Finding well-paying online writing jobs is often quite a taxing endeavour to accomplish, especially when you have no formal qualifications, like me.
I was at the end of my tether after being on a hiatus from online work for around a year. I had all but given up on my online activities and I had recently learnt I had high functioning autism.
You can read about how I successfully dealt with these issues in my previous post on how I discovered how to efficiently work from home and stop lazy and procrastinating tendencies.
How I kick-started my online article writing career and acquired £60 per 1,000-1,500 words writing clients without any formal qualifications, using my top list of article writing job boards
I needed online writing clients and I needed them fast, I had no money to spare and bills were piling up.
Within two weeks I managed to get online writing clients and was writing articles for £60 per 1,000 to 1,500 words.
There is nothing overly special about what I did, but what I did do, I’ll share with you today.
So if you’re struggling while looking for freelance writing jobs then give my guide on how to get online article writing jobs for beginners, a shot.
- 1 Gather as many presentable pieces of writing as you can
- 2 Create a portfolio
- 3 Putting together a generic application letter
- 4 Steer clear of Upwork, Freelancer and other freelance auction style sites
- 5 There are some great online article job boards, here’s my best
- 6 #1 ProBlogger Job Board
- 7 #2 Freelancewriting.com
- 8 My full list of online article job boards
- 9 A cheeky yet sensible way of finding even more online article jobs
The most important factor when searching for an online article job is your portfolio and building your brand in order to create trust
Before you start looking at places to find online article jobs, you need to try and establish yourself as a writer in some demonstrable manner.
However, you also do not need a degree in journalism or other qualifications. A few employers might demand qualifications, but really, most are simply looking for someone who can write a good quality article.
What is important is being able to show that you can:
- Write clearly in a number of ways which get a point across.
- Research topics on your own and provide useful information in the article (Initiative).
- Write with good grammar. Mine is awful but I do a lot of Google searches to fix that!
- Empathise with the reader and understand their pain
- Understand and utilise concepts like SEO and marketing.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
How to scrape together some trust value and promote yourself
When I began looking back at some of the articles and blog posts I’d written in the past, I realised that they were actually not very good.
My grammar was bad and I didn’t have much to work with that I could honestly say looked like a polished article.
Even with a lack of demonstrable writing work, you can still find employment, so don’t let that drag you down. The key is making what you have, look as best as you can.
If the quality of your previous work is worrying you or it would take a long time to rewrite, then you can use Grammarly to help.
Grammarly is an automated proofreader and plagiarism checker. It makes sure everything you type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free.
It helped me quickly sift through my old articles and fix all of my grammatical and spelling errors.
Gather as many presentable pieces of writing as you can
You’re probably thinking to yourself that you don’t have any, but I’m sure you do and if you actually don’t, we can address that too.
If you can’t think of anything you’ve written, don’t be discouraged, check out these ideas for gathering material.
Old School Projects
I was never great in school, but I remember one time when I really felt like writing something well and putting effort into it.
It was an article on the difference between Romanticism, Impressionism and Realism in art. If you have anything like this then you can take the work and rewrite it up to your current standards.
If I was to rewrite this article now, for an application, I would write it with a lot more focus on teaching and giving a lesson to the reader, as back then I wrote in a very factual manner. Remember, most employers are looking for someone to persuade the reader of something, there is a goal to the article.
In my SEO agency days I would often write articles for client’s websites. This is still something you can find value in and place in your portfolio.
There is no copyright issue, you’re not stealing content, you’re simply showing the employer the content and explaining that you wrote it.
This could even be a large internal memo to other staff on new procedures or anything where you’re organising and explaining a situation clearly to others. An email can look no different from an article when it comes down to the core and remember, you can always go back and rewrite the content to suit the application.
This is a fantastic way to begin accruing a plethora of content. For example, I recently applied to write for Walmart, they wanted writers to write the SEO friendly content at the bottom of pages like this.
