So you’ve never written anything before, and now you’re staring at a blank screen, cursor blinking away, just waiting for that first brainwave to strike. Not as easy as it looks, is it? I feel you. Don’t worry – we’re here to help you take your first steps down that path you’ve been dreaming of and become a freelance writer.
How to Become a Writer
The best way to become a writer, believe it or not, is just to write. Practice makes perfect, and while you won’t reach perfect right away, there is help to be found. To get an idea of how to start, read a few texts similar to the ones you want to write.
To practice writing, try starting a blog. You can use your blog to attract clients. If you don’t want your own blog, you can guest post on other people’s blogs in order to get your work out there and create a portfolio for yourself. You can do this by searching “[your niche] + write for us” on Google. Some websites will want you to do this for free, but some will pay for your texts.
Find Your Writing Niche
While you can write about any number of different topics, having a niche will make you stand out and give your clients confidence in your knowledge and ability to create high-quality work for them. To choose your niche, you should consider all of these points:
- The subject you want to write about
- The type of clients you work with
- The style of writing you do
- Whether or not there’s enough work for you in your chosen area
Are you an SEO pro? Do you have experience in or passion for a certain field? Then that’s where you begin.
How to get Paying Clients for Your Writing
Once you’ve got that sorted out, it’s time to start looking for clients. To help you get started, it can be worth checking out a platform that connects writers with clients.
At Topcontent, that is exactly what we do! You get (paying) writing assignments without having to contact any clients directly. It is a good starting point to get used to the requirements of clients and to get feedback from experienced proofreaders.
Finding Clients: Cold Pitching
Contacting companies directly to offer them your services is a great way to find clients. Scary as it may sound, it’s actually quite simple: seek out businesses who you think could use your assistance and get in touch. Make sure to tell them who you are, how you found them and what you can do for them.
As with all job applications, it’s best to personalise your cover letter, so don’t be tempted to send the same blanket email to everyone. Try to look for, for example, companies who are trying to expand their online presence.
Finding Clients: Social Media
Social media can also be a great tool. You never know, one of your friends or acquaintances could be in the throes of a desperate search for a writer as we speak.
A word of warning, though: it can be easy to get caught out by scams when looking online for work. It’s therefore a good idea to make sure a job is legitimate by doing some research or reading reviews of the potential client.
Many first-time freelancers have a hard time figuring out how much to charge. You may find it useful to chat with other freelancers to get a sense of what you should be asking for.
Create a Website to Showcase Your Work
As you grow as a freelancer, you may need to create a website where people can find your portfolio, experience and, of course, how to contact you. I recommend making it as easy as possible for potential clients to reach out, so make sure you include links to your social media profiles.
Top Tips for Once you Land a Job and Actually Start Writing
- Always ask for a clear brief. The last thing you want to do is waste time going back-and-forth trying to understand what the client wants, so before you start, make sure you understand the text’s purpose, word count and deadline, as well as how to gain the information you need to complete it (whether it comes from the client or from your own research).
- Research, editing and proofreading are always worth the time they take. Poorly-researched articles are easy to spot, and grammar errors are an instant way to lose your client’s trust. Plus, creating a quality piece is more likely to score you repeat work, meaning less time pitching and more time writing (which ultimately earns you more money).
- Remember to keep your knowledge of your niche up-to-date. There’s always more to learn!
Final Words on how to Start as a Freelance Writer
I know that all this information can seem overwhelming at first. You’re not alone – we’ve all been there. Luckily, there are resources that can help. You can start by checking out our other blog posts for more tips and inspiration. Think of this list of top apps for freelance writers as your new best friends, all ready to make your life that little bit easier.
I hope these tips have given you a little bit of inspiration, but if not, don’t panic – even seasoned writing veterans struggle sometimes. Keep writing, keep practicing, and above all keep an open mind – you just never know what will spark your next big idea!