Is it finally time to get paid for writing?
If you’re committed to getting paid for writing in 2019, it’s time to commit to pitching publications. You can also pitch companies, but it’s always a good idea to get some bylines in publications to get a bit of social proof.
Why social proof is important if you want to get paid for writing
Building social proof is important—it shows potential clients and publications that you have the skills to get the job done well. If you’ve never gotten a piece published before, it may be a good idea to pitch a couple of high-profile, non-paying publications/blogs, just in the beginning.
Blogs and publications that don’t pay are often easier to get into if you don’t yet have samples. Pitching these sites will help you get that elusive first clip, so you can then pitch paying publications with social proof already behind your name.
Which of these publications you pitch will depend on the type of writing you’d like to do. As multi-niche writers, it’s always a good idea to get a few samples in different kinds of publications. Here are some ideas of places to pitch.
This is the website where I got my first online piece published. If you can take any topic and make it relevant to men (whether the article is written for men or about men or even about raising boys), this is a good choice for you.
This site does not pay for writing, but it gets millions of visitors, and some articles get syndicated (one of mine was picked up by Yahoo & Ravishly), which gives you even more social proof (and the potential for more traffic to your websites, if that’s your jam).
If you enjoy writing about health and self-development, this site is a good choice. It also doesn’t pay for articles; however, it’s a high-ranking site that carries a lot of social proof. The pitching process is easy: you just create an account and submit a story. This site also doesn’t pay; however, having a byline here can do great things for your social proof, and again, for your traffic, depending on how you work your article.
If you enjoy writing about self-development, pitching one of the blogs listed on The Start of Happiness’ “Best Self-Development Blogs” list would be a good fit for you. Some of these are really hard to get into, which is all the more reason to pitch several, and to be sure to read the Writer’s Guidelines in each. The majority of the blogs on this list do not pay; however, the social proof you get writing for them is well worth it.
Entrepreneur, Inc, or Forbes:
If your thing is writing about entrepreneurship and/or business, these websites will provide a tonne of social proof. The first two do not pay; Forbes recently started paying contributors. Getting a byline in any of these sites will open up a lot of doors for any freelance writer.
But… I thought you were going to teach me how to get paid for writing?
It might seem odd that I’m encouraging you to write for free on a post that teaches you how to make money from your writing. I agree that creative work should be compensated. But like any career, you need to get a little experience under your belt before hitting the big time.
Consider submitting free articles as your crash, “hands-on” course on freelance writing: a practicum, so to speak. And remember that there’s a time and a place to write for free, but you shouldn’t get stuck in the constant write-for-free loop.
Get in, get your samples, and get out. My general rule of thumb is to not write any more than 3 articles for a single source that doesn’t pay (unless I’m writing for a charity, or have specific business-related reasons for doing so). Once you have your samples, it’s time to go after paid writing gigs. There are many ways to find paid writing opportunities. Here are a few:
1. Search freelance writing job boards.
Follow some simple guidelines to find good paying writing gigs. These boards are good for finding places to pitch as well as to find companies looking for copywriting. Want a full list of freelance writing job boards? Click here.
2. Research publications and companies and send cold pitches.
Read about each company or publication, learn their voice, and learn what kind of writing does well with each. If you’re cold pitching a publication, your next steps will be to read the Writer’s Guidelines and find an editor’s email address, if applicable. Pitch with a well-developed story idea, relate it to the publication, and show your social proof. Here’s a simple template you can use:
Hi [Editor Name],
I enjoyed [blog post/article], [explain why].
I’d like to write an article entitled [proposed title] that your readers might enjoy. I’d like to cover [simple explanation of main points].
I can have it ready for [date and time]. Would this work for you?
Please see below for some samples of my writing.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.
If you’re pitching a company, you’ll need to find their pain point and insert yourself as the person who can provide the solution to it. You’ll still need to send a cold pitch that talks about your social proof, whether that’s places you’ve been published or companies you’ve worked with in the past.
3. You can also do my favourite: send a warm pitch.
This involves contacting publications or companies with whom you’ve had previous contact: either you’re a reader who’s commented on their posts several times, or you’re a client who has sent a letter of thanks for how well the company is run (you’re sending thank you notes, right?).
No matter which way you decide to pitch, or which companies or publications you choose, you must be persistent. Pitch often, pitch repeatedly, and keep going.
The only successful writers are the ones who didn’t give up—so keep at it to get paid for writing.
Getting paid as a writer is simple, but it’s not easy.
It takes a simple list of steps, but it also takes hard work, dedication, a thick skin, and a willingness to keep pursuing your goals in the face of adversity.
It takes ignoring all the naysayers and sticking to your dream, turning it into a goal, and working towards that goal every single day. It also takes developing your skills as a writer, being willing to be edited, and learning how to research your topics well and adapt your voice to the different clients and publications for whom you write.
You also need to take the time to plan out who you’ll pitch, what stories or services you’ll pitch, and to learn why these things will be relevant to the potential client or publication.
If you want to get paid for your writing in 2019, one of the best things you can do is create a game plan (and then stick to it). Creating a list of clients and/or publications you’ll pitch in the new year will help you get started.
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