Recently, I wrote about a $5-per-article writing project that I got through Craigslist. The article didn’t only attract good and bad comments, it also attracted a lot of applications for freelancing writing jobs. I wondered why applications were sent, when I didn’t mention anything about a job opportunity from me.
The applications I received prompted me to write this post, as I realized that some new freelancers still looking for writing gigs need some guidance. I’m still fairly new in the business — there are a lot more experienced and high-paid Pinoy freelancers out there — but I think I can give some useful tips.
1. Follow the instructions of the clients on how to apply.
Clients are already testing your ability to write starting with the way you follow their application instructions.
Some clients want you to apply through a specified email; others want you to fill up a form on a certain website. For most Craigslist clients, you apply using the email created by Craigslist for the specific ad.
Some clients want only your letter and your writing samples, so don’t send your long resume. I’m certain they don’t have time to read resumes. Include your resume only if asked. There are others who like to see your blog or website.
If they ask you to send one or two writing samples, send one or two, not three or more. Mention also if these samples were already published by other clients, or are still to be published. If the client is asking for more than three samples, especially long articles, do a little sleuthing. Is the client serious, or just collecting samples? I’ve seen one ad on Craigslist in which the job poster was asking for six sample posts for every category, and there were 12 categories!
I’ve also received applications which are links only, and there are no accompanying letters. I clicked the links for curiosity, and they’re on Scribd or other online storage sites. Are these how they’re applying? And do clients like these?
2. Apply only to the writing job that you know you can do well.
If one job ad says you need to be on the Internet for 8 hours every day for 5 days a week, and you’re looking only for a part-time job, the prudent thing is to ignore this ad. If the ad is looking for someone who knows a lot about sports or stocks, and you’re not confident about your knowledge of these topics, the better decision is to again ignore this ad and look for another.
You can always research on these topics, but it will take you time. Worse, if you don’t enjoy writing about these topics, it will show in your articles.
3. Weigh the price if it’s worth your effort.
This is always a sensitive topic, as it concerns livelihood. If we advice other freelancers not to accept $1 to $2 jobs, those who are accepting these rates would argue they need the money. If we explain to them they’re pushing down writing rates, they would say give us the higher-paying jobs.
So, I’ll just say, if we can, let’s not accept the $1 and $2 dollar 400-word jobs. I’m sure the clients will increase their rates if there are no writers accepting these rates. They would try writers in other English-speaking countries, but as I’ve observed, most clients prefer Filipino writers.
Read the comments on my other article on freelance writing jobs, and you’ll read how one American writer condemned me for accepting $5 dollar articles. She explained that her freelancing rate has plunged by half because Third World writers are accepting low rates. In one article I wrote for another website, I said that the American clients paying low freelance writing rates are also to be blamed for their exploitation.
4. Lastly, let’s lift up the image of the Filipino freelance writer.
If we agreed to write 5 articles a day and submit them before 8 pm everyday, then we should submit 5 articles before 8 pm everyday, not just 3 articles, and not after 8 pm. If we no longer like to write for the client, let’s inform formally the client in advance.
Most of the complaints I’ve read about some Pinoy writers point to lack of commitment — that they don’t submit on time.
We can sustain writing for a certain client if we like the price and if we like the topic, so it’s important that before we apply for a writing job and commit to it, we should be satisfied with the price and we be confident we can write about the subject easily.
Notes below added March 19, 2011:
How do we know if a writing job ad is a scam?
Except for ads that are obviously fraudulent, we can’t really be sure if a certain ad is worthy of trust or not. I’ve read about ads by previously good-paying clients who have not paid their writers.
Nevertheless, there are signs that we can look out for:
1. A prospective client who asks for more than two 500-word samples and who requires that the articles are new and unpublished.
I think a client should be able to evaluate a writer by just one or two samples and by the application letter.
2. A client who says he’s going to pay monthly and after all articles of the month are in. You’re taking a big big risk if you respond to this kind of client.
3. The client quotes a very high rate, perhaps $25 for a 300-word article, but says only those which pass his standard will be paid. I bet all the articles won’t pass his standard.
4. A client which lists a lot of requirements, such as 500 words, links to references, one keyword mentioned for every 100 words, one secondary keyword mentioned in the second and fourth paragraphs, summary to be provided, Copyscape to be performed, and keyword density to be followed, and then offers one dollar per article! This is probably not a scam, but his rate is SCAMDALOUS!
5. A writing job ad which refers to a legitimate writing opportunity, but which misrepresents how the job is paid. These ads link you to Adsense revenue-sharing article sites such as mahalo.com, Demand Media Studios sites, Associated Content, etc. In these sites, if your article doesn’t get hundreds of impressions and doesn’t earn cents, you’ll not get any cent.
No. 5 leads me to write about Revenue-Sharing sites.
I write for about three or four Google Adsense Revenue Sharing Sites, but I found them as I surfed for blogging tips, and not through job ads. As these sites depend on Adsense, Amazon, Ebay, etc. for their revenues, writers should treat these only as possible sources of income in the future. You write for these sites only after you’ve finished your day job.
Whenever I have time, I write for hubpages, best-reviewer, xomba, snipsly, excerptz and some others. Many times on these sites, I write primarily to get backlinks for my blog sites. Backlinks from good sites help in pushing up the Google ranking of my blog sites.
Among these sites, hubpages is the best. It loads fast, has a lot of writing tools, and its instructions are easy to follow. There are a lot of people earning $,$$$ from hubpages, but these are the ones who have started writing more than a year ago and who have learned about keywords, SEO, linking, niche topics, affiliate marketing, etc. that are effective.
I also like hubpages because of its high online ranking. As of today, March 19, 2011, hubpages is the 76th top U.S. website on Quantcast and 140th on Alexa.
Hope these notes helped a bit.