5 Ways to Find Freelance Writing Jobs on Twitter (With Sample Tweets)

Looking for freelance writing jobs on TwitterSo, you’ve taken the plunge, created a Twitter profile, and learned how to send a tweet. You’re getting some followers, even.

But you may be wondering — is there any real payoff for my freelance career here on Twitter?

It can be hard to see how these 140-character snippets of conversation could lead to actual freelance writing jobs…especially when half the people on Twitter seem to be posting food-porn Instagrams or comments about what train station they’re standing in.

But the funny thing is, you can find gigs via Twitter. Good ones, too.

It’s a little tricky, because you may know that it’s not considered cool to aggressively ask people to hire you on Twitter, or anywhere else in social media, for that matter.

That said, there are low-key, effective ways to connect with and approach editors, marketing managers, and other prime targets. There are also job listings floating around Twitter, too.

Here’s a rundown on some of the most basic ways you can use Twitter to find clients:

1. Share useful stuff

First and foremost, figure out who you want to ‘talk’ to and attract here, and share things they’d be interested to read. Not all things you wrote, either. Just become a valuable resource for interesting info.

Then, prospects might start to follow you. They might offer you gigs — either situations that could give you epic exposure, or paying gigs. For instance, a tweet of one of my own blog posts led to Jon Morrow’s discovering my blog and asking me to be a guest poster for Copyblogger. And that led to tons of other, paying offers.

So. Be sharing. Your awesome stuff may bring you opportunities.

2. Get to know your followers

If you need clients, be sure to check out your new Twitter followers on a regular basis. Read their profiles. If any of them smell like prospective clients, follow them back.

From there, don’t dive in and say “Hey — would you hire me to write for you?” You’re never going to say that on Twitter, really. But definitely don’t say it first thing!

Start becoming known to these prospects — respond to or share their tweets. Go over and comment on their blog.

Once you’ve broken the ice and your name might be vaguely familiar to them, you can ask them a non-offensive, information-gathering question about freelance writing work.

For publication editors, I like something along the lines of:

“Are you the right editor to pitch a [topic] article for X magazine?”

That’s a question an editor can shoot you a quick yes or no on, or ignore, and it’s no harm. If it’s “yes,” you can proceed to ask them the best way to send over your query.

A “yes” I got a while back to that question led to my sending a query letter that got $6,000 in assignments, and started a wonderful relationship that grew into a $14,000 project in all.

If that first editor’s answer is “no,” you can hope they’ll tell you, “Not me — it’s @joesmith.” And then you can hit this lead with the always-useful intro:

“@editormag sent me — said you’re the one who takes parenting article pitches. May I send you one?”

For a marketing manager, you might simply say:

“Love what your company does — do you ever work with freelancers for marketing?”

Either way, don’t try to pitch a story idea or your letter of introduction in a long series of tweets. That’s annoying. The idea is to strike on Twitter, make the connection, and then get it off social media, where you can talk business.

Yes, some prospects will respond to these tweets, and some won’t. But keep going. As my experience above illustrates, getting one good hit can make it all worthwhile.

Finally, remember that followers can also be great referrers of business. They don’t all have to be people who’d hire you themselves. If you see someone who might be well-connected, you might want to follow them, too. How do you get them to refer you?

My approach is to simply be posting about my freelance-writing life. You want to keep it in front of them what you do. Tweet about projects you’ve finished. Clients you loved working with.

Court referrers by getting to know them better — propose a 10-minute Skype call to get to know them better and how you might help *them* with their business. That gives you the opening to ask them to keep an ear out for you, in case anyone they know needs the type of writing you do.

Besides connecting directly with prospects, another great way to build your network is to connect with other writers. They may have vital buzz for you on who’s hiring and who’s a deadbeat to avoid. You can find journalists through MuckRack.

3. Target prospects

This works like #2, but instead of waiting for interesting folks to follow you, you take the initiative and start following, responding, and sharing their stuff first. Don’t go crazy and get all stalker-ish and retweet every single thing they ever post and leave them 20 blog comments all at once… but engage with what they’re tweeting now and then.

Then start your friendly reach-outs about referrals, or whether that person could be pitched for freelance work.

4. Troll the job listings

If you’d like to cut right to the chase, there are companies and people on Twitter that are focused on collecting and tweeting freelance writer job opportunities. There are quite a few of these, actually.

