Friday, August 15, 2014

Let's Do Freelance Writing Work: Job-Board Sites

I feel, from opinion and personal experience, that working for what I call “job-board sites” is the beginner freelance writer’s bread-and-butter. When I found and joined my first job-board, I felt like I was in heaven. Compared to bidding a hundred times a day on Freelancer, which I was doing religiously at the time, I was in heaven, freelance writing heaven. However, the price per project on these sites is lower than what you can expect through other, more time-consuming prospects. But the ease of acceptance and ability to earn an income in a few days quickly makes up for any shortcomings in pay. Even if you have a list of reliable clients and a diversified revenue stream, it’ll pay literal dividends to be a member of a few job-board sites when the inevitable dry-spell comes. The key to success on these kinds of freelance writing sites is to understand how to work the system and get the most out of your time.

When I say job-board, I mean a freelance writing site that lists projects by topic or category and allows writers to pick and choose. The project will always have a word count and price listed. Some sites, like MyAms, pay by a set number of words - for example, five dollars for five-hundred words - while sites such as TextBroker pay a certain price per word, anywhere from 1 cent and up.
There’s a few ways to get accepted to these freelance writing sites as quickly as possible, or at least make the process smoother.

1.       Apply, Apply, Apply – Most, if not all, job-board sites require an application process of some sort. This typically includes a grammar test, current or live writing samples and a new sample on a chosen subject. Be ready to spend a few days applying to as many job-board sites as you can. Hit them all at once. Have your samples ready and be prepared to write on a given subject provided by each particular site. Also, allow anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the editors to review your application.
2.       Get Your Formwork On – Have your tax forms locked and loaded. This means a W-9. Be sure to have both digital and printed forms, some sites require one or the other or both. For non-Americans writing for sites based in the States, the W-8BEN should have you covered. Most sites won’t pay till you’ve gotten right with Uncle Sam.
3.       Be Ready To Get Paid – Setup your PayPal, and get it linked to your bank account. Also, look into getting a PayPal MasterCard. It’s accepted pretty much anywhere, and the money is available as soon as it’s deposited.
4.       Learn The Process– Before you jump balls deep into a project, learn what that particular site expects from your writing. On most freelance writing sites, you’ll receive individual instructions for each project, but the editors will expect a certain, overall style. AP style will usually be the chosen format, but it pays to check.
5.       Learn The Trends – Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the board. Look at what types of topics are on offer. Learn what kind of overall price you can expect for a certain amount of work. There’s a huge difference between writing a non-SEO blog post about a topic you enjoy and creating a keyword-dense article with links, author bio and citations. Find a few topics you’re interested in and write them first. Be sure the instructions are relatively easy and you have plenty of freedom. Your initial projects will be scrutinized and some sites, such as TextBroker, will rate you based on the quality of your first few jobs.

After your first few completed projects, you’ll want to start working on efficiency. The best way to make the most money on these kinds of freelance writing sites is to learn how to research and write quickly.

  1. The Internet Is Your Friend – Researching online may seem obvious, but here’s the kicker. You’re making, at best, a few cents per word. Unless you know the subject and can write from experience, quickly find a couple articles on the topic and spin them. Basically, rewrite the articles using different words and structure while retaining the overall meaning. You’re trying to limit research time while creating quality and informative content that pass CopyScape. You’re not trying to compose fully cited research papers.
  2. Know When To Say When – Editing and proofreading is all well and good, but don’t tweak out on it. Have a set number of times that you proofread an article before you submit it. I usually proof and edit 3 times. Once while I write, going back and rereading every paragraph after I’ve completed it. Once, after I am finished, checking for punctuation and grammar errors. And once out loud, it’s amazing how much better you edit by reading out loud.
  3. Check Your Facts – With the above said, don’t write anything that isn’t factual. Don’t try to burn the word count by adding bullshit. Look, we’re all tempted to say, “That sounds good”, and add a little bit of fluff that might not necessarily be true just to eat up some words. This can come back and bite you in the ass. Most clients have no clue about the topic they’re paying us to write about. On the off chance one does, it’s best to have your facts tight so the client has no reason to reject your article.Also, editors hate fluff.
  4. Be Quick On The Pick – Most of these sites have a good, healthy number of clients who typically place large orders. Usually, there’s plenty of work to go around. Sometimes, though, there can be droughts. Summer, for some reason, see’s a tapering off of work on certain freelance writing sites. Like the old saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. Well, you’re the bird, and the articles are the worm. Grab them while they’re warm and wriggling, and get as many as you can.
  5. Niche It Up – If at all possible, find projects that you’re familiar with. The less you have to research, the faster you can write. The faster you can write, the more money you can make.

These are a few of the ways to work more efficiently on job-board freelance writing sites. If you have any suggestions or tips on how to make money faster on these kinds of websites, please comment below. I’d love to hear them and will add the good ones to this list. If you have any other questions about freelance writing sites or how to make money freelance writing, please holler at me on the contact page. I look forward to hearing from you. Till next time!

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