The biggest difficulty in becoming a freelance writer is having the proper writing samples to get those first jobs. Without writing samples, potential employers will be reluctant to take a chance on a new freelancer. These days, this should not present a problem to the serious writer looking to start a freelance writing career.
Find Places to Showcase Sample Writing
There are a multitude of places on the Internet that allow the posting of articles or stories for free on their site. In exchange, those sites sell advertisements that depend on the content to draw visitors to the site. It can be a win-win situation for both the web site and the writer. For the freelance writer, these sites provide an opportunity to publish the very samples that future clients will want to see from you. The key is to use these sites properly to put the best possible face on your writing.
First, choose a site that has a large base and a large following. This is easily accomplished by putting “article repository” or “article directory” into a search engine. The results that come back on the first two pages are the “biggies”. Choose three or four of these sites to write for. Register for them one at a time to avoid getting lost along the way. After registering, write an article or story just like the ones that would be used as samples for a future client. It doesn’t matter that no one has asked for these articles. The fact that they are out there and can be referenced by those that are interested is all that matters.
Write three articles for the first site. Write each article about a different topic and with a different style or voice. This way if someone reads one of the articles on that site and then searches for others by the same author they will get a varied sampling. The variation will keep them from thinking that there is only one style or specialty from the writer.
Once the three articles have been written on one site, move on to the next site. Having multiple articles on one site helps dispel the notion that the author wasn’t asked to write again, or that the author is a one-trick pony, so to speak. Having multiple articles is more important than having multiple sites, although eventually, it is important to have both.
At the next site write three new articles. Don’t copy or paraphrase the original articles. Again, avoiding the impression that only one kind of writing is done by the author is key. In fact, if possible, write on completely different subjects. Once three or four sites each have three articles, then filling in each site with similar content will only help boost the profile.
As the freelancer applies for work with clients, referencing several of the links will provide the prospective client with a way to evaluate the work of the freelancer, and thus avoid the fear of hiring an untested writer. Don’t give away all the links in the beginning. Often, a prospective client will ask to see, “more like this,” in regards to one or more of the samples. By holding some links in reserve, there is more the freelancer can give. If the client asks for more and the freelancer doesn’t have more, then it is acceptable to say that after reviewing records the freelancer will provide more samples. This time can be used to write additional content as long as it only takes a day or two.
By using the Internet to help build a portfolio the freelancer avoids the classic paradox of needing samples before getting a job, but needing a job in order to develop samples. The samples can then be written at the freelancer’s leisure and ready for the next proposal.