Writing online is appealing for many people who want to work from home, set their own hours, and avoid a grinding commute to work every day. It is tough to break into this market, however. You will have to work hard to build up experience and find stable work writing online.
Tailor your writing for each site.
There are general rules to follow, but you should always defer to the expectations of each site you’re writing for, aka the target audience. An academic audience has different expectations than sports fans. Cater to the site’s audience to increase the chances of being published.
Make your writing brief. Writing on the internet is intended for a mass audience, and long pieces are generally not desired. Websites want articles ranging from a few hundred words to 1,000 words max. If you are a long-winded writer, break this habit. Write concisely.
Spectacular introductions. Journalists say you need a good lead. The general public has a short attention span, so you need to grab people from the very beginning if you want them to continue reading. Regardless of the topic you’re writing, hook the reader with a spectacular first sentence. Keep readers wanting to continue reading the entire article.
Break writing up with bullet and number points. Large blocks of text cause readers to lose interest. Break text up with bullet points or subheadings. This is appealing to the reader’s eye and keeps your audience interested.
Start a blog.
The best way to expose your writing to others is by starting a blog. This will demonstrate your writing skills and proves you are capable of producing content that websites and companies desire.
Make sure your blog covers the topic that you would like to write about professionally. For example, if you want to be a movie reviewer, you wouldn’t start a blog about cooking. You need to show potential clients that you have expertise in a given field.
Proofread your blog carefully. Your blog shouldn’t be sloppy. Remember, you are presenting your writing to the world. Make sure it is neat, clear and, especially, grammatically correct or else you could hurt your chances of getting work.
Your blog could also be a way to make money. If you have a lot of followers, companies may approach you to advertise on your blog. This is another motivation to make your blog as good as possible.
Having an active social media presence.
Like writing a blog, having an active social media presence is a way of promoting yourself. Have accounts on all major social media sites, including LinkedIn. Make sure you have links to all of your writing on these sites, so potential clients can see examples of your work.
Join websites that advertise freelance writing jobs.
Most freelance jobs are advertised on the internet. Keep an eye on these websites for leads and potential jobs.
Craigslist, Freelance Writing Gigs, and Journalism Jobs offer free access to job postings.
Some sites charge a subscription fee to view job postings. While this may be a turnoff for those who can’t afford fees, the payoff on this investment may be high if it leads to lucrative work.
Write for a how-to site.
There are numerous websites that specialize in how-to articles. They usually want experts in a particular field who can edit existing articles and publish new ones. If you are an expert in a particular field, consider applying to one of these sites for the opportunity to earn money writing about something you know.
You may not need any particular expertise to write for a how-to site. It may require you to develop research skills and become an authority on certain topics quickly. With good research skills, you can produce articles on several different topics.
Submit articles to a travel site.
Several websites are dedicated to publishing articles about traveling in exotic and domestic locations. If you love to travel and want to share good stories and experiences, check if travel sites will pay you to write articles.
The Expeditioner, for example, accepts submissions and will pay approximately $30 per article.
Some websites pay for reviews of movies, plays, music and products. Earn money online by becoming a reviewer for these sites. Start at a website like Sponsored Reviews or Review Me to gain experience in this field.
Ghostwrite for bloggers.
Independent and corporate bloggers who can’t keep up with the demand of writing regular posts are willing to pay good money for a ghostwriter. These jobs come on a case by case basis, or they can turn into a regular job if the blogger likes your work.
Keep an eye out on job sites for postings about this kind of work. You can also apply directly to a ghostwriting firm.
Ghostwriters do not get credit for their work. This could potentially hurt you if ghostwriting is all you do, because you won’t build a portfolio. Ideally, ghostwriting should be in addition to other writing work.
Manage a company’s social media presence.
Social media is an important part of advertising and marketing. Many business owners, however, have trouble grasping how to use social media and are happy to hire a specialist to handle it for them. By managing the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of a company, you can have a steady job and paycheck, something online writers rarely get.
Write for a company blog.
Companies need to maintain internet blogs, as well. Like social media, blogging is a difficult medium to use properly and companies usually hire professional writers and marketing experts to run their blogs. If you’re an expert blogger, this may be a great opportunity for you.
Create press releases and advertising material.
While large companies have entire advertising departments, smaller companies may only have one or two writers. Because of this, small companies often outsource advertising work to freelancers. Try applying to smaller companies or to a freelancing firm to break into this niche.