Several months ago I was trolling the web for new writing markets and stumbled upon a website that was just what I’d been looking for: a career site with articles for young professional women. Alas, there were no writer’s guidelines on the site, and it looked like the site wasn’t being updated regularly. Still, I had an idea for an article that would perfectly fit the website’s readers, so I sent a blind email to the generic “info” email box pitching the article and asking if they needed writers.
It turns out that they were planning to relaunch the website under a new name and needed lots of content for daily updates after the launch. My email arrived at just the right time, because they hadn’t started recruiting freelancers yet and I became one of the first writers on-board.
Fast forward six months, and the website has a new editor who continues to offer me regular assignments. Some are ideas I’ve pitched and others are ideas she generates and needs someone to write. Because she knows that I’m building my freelance writing business, she refers me to editors at other new websites and also increased my fee now that her website is more established. I’ve also suggested other writers to her so that they can get involved and she can build her roster of writers, which she does mostly through referrals instead of ads.
Had I answered a call for submissions, I would have been one of several hundred writers eagerly vying for assignments. But because I reached out when they weren’t actively looking for freelancers, I managed to set myself apart and build a relationship that has led to steady writing income and lots of other opportunities.
Susan Johnston has contributed to numerous print and online publications including Boston Globe Magazine, Absolute Write, Young Money, and others. Learn more at http://www.susan-johnston.com.