About a decade ago, I came across an ad online from a health related association. They were looking for a freelance writer to update one of their books about Medicare. Since I had been specializing in health and business articles, as well as books, I was very interested. Within a few moments, I had submitted a brief cover letter, my freelance resume, and writing samples. As with most online jobs for writers, I knew they would receive at least 50 replies, if not more. Much to my surprise, I received a reply within 24 hours from an editor at America’s Health Insurance Plans, better known in the industry as “AHIP.” The editor explained a little bit about the project, and how much it was paying. He mentioned it was an $8,000 gig…and would probably only take a few weeks of research online to complete.
Apparently, AHIP published a few books about health insurance, Medicare, and other health-related topics, and every few years they would hire a freelance writer to research any changes to the laws and regulations. There was very little writing involved, and most of this particular project involved me updating the new Medicare rules directly from the Medicare website. It was boring work but you certainly couldn’t beat the payday!
Here’s a link to AHIP, and some brief info about them: https://www.ahip.org
“AHIP is the national association whose members provide coverage and health-related services that improve and protect the health and financial security of consumers, families, businesses, communities and the nation.”
There are literally thousands of Associations in the U.S., both for profit and not for profit. They are an untapped gold mine for freelance writers. Obviously, the “for profit” ones tend to pay better than the not for profit ones, but there are some in that category that offer a decent pay rate for freelance writers (between 40 cents and $1.00 per word for articles).
A good place to start is a directory or association of associations. There are quite a few out there. One of my favorite places to search for associations is the Directory of Associations website: https://www.directoryofassociations.com – You will be able to search through over 35,000 local, regional, national, and international associations. Living in Delaware, I just searched for associations in that state and found out there are 126 listings in their database. You can see information about each one, including how large they are, and their annual budget. (Hint: The larger the budget and size of the organization, the more likely it is they will have opportunities for freelance writers!)
Below are some other sources you can search for associations:
Encyclopedia of Associations (Gale Directory Library) – This website has over 135,000 associations in their database. However, they charge you a fee to access it. Virtually every library in the U.S. has the same information in the reference section. The Gale Directories are usually 4 or 5 very large reference books.
National Trade and Professional Associations Directory – This is another very good directory. They will try to sell you a copy at $299. However, I have found this directory in public libraries up and down the East Coast, so I suspect they are everywhere.
If you are looking to break into the association markets, I suggest creating a brief introductory e-mail, and sending it to the editorial or communication department contact (virtually every association has that info. on their website).
Here is an example of how I word my pitch:
Dear (Editor’s Name):
Do you need any freelance health writers? (Replace “health” with whatever subject/topic you are applying for.) I am a freelance writer with over 30 year’s experience. My byline has appeared in major publications all across the U.S., and I have written articles for over 200 Websites. As always, I am flexible with rates. (Then I paste in my freelance resume and a link to a writing sample.)
Start the process by searching for associations in your hometown. They are more apt to hire a local freelance writer first. If you are persistent, and keep searching for more prospects as you pitch, you should be able to land a quality writing gig.
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John Riddle is a freelance writer, author and ghostwriter from Bear, Delaware. His byline has appeared in major newspapers, magazines, Web sites and trade journals all across the country. He is the author of 34 books, including a few health and medical titles, and has worked as a ghostwriter on numerous projects. John is also the Founder of I Love To Write Day, a grassroots campaign he launched in 2002 to have people of all ages practice writing every November 15. Last year over 25,000 schools all across the United States held special I Love To Write Day events and activities. He is a frequent speaker at both Christian and secular writing conferences, and recently appeared at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. You can learn more about John by visiting www.ilovetowriteday.org.
Peek over the shoulders of highly successful freelance writers to see how they earn thousands per article! The query letter is the key!
In these pages, you'll find real query letters that landed real assignments for national magazines, websites, and corporations.
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