“A Lot” is very vague, and of course it varies with different perspectives. But if you aspire to do freelance writing, then this article is going to help you a lot to help you get started. While most website in Singapore are paying their contributors $50 for an article, there are tips here you can use to receive a higher rate than that. And of course, even if you are receiving relatively high rates now ($120/article), there are still ways for you to expand your opportunities as a freelance writer.
1) Strongly Believe In What You Can Do
To get things started, you need to have the strong belief you can make a career out of writing. Many people think that you need to be popular and have a high following on social media in order to earn a lot from writing i.e. blogging. Or you need to be in a publication firm to be a writer.
But you need to know there are many writers in Singapore who are contributing to several websites too. Many whom you may have read their articles but not know who they are. So really, being a freelance writer does not limit to being a blogger or a magazine writer. With the expansion of media in the digital space, the opportunities are endless.
2) Start a Blog or Website
Having a blog or website not only serves as a portfolio for your writings, it also gets you comfortable writing online. As you write more often on the digital space, you also learn to pick up nitty skills that will come in handy such as SEO optimisation and basic HTML coding.
On top of that, make it a point to update your websites constantly as it gives you good practice to improve your writing skills; whether it’s speed or quality of content.
3) Brush up on Your Copywriting Skills
The thing about writing online is, you have to capture readers’ attention very quickly, or else they will just scroll away. Hence, copywriting is a skill you need to have if you want to succeed as a writer online.
Copywriting basically means strategically delivering words to get people to take some form of action. So for example, if you want people to read your articles, you need to write a compiling headline that will make people want to read your article. If you do not have a strong headline or title that drives readers, a good article will go to waste because nobody clicks on it to read.
4) Look Out For Websites That Needs Contributors
Instead of waiting for opportunities to knock on your door, go look for your own opportunities. There are so many websites in Singapore now that focus on creating web content. Source them out and drop them an email to see if you can contribute to these sites.
5) Set up an Elance account
Elance is a website for freelancers to get digital jobs. Companies from around the world will put up project listings to look for freelancers to get jobs done (such as graphic design, copywriting, translating) and all you have to do is click on the listing to get the project.
It is an easy and secure platform for freelancers to get jobs as clients have to release payment to the freelancer before they can receive the work done by the freelancer. So if you can’t get writing jobs in Singapore, you can still go through Elance for more opportunities.
6) Subscribe and follow
Have a writer or website you like or admire? Then subscribe to them! Follow them and pick up their tips, learn some of their tricks and apply it to your own style to ENHANCE your writing.
Don’t go copying their style completely or their content. The internet never forgets and if you plagiarise, you’ll can get caught fairly quickly and if things turn ugly, it WILL affect your writing career completely.
7) Read a Lot, and Keep a Lookout for Trending Topics
Articles covering trending topics get more traffic. And some companies are willing to pay more when your articles help drive more traffic to their websites. To know what’s trending, the best place to look is you Facebook news feed! See what are the things are shared a lot or breaking news that caught you attention. If something catches your attention and made you stop to read, chances are it will do the same for others.
8) Think Viral
When you write for certain websites, their main objective is to have more traffic driven to their website. Viral content have the potential to drive high volume of readership to these websites. Hence when you plan and write articles, you need to have the idea and motivation to make your post go viral. Most posts that go viral rides on topics that are trending, so this and the previous point goes hand in hand.
Moreover, a viral article will look really good on your portfolio too.
9) Be Your Own Boss
To be a freelance writer you need to be very disciplined. There are no bosses breathing down your neck and pressing you for deadlines when you are a freelancer. Hence you need to set your own deadlines and make sure your roll out your articles on time.
Not only that, you have to be your own editor. You have make sure your articles are error-free grammatically or else it will affect the quality of your work, in turn affecting your reputation as a writer.
10) Maintain Professionalism
You can get creative and reveal your vibrant character in your writings. However you still to need maintain a professional profile such as Linkedin to attract potential clients. It is also important that you know how to write professionally when you correspond with potential clients End of the day a client still want to work with someone who seems responsible and reliable.
11) Be Credible
While it’s ok to insert your own thoughts and opinions in certain topics, some topics will need substantial proof to back them up. Always make sure you do your research properly before writing your articles. So should anyone question your content, you are able to defend your credibility. And of course, NEVER forget to credit your sources.
12) Choose a Specialization
Define a specialized topic that interests you the most. When you have a topic you’re specialized in, it creates an identity for you as a writer. This however, works like a double-edge sword. While you can clinch projects with clients that work with your specialization easily, you also limit yourself to such projects and clients only. Hence I would advice that you still read broadly and have gain knowledge in different fields that interest on top of your specialization.
E.g. You have strong finance knowledge that makes you a good finance writer. At the same time you have knowledge in other lifestyle-related topics like cars, fitness, health; giving you other opportunities in these fields.
13) Don’t Undervalue Yourself
It’s hard to gauge at the start how much your work worth, so it safer to go with the market rate. But as you gain more experience and read more, you may realise you deserve more than you are receiving for the amount of work you put in i.e. amount of research & analysis done for the article, length of article, SEO optimization in your articles etc.
When you know you have the skill sets that makes you a good writer, don’t be afraid to quote a higher rate. Remember, you’re Freelance, not free (or cheap)
14) Learn to Build Your Network
Talk to everybody! You’ll never know who’s going to link you up with somebody or give you a big project that will be a big boost to your portfolio. When you established a network, it also helps you maintain a consistent base of clients that will be your regular income stream. Help yourself and be pro-active to expand from these networks. Some people may not need your service now but down the road they could become your potential clients or referrals.
To be very honest, it is not easy to start as a freelancer. You have to be very hardworking to source for opportunities and build your portfolio. But hardwork will pay off when you have established a group of base clients and a solid portfolio.
Many benefits comes with freelancing (more free time, flexibility etc). And if writing is what you enjoy and what you want to do as a career, don’t be afraid to pursue it!