How I Wrote a 5000,000 Freelance Article in One Week Flat
I imagined I’d find some great trend idea and be given a month or so to meticulously report, write, and finish the freelance article assignment. I’d be sure to do an amazing job with that first freelance article and make them want me back.
Here was my opportunity to break into print with them. Didn’t look anything like what I’d hoped my first freelance article for Forbes would be… but it was a print article for Forbes. And a chance to prove myself.
Here’s how to pitch an article to a magazine.
Whether you’re a beginner freelance writer and just getting your feet wet with writing pitches, or you’ve been writing for decades and want to compare your email pitch to another freelance writer’s to see if yours could be improved, this nine-step freelance pitching guide will help you write better freelance article pitches so you get paid writing gigs. (After you press send, you’ll want to start reading over these freelance writing tips.)
Get to know the magazine sections, the types of articles they feature, word counts, and whether they use research, expert interviews, first-person essays, infographics, and more. It’s usually advised to try to read the last three issues of a print magazine before sending your freelance proposal over to an editor. Here’s how much time I spend researching articles for assignments. When it comes to applying skills on how to pitch an article to a website, I recommend freelancers sign up for that publication’s newsletters, follow their social feeds, and read their website daily or weekly to learn more about the types of topics they are covering, their tone, and the articles they are assigning. This will give you a leg up when it comes to sending the best article pitch.
When creating great content, the magazine article pitch or website article pitch should align with the client’s core values, be something their ideal audience wants to ‘like’ and share on social, be original and fresh, and it could be a thought-provoking piece, like a thought leadership article on LinkedIn or an op-ed. Get more tips on creating good content here. Brainstorming great ideas for a client takes time and while you might think you have the perfect article pitch for a magazine and quickly try to write it up and send it over, do your homework and make sure you’ve researched the publication as well as your pitch so you know it’ll be the right fit.
This task can be tricky because it isn’t always easy to find out if a magazine has covered that specific topic or idea before unless they’ve uploaded all of their articles to their website. Do a site search to see if they have similar articles. (To do a site search on the idea you would type in “keto dinners” site:dianakelly.com if you wanted to see if that topic was on my site before you pitched it.) Learn more about where to find freelance article ideas to pitch here. If you’re a veteran freelancer who’s been pitching for a long time and feel “stuck” when it comes to finding new pitches for an existing client or you just want help brainstorming fresh article ideas, try this freelance writing exercise.
Make sure your pitch includes the section of the magazine you see the article being published in, or, the section of the website it could be a fit for. This is an important step when learning how to pitch an article to a website. For example, you wouldn’t pitch a personal essay for the “front of book” section of the magazine if they don’t have essays there. Or, you could tell the editor something like, “I see this article living in the Health section of your site” if it’s a health pitch. This lets the editor know you’ve familiarized yourself with their outlet and the sections of their website or magazine when writing an article pitch. You can even suggest a potential word count range as well. Here’s an example of how much to charge for a 500-word article.
You have to set yourself apart from the publicists who are sending pitches to editors about their clients, new products, upcoming books, and event invites. My PDF of freelance article pitches has examples of email subject lines I used that got high open rates. Model your subject lines after the ones I used when pitching editors to get them to respond to your pitch. (Writers wanted: Here’s the answer for “how much do freelance writers make.”)
You have to set yourself apart from the publicists who are sending pitches to editors about their clients, new products, upcoming books, and event invites. Model your freelance article pitch subject lines after the ones I used when pitching editors to get them to respond to your pitch. (Writers wanted: Here’s what magazines pay freelancers.)
- Give a brief description of who you are (see freelance pitch examples here);
- Include any writing experience or background knowledge you have that would be applicable for their outlet (i.e. you’re a certified personal trainer pitching this fitness idea, or a fashion stylist pitching a fashion trend); or, you’ve written for similar publications to theirs (name them); For example, if you were a healthcare writing and had experience writing about immunity and infectious diseases, you would mention that in the pitch if it’s a COVID-19 related topic and include any relevant clips.
