For new and seasoned writers alike, online job boards are indispensable. They’re (usually) free, accessible, and provide leads you can’t find on your own without spending hours on places like Craigslist, Indeed.com, and Monster.com.
As it turns out, however, the convenience provided by job boards is a double-edged sword. Because of their relatively low barriers to entry, the jobs posted on these boards tend to get swamped with hundreds of applications within hours sometimes even minutes! When you have that kind of competition, it’s harder to stand out and land good gigs. If you can’t land enough good gigs through these boards, it defeats the purpose of lurking on them for hours on end, right?
For these reasons, you need to supplement your job-board-trolling habit with more creative and proactive approaches to job hunting, such as the following.
Use Online Alert Tools
Instead of wasting massive amounts of time and effort hunting for leads, why not let the leads come to you? You can sign up for Google Alerts, or bookmark websites like AllTop.com, Followerwonk.com, and Topsy.com to help you collate niche articles and possible sites to pitch at the same time.
Swipe Leads from the Portfolios of Successful Freelance Writers
Even if you’re not raking in a six-figure income like most high-profile writers, it won’t hurt to take a peek into their portfolios, and check out the sites they write for. Often, you won’t see these on “X Sites That Pay You to Write” lists, and it’s safe to assume that if successful writers are cranking out portfolio-worthy pieces for these sites, then they must be worth a shot.
Pitch to Businesses That Sell Your Favorite Product/Service
Imagine there’s a small coffee shop in your area called Awesome McCoolname Coffee Company. Imagine also that you’ve tasted their product, and think it’s the best coffee ever invented.
There’s just one teensy-weensy problem: Although Awesome McCoolname has a website, it’s practically invisible on Facebook, Twitter, and other major social networking sites. Worse, after reading their website copy, you realized that the copy could use a little more spunk and sparkle.
Why not offer your writing services to them, then?
With your help, Awesome McCoolname’s owners can improve the effectiveness of their marketing campaign, and you can get paid to write about and promote a product you love. Isn’t that a win-win situation?
Get Help from Writing Forums
Realistically, there’s only so much you can do on your own to find high-quality freelance writing jobs. If you want to take your career to the next level, it might help to ditch the “writing is a solitary activity” mindset, and join writers’ groups. Here, you can share/receive writing tips, job leads, updates on the latest content marketing strategies, etc.
Of course, you’ll make the most of these groups only if the members are more interested in helping each other than in, say, sharing Internet memes or random YouTube videos. Before you sign up for any of these groups, do take time to search the World Wide Web for reviews and recommendations on the best ones to join.
Leave Valuable Comments on Posts in Major Blogs
Believe it or not, clients do scroll through the comments section of popular posts on high-profile blogs. After all, they want to know the reasons these posts “click” with readers, and what better way to do so than reading the comments?
If you participate in the discussion on a viral post by Mr./Ms. High-Profile Blogger, and leave thoughtful and articulate feedback, a potential client may take notice and click the link in your comment that leads to your website. On the other hand, if you leave too many nonsensical and/or purely promotional comments on too many blogs, you may be flagged as a spammer, so use your “comment marketing” strategy with care.
Don’t settle for the passive approach to snagging freelance writing jobs. Instead, profile your ideal clients, look for them in the most likely places, and give them the most impressive pitch you can come up with. That way, you’ll attract the clients you want, work the jobs you like, and become a happier and more productive freelancer in general.
Issa Mirandilla writes about freelancing, writing, marketing, careers, personal finance and other business-related topics. Give her a nudge on Twitter, or visit her website: http://issamirandilla.com