Putting Yourself Out There: What Freelance Writers Need to Know

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

By Carol Turner

Aside from being able to turn your passion into a career, there are numerous perks in the field of freelance writing. For one, the occupational outlook for writers is promising in terms of pay and job growth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers are paid above the median annual wage of $69,510 per year. Job opportunities also continue to grow at a fast pace, part of which can be attributed to companies’ increasing demand for remote freelancers in particular.

However, these benefits can only be maximized when you know how to successfully break into this otherwise vast industry. So here’s a guide for everything you need to know about building your platform as a freelance writer and putting yourself out there.

Portfolio and branding

Create a writing website

While social media can be an easy and accessible platform to start with, it’s essential to create a website where you can showcase your work and establish yourself as a professional. When optimizing your writing website, full-time, six-figures earning freelance writer Elna Cain recommends drawing inspiration from other freelance writers. Take note of how they keep their websites information-rich yet easy to navigate, and what exactly they did to make their content stand out. Rather than merely focusing on the number of website visitors, prioritize how you can convert them into paying clients through a solid and credible portfolio.

Define your niche

There are writers who are generalists, but you’re more likely to find clients easier and get better offers when there’s a niche/industry you specialize in. Your niche can be based on your background, experience, or personal interests like travel, fashion, or fitness. Alternatively, you can look into learning more about some of the current highest-paying niches to see if you’re adept at or comfortable with writing them. According to IAB’s 2023 Marketing Outlook Survey, these are financial technology, software-as-a-service (SaaS), and healthcare.

Post content regularly

Having an optimized personal website and a niche as your competitive advantage means you can start thinking about publishing consistency. As previously discussed in a WOW post about building a platform for your writing, it helps to produce regular content to increase your following and network with other writers, too. Aside from the usual blog posts and articles, you can experiment with rapidly growing content formats like podcasts, long-form writing, and search engine optimization (SEO) writing. Creating a content calendar using tools like Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook also allows you to plan out your topics, publication dates, and post frequency ahead of time.


Send emails

Once you’ve positioned yourself for work, it’s time to find potential clients. Whether you apply via freelancer websites like Upwork or go directly to clients, it’s imperative that you learn about writing an email cover letter. This serves as your digital introduction, so keep it clear and concise when highlighting how your strengths, skills, and experience connect to the job opportunity at hand. Demonstrate your writing and editing skills by adding your own voice and style to the letter and avoiding typographical or grammatical errors. You can then link your portfolio/website and conclude with a subtle call to action to increase your chances of getting an offer.

Leverage networking opportunities

A strong network can make the difference between a good offer and a missed opportunity. You can join online writing communities on social media and career platforms like LinkedIn or attend in-person networking events to get to know fellow freelance writers personally and professionally. However, you can also leverage this new type of networking called ‘weak ties.’ While the term seems counterintuitive, it is through these casual contacts—who are likely to operate in vastly different fields from you—that you can cast a wider net for job opportunities, recommendations, and referrals.

It can be challenging to get started as a freelance writer, but WOW! Women on Writing offers a range of workshops and classes where you can learn how to build your platform and level up your professional and writing skills. By signing up for WOW!’s mailing list, you can also get access to exclusive content, events, and networking opportunities with skilled and experienced women writers.


Bio: Carol Turner is a freelance writer with a focus on corporate wellness and employee wellbeing. When she's away from her desk, she enjoys cafe hopping and being a full-time mom to three cats.


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