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  • Writer's pictureSL Eastwood

6 Ways to Find Writing-Related Work in 2024

Updated: May 11

Some hints, tips and tricks to finding writing jobs this new year…

Freelance writing is great work when you can find it, but it can feel like that work is getting fewer and much further between these days.


With the looming spectre of AI stealing our creative jobs, worry about recession leading to many companies slashing budgets and moving things “in-house”, as well as falling readership in general, it can leave many freelancers feeling helpless.


However, though it might seem dire, nothing is as bad as we think it is. There are still lots of writing jobs available if you look for them, sometimes it’s just a case of thinking outside of the box to find place that your skills are in most demand.


So, standby for 6 ways to find writing-related work in 2024…


Types of jobs available for writers

First and foremost, it’s important to understand all of the different jobs that are available to writers, that many freelancers might not be aware of.


Writing isn’t just articles and blogs, there is an entire spectrum of indirect ways that writers can find work if they get creative with their skillset.


Nobody likes it, but a big part of being successful as a freelancer is knocking on doors and cold pitching to get new clients. However, if you don’t know what kinds of work are available to you it can be difficult to formulate a strategy when approaching new clients.


So, here is a list of some of the different writing jobs that are available:


B2X & Journalism

Here we have the most stable and probably most desirable forms of writing (behind publishing our own works and becoming billionaires), because these are the types of clients who tend to provide the most repeat business.


There are several ways to approach B2B/C/E and news publications, which I will elaborate on later, but you will usually approach editors to join their freelancer lists or make pitches to editors for stand alone pieces. Either way, this is a great source of consistent work.



Copywriting & Blogging

Similar to editorial work but this applies to more specialised types of writing, that are usually business-oriented or intended to sell or promote a product.


I put blogging within this category, since the main objective of a blog is to inform the customer, as well as help increase the overall traffic to a website organically.


Copywriting can include things such as product descriptions, advertising copy, social media content, email writing, website copy, it’s pretty much any form of persuasive writing designed to promote a business or product.


However, it is usually short form content of 500 words or less, not including blogs, which tend to take a more editorial or “listacle” format.



Technical & Grant writing

Technical writing, as you might imagine, involves writing and editing technical documents, such as in-depth instructions, product booklets, hazardous materials documents, industry training materials, etc.


This is more specialised, so it can sometimes only be available to those who have a reasonable knowledge of specific industries and products they are writing about.


For instance, some scientific or specialised product manufacturers are probably not going to be interested in hiring a writer to make technical documents without previous experience.


This can both be in terms of having adequate technical understanding, as well as safety reasons, but this is not always the case.


Similarly, grant writing is highly specialised, as it involves writing materials supporting a business or organisation in their pursuit of funding from an investment body.


This will usually be for charities or NGOs, that rely on volunteer funding for projects, but it can also apply to startups trying to secure capital.


This type of writing requires the ability to understand and communicate objectives, benefits, and write persuasively on behalf of the entity in pursuit of funding.


It can be great work, especially working for a charity with a cause that you are passionate about, but it can be hard to qualify for this type of work, particularly without prior experience.


CV Writing

Another possible route than many writers don’t consider is CV or Resume writing, which many offer as a primary service, and is intended to help people with perfecting and tailoring their CV for their job search.


This involves formatting CVs so that they are most clear and eye-catching, as well as writing a great personal statement and covering letter.


This is good work because it is quick and there is an endless stream of candidates in need of this service, and you can promote yourself to recruiters to help get your name out there.


You may even find you get repeat business from clients who are looking to change jobs or update their CVs.


The best part is, if you specialise in this type of writing, and can prove that your clients are successful in their job searches, you may even find yourself highly sought after as a CV guru who can get people their dream job.


That’s not only good work but something to feel great about when you go to sleep at night.


Ghostwriting

You often hear a lot of gripe about ghostwriting, mostly towards celebrities who are “taking work from struggling writers”, completely ignoring the fact that ghostwriting provides quite a reliable income for said writers, (but I will elaborate on that in a future post).


