Does the thought of finding online writing jobs give you that not-so-fresh feeling?
Does it send you off the rails on a crazy train (I, I, I...)?
Do you often find yourself having to put your thing down, flip it AND reverse it just to APPLY to freelance writing jobs?
Thing is, you became a freelancer for a reason.
For freedom. For a creative outlet. To have a voice. To earn a living doing what you love.
And so have 2 million other Americans since 2014 according to a 2016 survey.Those numbers are expected to skyrocket in the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017 study.
So how does one manage to keep their dream alive and sustain a profitable freelance writing business? Especially newcomers fresh-out-of-the-office?
By keeping up with digital trends and adapting your knowledge and skills to match. Make your 'know-how' a commodity in a still relatively-untapped market.
People love podcasts.
They're usually free, typically commercial-free and are jam packed with valuable and entertaining content.
Oh yeah and stupid-portable.
Where there are people, there is marketing. Podcasts are now part of any complete content marketing strategy and so are the ever popular show notes that every host mentions at LEAST a dozen times within a given episode.
Show notes and podcasts are BFF's. Can't have one without the other. And someone has to write them.
That someone could and should be you.
Here are five ways to find podcast content writing gigs plus a handy pitch to start landing clients.
Search engines reign supreme as the number one way to find what you're looking for online. Podcast writing gigs are no exception. Here are two ways to find them using ol' Googlesaurus (or any other engine you prefer).
PODCAST PRODUCTION COMPANIES
A plethora of full-service podcast production companies include show notes as part of their client packages and bundles. A gig at one of these could land you a steady stream of work as they tend to manage multiple podcasts.
Search "podcast production companies" and feel free to use variations of the search term to broaden your results.
Check out their website and confirm they offer show notes to their clients. If not, on to the next search listing. If so, scour the menu for a "careers" page (mega score if you stumble across a "We're Hiring!" page). You may need to scroll down to the footer menu to find these. Remember to check their contact page as well.
It may take some detective work to uncover hidden gems. Here's a listing I found on a page that wasn't linked to anywhere on their website.
Which brings me to my next suggestion...
Search for a mix and match of the following words:
And use variations like these:
It took me less than five minutes to find four "writer-wanted ads.
The market for podcast writers is out there and is well-worth the chase. Don't get discouraged if you're coming up empty-handed. There are plenty more ways to go about getting gigs.
2. PODCAST EMAIL LISTS
If you want to hire a content writer, you want one that knows how to craft words that resonate with your audience (derp).
When it comes to podcasts, who understands their brand and message better than the audience? It only makes sense for them to reach out to their email list before recruiting elsewhere.
Increase your chances of hearing about open positions first by subscribing to the podcast's newsletter.
Become an insider.
This is an excellent way of being proactive and staying a step ahead of the rest.
They may not always be looking for someone to write their notes but a majority of the openings are writing jobs (at least from what I've seen).
This one was for a social media coordinator and a copywriter.
To double up on your odds, put your name on their radar. Follow and engage with them on social media. Leave a them a five star review on iTunes (you'll be their best friend).
You'd be surprised how far these two simple actions will get you.
Plus it opens up the line of communication for possible future cold-pitching!
3. COLD PITCH
Swallow that lump in your throat. Eventually, you're going to have to cold-pitch clients. It's effective and increases your chances of getting higher paying jobs.
This will make for some good practice. Here's how to cold pitch a podcast:
Create a simple template in Google Docs (or your preferred word processor) using the three basic show note elements (read my blog post if you need a reminder or download my guide to show note writing).
Listen to a short episode and use the content to fill in your template
Find a good contact email address on their website
Introduce yourself as a fan, mention a few specifics on what you like about their show.
Casually mention what you do and briefly list a few ways optimized show notes can benefit their show like increasing website traffic, adding value to the reader/listener, monetization opportunities, etc.
Cold-pitching can be nerve-wracking and downright daunting. I still get a knot in my stomach thinking about how dumb my email might look to prospective clients.
But this is part of freelance life. These are the moves we have to make and the risks we have to take in order to make our entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Cold pitches will go unacknowledged most of the time but all it takes is a few yes's to make it all worth the effort.
And they'll come. Just be patient. Have faith. Hard works pays off.
4. CONTENT MILLS (UPWORK)
I know. Just the sight of those two words together gives people the heeb jeebs.
For the most part, what you hear about content mills is true. The pay does tend to suck and competition is brutal. I've read dozens, if not, hundreds of articles on the good, bad, and ugly. And now it's my turn to pass my piece down.
Although most definitely not a long-term solution, they're a good way for new writers to get their feet wet.
I know because I landed my first two podcast clients through Upwork. And guess what?
One year later, they're still my clients and I don't know if I would've ever found them by any other means.
I do suggest you give it a shot, but not as your first option. If you're on Upwork already, roll the dice and search for "podcast writing."
Chances are good you'll find a few prospects. And if you're serious about writing show notes, optimize your profile by including keywords in your title and bio. This makes it easier for clients to search and find you.
Just remember to ALWAYS charge hourly!
(Email me to request my upcoming blog post on pricing your show notes services via email.)
I haven't had much experience exploring other content mills. One is enough for me.
If you're involved with multiple mills I'd be curious to find out what the market's like. I don't know of many writers who intentionally seek and search for gigs in podcasting. Might be a potential untapped resource!
All in all, content mills can be a fantastic tool for finding and landing speciality content jobs like podcast writing.
Just cut the umbilical cord when and where you can.
5. FACEBOOK GROUPS AND Q&A FORUMS
This method of scoring gigs can be a waiting game and it's not my favorite.
But it can't be discounted.
It's also an insanely effective way to network and learn even more about the industry.
Join communities geared toward podcasters and general podcast fans. A good one to start with is Podcast Community on Facebook. You can also hop on Quora and choose topics to follow relevant to your niche.
The strategy to market yourself is similar for most groups and forums...
Contribute and interact
Participate in discussions
Spend time answering questions and
Showcase your knowledge with helpful advice
In time, you'll establish yourself as an expert in your niche and start grabbing the attention of others in the industry, including podcasters themselves (potential clients).
When the time is right and the topic is relevant, mention that you're a freelance writer who specializes in optimized podcast show notes. And that you're the shit.
(Might wanna leave that last part out but you get the idea.)
Just don't be spammy or you'll get canned by moderators.
If your profile has links to your writer website or show note samples, that's money, babe.
My Quora profile informs visitors of what I do, displays my linked websites, and showcases my writing topics.
The easier you make it for people to view your work, the greater your chances are of getting them to connect with you.
PASSING THE MIC
WHAT STRATEGY AM I MISSING? WHAT OTHER METHODS CAN FREELANCE WRITERS USE TO FIND PODCAST CONTENT WRITING JOBS? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND HELP YOUR FELLOW FREELANCERS OUT!