(Because Clint is having some computer problems, we have a bit of a schedule change today. My normal Friday post is being published early -- below -- and you can find Clint's latest comedy piece on Friday this week.)

You know that when it comes to finding high paying freelance writing jobs, I primarily recommend three things:

  1. Build your visibility and writer platform so prospects can find you.
  2. Build a solid referral network to get referred gigs from colleagues and other clients.
  3. Early on, before gigs are coming to you directly, go ahead and target and pitch prospects directly. After all, query-free freelancing is an end goal; not something that will work immediately for every freelance writer.

Let's talk more about that last one, because it applies more to newer freelancers or those trying to break into new markets. And those are the groups that most often ask me "where" the good freelance writing jobs are. They're not in any one place just waiting for you to snatch them up. Most aren't advertised. And those that are usually aren't advertised on job boards or freelance bidding sites.

How do you find those writer's markets then? Well, your trusty search engine can come in quite handy. And here are a few tips to help you find higher paying freelance writing jobs with better searches.

Forget "Freelance Writing Jobs"

Don't waste your time searching for "freelance writing jobs" in your favorite search engine. You'll find pile of crap on top of pile of crap. You'll find low quality, rehashed job listings on blogs. You'll find bidding marketplaces pitting you against hundreds to thousands of people worldwide willing to work for far less than fair market rates where you live. Some of the content mills even go out of their way to target the phrase to suck in low-paid "content producers." Skip it.

Instead search for phrases commonly used when advertising more professional writing jobs and markets -- "writers' markets" and "writers' guidelines" are two good options.

Incorporate Rate-Related Terms

When searching, don't just look for 'writers' guidelines." Also add some words or phrases related to rates. At a bare minimum you can find markets where rates are listed so you don't have to waste time contacting people just to find out what they're willing to pay.

For example, use phrases like "per word," "per article," "$1.00 per word," or "cents per word." If you're looking for something in a specific range, search for the specific rate so you don't end up with things like penny-per-word gigs in your results.

Search for Specialties

When you search for general freelance writing gigs, who know's what's going to turn up? You might have to dig through dozens of pages of search results before you find anything relevant. Instead, narrow down your search to your specialty area. For example, look for "business writer's guidelines" or "blog writer's guidelines" or "women's writers' markets." Sticking to your specialty can help you weed out the gigs you don't want while saving you time.

Use Specialized Searches

You can do more than search for your freelance writing specialty area. You can also try specialized searches. For example, a great option for freelance bloggers is to use Google's blog search feature. Then search for keywords related to your specialty area. Find companies in your target market that run company blogs. Then you know who to pitch to see if they need help with the writing, editing, or promotion of that blog. Want to write short business video scripts? Use video search options to find companies putting out regular videos for marketing. Prefer to write for financial sites and publications? They have a finance search too -- results giving examples of the type of content these financial publications are looking for. Move beyond basic search if you want to land more high paying freelance writing jobs.

These are just a few tips to get your freelance writing job search moving in a better direction. Do you have other search tips for freelance writers? Did a clever search query lead to an awesome freelance writing gig? Leave a comment below to tell us about it?