In Chapter One, freelance journalist and author Kim Gilmour offers some tips for surviving as a freelance:
Move away from the mainstream. Find a niche interest to write about, follow that and become an expert on that topic.
Use social networking to market yourself and build up a following. Editors will eventually take note of your abilities.
If you’re applying for a job or pitching one, the first thing an editor will do is Google you – and it’s always a good idea to have something professional come up in the search results.
Get involved with emerging trends in social media like online pinboard Pinterest or social media story- maker Storify. These might end up being fads, but it’s always a good idea to register and reserve a decent web address at these places, as they could serve to tie into your overall social networking presence and reputation in the future.
Some employers advertise freelance jobs on dedicated e-lance websites where journalists and other professionals bid for work. Two of the largest names in the business are People Per Hour and Elance. However, rates for these jobs can be very low which reflects the fact that with the Internet we are working in a global marketplace where you will find yourself competing against journalists based in countries where the cost of living are considerably lower than in the UK.
- The best source for any freelance journalist is personal contacts and by using that horrible word, ‘networking’. Use any opportunity possible to meet with editors.
- You’ll need to proactively hustle for work by pitching speculative ideas to editors by short email and followed by a phone call.
- Make sure you have your best work on all the main social media sites and blog regularly. As Kim says: ‘The first thing an editor will do is Google you.’
- Consider responding to briefs on newer freelance sites such as Newsmodo
No Contacts? No Problem! How to Pitch and Sell Your Freelance Feature Writing (Professional Media Practice)