Are you a new freelance writer looking to write online? When you're just getting started as a freelance writer, you probably have a lot of questions. And one of those questions is probably about what kinds of gigs are actually open to new writers.
If you want to focus on writing for the Web, there are several types of gigs you can find, no matter what your experience level is. Here are five examples of online freelance writing jobs often open to beginners. They might be just what you need to start building your portfolio.
1. Blog Writing
Many blogging gigs are open to newer freelance writers. In fact, I'd wager that most publicly advertised blogging gigs would fall into this area, with much higher paying work available as you build your experience.
The great thing about freelance blogging is that it's easy to build your initial writing samples. You can start a blog of your own. Write a few posts in your specialty area and use them in your portfolio until you have paying work to present to new prospects.
2. Social Media Writing
Social media writing jobs are also frequently open to newer writers. This might include creating social networking profiles, writing and posting new content or updates to a client's accounts, or interacting with your client's customers and followers.
My biggest suggestion if you choose to pursue this area of freelance writing is to work with a firm. Marketing and PR firms will sometimes bring in newer writers to assist them with larger social media strategies and campaigns.
The problem with going it alone when you're new is that it's easy to make mistakes. A wrong move on a social media account can severely damage your client's reputation.
Until you have a solid grasp on social media strategy and promotions, it's a good idea to secure work through a middleman client where you can learn a lot in the process.
3. SEO Content Writing
SEO content writers write articles that their clients hope will rank well in search engines. This is a very common starting place for new freelance writers who want to write for the Web.
There are some definite problems with this kind of writing job. First, Google isn't keen on anything being written specifically for search engines. Perhaps an even bigger issue for you is the fact that many advertised gigs in this area pay very little -- sometimes $5.00 per article or even less. Those jobs aren't even worth putting in your portfolio as they won't offer much credibility in the eyes of better prospects.
If you choose to pursue SEO content writing early on in your career, focus on finding clients who understand that the key to good search engine optimization is writing high quality, valuable content. If it looks like their goal is to have a team of writers churn out as much cheap content as they can, run.
4. Product Description Writing
If you're looking for work in freelance copywriting, a good place to start might be writing product descriptions. By no means should you expect all of these gigs to be open to new freelancers. You'll be competing with experienced pros for any kind of copywriting work. But you might have an easier time landing these gigs than others if you want to write marketing copy.
Because product descriptions are often short, or requiring several lengths, you might be able to get prospects to give you a shot despite your lack of experience. You could get them to bring you on for a small gig -- even just one description if they want -- so they can get a feel for your abilities. That can be more difficult to do with longer-form writing projects.
A benefit of this kind of freelance writing job is that clients rarely only need one or two product descriptions. There are often dozens, if not hundreds, of descriptions to be written. That can lead to ongoing writing work for you, which isn't always easy to come by when you're just starting out.
5. Creative Writing
Is fiction more your thing? You can get paid for that too, even if you're a brand new freelance writer.
Look for genre-focused websites, online literary magazines, or sites specializing in flash fiction. The best part about freelance fiction writing is that your work will be judged far more on its own merits as opposed to your level of experience. Of course, experience often leads to a higher level of quality in your work. So consider working with an editor before submitting fiction.
The downside of freelance creative writing projects is that pay is often much lower than it is with nonfiction freelance writing gigs. But if writing fiction, poetry, or other creative works is your goal, there is no reason to wait around. If you're concerned about the pay levels, consider submitting your fiction to online publications in addition to taking on more traditional freelance writing work.
Can you think of other good online freelance writing jobs for beginners? When you were getting started as a freelance writer, what gigs were the easiest (and most difficult) to land? Share your suggestions for other options open to new freelancers or tips on landing writing jobs early in your career in the comments below.
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media -- a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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