Most writers want to spin their words into gold. The trick is finding a way to make that happen.
Writing for company blogs is a great way to get paid while flexing your writing muscles and building your portfolio.
Most large companies (and even small businesses) use blogs for marketing purposes as well as to educate current and future customers. Many of these companies turn to freelance bloggers to help fill out their content calendar. Best of all, there are thousands of these company blogs, so there’s a never-ending demand for good content.
Over the years I’ve written lots of these articles for companies, and I currently manage a blog for a tech company. That means I’ve learned a thing or two about how to catch the eye of editors and content managers.
Let’s explore how you can get hired as a freelance blogger.
How to find freelance blogging opportunities
The first step is finding gigs that are right up your alley.
Many companies will seek freelancers in one of the following ways:
- Put out a request for content on their site (look in the menu or footer for a “jobs” link)
- List a freelance position on writing sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- Work through a marketing or PR agency
- Post in freelance, copywriter, or marketing groups on Facebook
- Ask for recommendations from writers they’re currently using or have worked with in the past
To boost your chances of finding blogging gigs, join groups like the Cult of Copy Job Board, and review listings at freelance/remote working sites like Authentic Jobs and We Work Remotely. (Personally, I would avoid sites like Upwork since they don’t typically have gigs that pay well.)
And don’t underestimate the value of networking to meet fellow writers as well as businesses that may be on the hunt for freelancers.
You can also submit a pitch directly to companies you respect and would like to write for.
Make a good impression
Keep in mind that most content managers and editors will get dozens of applications, and most will receive additional, unsolicited pitches on a daily basis.
You need to write an attention-getting pitch that they won’t delete right away.
To start with, be sure to do your research. Review the company’s website, learn about their products/services, and if possible, identify the person who manages the blog.
When you send your pitch, be sure you demonstrate your professionalism and respect for the content manager’s time. Show that you made the effort to learn about the company and show how your content is a good fit for them.
How to craft a great pitch
Now you’re ready to make contact.
- Review the company’s existing blog. Familiarize yourself with the kind of content they publish. Some blogs are very internally-focused on the company’s products or services. Others are much more broadly focused and touch on a number of topics they consider useful for their customers.
- Are you a good fit? Make sure your knowledge, background, and interests match the company’s content.
- Always make it easy for the content manager/editor to review your qualifications. Provide a resume, a link to your LinkedIn profile, and your portfolio (and if you don’t have all three, get to work!). If possible, also include links to articles that show you can write the kind of content the company is looking for.
- Write custom pitches for each and every company. Some professional copywriters and bloggers recommend sending out mass pitches, casting a wide net. But sending out 100s of pitches means that you’re going to use a boilerplate email. And an experienced content manager will toss those emails without a second thought.
- Keep the email concise and to the point, but not so short that you omit important details. Don’t write a novel — say what you need to say and nothing more.
- Proofread your email. You might think this goes without saying, but you’d be surprised at how many people have emails full of typos. And for a writing job, errors will sabotage your chances.
A few things to avoid
As someone who has read hundreds of these emails, here are a few things that I promise will torpedo your chances of writing for the company.
- Don’t spell the company’s name wrong. That’s going to be an instant “no thank you.”
- Avoid offering free content just to get your foot in the door or for ‘exposure.’ Doing so reeks of desperation and suggests you don’t value your own work. It also puts the company in a difficult position if they pay other writers.
- Be careful not to use the wrong name or title of the content manager, which demonstrates poor research skills.
- Don’t use personal contact channels unless otherwise directed. It’s not appropriate to reach out to the content manager on their personal blog, using their personal email address, or via Facebook message. (Twitter and LinkedIn are usually safe, though.)
- Never badger your blog contact. If they feel harassed, they’re going to ignore your emails completely.
Go forth and pitch!
Even if you’re a new writer, there’s no reason to give freelance blogging a shot. You have to start somewhere, and there’s no better way to build out your portfolio as well as improve your writing skills. Even if your goal is to write the great American novel, writing blogs for clients is a great way to hone your writing.