Cold Pitching Idea for New Freelance Writers - YouTube
Content Writing Jobs Hack
As a freelance writer there are several different types of writing you can do. Some writing jobs are more profitable than others. Similarly, the type of client you have can have a huge impact on your income potential.
Writing for huge brands means you can charge premium rates than if you took a gig for a blogger.
But, I don’t want you to knock writing for bloggers.
In fact, this hack for finding content writing jobs involves only looking at bloggers with more than one blog.
The more blogs a blogger owns, the more content they need to write. It only makes sense that over time, these bloggers will outsource their writing work to content writers.
One of the best ways to make more money as a freelance writer is to offer different types of writing services.
Learning how to write a white paper is a great way to take your business to the next level. This is a type of marketing tool that businesses use and it can help you make a living as a writer.
But, writing a white paper isn’t the same as a blog post or even writing an eBook.
It’s also not a case study or journal article.
What is a white paper, and how do you write one?
If you’re a new freelance writer, I want to help you start on the path of success and white paper writing can take you there. In this post, I’ll share with you what a white paper is, how to write a white paper, give examples, offer a white paper template and more!
And just so you know, you don’t need to have experience in writing white papers to declare this as a new freelance writing service!
Many of my course students are presented with this project after writing for a client, and it has opened the doors to new high-paying projects.
But, it’s always nice to get some help on this new type of writing!
What is a White Paper?
The white paper definition is an official report – or government report – which shares the company’s message and informs their potential customers about a complicated issue in an easy-to-read, but highly formal format.
When looking at this definition, you can see that a white paper presents an issue or problem to help the reader understand the issue, and shares a solution to help readers make a decision. So, a white paper is to inform and educate.
This can be viewed as similar to writing a simple blog post. In a blog post, you are presented with an issue or problem, and the blog post walks you through a solution to help you make a decision.
But, there are critical differences to writing a blog post and writing a white paper:
A blog post is highly conversational; a white paper is highly formal (think like a mashup of a magazine article and a brochure)
A blog post is generally short in length; a white paper is usually longer than a typical 800-word blog post
A blog post doesn’t have to include highly credible sources; you may need to cite a white paper
The purpose of a white paper is also different than a blog post –
A white paper is a lead generation tactic to help businesses gain leads.
What this means is that it helps businesses with improving their conversion rates, closing rates and qualification rates.
They are usually offered as a lead magnet – a free incentive – and marketed on their company site on landing pages.
An important distinction between white papers and other lead magnet guides is that a white paper is data driven and is researched-based. This makes them highly credible, and highly optimized for conversions.
The trick as a freelance writer is to present this research-based report into a magazine-style package that we call a white paper.
And when businesses have optimized white papers, they show and establish their authority in their industry. As a writer, you can help them achieve that, making you a highly valuable resource on their team.
So, it’s in YOUR best interest to know what a white paper is and learn how to write a white paper!
To help you understand more about writing a white paper, let’s look at some examples.
White Paper Examples (+ The Most Successful White Paper Example)
Big companies often use white papers to inform and educate their customers or huge brand customers about their platform and products. This is to help other brands become familiar with a company’s product.
It has a table of contents and is presented online or can be downloaded as a PDF.
Another white paper example is from Hyperledger. They are a blockchain technology company, and their white paper discusses blockchain terminology and performance metrics.
In the health niche, Labiotech has a white paper on the human microbiome. In this white paper, they want to shed a new explanation on health and disease from a microbiome perspective.
As you can see, they are using this white paper as a lead magnet to gain subscribers to their email list.
Officemorph’s white paper reads more like a magazine article but is presented in a formal manner. The audience is also different than for an office supply magazine.
This white paper’s audience is office managers and executives.
As you can see, each white paper example is different in the context and type of audience.
And, what’s the most successful white paper that has ever been written?
The Bitcoin white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto (pseudonym)! This helped start the cryptocurrency industry get off the ground.
Types of White Papers
There are several types of white papers a freelance writer can write. The most common types are:
Overview – This is a product-based white paper that showcases the features and benefits of the product. This type of white paper highlights a product and helps educate a customer on how to use this product.
Comparison – This white paper compares products to help a customer decide which is the best option for them. These types of white papers are usually promoted towards the end of a sales cycle, when a potential customer is already interested in a product but doesn’t know which one.
