Five easy ways to drum up freelance writing work

If there’s one question I’m always asked, it’s “How do you find work?” Here’s what I do when my inbox is dry of commissions

1. Turn conversations into ideas

My friends are now used to me mining their conversations for story ideas about social trends and women’s issues. It’s exactly how I came up with a piece about booty calls for news.com.au recently.

2. Cold call or email

Ask any editor in Australia if they’ve heard of Kimberly Gillan and they’ll probably tell you (maybe with an eye roll) “Yeah I know that name – she’s always emailing me”. I am forever scanning magazine editorial lists to find the name of the relevant features editor and dropping them a line – sometimes I ask if there are any general areas they are looking for pitches about, other times I send them a few succinct ideas with eye-catching headlines.

3. Hit up brands

As content marketing goes gangbusters, a lot of brands are looking for journalists to write journalistic copy to put on their news pages or blogs. If I think my tone or ideas would suit a particular brand, I’ll check LinkedIn to find the content manager’s name then guess their email address. Sometimes I get 10 bounce-backs until I finally get the right sequence (firstname.lastname or initial.lastname or lastname.initial).

4. Use your network

Just about everyone you know has a job, right? Well there’s a good chance their boss or company needs a web page or a press release or some social media content written. If you’re dry on work, let EVERYONE know that you’re available and do a good job at breakneck speed.

5. Go out for a coffee

There’s no science to this, but I swear that if I’m in a quiet patch and go out for a coffee or take an afternoon off, some work will land in my inbox that day. I don’t know if it has to do with energy flow in the universe (when I let go and chill out, equilibrium is restored) or it’s just chance but this has happened to me on more than a few occasions. At any rate, I’ll often call up other freelancing friends to catch up for said coffees, and our conversations will often spark an idea, which brings me back to point one.