I applied and wrote an example rewrite of the page, I didn’t get the job but it left me with a couple of paragraphs of example content which can be used in future applications, especially if they are relatable to puzzles and board games.
So whenever you apply with examples, just pop them in your portfolio for future reference (more on portfolios later). This is all about building your brand, profile and references.
Communities and Forums
Are you part of any community forums? Have you ever written a post or comment which helps another person in a more professional and detailed manner?
Both of these can be proof of your ability to work. In the past I would write big guides and posts in forums simply for the fun of it. I love to analyse, research and help others.
You might not realise that some of the online places you’ve been active in could have content that you’ve written which demonstrates your ability. This could be Facebook, Reddit, forums and comments on people’s blogs.
I often enjoy discussing diets with people and sometimes this can turn into a large post detailing my believes and citing my sources, if you’ve ever done something similar, then this can be useful to you and it can be converted to a post about the subject which you can use.
Don’t let anything go to waste, grab it, re-write it up to standard and keep it for your portfolio.
Still stuck for example content? Write your own!
Whether you’ve found content from the previous points or not, there is always one other awesome and fun way to gather some content, create it yourself!
I have a decent portfolio of How-To articles and guides, but what I lacked was a demonstration of my storytelling ability and creative writing.
So I hopped over to one of my favourite subreddits called “Writing Prompts”, picked one of the prompts and wrote a small piece.
I’m not great at it, but it showed that I could do it and it filled the gap in my portfolio. It was also great experience for me too.
But article writing employers don’t really look for creative writing, they look for helpful content to their users.
So another great way to create your own content is to search through places like Google or Reddit for people asking questions related to a topic you like. Then go ahead and write an article around the topic which provides a little help to the user.
For example, this article that you’re reading now, maybe I’ve missed something out about writing that you know, maybe you just feel you could condense this article and re-write it in your own way, there is nothing stopping you doing that and popping it in your portfolio.
This is a great way to start building example content in your portfolio.
I write all of my articles in a basic Google Drive document and then publish to various places or email them to the clients. If you want something with the professional touch, you can use the Grammarly editor. There are many simple yet powerful tools available to aid your writing and it is especially useful if your grammar and spelling is not up to scratch (like me!).
But it might be a good idea, alongside a portfolio, to open up your own free blog where you can write articles about whatever you want to practice and get feedback. A good free blogging platform is Google’s blogger.
Create a portfolio
Creating a portfolio is all about making it easier for the employer to see examples of your work. You don’t want anything too fancy, you want to waste as little of their time as possible.
This is why I use Clippings.me. I find it to be simple and effective at what it does.
You can paste shareable links directly from Google Drive to your Clippings.me page and your article keeps the formatting you intended because when the employer clicks the article they’ll end viewing the content on your Google Drive.
Now is the time to gather all of your previous work and begin placing it on your Clippings.me page. Rewrite anything not up to standard.
Putting together a generic application letter
Having a generic application letter will save you a lot of time. What I did was to create a generic letter, like a placeholder to simply and easily present my details and answer any questions the employer might have.
It is also important that you keep your letter as short as possible, their time is precious and a lot of other people will be applying so they don’t have time to read too much.
The most important part of your letter is making sure you get all of the relevant details in there, in such a short space. You need to make sure you have:
- An introduction about the languages you are fluent in.
- A sentence describing yourself.
- A placeholder section which you’ll use to talk about the job you’re applying for and why you’ll a great fit for the work.
- A link to your portfolio (clippings.me).
- Links to your best articles (can be in clippings.me still) with a couple of sentences describing it and why it is your best.
- Your previous experience as a writer. Even if all you have to talk about is your time at school or previous 9am-5pm jobs.
- A paragraph describing what you enjoy most about writing.
- A description of your core strengths as a writer (Initiative? Empathy with readers? Research skills? Languages?).
- A description of any extra skills which could be of use.
