I’ve always said that making a living as a freelance writer online is one of the most fulfilling and accessible ways to build a career. But finding high-paying writing jobs that will sustain that career can be difficult.
So many writers struggle to make a living from their craft, often accepting low-paying writing gigs on UpWork or content mills just to make ends meet. I don’t know for sure how AI is going to affect those writers, but it doesn’t look good.
It does look (very) good for writers who know how to differentiate themselves and provide huge value to their clients. With the right strategy, it is possible to find high-paying writing jobs that become consistent streams of income.
This is that strategy.
(Disclaimer: this is not a quick-n-dirty post for finding one-off high-paying writing gigs – it’s a long-term plan.)
Step 1: Find your niche
A good first step to finding high-paying writing jobs is to define your niche. Specialising in a particular subject or industry can help you stand out from other writers and make it easier to position yourself as an expert.
To find your niche, start by assessing your skills, interests and experience. Consider topics you enjoy writing about and where your expertise naturally lie.
Basically, give in to the universe and do what it's nudging you to do. (But then, yeah, research different industries and niches to see which have a high demand for writers.)
For more tips on how to find your niche, check out the below article. It's all in there:
Once you've identified your niche, start creating a portfolio of writing samples that showcase your expertise in that area. This will help you market yourself to potential clients and demonstrate your value as a writer.
If you've no experience yet and are building a writing career from scratch, read this free eBook:
Step 2: Build your online presence
These days, having a strong online presence is simply part of the strategy for finding high-paying writing jobs. A website, social media profiles and online portfolio are all opportunities to show off your writing skills and testimonials – and to connect with potential clients.
Create a professional website that highlights what you write and, crucially, why you’re the best person to write it. Showcase your writing samples and provide contact information for potential clients. Your website should be easy to navigate, easy on the eye and optimised for search engines.
If you have the time and inclination to start a blog, do it like this:
In addition to your website, choose one (or two, max) social media platforms to really own. Use your chosen platform(s) to share content your clients will love, showcase your writing and form relationships to build your network.
Which leads us seamlessly onto the next step…
Step 3: Network (urgh)
Wait! Networking has moved on. And, as it’s an important part of finding high-paying writing jobs that sustain a writing career, it’s important we incorporate a bit of it into our strategy.
It's fine: you can do a lot of this on social media. Be generous, with your time and knowledge. Share interesting nuggets of info and other people’s projects as much as you share your own stuff – if not more.
You can also join online writing groups and forums to connect with other writers and learn about job opportunities. Needless to say, LinkedIn is a great platform for networking with other freelance writers (and potential clients).
Also, don’t underestimate the value of attending conferences and events – whether online or irl. These can be good for getting referrals and building your reputation as a writer. You never know who you’re going to meet or what you’re going to learn until you dive in.
Step 4: Find (the right) writing jobs on job boards
OK, so about the jobs. The actual writing jobs. You may have already realised that the internet is full of low-paying, unfulfilling writing gigs that somebody somewhere will do.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s good to be a snob about these sorts of writing jobs (or about anything else). Some people’s cost of living is lower than others, depending where they are in the world. Even if that’s not the case for you, and you just want to practice your writing and earn a few dollars, by all means, go ahead and pitch for those $6 jobs.
But! If you’ve followed the other steps, you will have earned the right to pitch for high-paying writing jobs. It’s now simply a matter of finding out where to look for them.
I could list a few job boards here but the truth is, the quality of writing jobs on these sites varies from week to week.
When I first started out as an online writer, I spent so long sifting through the rubbish on these job boards that I've now set up a service on Freelance Writers Online for other writers so they can get the best remote freelance writing jobs sent to them each and every week.
This saves time for actually doing the work and getting paid for it, eliminating the need to sift through all those low-quality, low-paid jobs.
For more info and a week’s worth of writing jobs for free, check out this page:
Step 5: Pitch to publications and companies
Pitching directly to publications and companies can be a super effective way of getting high-paying – and regular – writing gigs. By reaching out to potential clients, you can showcase your writing skills and really demonstrate your value as a writer.
To pitch effectively, start by researching publications and companies that align with your niche. Look for publications that regularly publish content in your area of expertise and companies that could benefit from your amazing writing skills.
Craft an email pitch that highlights said writing skills, demonstrates your knowledge of the publication or company, and proposes specific writing topics or projects. Be sure to personalise each pitch and follow up if you don't hear back.
Here’s how to write an email pitch:
Step 6: Build relationships with clients
Building strong relationships with clients is crucial. Not only does it increase your chances of getting repeat work, but it can also lead to referrals and positive reviews that can attract new clients.
Focus on providing high-quality work, meeting deadlines and communicating clearly and professionally. Be responsive to client feedback and willing to make revisions as needed.
You can also go above and beyond by providing additional value, such as suggesting new topics or ideas for content, offering social media promotion for published work, or providing discounts for repeat business.
There are only six steps to this strategy for finding high-paying writing jobs, but there's a fair bit of work involved with each one. Be persistent, yet professional and never underestimate the value of networking and building up those strong relationships.
You've got this.