If you have strong writing skills and want to be in charge of your schedule, you may be wondering how to make money as a freelance journalist. You could start a freelance writing business and enjoy perks like a flexible schedule and the opportunity to work remotely.

But what exactly do freelance journalists do, and how do they find work?

This article will share some tips on how freelance journalism can land gigs and make money. Read on to find out about:

  • Four types of freelance writing gigs
  • Four ways to earn money as a freelance journalist
  • Tips for growing your freelance writing business

Four types of freelance journalism gigs

There are several types of work you can do as a freelance writer. More traditional work areas include print writing and writing books, but freelancers can be more likely to write online content today.

Print writing

Traditionally, freelance journalism has taken the form of print writing. Newspapers and magazines pay print writers to contribute articles and feature their work in their physical copies.

Writers of print articles are typically paid per word or article, and they also receive author credits which means their name or pen name appears alongside the published article. Having author credits in a well-known print publication can help freelance journalists build credibility and become more visible. 

Writing feature articles

In journalism, a feature article refers to a specialised, in-depth article on a specific topic. Writing features can be a career choice for writers who want to write on a particular topic they are experts in.

Writers may write individual feature articles for multiple publications or develop a working relationship with one or more companies and make a contract for a specific number of pieces. 

Additionally, freelance feature writers can write a daily, weekly or monthly column. As a feature writer, you could develop a niche audience and a reputation for specific topics or genres.

Copywriting

Copywriters are people who write text to help develop advertising material, increase brand awareness or influence readers. Copywriters are skilled wordsmiths and are hired by companies and organisations to develop a certain amount of copywriting pieces.

Unlike print writing, copywriting is not ordinarily paid per word or article. Instead, agencies or organisations hire copywriters to fill contracts for marketing campaigns or specific products. 

Common assignments for freelance copywriters can include:

  • Advertising copy
  • Social media posts
  • Email marketing text
  • SEO blurbs

Content writing

Content writing involves planning, writing and editing web content for digital marketing purposes. Typically, the company hiring a content writer aims for the copy to attract business, inform or persuade readers or reach a specific audience. 

As a freelance content writer, you would likely create mainly web-specific content. Here are five examples of common assignments that freelance content writers might have:

  • Press releases
  • Platform-specific posts (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit)
  • Website content
  • Blog posts and articles
  • Video and podcast scripts
  • Interactive fiction

Five ways to earn money as a freelance journalist

  1. Write posts for blogs. 

If you love sharing your tips and stories, writing for blogs can be a profitable option. Some blogs are willing to pay for your pieces. The benefit of this is getting paid well but having no commitment to submit articles on a recurring basis. If you have a great idea, try pitching it to one of these blogs:

  • The Penny Hoarder: A blog dedicated to making and saving money. They pay a flat rate per blog post and offer bonuses if your piece reaches a certain number of views.
  • Income Diary: Blog about making money online. If you’re a marketer or successful entrepreneur, this could be a good fit for you. 
  • Great Escape Publishing: An outlet that is looking for articles about travel. 
  • iWorkWell: A website for businesses covering a broad range of topics. 
  1. Write content for websites and online articles.

There is money to be made in writing online content. Sites like Upwork, People Per Hour and Fiverr are some of the best-known sites where you can post a freelancer profile offering your services as a content writer. 

Be specific about the skills you have to offer and research the going rates for the kind of work you’re looking for. But be aware that it’s a highly competitive marketplace.

  1. Earn cash for fillers and snippets.

Some informal leisure publications, such as Take a Break, Readers’ Digest and That’s Life, and the Guardian’s Family section, invite their readers to contribute letters and fillers. These pieces could be top tips, recipes, jokes, true-life tales and other snippets, for example.

The publications may pay small amounts or offer rewards, while others could have excellent prizes for the best letters.

  1. Self-publish a book

Getting your book published can be a challenge and you may not find an interested publishing company straight away. Self-publishing can be a good alternative that gives you full ownership of your work and control over the publishing process. 

You can publish your book on Amazon, and if you’re commercially minded and marketing savvy, there’s a good chance of generating income from book sales.

Tips for growing your freelance writing business

It can be relatively easy to find writing gigs online, but making freelance writing a viable business can be a bit trickier. Luckily, there are some tried and tested ways to grow your business and increase your profit, for example:

  • Create a website or blog
  • Take advantage of SEO 
  • Promote yourself on social media
  • Enter writing competitions contests and win
  • Organise your finances and open a business bank account
  • Submit your work to local publications to get more visibility
  • Build a portfolio

Organise your finances and bookkeeping with Countingup

It’s easier to grow your business when you have a clear overview of your finances.

Thousands of business owners are using the Countingup app to save time on their financial admin and focus on growing their business. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for self-employed people across the UK.

With automatic expense categorisation, receipt capture tools and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances and save yourself hours of accounting admin, so you can focus on doing what you do best. Find out more here.

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