List – This type of white paper is the most similar to a blog post or article. A list white paper gives a reader tips or examples in a list format, making it an easy read.
Solution-Based – This presents a problem in the company’s industry, current solutions that aren’t working and offers a new solution or approach that works better than any of the other solutions mentioned in the white paper.
White Paper Template
Here is a simple white paper template that you can use to start writing a white paper for your freelance writing job. There are two parts of this white paper format.
The first part is what to include at the beginning of your white paper, and the second part mentions more about the way you structure a white paper and how to end your white paper.
1. Table of Contents/Introduction
Lengthy white papers make use of a table of contents. I didn’t include this in my mockup template, but it might be a good idea to add if your white paper is long.
The introduction can be a summary of the entire white paper or an introduction to the problem or product mentioned. For the mockup white paper example, I used a fictional SleepAid Tech company, and the paper demonstrates their products and the features and benefits of each product.
2. Important Points
In my introduction, I specify the problem and what the company’s products do to help alleviate this problem.
I then make important points by using subheadings to emphasize that performance, analytics, and a three-hour sleep regression are essential to understanding the product.
When you write a white paper, you can use visual elements such as graphs, diagrams, and even video slides (if the white paper is a slide presentation).
For this fictional white paper template, I used a diagram to show the results of the sleep regression study.
4. Break Up Your Writing
Just like any other type of content, you might write for a client, space out your writing, and break it up with subheadings and visuals.
Some white papers are double columned to break up the writing, but in general, use subheadings to note important topics in your white paper.
5. How to Cite a White Paper
You can end your white paper in many ways –
About company paragraph
Some white papers will need you to cite your sources. There are three styles to citing your white paper – APA style, Chicago style, and MLA style.
Make sure to ask your freelance writing client which citing they want for their paper and if they wish to have in-text citation as well.
Here are three videos that walk you through citing your white paper.
How to Cite a White Paper Using APA Style
How to Cite Using APA Style (6th ed.): White Papers - YouTube
How to Cite a White Paper Using MLA Style
MLA Format Works Cited & Source Words - YouTube
How to Cite a White Paper Using Chicago Style
Chicago Style Bibliography - YouTube
Free Citation Generator
You can use free citation generator tools to cite your sources quickly whether they are books or websites. Here are three free citation generator tools.
The steps to writing a white paper are similar to writing a blog post or article. You have to research your topic from credible sources and use formal writing to write your post, ensuring that you are speaking in the appropriate language for your client.
Finally, you need to add the elements to ending your white paper. So, let’s dig deeper and talk about the way to write a white paper.
1. Where to Write Your White Paper
There are generally two places you can write your white paper – Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
I prefer Microsoft Word, but if your freelance writing client wants you to use a template, then Google Docs has several templates you can use.
I would also ask the client if they specify APA, MLA, or Chicago style of writing or just to use for the reference section of the white paper (if needed).
Again, each white paper you write will have a different theme and purpose.
2. Topic Generation
Many clients will already have an idea of what they need. For example, a client I had when I first started wanted a white paper on hiring mistakes with the emphasis placed on proper employment background checks.
If a client doesn’t provide a topic, I encourage you to sit down with the client on Skype or via phone to discuss what their reason is for wanting a white paper vs. a case study or some other lead magnet and work around the problems their customers have.
This can drum up some ideas that you can work around.
As well, use Google to search for topics to help out your client. Make sure not to pick topics that are too large and require in-depth analysis or topics that don’t need a lot of explanation to provide.
Using Journal articles, reference books, or publications are also great ways to find sources. Sometimes you will have to look locally for sources if your white paper is about a city policy or city problem.
4. Formal Writing Tone
White paper writing is formal and less conversational than a blog post. To practice writing in this formal tone, read up on research journal articles and white papers to get a feel of the style of writing needed.
I would also get the help of other freelance writers to review your white paper to see if the style of your writing is easy enough to understand and read, but informational and gets the point across.
As I mentioned, a white paper is a mashup of a magazine article and brochure. So, finding that balance of ease of reading and formally discussing your topics is key.
5. White Paper Format
As a freelance writer it isn’t your job to format the white paper in terms of white paper cover design.
