This past year, I've talked a lot about what this online world can do for people, what it can do for your business, and how it can impact everyone's life. I've met some amazing people who know so much about blogging, businesses, and social media. One of those people is Lizzie--I've invited her today to talk about her freelance work, please welcome Lizzie to this amazing community with open arms.
I’m a freelance writer by trade, but it all began with a blog.
Back in 2012, I wanted a space where I could write about my travel escapades and share them with family and friends.
Pretty soon, I’d discovered a community of like-minded individuals, and my posts started to reach more and more people. This was mind-boggling considering I had only set up my site so I could access my stories and memories several years down the line.
After about a year of blogging, I started getting emails from brands and companies who wanted to work with me. Most of the time they just wanted a cheeky link bank (which I said no to – at that point, I wasn’t interested in monetizing my site), but there were a few that were actually interested in my writing style and my voice (just little old me!).
At that time, I was working a full-time job and had never considered blogging as a way of making money. I’d dreamt of going freelance and working for myself; adopting my own hours and working on projects that interested me, but it just seemed like a pipe dream.
That was, until I started getting offers to write for brands on a regular basis.
I suddenly thought, “hang on a minute, maybe there’s something in this.” I was getting between 5 and 10 emails a week from companies, and I was quickly building up my list of connections in the travel industry.
The interest in my work gave me the validation I needed to start pitching travel sites with articles (you know, travel sites that actually paid for pieces), and I even plucked up the courage to enter National Geographic’s Young Travel Writer of the Year award. I was absolutely speechless when I came second, but it really gave me the kick I needed.
The dream of working for myself and using my words to reach people wasn’t so far down the pipeline as I thought.
And it all began with a blog.
If I had never set up my free Wordpress site that day in January 2012, I’d never have opened myself up to the opportunities that flooded in. I’d never have found a community of likeminded people. I’d never have even considered entering a writing competition by National Geographic. And, most importantly, I’d never have had the courage to quit my full-time job to give freelancing a go.
But guess what? It all paid off.
Those few years of slogging away with the blog, of making connections and pitching articles, were so worth it because now I’m living the life I want, working with clients I love, and setting my own schedule.
A blog is such a great tool for freelancers for a number of reasons (not just because you can write about anything you want when you’re often confined to the brief of a client!).
Blogging Can Lead to Freelancing Because…
It Improves Your Craft
So many brands these days are looking for web content – whether it’s blog posts, copy, or online feature pieces.
Before I started blogging, I had no idea how a post should be formatted, what a good headline looked like, or how many words I needed to keep people interested.
After a couple of years learning the ins and outs of blogging, I was soon buffed up on all things SEO and online content. But having a blog also meant I was writing regularly for an actual audience, not just the pages of my paper journal.
I soon learned what posts people liked to read, found a voice that fitted my niche, and learned how to glean inspiration from the strangest of places.
I’d added to my skillset without taking a course or gaining a qualification. I’d added to my skillset by pure experience, and that’s often the most important thing when you’re freelancing.
It Acts as a Portfolio
When I first started submitting articles and pitching brands for freelance work, I didn’t have many published articles to show them.
Or so I thought.
In actual fact, I had almost 200 pieces to pick and choose from to show them – all from my blog.
Even though you haven’t written to a brief, your blog posts are still written for an audience, and they’re a great judge of your voice and how well you can write.
Since then, I’ve used posts from my blog thousands of times as portfolio pieces – and I still use them today, even when I have a whole host of other published articles under my belt.
It Creates Industry Connections
Blogging often goes hand in hand with social media and online networking, whether it’s with peers in your niche or brands that have the same audience as you.
Over the years, I created tons of connections with brands in destinations I’d visited, individuals I’d met at in-person networking events, and online friends I’d met through Twitter or Facebook groups.
While it might seem like having these connections is just a bonus of running a blog, they can actually be pivotal in getting you freelance work.
Think about it: that brand who’s Tweet you just shared? Maybe they’re looking for a blog writer. That fellow blogger you had a conversation with on Facebook the other day? They might know someone who is looking for a freelancer.
Having a blog is such a fun hobby to have, but it can also be a fantastic tool for landing freelance work. Just remember to keep creating connections, only publish your best work, and try to improve your craft with every single post.
Hey, if I can do it – so can you!