10 ways to find content writing jobs in 2021
Here are ten ways to find content writing jobs in 2021:
- Start cold pitching
- Pitch to job board ad
- Ask around
- Use your website
- Guest post for free
- Join online communities
- Try warm pitching
- LinkedIn jobs
- SEO agencies
- Apprenticeships with a more experienced content writer
Generally, 2020 has been a tough year not only for medical workers but for all other industries. The Coronavirus pandemic affected almost every job industry in the world, including freelancing. As many companies were forced to shut down, others laid off their workers, while others had to cut out some practices, including outsourcing certain services such as freelancing – eventually harming the field.
However, towards the end of 2020, things are slowly turning back into normalcy with the hopes of a successful vaccine seen on the horizon. Even though the freelancing world has been slightly affected by the pandemic, it seems to be coming back to a full boom in 2021. When this happens, you need to be ready to take advantage of this $2 trillion industry.
If you’re just getting started in the field or you wish to begin your career as a freelance content writer, you may find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed. There are many things to consider if you want to become successful in this line of work. Apart from sharpening your skills, there are also other considerations, such as building your writing portfolio.
This post will take you through all you need to know to get you started on the right path to a successful career in freelance content writing.
The ins and outs of freelance writing
First things first – before we delve further into where and how to get content writing jobs in 2021, let us first dig into the ins and outs of freelancing writing.
So, who exactly is a freelance content writer, and what do they do?
Well, a freelance writer is exactly as the name sounds – a person who gets hired on a project or freelance basis to write different materials. There is a wide variety of freelancing opportunities that one can major in, depending on one’s interests. You can get employed by a brand, an individual, an agency, or an editorial outlet: and what’s more, is that there is no limit as to how many clients you can handle at a go.
Provided you do not sacrifice the quality of work and able to beat deadlines, then it is okay for you to work for different clients and take up more projects at once. While the list of possible freelance writing jobs seems endless, there are categories that you can choose to master for a start. Here’s a quick guide to get you started:
Major types of content writing jobs
Here are the five major types of content writing jobs you can take up as a freelancing gig:
1. Article/ feature writing
This is perhaps the most popular type of content writing that people think of whenever freelancing comes to mind. Whenever you work on an article, it can either be used in print or online platforms, and sometimes, your work gets featured on both mediums. You are able to write stories, informative, and opinion-based articles or features as you carve out a niche for yourself to focus mostly on.
However, if you’re considering taking this route, do not limit yourself to only one particular niche. Have more, especially if you’re intending on making this a source of earning a living. And yes, there are many established freelance content writers that have made a decent living through article writing, but you can never really rely on one single source. Once you get your first gig, you should work towards improving your skills that will help you land better-paying jobs.
Apart from writing on websites, other places you can land on well-paying article writing gigs include magazines or newspapers. This is one of the most traditional types of freelance writing. People would contribute article pieces or features on magazines and newspapers and still get paid for that, even though they are not full-time employees.
However, many people wonder whether this can be a good career path to consider, especially in the digital era. It is no brainer that digital media is somewhat trying to replace print media, but we can assure you that print media is not dying. It might not be as widespread as it previously was, but there is definitely a place for freelance writers in print publications for years to come.
As we indicated earlier, it would be an excellent call to diversify your income stream and not relying on print medium only.
There are currently over 500 million blogs on the internet. This clearly shows you that you may have better chances of being an article or feature writer online than print media. This is why you should strive to get a couple of websites you write for, on top of the guest posting you do at newspapers and magazines.
2. Copy/ content writing
In today’s business world, content is king. So what does this mean for freelancers? As the demand continues to rise, content writers get more opportunities to display their skills. As a copywriter, you’ll be tasked to write for businesses and ensure that you help them establish and promote their brand, as well as creating engaging content.
Some of the materials you can work on as content or copywriter include:
- Advertising copy
- Website content
- Blog posts
- Publications such as ebooks
- Press releases
- White papers
Blogging is a type of content writing, as you have a key agenda for creating such content. In most cases, it is usually meant to either inform, compel, or convince the readers into agreeing to a particular opinion.
Apart from writing other people’s blogs, you can also start your own. There are various things that you ought to consider when creating your blog, such as the niche you wish to write on and the target audience. Furthermore, you can choose to write your personal blog and on the topics that interest you. There are many ways to monetize a blog, and if you use it as a backup plan while still scouting for other freelance gigs, you could be on your way to financial freedom.