But, this can be a service you offer to increase your value as a writer.
You can use tools like Canva, PicMonkey or Photoshop to design your white paper cover.
How to Market White Papers to Businesses
B2B and B2C businesses can benefit from white papers. But, many businesses may overlook the need for a white paper or not even know what a white paper is as a way to improve their conversion rates.
It’s up to the freelance writer to market white paper writing as a valuable asset to businesses. But, how do you convince potential clients that you are the white paper writer for them?
1. Mention Statistics on Your Services Page
It’s a good idea to use statistics on your service page or writer website copy to help show the value white papers have. This means educating a potential client on this new type of content.
A metric business sites use to see how their business is performing is the website conversion rate. They want to know how many visitors that land on their website convert into a buyer.
For example, the average conversion rates on websites for the B2B industry is 2.23%. White papers can help increase the conversion rates for businesses.
And the best nurturing tactics is providing valuable content, and a white paper can provide that. It can help a potential customer through the buyer’s journey through targeted content.
2. Build a White Paper Portfolio
The proof is in the pudding, right?
Make sure your portfolio page has white paper samples. They can be mock-ups or client pieces. Simply showing proof that you can write a white paper is enough for a potential client to hire you.
3. Niche Down to White Paper Writing
To stand out and get the best conversions for your business, niche down to white paper writing. For example, freelance writer William Blake is niched down for writing white papers and case studies.
This is important because businesses don’t want a jack of all trades. They want a writer that exclusively knows all about – breastfeeding, pregnancy, email marketing, Pinterest, air fryers, essential oils, law, dentistry etc…
I also speak to my ideal client on my writer website.
Do you live and breathe digital marketing?
I want to only work with clients that know and breathe digital marketing. Whether it’s content about that subject or a marketer that understands the true value content has.
For example, a study by serpIQ showed that the top ranking posts in Google were over 2,000 words long.
You want to align yourself with these types of people that know how content converts (if long form-content is your service).
When your writer website speaks to your ideal client and shows what a great writer you are, you’ll start attracting those high-paying clients.
If you need help creating an optimized writer website to attract the right type of clients, make sure to check out Writer Website in a Weekend!
While having a writer website can attract the right type of clients, networking can help you make a living as a writer!
I love networking, but for many bloggers, it’s not a topic they write about. Why? I think because the concept is boring or at least not popular (won’t garner any shares or social chatter).
But, networking is so important for freelance writers and bloggers that I’ve created course lessons on this and even have a blog post all about it on this blog.
If you aren’t sure, networking is the idea of developing relationships with others strategically.
There is a purpose of connecting with other freelance writers, bloggers, or business owners. A great example of networking is reaching out to a blog owner to guest post on their site.
So, when guest posting, have a reason for doing this. And, guest posting is a way to find high-paying freelance writing jobs.
If that is your goal, I wouldn’t go and try to find paid guest posting sites. These may be too niched and can take months for your article to be published.
Instead, I would try to land guest spots on popular brands like Elephant Journal or Thrive Global. Both of these sites receive over 1 million visitors a month making them great places to guest post on.
I would also do some research on bloggers guest posting on other popular sites like Entrepreneur to make sure you land a guest spot on a popular blog.
6. Cold Pitching
Cold pitching is a very strong strategy to find high-paying clients.
But, this was not my best strategy for me. As a mom with twins, cold pitching took too much time out of my schedule. I found optimizing my writer website and networking to be my bread and butter.
Cold pitching, though, is a very attractive way to find clients for many new freelance writers. And it’s attractive because you can usually find some really great projects and awesome clients too.
Essentially, businesses aren’t advertising for a freelance writer. It’s up to you to win them over and show them why they need YOU as a content writer.
Using this strategy means you need a killer pitch and know your niche very well.
To be effective with cold pitching, you need to know the brands you want to work for or at least find reputable brands quickly.
A hack is to find companies that have hired freelancers in the past. If you know they have, then it’s much easier to convince business owners to hire a freelance writer for their projects.
And, you can find out this information by using Contena. Contena is a job board that has much more than freelance writing jobs.
Some time passes, and you check your email and find one from a potential client. You learn that this lead was a referral from your essential oil client. The email said that your client praised you heavily and mentioned what a great freelance writer you are.