- Explain why you are sending this article pitch right now (a timely study was released, it’s a seasonal idea, an anniversary is coming up that you want to capitalize on, a new book is out, or it could be an evergreen idea). Editors always want to know, Why this, why now? So make sure the answer to those questions are answered in your pitch as well as why you are the best writer to work on the freelance article assignment. Remember that print magazines work ahead quite a few months so you should be pitching summer ideas in January and February and think about holiday article pitches for magazines in the summer. If you’re struggling with how to pitch an article to a website, think shorter deadlines and lead times. You could probably pitch Easter-related food ideas in late February or March to a recipes website.
How to Get Paid to Write Articles Online: Freelance Writing Platforms
There are a number of ways to get paid from writing, (what this whole site is about, but today I am focusing on how to get paid for articles, and in particular, working or providing services through Freelance Writing Platforms or Job Sites.
There are other methods that are perhaps more profitable but are longer term, including starting your own freelance writer website and starting an affiliate niche blog.
This page contains affiliate or referral links, which means I receive a small commission if you decide to click through and buy anything. This is at no extra cost to you, but helps me maintain this website 🙂 If you want to know more, please read our Affiliate Disclosure.
Freelance Writing Service Platforms
- You must always meet your job description as advertised, and always give your client what they’re after. Don’t make any promises you can’t keep. With job sites, you want to build a great reputation, and that includes getting great reviews. In order to do this, you must meet your clients’ expectations. The con comes in when you Don’t meet their expectations and you receive bad feedback/or reviews.
- You can avoid this by offering (free of charge) revisions in order to get the client the product or service they want, or by offering them a free service in exchange for an updated, more positive review. I’ve worked with Sellers who go out of their way to provide an awesome service, in order to get that positive, great review.
- At all costs – avoid a bad review.
Upwork is another awesome job site which I recommend. Mainly because it seems to be well respected and is available all over the world (USA, UK, Canada and Australia) – you can get locals creating your content for you.
- You get to run your own business and choose the jobs you want.
- There is a wide variety of skill level jobs available.
- High paying jobs are abundant.
- More success you get, the more and better jobs you’ll attract.
- Streamlined Hiring – the Upwork algorithm finds jobs that suit you.
- You can potentially grow your freelancing business to great heights.
- Each project has a shared workspace where both you and the client can enter, share files, and post feedback.
- Get paid through Upwork Payment Protection, which includes invoicing and secure payments.
- Charges include an Upwork Freelancers Service fee, which is based on a sliding scale of your total Upwork Earnings.
What You Can Sell as a Freelancer
As a freelancer, you can sell anything you like but preferably skills that you are good at. There is the typical range of writing services you can offer, but you could also include – or in a separate job entry/description, other services and skills in the realm of freelancing.
This is high in demand service at the moment, and if you can commit to providing excellent, high-quality material, then you will bound to excel. Blog articles will typically be for niche websites, or various topics, so it’s good if you know how to research quickly and efficiently, translating that information into quality articles. It will also help if you know some basic SEO practices.
Website Pages/Content and Articles
Some clients maybe after optimized web content for their website, and this is a great little gig which you can provide to your customers. Some customers might want more general articles for their websites, magazines, or journals.
Website Packages – build a website for clients and prepare the first 8 pages for them. Get them rolling…
Ebooks are another great service you can provide to clients via job sites. These could be various lengths, from short 5 page ebooks, to ‘ghostwritten’ ebooks that your clients might want to be written.
Really, whatever you have had experience in, you can sell:
There is Endless Potential…
The opportunities are vast and almost endless in working through freelancing job sites. Decide what you want to achieve and go after it, and make your part-time or full-time career out of freelance writing happen.
However, I still believe, that if you love writing, then you should be writing for yourself. Don’t get paid once only for your articles, blog posts, ebooks, and reviews. You want to create reoccurring income from your writing every week, every year.
And you can do this by 1) having your own website and blog and 2) writing your own books.