Despite the gazillions of freelance writing opportunities online, the number of eager writers jockeying and bidding for them can make them seem few and far between. So where’s an eager new writer to look in order to start earning more as a freelance writer?
The “hidden” market and niche writing opportunities
A hidden market is an audience of readers with a specific interest, perhaps not in the mainstream. A niche opportunity is when a writer discovers said audience and provides content for that readership. Here are 10 suggestions right off the bat to get you started:
1. Neighborhood news
Are you an expert in your local area? Do you have information that a new resident would want to know about, for example? This is your opportunity to become a local expert. You can start with your local newspaper (either online or offline) by doing a bit of research and finding out the contact details for the features editor. Then write a short pitch, using your research of the publication to guide your ideas and suggestions.
2. Restaurant menus
Are you a foodie? Have you been to a restaurant and been non-plussed by the description of the dishes even though the food was great? Maybe the restaurant just needs a menu makeover. Contact the manager to find out if and how you can provide your writing skills to create delectable descriptions that will get diners’ mouths watering.
3. Wedding websites
Everyone has a story to tell, and a future bride and groom are certainly no exception. From first date to wedded bliss, wedding websites that document a couple’s journey have become increasingly popular. While the website might provide a template they can use, the couple are usually on their own to provide the text. That’s where you and your writing skills come in! Use your talent as a storyteller to bring the couple’s story to life. This could be regular work if you can entice visitors to come back time and again for every exciting episode – from the proposal right up to the big day. As for finding clients, start with your own circle of friends and family and move on to make friends with bridal consultants in your area.
Dovetailing from item #3 above, keep the momentum going (and hone your writing skills) by offering such wedding-related services as writing vows and well-wishing toasts for the Best Man/Maid of Honor etc.
5. Personal profiles/bios
Along with a company description, many owners of small to mid-size companies like to have a personal profile/bio on their website. While they might be an expert at what they do, often they’re not so good at describing themselves and their skills. That’s where a good writer comes in. Contact business owners you come across on LinkedIn and job sites and offer them your writing services.
6. Seminar summaries
Have you attended a seminar or workshop given by a charismatic speaker that made a significant impression on you? You can be sure the speaker made an impression on the other attendees as well. Here’s the thing: There’s often a takeaway or link to the presentation that you can annotate with your notes and use later, but a great speaker is not always the best person to deliver a text version of their presentation. Approach the speaker immediately after the session and ask for their contact information. Then follow up with a pitch for providing a text version of the presentation you enjoyed so much. This is a tactic that also works well for webinars and podcasts, not to mention plenty of other opportunities – think guest speakers at your church, job fairs, podcasts and webinars, and community meetings.
When a family member or friend wants to pay tribute to their dearly departed, they are often at a loss for the right words to express their feelings. While funeral directors do what they can to provide appropriate wording to honor the family’s wishes, they’re not writers. While it may be a morbid pursuit, it is an opportunity to use your writing skills and a chance to help a bereaved family express what they wish to about their loved one. Beyond the local funeral homes in your area, several online memorial sites have sprung up in the past 10+ years. Do a bit of online research and see what you can find.
8. Inflight travel magazines
Every airline company has an inflight magazine. United Airlines has “Hemispheres”, Delta has “Sky” magazine – and that’s just in the US. Simply perform a quick Google search of “inflight magazines”. This is a particularly good niche for any writer who knows their city well and can write engaging and informative content about multiple aspects of it (think dining, tourist attractions and local culture). Visit the individual website for each magazine you’d like to write for and explore the content with an eye towards what you can contribute and how.
9. Educational/Test content
This is a niche that has many branches. Companies that create assessment materials for schools have opportunities for content writers across a broad range of subjects, including language, the arts, math, science, social studies, and more. One of the biggest and best-known is Pearson Education (www.pearson.com). Their major hubs are in the US and the UK and they have opportunities to work either virtually or on-site. Current opportunities include writers for test items and content reviewers.
A good set of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on a company’s website is an invaluable resource to a website’s visitors and potential customers, yet many companies tend to overlook them. It could be that their product or service is so new or unique that they just haven’t received many questions about it. That’s where a creative thinker, great researcher, and superb writer comes in. As you visit your favorite websites for business services, products (or any of the myriad reasons for surfing the internet), consider whether the site could benefit from a FAQ page. Make a list of questions that come to mind as you navigate their website, then make contact and offer your list of questions along with your services – i.e. researching and writing the answers!
The tip of the iceberg
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to those “hidden” opportunities to earn more as a freelance writer online. The need for well-written content increases with the continued evolution of the internet, meaning the need for freelance writers as content providers will only continue to grow.
Keep your eyes and your mind open and the freelance writing opportunities will follow.
>> Get more in-depth instructions on how to find your niche, plus pitching templates and step-by-step instructions on how to earn a living from freelance writing online in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.
Deena Bogan is a freelance business and creative writer who is passionate about using the written word to inform, educate, and entertain an audience. She writes blogs and articles for various websites about freelance writing, tourism, culture, and DIY topics. You can reach her at Deena.Bogan@gmail.com.
Image courtesy of Dan Machold via Flickr.