4. Social media content creation
Social media is a force not to be ignored, especially for the modern-day businesses that need to keep maintaining their public image and engage with both customers and prospects. As this trend is not likely to go extinct any time soon, you can capitalize on it as a freelance content writer.
Many companies often don’t have the time to go through all their content on social media posts; hence they prefer to outsource all that work from freelancers. You can take advantage of this, and if you wish to give your career a boost, you can learn how to become a social media manager. Your responsibilities will thereafter shift from only writing social media content but also involved in the planning, scheduling, and posting of such content.
While we are well aware that editing may not be directly acknowledged as a content writing job, it is in one way or another related. For instance, you cannot become an editor without extensive knowledge of content writing rules and guidelines. If you are a little more experienced in the field, you can easily apply for jobs to become a freelance editor for different employers and brands.
Freelance proofreaders and editors work on their clients’ different needs, from ensuring the content is ready to publish, free of any grammatical errors, and in accordance with the correct writing style guides.
There are many other different types of opportunities that a freelance content writer can take advantage of. Others such as UX writing are a little more advanced, but still, you have to have mastered the basic rules of content writing. It would be prudent to identify your key interests and see whether your skills can be used in more than one field.
You probably now understand the different opportunities you can go for when searching for writing jobs in 2021. But do you have what it takes to become successful in that field? This next section guides you on what exactly you need to kickstart your career as a freelance content writer:
What do you need to become a freelance content writer?
Unlike most other freelance jobs, the entry to content writing is pretty much straightforward with very few requirements. For starters, you don’t need to have undergone any special training or having a particular educational background. You also don’t need any special equipment as a good laptop is all you need and a stable internet connection.
However, that being said, there are a couple of factors that you need to consider before delving into the field of content writing. Here are some skills that you need for you to know whether you are a good fit for the industry:
- Professional – it doesn’t matter what field you are in, but you have to maintain high standards of professionalism when dealing with clients. Your professionality should also show in the work you do.
- Tech-savvy – by being tech-savvy, we don’t mean that you necessarily must be a tech-wiz to become a content writer. Instead, you should have mastered the basics, which include knowing your way around a computer and delivering the work in the formats requested by the clients. You also need to understand how to operate the various tools used by content writers, such as grammar and plagiarism checkers.
- Adaptable and flexible – as a freelancer, you are likely to meet and interact with different types of clients. They will all come to you with their own types of preferred writing methods, rules, etc. You need to be adaptable enough to fit every client’s requirements.
- Tenacious – in freelancing, you are likely to face a lot of rejection and dealing with demanding clients. This shouldn’t put you down but should act as a lesson for future dealings. Successful freelancers do not let these rejections stop them.
Getting your house in order: Preparing yourself to land better content writing gigs in 2021
There are many successful freelance content writers in the world, some having made millions from the trade. But this doesn’t just happen overnight. You need to ‘arm’ yourself with all the necessary skills and preparation before stepping out into the freelancing world.
If you are looking for content writing gigs in 2021, you need to plan yourself by ensuring the following factors are in order:
1. Have a great writing portfolio
As a freelance writer, you’ll always interact with many questions like “Do you have writing samples?” “Can I see some of your writing work?” “What are some high-quality articles you’ve written?” and many more when searching for new clients.
Although many writers often overlook this, having a stand-out portfolio is vital for being a freelancer. When asked all these questions, your answer should be a simple “Here’s my portfolio.” Don’t simply tell them how amazing a writer you are – show them. In your portfolio, you can provide links to already published work, previous samples, which you can categorize for easier scanning.
2. Supercharge your writing skills
Content writing, just like any other career, is progressive, and the more you do it, the more you improve your skillset. But this won’t just come to you if you are not proactive and eager to learn new techniques. For instance, it is very easy to continue earning meager amounts of money from content mills that pay peanuts if you do not have the right skills to advance.
Well-paying companies and individuals will not just hand the job over to anyone. Before you are considered for such a position, you need to understand more about content writing than just the basics. For instance, they are more likely to offer well-paying jobs to someone who:
- Understands the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and can write SEO-friendly content throughout their work.
- Knows the importance of submitting error-free work and takes their time to proofread.
- Can connect with the readers on an emotional level.
- Has top-notch written communication skills, and their articles flow in the right direction.
- Can craft eye-catching headlines and able to back their content with facts.