Despite its bad wrap, ghostwriting is great work if you can get it, and pays really well if you acquire it from proper sources. Unfortunately, for every decent paying client you will find fifty who want you to write their 100K word novel for £30 and deliver it in under a week.


Ghostwriting is a lot more common than people realise, and it isn’t just writing memoirs or trashy novels for lesser celebrities. You will often find yourself revising a manuscript for an author who might have great ideas but lack technical skill, or writing a biography about a really interesting person or event.


It can also be a writer taking over an IP, such as the case of Kim Sherwood being authorised by the Fleming Estate to take over the reins of the James Bond book series, originally written by Ian Fleming.


There are many facets to ghostwriting and it can be a great source of income for writers interested in making connections in publishing.


Screenwriting, coverage & revisions

This one is kind of a tough one because just like publishing it is an incredibly competitive industry, however, it also isn’t as complex as many writers believe it to be. Screenwriting isn’t just writing an amazing screenplay and hoping that Hollywood bites.


There is a huge spectrum in-between that is ripe with opportunities if you know where to look for them. Probably the easier type of work is screenplay coverage, which you can do for agents, production companies, competitions and other writers.


Next up you have revisions, which similar to ghostwriting, is where you take a partially or poorly written script and give it a once over to make it production ready. This work is harder to find, but you can usually tap the same channels you would for coverage.


Lastly, there is writing scripts or pitching documents, which you can do in several ways, you may be commissioned by a studio or filmmaker to write something based on an IP they already own, or you may manage to sell one of your original works.



Ebooks, Traditional & Self-publishing

I put this one last, because it’s kind of the pipe dream that most writers are striving for, and also the most competitive, particularly when we’re looking at traditional publishing.


It also isn’t a quick or reliable source of income for the majority of writers. When it comes to being published, there are several hoops you will need to jump through in order to get your foot in the door and even then there is no guarantee you will make it to publication.


Although, if you do manage to secure an agent and get commissioned by a publishing house, you can earn a nice advance plus any royalties from book sales, which can provide good passive income.


This being said, there is a much lower bar for entry when it comes to ebooks and self-publishing, which have been proven methods for many writers to make reliable side-income off of their work.


This is particularly true if you are writing a helpful book on a topic you are well-informed about, however, it does require being adept at self-promotion.


While this is not the most reliable option for writers, especially newer ones looking for a stable income, it’s always an option and with a big payoff under the right circumstances.



How to make yourself more desirable as a freelancer

There are many people attempting to be freelancers and there is a lot of competition for what seems like not many jobs, so before you even start looking for freelance work and cold pitching, you need to make sure you get your ducks in a row.


This doesn’t mean you need to have an extensive portfolio with hundreds of pieces, but you do need to show that you are capable of the jobs you are seeking. Like any job you need some bone fides to help sell yourself to your clients, this can include a portfolio of real pieces, a blog, writing samples.


You could approach a client and agree to write something on spec to prove your ability, you could request a guest post on a blog you like, you could write a short book or an e-zine, join a blogging site like Medium.com or Substack, there are lots of ways to get samples for your portfolio early in your career.


What is most important, however, is to make sure your writing is well-done, proofread, and that you are always polite in your approach to customers.


Personalising emails and giving tangible reasons as to why you are a good fit for a particular job will immediately help you cut above the rest when it comes to securing jobs, don’t just send as mass email and hope something sticks.


6 Ways To Find Writing Related Work In 2024
Contacting Editors & Marketing Managers

This is by far the best way to find writing work, and the people who are likely to be most open to pitches from freelancers, since editors for publications and marketing managers at larger business have a high output of content relative to their team size.


They also tend to have infrastructure within the business geared to this type of arrangement so it won’t be as tough of a sell.


There are a few different ways you can get added to a freelancer list, this can be by referral, or you can cold pitch the managing editor or the marketing manager (or comparable job position) at those companies.


