Whether you are a full-time freelancer, or are just dabbling in the writing life, there are countless ways to make money writing. Here are 10 ways to boost your bottom line this year:
1. Pitching media organizations: Newspapers, magazines and online outlets will always need story pitches. The keys are subject matter, timing and expertise. You’ve got to pitch a brand new story, or an old theme with a new spin at the right time, and show the outlet why you’re the perfect writer for the job. This can take time, and doesn’t always produce immediate cash flow, but it can become a writer’s primary source of income if done right.
2. Trade publications: If you have subject matter expertise, trade publications are a possible outlet for your work. Sites like FreeTradeMagazines.com can give you a sampling of what trade magazines are available. For example, if you have a good grasp of technology, you could see if Human Resource Executive, Wireless Week, or Business Solutions magazines accept freelance submissions.
3. Blogging: Some freelancers prefer to be strictly journalists but others like to diversify. Blogging for clients can provide a steady income stream while allowing you to explore different topics and types of writing.
4. Grant writing: Grant writing for nonprofits is very lucrative. It requires some training but, if you can write persuasive copy, this might be an option for you.
5. Paid content: Consumer sites like Motley Fool work with freelancers to write content for their site and partner sites.
6. Create your own outlet: A few years ago, my community lost several major media outlets, leaving a news gap where I live. I started a blog to talk about some of the local events and happenings in my town but, as demand grew, I created a full-blown community website. It is funded through advertising and sponsorships. Consider creating your own site and, as traffic builds, monetize it with ads, sponsored links and sponsored content, etc. Your site may even lead to more writing contracts.
7. Specialize: Writing expert Kelly James-Enger, author of Ready, Aim, Specialize!, recommends that writers create their own subject matter specialty. This not only narrows your market, making it easier to pitch, but you can position yourself as an expert, build a platform, create an inventory of work for reprint, and develop relationships with editors to garner repeat business.
8. Ask for referrals: One of the simplest ways to get more writing work is to ask for it. Let your fellow freelancers, colleagues and networking friends know you are looking for additional assignments. I occasionally get referrals from other freelancers who don’t have time to take on a particular gig, and I return the favor when I can. It is important to let others know you are available though, or they might not think of you first.
9. Leverage Linked In: Linked In is a goldmine of prospects. Connect with media outlet staffers, newspaper and magazine editors, online content gurus, etc. and join groups that focus on writing and freelancing. By staying connected online and off, you may find a lead where you least expect it.
10. Respond to ads: Sites like WritersWeekly can be good sources for ads for writing work. I check several difference sources daily or at least weekly to see if there are leads or prospects I have not yet explored. Caution: stay away from sites that want you to write a sample for free, pay pennies on the dollar, or that want a ton of writing and research for a small sum. You have a talent and should be paid accordingly.
Based in the Seattle area, Dana Neuts is a full-time freelance writer, editor, author, speaker, marketing consultant and the publisher of iLoveKent.net. In addition to writing for publication, blogging and copywriting, she regularly pitches to local, regional and national media outlets. She is also the president-elect of the Society of Professional Journalists. You can learn more about Dana at http://VirtuallyYourz.com.