Mastering a skill like writing is no easy feat and finding tips for landing a high-paying freelance writing job can be a challenge. No matter if you’re a natural, a seasoned writer, or a self-taught wizard of words, starting your freelance writing career can be exciting, overwhelming, and frustrating, all at once. Where do you even start? And where do you find jobs that actually pay you for your value?
I’ve been freelancing for 15 years – eight of these were while working a corporate 9-5, and the other seven have been completely full-time. Getting here was an eye-opening struggle in the world of freelance writing, and I’ve certainly learned a thing or two along the way.
In order to land high-paying freelance gigs, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to ensure that you stand out in the sea of a million competitors. Keep in mind that struggling, in the beginning, is completely normal. Here are some methods that can help you win your dream clients.
Tips For Landing High-Paid Freelance Writing Jobs
I couldn’t be more grateful for my freelance writing career and sometimes have to pinch myself that it’s real. The flexibility, the ability to work anywhere in the world, and the variety of things that I learn every day are just a handful of the priceless perks. Here are some tried-and-true tips to help you build a solid, high-paying foundation in your freelance writing career:
1. Take a Freelance Writing Course
The number one way to snag high-paying clients is to be the best in the biz. And the only way to master your skill is to practice, learn, practice, and learn some more. The writing world is constantly changing, and the more you hone your skills, the better.
Consider taking a freelance writing course to improve your writing skills, in whatever genre you’re focusing on specifically, or just about the freelance writing business in general. Knowledge is power, and it also equals dollar signs.
The Freelance Writer Course by Knowadays is accredited, self-paced, and offers 50 hours of tutor time. If you use promo code GOATS25 and this link, you’ll receive 25% off the course. Read our full review of the Knowadays Freelance Writing Course, and if you’re looking for more options, see our list of the best freelance writing courses online.
2. Learn How to Pitch Yourself
In this day in age, more and more people are searching for ways to make an income online, and freelance writing is certainly one of the more popular avenues. When thousands of people have their eyes on the same job listings, it’s crucial that you stand out when sending your cover letter.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind, which might sound counterintuitive at first, is to focus your pitch on the company or client – rather than yourself. It can be tempting to create a cover letter that explains why you’re a great fit, your education, or your accomplishments, but doing that can send your email straight to the trash.
Instead, use those accomplishments and education to describe how it will benefit them, the company. How can your skills and experience benefit them specifically? Also, show them you’re a great fit by giving specific examples of work that are similar to what they’re looking for.
3. Seek Out a Well-Paying Industry
When I first started freelance writing, I had dreams of writing about tropical travel destinations and being paid to go to these dreamy locations. Although that may be possible if all the right circumstances line up, it’s probably unlikely, (hate to break it to you).
You also might be frustrated by job postings that want to pay you $100 for a 3,000-word article, or $15 an hour to write an extensively-researched article. Don’t sell yourself short!
Beat the game by specializing in a certain niche. For example, the tech and cybersecurity industries are by far the highest-paying, but it will take time and dedication to learn about the industry – trust me, it’s worth it. You’ll have the chance to jump from $150 for a post to $150 an hour.
4. Expand Your Network
We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and although it’s definitely about what you know… who you know can definitely help you land some quality clients. Building up your personal network can up your chances of finding long-term, high-paying clients.
Start by sending messages to your current contacts – former co-workers, family friends, old bosses, etc. – and explain what freelance services you’re offering and if they could recommend your services to anyone they know.
Another way to grow your professional network is to connect with other freelancers in social media groups, attend specific events that are tied to your niche, and network locally by simply pitching yourself in casual conversation. You never know who has a hook-up!
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Cold Pitch
It might sound a little intimidating (or even useless) to send a random email to a company offering your services, but you’d be surprised how well this can work – when done correctly. Cold pitching is the term for basically “selling yourself” to potential clients without any prompt to do so, other than your interest.
The major key in emailing a dream client is to personalize it as much as possible – to them, not to yourself. Do your research and see where you have common ground with the client, and use those points to sell yourself – how are you going to add value to areas that could be perceived as “lacking”?
Another crucial thing to keep in mind when sending a cold pitch email is the importance of the subject line – it’s everything. You could have the most skillfully crafted email in the world, but if your subject line doesn’t stand out, it will be deleted before it’s even read. Remember, make it about them – not you.
6. Establish Your Online Presence
Although it isn’t necessary, having an online presence as a freelancer can only increase your odds of getting new clients. The more channels you’re a part of – the better.
You can choose to be active on social media, such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Or, you can reach out to blogs in the niche you’re involved in and ask if you can write a featured guest post. However you can get your name out there, do it.
An important thing to remember when creating content (on whichever channel you choose) is to cater it to prospective clients, not only to fellow freelancers. For example, if you’re writing or tweeting about SEO, explain how you’ve used it to benefit clients in the past, rather than how it could help other freelancers.
7. Determine Your Content Niche
Just like finding a niche in your writing genre, such as tech or B2B, finding a content niche can help you earn more money too. This can come in the form of blog posts, case studies, research reports, or landing pages.
Specializing in content that helps a business earn revenue or gain visibility is going to be much more lucrative than content that doesn’t. Ask yourself what type of content is most desired, or deemed most important, in that industry and master it.
When you have a niche specialty, it positions you as more of an expert within the sector, and companies are willing to pay big bucks for that expertise. It also makes your portfolio look fantastic.
8. Use Job Boards as a Tool
Job boards might seem like the obvious choice when looking for new clients. And while you should definitely be scouring sites like ProBlogger, Indeed, or Superpath, for new openings, there’s a little “trick” that can help you stand out in the crowd.
After you’ve found a potential client on a job board, and you match at least 80% of their qualifications, it’s time to start doing some research. Go to the company’s website and track down the HR or hiring manager’s email address. Then, send them a personalized email with your interest in the job and your resume.
This works because hundreds of people are going to fill out the application from the job board, but very few will take the time to send a personalized email in addition. Make sure to include relevant samples and any impressive past clients that are in the same industry.
9. Join Online Communities
One of my favorite things about working as a freelance writer is the massive online community and incredible comradery. Joining these virtual communities is a great way to meet new freelance friends, exchange tips, and share open jobs with clients.
By searching Facebook, Reddit, or other channels for freelance writing communities, you can share your services, rates, and what your dream client might look like. You can even speak to other freelancers who are doing the work you’d like to be doing to gain insight.
What’s cool about these communities is that they can create real friendships and bonds. I’ve ended up meeting other fellow travel bloggers across the world because of these groups – it’s the magic of the internet.
10. Ask for an Intro
Speaking of gathering insight from fellow freelancers, you can use that to your advantage when done politely. If you happen to know someone who works for or knows the client you’re trying to land, ask them if they could introduce you.
Being introduced by a trusted and reliable ally can go a long way and tends to build more trust right off the bat. In fact, high-paying clients are more likely to hire based on referrals versus other methods.
If you do end up receiving an introduction, be sure to thank the person who introduced you and return the favor whenever you’re able to do so.
Your freelance writing career doesn’t have to be mundane, (or too demanding), and unfulfilling while being offered low pay. Your career can be rewarding, fun, and lucrative with just a little bit of effort and research. Hopefully, these top tips for landing high-paid freelance writing jobs will help launch your writing career.
The freelance writing world is constantly changing, and new genres pop up every year with growing trends and technology. By adapting and evolving with the times, you’ll always have a high-paying career that you can be proud of.