I’ve taken a browse through what’s available, and some of the most useful posters of gigs include @Mediabistro, @FreelanceWJ (That’s the folks at freelancewritinggigs.com), @TweelanceWriter, and @Writing_Jobs. Journalismjobs.com is posting on there at @jjobs_tweets, and weirdly has few followers, though their listings tend to be better quality.

One interesting experiment for those who want local clients — you might check out @tmj_writingjobs — Tweet My Jobs has a series of geo-targeted subaccounts for writing gigs you can follow to find opportunities in your town, or country.

Put those into a Twitter list, and you can peruse many of the Web’s writer job listings at a glance, instead of hunting from site to site. Of course, like all online job ads, there’s going to be a lot of lowball junk in here, but maybe using these Twitter aggregators helps you save time scanning online job ads.

If you want to search more broadly among online listings, try Googling “freelance jobs on Twitter” instead of “freelance writer jobs,” or search on that within Twitter, and you’ll get many more possible Twitter users to follow.

5. Check the hashtags

There are a ton of conversations about freelance writing going on on Twitter — check out #amwriting, #WW or Writer Wednesday, #editorchat or #writechat, and see if anybody’s looking for help with a project, or has news of new publications, editors, or other potential clients.

There are also niche hashtags for particular types of writing, such as #copywriter or #speechwriting — John Soares has a detailed list.

It’s not too late

I hear from a lot of writers who feel hopelessly ‘behind’ in social media, and that it’s too late to get involved with a platform such as Twitter, build an audience, and make it a productive place to find gigs. In short, it isn’t.

And yes, social media can be a time-suck — but only if you don’t set limits on how much time you spend on there, and get focused on doing real job-finding activities instead of posting meaningless chitchat. (Hint: Don’t follow a bazillion people. Be selective. Then your tweetstream won’t be such a distraction.)

I was far from an early mover on Twitter, and now have over 10,000 followers. I’d say I rarely spend more than 10-15 minutes a day on there.

Also, getting huge followers isn’t vital to getting gigs off Twitter — just finding the right audience. So go for it.

Are you using Twitter? Leave a comment and tell us if you’ve gotten a gig there.

 

 

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43 comments on “5 Ways to Find Freelance Writing Jobs on Twitter (With Sample Tweets)
  1. Ziah Jolley says:

    Hello and greetings. I really dig your blog a whole lot. OK, so I hope I don’t write some book here ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been a freelance writer for about a year now. While I have not made it to the successful level you have, I’ve had some pretty good runs, and have found some good clients online who are willing to pay really well for certain things. I started off working for a company writing 500 word articles for $5. Ugh. I knew this couldn’t be it. There are some companies out there that are just not willing to pay a decent wage for quality work. I am constantly looking at jobs on Elance where I get the majority of my work. However, I stay away from the SEO content creation part of the business now. This part of the business has had itself engraved with ‘cheap’ written all over it. I am finding that product descriptions are what pay the best. Recently I was writing 50 70-150 word product descriptions for $350.00 Not too bad. I had them give me repeat jobs for the next three months until their site was completed. Since then, I have found that writing product descriptions is really the way to go. I do want to get away from this though and start guest blogging and doing what you do. It’s been a tough start to get into this business, but I am getting along OK now. I just thought I’d share a little bit of my story and say hello. I want to thank you for all the information you have shared. I’m sorry that I wrote a small book here ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love to write and I tend to go overboard sometimes.

  2. Thank you Carol for all your insightful posts. I appreciate you sharing your advice with us.

  3. Lake says:

    This is such a helpful article! Thank you for the advice. I had never thought of using twitter as a way to find writing jobs until I read this. I followed the users that were recommended and I am going to continue searching for more people to follow / more ways to use twitter to my advantage. Thank you!
    Lake recently posted…Letter WritingMy Profile

  4. Jula Pereira says:

    Great advice, thank you! I’m relatively new to Twitter but have really enjoyed using it lately. As with any networking situation, it’s wise to get to know the person first before asking for a favor. I’m looking forward to checking out more material on your website.
    Jula Pereira recently posted…Happy Thanksgiving EveryoneMy Profile

  5. PHENOMENAL, Carol – thank you!

    I enjoy social media, in general, and Twitter is a marketing crush, so your tips are hugely appreciated <3

    I am especially grateful for all those Twitter handles – #HUGSSS

    Kitto

  6. Kendra says:

    @tmj_writingjobs hasn’t tweeted yet – ???