- Writes fast enough to meet the set deadlines.
3. Ask for testimonials
If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught people is that the freelancing world is lucrative. But what does this mean to those that have been in the industry but wish to look for more content writing jobs? Well, you have to take a step further and show why you are better than the many other candidates.
One of the easiest ways is to ask for testimonials from previous employers. A good word from them goes a long way of instilling trust in potential employers. Do not shy away from asking for a short testimonial from previous employers, which you can add to your website or portfolio.
4. Learn how to pitch
Many writers often fail to get hired due to their lack of proper pitching techniques. So maybe you have seen a job posting, or you would like to bring a prospect’s attention to your services, but they don’t know anything about you. How are you going to convince them to give you a chance?
You can be sure that many well-paying clients and companies get hundreds of pitches every other month, but you need to make yours stand out. So how do you write good pitches? Well, the structure varies from one individual and brand to another, but here are some mistakes you must avoid:
- Do not write long emails. The clients and editors are busy people, respect their time, and go straight to the point.
- Do not copy-paste the pitch you sent to other clients to your new target. Every client has unique needs and audiences. You should customize your pitches to fit their requirements.
- Do not ignore their guidelines. If you pitch to a website that already has clearly stated its application submission guidelines, ensure that you follow them to the latter. Failure to do so is a sure-fire way to have your application instantly rejected.
Learn the legal side of content writing freelancing
One of the scariest unknowns for many freelancers is the legal view of things. The legalities do not just stop at how you interact with the clients – do you need a contract? And will you have to indicate how to share and get paid for your invoices? You should also know whether you’ll need licensing and what type of taxes you will have to pay.
Although understanding the legalities of the matter might sound like a daunting task for a start, it will be so much worth it at the end of it all. For instance, if you wish to become one of the freelancers in Dubai, you will first have to acquire a freelance visa and permit, and you can only get one depending on the field you wish to work in.
10 surefire ways to find freelance jobs in 2021
The tips above will prepare you for the battlefield, but the bigger challenge awaits you – looking for these jobs. Fortunately, we have saved you all that trouble and compiled a list of the ten most effective ways you can land yourself a freelancing gig in 2021.
1. Start cold pitching
Did you know cold pitching is one of the best methods employed by seasoned writers to get recurring clients? Although it might sound a little scary at first, but trust me, this is the surest way you can use it to land better clients. More so, the competition in doing this is less stiff compared to applying for a job posted on career boards.
But what is cold pitching anyway?
Well, this is the act of basically reaching out to a company that you have had no prior interaction with and send them an email or message, explaining to them who you are and how you could be of assistance to them.
Here’s the correct strategy to follow:
- Pick a niche that you are most comfortable writing about;
- Search for companies in that niche, whether through a specific Google search, social media, or by word of mouth referral;
- Reach out to the company, blogger, or website owner, including important details such as who you are, how you came to know about the company (or website), what your skills are, and how you think you could be of help to them;
- If the company lacks a blog section and you strongly feel that they need one, you could approach them from that angle, bringing in the aspects of ranking, Search Engine Optimization, etc., in a bid to convince them.
The good thing about cold pitching is that your application has a better chance of being seen other than applying for a job at an online posting, where you may have to compete against 200 others for the same post.
2. Pitch to a job board ad
If you have been in the content writing business long enough, you will come to realize that getting jobs at job boards isn’t the easiest thing to do, more so if they are highly competitive tasks. Content writing is one of the most highly sought after skills, and some people are always on standby to apply for such jobs as soon as they are posted.
Some job boards such as Upwork may not be the best for beginners as the competition is too harsh, and most clients will most likely hire someone that has shown more experience within the website.
However, this shouldn’t stop you from realizing your dream. There are many other websites that you can take advantage of, and whose chances of securing a job are much higher. Take Bawabba; for example, you can land a well-paying client even without having been registered on the platform for long.
3. Ask around
Although this may not sound like a ‘technical’ answer, asking around is one of the best ways of getting to know about job openings. You can inquire from your friends, family, and colleagues if they know someone who may need content writing services.
As you start your career, it would be crucial to let them know what you’ll be doing, for them to be on the lookout for any opportunities that they think would be helpful to you. You never really know until you ask around, maybe you will get your first client from your relatives and friends!
4. Use your website
This is probably not the first option for a complete newbie, but if you have some experience rolled down your sleeve, get yourself a professional website. You can always start using some of the freely available website builders before you think about getting a more powerful dedicated hosting and domain.
