also always ask existing clients for referrals (oftentimes they know plenty of other prospective clients they could refer--they just don't think about it until asked).
In the end, it's often easier to make your writing jobs than it is to wait for them. If you aren't finding high paying freelance writing jobs, change your approach. Look harder, or stop looking altogether and work on helping them find you instead. The best approach in my opinion is building your own visibility. No matter how full your schedule is, it continues to work for you day in and day out, allowing you to be far more selective in the gigs you take on.
Have additional tips for finding unadvertised writing jobs? Share them in the comments!
For More on This Topic:
- Freelance Editing - Find Unadvertised Jobs
- Writing Jobs: STOP Looking in the Wrong Places
- So You Want to Become a Freelance Writer? Part 3: Finding Gigs
- 10 Best Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
- The Five Myths About Freelance Writing