You will want to tailor your pitches to the person/company you are pitching, and try to prove both interest and knowledge of the sector you are pitching for to get the best chance of a response.


If you don’t get a response first time, the likelihood is the person you’re pitching isn’t currently looking for freelancers.


These days silence is the new “no”, however I would advise sending at least three polite follow ups, since emails get lost or put on the back-burner, just to make sure the pitch was definitely unsuccessful.


Sending a follow up is just doing your due diligence. This is a numbers game, unfortunately, so it’s likely you will have to send a lot of cold pitches before you get a return on your efforts.


Sometimes publications will not work with a freelancer list, and you will instead need to come up with story pitches in order to get jobs.


This is true of a lot of mainstream publications, in which case you will still contact the editor with an idea for a story, using "PITCH: + story headline" as your email subject, and giving the broad strokes and why you should be the one to write it in the body of the email.


If the editor likes your pitch, they may hire you to write that piece. If you have enough good pieces accepted by the same editor or publication, they may eventually begin outsourcing stories to you on a more regular basis.


This type of freelancing is all about building relationships and coming up with good pitches. It takes time and effort but the end result is worth it.


Contacting Small & Local Businesses

This type of work is similar to the above, however, it will generally fall more under copywriting than editorial, since smaller business tend to need things such as blogs, social content, website copy or marketing materials to promote their businesses.


You will most likely be hired on a one-off basis as these businesses don’t usually have the money to employ you on a long-term basis, but may instead order a set amount of work for a set price. However, if you do a good job they might hire you again in future.


You can find this type of work in similar ways to finding work in editorial, which is by approaching business owners, or their marketing manager, to ask if they could use some outsourcing. You may also find these jobs on freelancer boards or content mills.


LinkedIn is also a good tool for connecting with such businesses, however, in-person networking events are a great way to find businesses who need this type of service. For businesses in your local area, it can be a good idea to attend local business events, or even visit those businesses to speak to managers face-to-face.


Even if you don’t secure work in an initial meeting, being polite, memorable and appearing competent can lead to being hired in the future, or they may pass your information along to friends and clients looking for similar services.


If you become known in your area as a good freelancer, you can build up your clients easily, which can lead to much more work with less effort.



Content Mills & Job Boards

Content Mills usually receive a lot of ire from writers, many of whom think these services devalue the work of writers, which can be true. However, good ones do exist and they can be a great place to get additional income from quick, low investment jobs.


However, there is high competition and an expectation from clients that services will be cheap, so these definitely shouldn’t be contemplated as a chief source of income.


A very tenacious writer should be able to find some success with these services given time and effort. Although, there are a lot of bad actors in this sector, so it's important that you do your own research.


Here are some services that are generally well-reviewed and deemed legitimate:


Writer Access: this is what people might refer to as a premium content mill, in the sense that they have a stringent vetting process for writers to be able to join the service and provide access to legitimate professional clients.


Malt.co.uk: is a freelancer job board, similar to fiverr, that allows writers to bid for clients and apply for projects via their portal. However, it has a more favourable reputation than many others in the market.


nDash: Similar to Malt, this is a freelancer job board for B2B writing jobs, but it once again requires writers to be approved in order to join. nDash is a great platform with very good customer service, it’s competitive but well worth it if you can get approved.


Conturae: is a premium SEO content mill that uses AI tools, where writers must be approved to join and is a producer of high quality content for businesses with a large roster of professional clients. At the time of writing this article they were closed for freelance applications, however, there is a mailing list that will notify you when applications reopen.


As a warning, just because these services have positive reviews, please vet them properly before signing up. Not all writers have the same experience on these platforms, so the onus is on you to decide for yourself if they will be a suitable fit for your career.


Freelance Writing jobs

This is related to the first entry on this list, in the sense that the aim is to become part of a freelancer list, however, the approach here is a slightly different animal.


If you take a look on many publications and companies careers pages you will sometimes find they post freelance positions. In most cases, if you apply to these positions, you will be technically employed by said company but on a freelance basis.


