For many, the phrase “freelance writing” conjures up images of famous magazines on a newsstand. Often the best-paid work, however, comes from companies that aren’t in the publishing business at all. They’re commissioning articles as part of their content strategy, to either connect with their customers or improve their website’s search traffic.
In this declining print magazine world, most of my jobs now come from company websites and blogs. For years, I have written for the Viator Travel Blog, aligned with an international tour company. There, I’ve placed travel stories about Guatemala, Hungary, the USA, and spots all over Mexico. I’ve written round-ups for the blog of BedAndBreakfast.com and the hotel booking company Trivago.com. My latest was a feature story for a digital magazine, a great hiking adventure narrative that took place in Peru. It wasn’t for the likes of Outside or Backpacker though; it was for the in-house publication of outerwear technology company Gore-Tex.
Other assignments have come from upscale rental car company Silvercar, coupon site DealsPlus, and finance site H&R Block. These companies know that the best way to get more traffic to their site–and generate leads–is to produce fresh content on a regular basis. So, they are willing to pay professional writers to generate articles that will appeal to their customers. My examples are from travel, but this concept can be applied to other specialties such as medicine, finance, education, or automotive.
Where do you find these opportunities? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of keeping an eye on job board sites like MediaBistro, JournalismJobs or sites that find freelance job listings, like WritersWeekly.com. Other times, you stumble upon them in your research and send a pitch. Two of mine came through Contently after setting up a portfolio there to show my work. If you’re a known expert in a subject area and have a high position for that on search engines, sometimes the jobs will come to you. If you see a company that doesn’t have an online content strategy but should, go pitch your services to create one for them. Then, instead of a one-off assignment, you might have a steady stream of articles to produce.
Tim Leffel is a veteran award-winning travel writer, editor, and the author of five books, including Travel Writing 2.0.
Completely revised edition of the ground-breaking travel writing book that provides a road map to success in the digital age. It dives headlong into the entrepreneurial world of blogging and digital books, while still acknowledging the real money to be made in declining print forms.
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