- Your availability (Employers are often strict with deadlines).
- Prices and rates. Try to think about how long it might take you to complete an article. I’m a slow worker, it takes me a lot of hours creating content and I can get £60 per article, it usually works out at around £10 per hour. Some people get their articles finished quickly though. Try to negotiate with the employer and eventually you’ll figure out your own rate.
- How to hire and communicate with you. Personally I dislike talking on the phone, so I prefer all contact to go through email and I avoid live-chat software like Skype. I prefer everything in email.
Where to find online article writing jobs for beginners
When I started out, I was desperate for work, I spent a lot of time on freelance auction style sites such as Upwork.com and it was an extremely frustrating experience.
I feel that the way their system works is to reward and promote the lowest quality work for the cheapest price.
I was seeing demanding job postings which had over twenty applicants for absolutely miniscule offers.
I’m talking about writing an entire EBook for $20 or a 2,500 word well researched and cited essay for $20 or even less!
Steer clear of Upwork, Freelancer and other freelance auction style sites
The companies looking for good writers do not use these freelance websites, you won’t find them there, so it is best to avoid the sites as even if you’re willing to work for peanuts, you’ll still have trouble finding work there.
I was down and out for the moment, but I didn’t give up, never, give up.
Back when I was fruitlessly scouring Upwork.com for work, I didn’t know that boards like those I list below actually existed.
I genuinely often wondered “where in the heck are the well paying article writing jobs being posted?”.
There are some great online article job boards, here’s my best
There is actually quite a large list of boards you can look to, in order to find writing jobs but the boards I list below are of particular quality. I found them very useful and I made a good amount of money from my work there.
The boards below have an applying feature, meaning there is a box on the job description where you need to write a small introductory cover letter (A paragraph describing yourself and why you’re the best candidate for the job) along with attaching a document containing your generic job application letter.
#1 ProBlogger Job Board
ProBlogger is where everything came together for me. Big and small companies alike post jobs there, from Walmart to boutique web-stores. It is a great place to start your journey to earning an income from home through writing.
This is where I do the majority of my searching and where I get the majority of my clients. You can sign up to their newsletter to receive an email everyday with the new job postings.
This is important as getting your application in first is a big advantage. Every morning when I wake up, I check my email for the latest job postings and get applying.
This is my second choice and I enjoy the format of their “Morning Coffee Newsletter”. Like Problogger’s newsletter, it also keeps me up to date on the latest online article jobs, although it is more fancy and interesting than ProBlogger’s newsletter.
Similar in quality to ProBlogger, they are both the two most important sources of income for me. I haven’t required much more than these two sites.
My full list of online article job boards
I don’t use the rest of this list too often as I have my hands full with ProBlogger and freelancewriting.com, however these guys are also a great source of work and I have applied for jobs on each of them. I recommend creating a new folder on your browser’s bookmarks and adding them, a swift middle click every morning on the folder icon will open them all up for you to browse. This is how I started out.
A cheeky yet sensible way of finding even more online article jobs
I had success with ProBlogger and freelancewriting.com, but I’m a massive fan of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and I felt I would love to write for MMA blogs and news outlets.
I thought about it, thought about it some more and then figured, “oh, what the heck!”, so I grabbed a cup of Bulletproof coffee and started altering my generic application letter to be more suited to MMA. I started emailing it out to my favourite blogs and had some great replies I’m proud of.
There is nothing stopping you doing the same. Don’t let the fear of failure rule you.
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Freelance online article writing can be a great success for you too
Since I figured out how to live with my high functioning autism and how to efficiently work from home and stop lazy and procrastinating tendencies my writing work has been a pleasant experience. I now feel much calmer and I am able to provide an income I’m proud of.
I’ve consistently been able to find work using the guide I’ve written here. If you have any questions or clarifications you need me to give then please comment below and if you found this article helpful then please considering sharing it with your friends or following me on Twitter.