This means instead of ad hoc assignments being given by an editor, you may have a weekly/monthly set of responsibilities and sometimes even set hours, but you are still considered a free agent and able to take on other clients on a freelance basis.


This can be nice if you are looking for a stable source of income and consistent work. It can really be the best of both worlds if you don’t enjoy the typical trappings of a formal work contract but would still like some stability.


However, it’s not so great if you keep an unusual schedule, or are unwilling to commit as much resource to one employer, and prefer a freer arrangement.


If you’re interested in these types of jobs, it is always a good idea to check the careers pages of companies you are pitching, or standard job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed, etc.


These are extremely competitive, usually receiving hundreds of applications within hours of being posted, so be aggressive with your applications if you want to secure these roles.



Networking & Social Groups

Networking is a great place to meet people in order to find writing work, it might seem unlikely, but using social groups, such as Facebook or networking events, is an incredibly powerful tool for meeting potential clients, as well as getting your name out there.


If you choose niche social groups on places like Facebook, such as aspiring authors, industry professionals, filmmakers, you can find a lot of people who might be in need of writing services. Such as marketing materials, blog packages, proofreading and editing, screenwriting or revisions. There is plenty of work to be found here.


The best part is, even if you do not find work directly from these groups, you might make friends who refer people to you or you’ll learn about opportunities that can help push your career forward.


I find referrals are by far the best way to get clients, because it puts you in a position of power in being sough after, rather than relying cold pitching.


Again, it can take time to build up clients, as it can come across scummy if you immediately try to sell your services without as much as a “hello” (you may also be running afoul of many the group community guidelines).


However, if you can build a rapport with people, and even potentially provide value, it’s far more likely they will think of you if they are in need of a writing service.


Production Companies, Agents, Writing Competitions & Publishing Houses

This one will seem the most outlandish, but it is an untapped market by many writers, and one with a lot of potential for consistent work.


The first and easiest method to find work with these companies is to approach on the basis that you would like to become a script or manuscript reader.


These businesses receive a lot of written materials, which they must read and review on top of doing their actual day jobs, which takes time and resource many of them do not have. In order to get through the backlog of documents, they will often outsource this task to competent readers, who will let them know if a script or manuscript is worth pursuing further.


There are many screenwriting or fiction competitions that must employ readers to provide feedback and approve whether a piece will go forward in the competition, which are usually open to any applicants if you contact the organiser. The work is difficult and it doesn’t pay much, but it is reasonably easy to attain.


Another way to get business from these companies is to offer your services as a script or manuscript revisor/editor, who can help get work polished for submission to a production company or a publishing house. You will need to build up a rapport with these companies, or produce good bone fides to get this type of work but it is worth pursuing.


If you can build up a relationship with these companies, you may even be able to get yourself employed as a ghostwriter or as a screenwriter, which can lead to even bigger opportunities.


I don’t suggest you hound these companies, however, there is no harm in cold pitching or even calling them to find out if they are in the market for a reader and see where things go.


***


There is no one way to go about finding writing work, sometimes it will come from cold pitching, sometimes word of mouth, sometimes it will be a lucky occurrence. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill for success as a writer, just a lot of grinding, tenacity and being clever in your approach.


Freelancing really isn’t for the faint-hearted, especially people who can’t survive without consistent and stable income, both temperamentally and in terms of their lifestyle and commitments. You have to really want to make this work to survive as a freelancer, and even then it can feel like a losing battle.


However, it isn’t over until it's over, and if you want to make it work, there are lots of way you can build up your client list. So, don’t lose confidence just because you’ve had a few knocks and a few false starts.



There is enough work out there for everyone if you keep an open mind for new challenges and ways of achieving your goals.



 

If you’re struggling to get your blog off the ground, or remain consistent, Obsidian Elephant can help to get you started.


Send us a message to book in a complimentary 10-15 minute video call and get ready to kickstart your blogging journey.


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