You are shocked by this but are excited about the new opportunity that awaits.
This story is common with freelance writers that position themselves as more than just a writer.
Here are four ways you can start showing yourself as the go-to writer in your industry.
1. Show Confidence (Even If You Don’t Feel Confident)
It’s so important in this online world to almost fake it until you make it.
Simply allowing yourself to say yes and show up to opportunities can change your life as an online writer. It has for me!
I had to squash any imposter syndrome I was feeling – I get this a lot – and trust that my writing is valuable and that businesses want my writing.
But, I know that you may have fears about your writing, and let me tell you right now – you’re going to have to work on being more confident.
Sometimes when others tell you how great your writing service was, it can help you be more confident in your ability.
And this is the same for potential clients. Potential clients need that assurance and valid proof that your writing is good enough for others.
Sometimes, having a good testimonial page with proof of your writing ability can instill FOMO in potential clients.
They don’t want to miss out on your sweet writing skills!
You can easily start building up social proof by doing small projects in exchange for a testimonial. For me, I had other freelance writers create a testimonial for me when I helped them out with certain things!
3. Offer More Than One Service
Realistically, to be more than just a writer, you need to offer more than just writing!
When I first started, I did just that. At one point, I offered:
Social media marketing
eBook cover design
Pin graphic design
For you, you can offer infographic services or create pull quotes for clients. You can advertise to your client that these can make their content “pop” and more sharable.
The point is to stand out and have more in your arsenal.
Now – I should have prefaced this subheading with:
Don’t be a jack of all trades
I’ve seen a lot of new freelance writers make this mistake on their writer website. They think if they offer a ton of different services, surely they’ll get regular work.
But this isn’t accurate.
Business owners really value a writer that knows their niche. So, if you primarily write newsletters for email marketing, then stick to that. Or if it’s blog writing like me, stick to that.
I don’t write emails for clients or write white papers. I stick to blog writing or article writing, and that’s that.
So, even though I mentioned previously to offer more than just writing, the services you offer should compliment your writing. These are like “add-ons” to your service, instead of being entirely different services (like speech writing or brochure writing).
4. Be Professional
I’m surprised by the stories I hear in Facebook groups of how unprofessional writers can be. I don’t mean cursing or shedding a negative light towards the industry – I’m talking about discussions about client work.
For example, some writers are strongly feel that they don’t need to format their client blog posts for WordPress – that it’s not necessary.
I know for a fact that doing this simple – yet, effective – task will totally stand out in your client’s eyes. If you don’t already know, if you write your client piece in Google docs, when a client gets your piece and uploads it to their WordPress backend, it will be formatted wrong.
For starters, there are huge gaps in the content that need to be fixed (time out of your client’s schedule or whoever they hired to edit the piece).
As well, many freelance writers don’t use headings for their subheadings. Instead, they just increase the font size and bold it. This isn’t correct for blog writing.
You need to use Headings.
And those are just a few of the formatting mistakes I often see (that’s why I spend time in my freelance writing course teaching new writers the proper way to format their post).
Your client will have to spend a few minutes formatting their post. What if they have a team of 10 writers with 5 new blog posts a day? This can be 20 or 30 minutes of just formatting your content.
Now, imagine they receive your post completely formatted the right way, and they don’t have to touch it? Do you think that wouldn’t stand out?
But, I often hear discussions in Facebook groups about how this isn’t necessary. Maybe I’m old school, or perhaps business owners don’t know this or care. Could be. I only work with digital marketing businesses, and I know for a fact they know about these formatting issues.
Other ways to show professionalism:
Reply to your client’s emails promptly (if possible)
Turn in your work before the deadline
Don’t ghost your client – be available
You Can Be More Than Just A Writer
Once you can prove to clients that you are more than just a writer, you’ll start attracting higher-paying clients.
You’ll also be more confident, and that will show in your sample pieces in your writing portfolio.
And all of this means you can charge more for your services. You’ve validated your value and proven your expert knowledge AND clients are talking about you with other business owners!
Over to you – are you more than just a writer? Tell me in the comments what you are doing to show this!
When I started freelancing, I had no idea where this would take me. But, I’m soo happy I had an easy business to start right away. If you’re at crossroads about whether to stay with your soul-crushing job or try something new, then read this post!