You can advertise your services, including attaching your portfolio. Furthermore, you can also strive to make your website grow even bigger, and you can start a blog of your own, and even start monetizing it. By doing that, you will have created two income streams while only searching for one.
5. Guest post – for free!
Guest posting means you publish your own unique article on a different website or blog that you have no control over. So how will this help you to grow your career?
It’s simple. Whenever you write for another website, more so one that commands good authority, more readers are exposed to your content. You never know who may be interested in getting such quality content on their websites.
In most cases, websites that allow for guest posting for free allow the writer to post links that go back to their personal websites or have a short bio section where you will briefly write about who you are, what you do, and a link to your social profile or contacts. This way, prospects will come looking for you.
So how do you go about guest posting for free? Well, the easiest and most convenient way would be to conduct a quick Google search with the niche + ‘Write for us’ phrase.
Here’s an example of the search engine results for the niche ‘parent blog’ + ‘write for us.’
6. Join online communities
A good writer is always looking out for the latest news and trends in their field. Which better place to learn of these other than from online forums such as Facebook groups? Provided you know which groups you are joining and what value they would offer you, you should join as many as possible.
Many clients looking for great content writers will be posting jobs regularly. More so, you can also utilize the freedom you have by advertising your skills on such platforms in a way that attracts the attention of potential employers.
7. Try warm pitching
Hold up, our first point was geared towards cold pitching, and now we are telling you to try warm pitching? Yes. Warm pitching is another effective tactic that is often used by those that are not in a hurry to land an immediate client. This entails building a rapport with a particular individual, company, or blog that you think might give you a chance to write for them at some point.
For instance, you could be following their social media pages and becoming active, liking, commenting, and sharing their content in a bid to attract their attention. At some point, they will have noticed you and might even try reaching out to you. That is when you shoot your shot, by explaining to them what you do and if you could assist them in developing their brand even further.
8. LinkedIn jobs
Did you know something like this exists? This is just a basic feature of LinkedIn that you can take full advantage of when scouting for your next gig. Just hover to the job board and key in the word ‘writer’ or ‘content writer’ and see what pops up. You can even filter the results by location and how recent the post was made. This is another creative way to land yourself better – and ‘more professional’ clients.
9. SEO agencies
You’ve probably never thought about this, right? Well, SEO agencies are some of the best sources of jobs for freelance content writers. How’s that so? An SEO agency strives to help its clients have their products, services, or websites rank on search engines such as Google. One of the ranking factors is based on the content.
If you are in the market searching for a well-paying job, then going the agency way would be far beneficial to you. Try reaching out to different SEO agencies and pitch to them, stating your experience and how you would be helpful to them.
If you have more experience or you prefer working in a specific niche, you can conduct a search for these agencies and go for those that have a closer working relationship with the industries you’re most comfortable working with.
10. Apprentice with a more experienced writer
As you get started in content writing, you may have heard about someone else that has been in the industry far longer than you and performs pretty well with it. You can reach out to these people and talk them into an apprenticeship program with you. Even if you don’t know them, you can simply inquire around, and you will end up having a list of people that you can reach out to.
These seasoned content writers often have a lot on their plate but would be willing to train you at times on how to handle certain aspects of the trade. Furthermore, you can also get hands-on experience by helping them at times by editing, proofreading, or even working on some of their projects.
At the end of your training program, these experienced writers might advise you on where to get better-paying jobs, and they can even offer referrals for you to their previous clients or colleagues.
Becoming a freelance content writer in 2021 isn’t as tough as it seems, but it isn’t going to be a walk in the park either way. You should arm yourself with all the necessary skills and tips on how to land the best clients as you strive to make the best out of your career.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are freelance content writing jobs legit?
A: Yes, most freelance content writing jobs are legit. However, you should be careful to note where you see the advert and the things that are required of you. You should be able to identify certain red flags before you reach out to an ‘employer.’
Q: What do you need to become a freelance content writer?
A: Starting a freelance content writing career is one of the least demanding career paths to take. All you need is the necessary skills (or knowledge) and an internet-enabled computer.
Q: Must you have a degree to become a content writer?
A: No. A degree is not a necessity when applying to become a content writer. Clients will hire you because you know how to write – you can articulate yourself well and have a good command of English, not necessarily because you have a degree in a particular field.