By Lara Cain Gray @ThisCharmingMum
Establishing yourself as a freelance writer is as much about luck as it is about talent.
You spend a lot of time chasing opportunities and sending off pitches to busy editors who may or may not read them. If you’re lucky, someone will give you the chance to show them what you can do. If you’re talented, they might give you ongoing work. To actually make a living, you need stellar time management skills to juggle clients and deadlines while still finding time to pitch ideas in new places.
Working with Newsmodo reduces the time it takes me to pitch, receive commissions, and deliver creative content. Once I signed up with Newsmodo, finding work as a freelancer suddenly got a whole lot easier.
Making the move to freelance
Across the last 20 years of varied professional roles, writing has always been a core part of my work. Freelance writing, however, is something I fell into more recently when I went looking for a better deal in terms of work-life balance. I began freelancing through a personal blog, and then offered a few articles to contacts I already had up my sleeve from previous jobs. It took a while to get the courage to send pitches ‘cold’ to magazines and website editors, and for every article idea they loved there were plenty more that missed the mark.
The key skills to getting ahead as a freelancer are having a nose for publications that suit your style and knowing which editors are receptive to unsolicited submissions. There’s a whole lot of trial and error involved in locking down your go-to pitch list. Newsmodo makes this side of freelancing easier by advertising shout-outs from publications or organisations that need writers. Rather than sending your bright ideas into cyber space, potentially never to return, you can pitch to a specific brief that matches your skills or expertise.
The pitch process
Once you’ve signed up with Newsmodo, new briefs get sent to your inbox several times a week. Their clients are many and varied, so you can work as a generalist, or get hold of a niche. I have a background in the university sector, so I’ve put that to good use securing commissions with clients in the education and employment fields. Once I had a few commissioned articles under my belt, the team began to keep me in mind when the same, or similar, clients came knocking. As a freelancer, it’s always a pleasure to be offered work that you don’t have to chase.
As a general rule, when a brief gets your attention and you know you have something to say, you click through to the Newsmodo website and complete your pitch to suit their guidelines. This takes all the guess work out of how best to format your pitch, who to address it to, or how to get your key points noticed.
The Newsmodo team send all relevant pitches to their client, who decides which ones they’d like to see completed in full. You’ll then be sent a clear brief, including word limits, target readers and pay rates – so there are no surprises for you, or the client. As always, your responsibility is to complete the article on time and tend to any edits if requested.
Variety and value
The freelance writing life is never dull. I’ve written for everyone from baby magazines to banking blogs, from feature articles to fun listicles that drive web traffic where clients need it to go. I have several regular ‘gigs’ and I continue to pitch story ideas when a light bulb moment occurs.
What I value most about working with Newsmodo is the straightforward guidelines they provide. I pitch for some briefs, others are sent straight to me; either way I know my work isn’t going to be wasted on an uninterested editor. What’s more, I don’t waste time on extensive rewrites because clear briefs mean I understand the client’s needs from the get go. This all leaves me more time to send pitches to other magazines and sites.