An Easy Business to Start
Freelancing is a very broad term. You can picture a journalist in Prague freelancing and pitching their stories to local newspapers or you might picture a college student helping other students set up their websites.
That’s basically it! The other things are free like:
Start an email list – You can use Mailchimp for your first 2,000 subscribers for free
WordPress Theme/Plugins – You can use a free WordPress theme and plugins
Writing platform – If you don’t have Microsoft Word, you can use Google Docs
Skype – for talking to prospects
2. You Control Your Business
You get to be the BOSS in your own freelance business!
Yes, you do have to wear a lot of hats as a freelance writer – marketer, handling administrative duties, researcher, etc.. – but ultimately you control how much your rate is and how much work you will take.
Over the years, I’ve taken on fewer and fewer projects, and am only aligning myself with clients that will help me grow my brand (i.e., popular influencers or big brands/blogs).
It might be cliche but that easy business to start can give you ultimate freedom.
Many students in my freelance writing course are travelers.
They use freelancing as their way to travel the world and live a nomadic lifestyle.
And, if you aspired to travel, you can do this too!
4. Great for Those With a Disability
I can’t tell you how many freelancers I’ve encountered to later find out they have some form of disability, mental or physical.
Miranda Nahmias has told her audience that working from home wasn’t only because she wanted the freedom and flexibility, it was also because she had a disability.
Other entrepreneurs including myself have anxiety or depression and working from home is such a blessing.
I remember as a young college student I picked up some gigs at people’s homes to do some ABA therapy with children with autism. I loved doing this and knew I was helping children socialize and learn to talk.
But, every time I picked up a new family to work with, the drive to their house was filled with anxiety. My palms would sweat, and my heart would race.
I would psych myself out, and over time it became unbearable, and I eventually had to move on to something else.
And, I’m not going to lie, anxiety still plagues me as a freelance writer still, but it’s much more manageable, and the community online is amazing to help you through those tough times.
5. You Can Do This as a Side Hustle
The best reason why this is an easy business to start is that you can do this on the side!
A side hustle is so popular with Millennials and people who aren’t sure freelancing is for them. You’re testing the waters, and it’s incredibly easy to execute.
6. Completely Flexible
What if being a freelance graphic designer doesn’t pan out?
That’s okay – you can switch to website tech or freelance blogging!
An easy business to start is one that is super flexible. I pick and chose my clients and my work time. While I do have twins and had to work around their schedule, it was up to me if I wanted to wake up earlier or stay up later.
Or, if I wanted to work on the weekends.
My husband has had his own online business for years, and during that time we moved across the country twice. There are no limits to where we can move to, and having that flexibility is more than money can pay for!
If online freelancing is what you want to do, then having a home base like a website is important. This immediately shows you are in business and are legit.
Sure, if you truly are strapped for cash, a website right away isn’t necessary, but if you can invest in your business, then starting a website is the way to go.
2. Have a Hire Me Page and Social Media Profiles
Now is the time to start promoting yourself.
On your new website, create a Hire Me page and lay out the service you are providing. Make sure also to share the type of client you seek – authors, bloggers, small business owners, etc…
As well, start a Twitter and LinkedIn profile. You CAN start a Facebook page, but you don’t have to right away.
For me, my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles have yielded me more gigs than my Facebook page.
3. Start Helping
An easy way to build your portfolio is to offer free help in Facebook groups. You might notice that a blogger is having trouble with coding their website.
If this is your service, you can offer your service and in return, get a testimonial!
For example, I posted in a Facebook group that I needed some suggestions for an email funnel. Well, one copywriter went the extra mile and provided some great tips and changes to tweak my funnel, and because of this free advice, I hired her!
4. Pitch Your Services
Finally, an easy business to start means you will have to hustle in the beginning. So, pitching your services on job boards or cold pitching to businesses is part of your tasks as a new freelancer.
In your pitch state who you are, what you do, and how you can help the business with your service.
Bootstrapping Your Business All the Way
I get you. You don’t want to invest in yourself completely, only to know that it may not pan out.
So, finding a cheap way to start a business is okay. Over time, once your business proves itself to you, then you can grow your business and take it to the next level!
Over to you –
Do you feel freelancing is an easy business to start?
Maybe your journey as a freelance writer started when you picked up some local gigs from family and friends. Then it opened the doors to landing a top-paying client in your exact niche.
But, alas, that gig is no more. It’s time to be legit here and have a strong hustle plan in place.
I want you to think that your main job is to find a freelance writing job. So, spend the bulk of your free time searching for online work.
This means knowing where to look and how to pitch. Having that pitching process is soo important as a new freelance writer, so make sure to develop it strongly.
1. Pitch to Job Boards
Your first line of attack is to scour the job boards and pitch to them religiously.
These are the places where writing jobs are posted frequently, sometimes multiple times a day. At this point, it’s best to check all potential jobs available and pitch to any that are remotely interested to you.
These gigs don’t have to be in your wheelhouse; you are in survival mode and need work quickly.
One thing to consider is that all of the free job boards you will be checking will also be used by hundreds (probably thousands) of other freelancers.
If not, this could be a major reason why you aren’t picking up gigs or if your current gigs drop you from their content schedule.
Businesses don’t trust that you are a legit and professional freelance writer. I know that as soon as I put up my writer website, I started getting inbound leads – potential clients emailing me – and better paying gigs.
If you do have a writer website, then make sure your website reflects what services you offer and your area of expertise.
It also means updating your portfolio – or paring it down to niche it more – and adding more areas to contact you on your site. For example, add a Skype id, email address, or social media profiles to make it easy for a potential client to find you and contact you.
On top of doing this, you can also start investing in blog commenting.
By commenting on sites that you want to write for, it can help you get on the radar of the blog owner. They approve every comment or at least reads their comments, and if you can position your replies to comments as credible in your niche, you might be able to pick up some gigs.
Finally, start following brands on Twitter and LinkedIn.
And yes, this means getting on Twitter and LinkedIn!
These are the two best places to start profiles and connect with brands, blogs, people, and businesses.
It’s Time to Hustle Hard and Fast
This is the time to hustle hard and fast so you can pick up gigs now that you lost your freelance writing job.
But, with this hustle plan in place, you’ll be able to land some great clients, so get out there!
Over to you –
What is your favorite strategy for landing more work as a freelance writer? Share with me in the comments!
Don’t let those times when one or two people told you you’re writing wasn’t good stop you from living the life you want!
I’m proof that even though one person thought my writing sucked, hundreds (well may not that many) have told me my writing is engaging and valuable.
Here’s one more:
I know I’m not the best writer.
But, I do know that my writing is easy to read, informational and valuable, and my clients love it.
So, if you’re new to freelance writing, know that it takes time and practice to become comfortable sharing your writing with others. But I encourage you to read online content on varies BIG blogs (personal blogs won’t show you how to write as a content writer) and see how they structure their content for an engaging blog post.
Over to you –
Are you scared to share your writing to the world? Have you found these tips helpful?
This is a legit business and building a business requires time and money.
But, that’s not to say there are easy ways to earn money doing this. Before I share my strategies on simple ways you can earn your first $100 as a freelancer, let’s go over how you can be successful doing this.
Okay, those are the core elements you need to start a freelance business. Now, let’s focus on earning money and getting that first $100.
Earn Money as a Freelance Writer
Let’s look at 15 easy ways you can earn that first $100 as a freelancer. Many of these will be time-consuming, but you are trading time for money, right?
So, the more time you dedicate to these actions, the higher chance you will have to land your first $100.
1. Do Paid Guest Posting
Remember when I said that guest posting is a great strategy to build your portfolio?
Well, you can also make money doing it too!
Some websites pay writers, and they are all in different types of niches.
I will say this though – getting a paid guest post is a challenge and can be time-consuming. It is like having a legit gig.
Their team will also be more strict in terms of what they seek for their content.
Because of this, I never went for paid guest posting opportunities. I didn’t have the time. So, if you feel this would save you time in the long run by earning money and creating a freelance business, then go for it.
It’s in the best interest to network with other freelancers. You can edit each other’s samples, find gigs for each other and if one writer has too many offers for their writing, they can pass it to you.
This happens to me all the time.
What’s great about this way to earn money is that you’ll land gigs in your niche or at the very least, the gig will have been vetted.