  7. Ok. Thanks. Will definitely check it out.

  8. Hi, Carol. Your post is simply awesome!

    I read it completely and was just amazed to see how social media could turn the table in your favor. I too had somewhat similar experience that I would like to share through this comment. Hopefully, you would like it.

    I tweet with the twitter handle @atifwriter. I was a nearly inactive on twitter until recently when I suddenly noticed the surge in the number of my followers. Since 2010, the year in which I created by twitter account, till October 15, 2014, I had only 50 followers. Today, I crossed the 200 mark (which means 150 new followers in 12 days). Though itโ€™s not that big increase, still for a layman like me, it is a great encouragement.

    When I tracked back my activities, I found that it is all due to the change in my Twitter bio. In an attempt to make it more interactive I came up with these lines, “A would be Entrepreneur in the Content Marketing domain. Passionate for Writing. Full Time Social Media Enthusiast. Part time Traveler, Photographer & Singer.”
    This was followed by the increase in the number of tweets I used to do on daily basis (currently I tweet around 4-5 times daily, in addition to retweeting and favoriting field specific tweets from others). Hence, those 160 characters for bio and 140 characters for tweets did all the difference.

    It was indeed overwhelming to observe this steep rise. However, my next concern is to Earn from my tweets. I am aspiring to look for individuals or organizations willing to assign content writing projects on freelance basis through social media. Your post will definitely help in this coveted endeavor. If you could furnish some added advice to increase my clientele, you are most welcome.

  9. Shanica says:

    I feel gratified for reading this post; and thank you Carol for narrowing down the essentials and rescuing me from a whirlpool of hype and distractions. I definitely accomplished valuable information that I can utilize more effectively. ))

  10. Great post, Carol! I have a question for you re: tweeting marketing managers. Do you think it’s more advantageous to follow them some time before you approach them with a job inquiry, or is it OK to just jump straight into it?

    • Carol Tice says:

      I think you’ll usually do better not just following but engaging with them — sharing & commenting on their posts in social media — before asking a direct, job-related question. If you’re a name that’s sort of become a bit known to them and feels familiar, I think you’re more likely to get a response.

  11. Tina says:

    Great post. I’m not a writer, but a freelance graphic designer, and your tips are absolutely valid to any freelancer out there. Thanks!

  12. Raspal Seni says:

    Hi Carol,

    Since many weeks, I had been thinking to post tweets that I’m available for hire, but didn’t know the correct way. Thanks a lot for this post and the tips you gave. I now know what to do instead. Will certainly use them.

    Wasn’t there a post from someone about how to spend just 10 minutes a day on Twitter? I forget where I had read it.

    Initially, I disliked FB, but loved Twitter. Also because it’s the easiest of all social networks.
    Raspal Seni recently posted…Seven Free, Downloadable Headline Resources (e-Books)My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, remember that you don’t want to tweet posts that you’re for hire. That’s a great way to get yourself blocked by a lot of people.

      A targeted post to one editor with a specific question about pitching works. But begging for work will get you hated on any social media platform.

      I get people doing that on my MALW Facebook page all the time, and I find it incredible. Why does anyone think their first comment to a total stranger should be “I’m available — please hire me as a freelance writer.” That has a 0% success rate. Yet people keep trying it.

  13. Wanted to say I just combined this with the post from a few weeks ago where a poster recommended following press releases for startups who finish rounds of funding… so I followed the start up on twitter, @msged them a “congrats” then asked if they work with freelancers.

    FIRST try resulted in a response with an email, asking me to contact them that they’d be open to chatting.
    Melissa Breau ( recently posted…Couldnโ€™t Say It Better: How Can Content Marketing Help You Pull?My Profile

  14. Fran Civile says:

    Actually I curated your article on my blog with a link to your article
    Fran
    Fran Civile recently posted…Using Social Media PLRMy Profile

  15. I absolutely love twitter! It has opened a new window of opportunity for me, and I’ve only been on for a little over 30 days. I think one thing I love about twitter is the challenge to be creative, witty, helpful, encouraging, informative…in 140 characters. It’s a powerful tool and I encourage all writers to dive in and share!

  16. Love, love this article Carol! I found my best writing connection thus far via Twitter. Out of the blue (thank you God), an editor from one of the biggest publishing companies started following me on Twitter. I immediately followed her back and sent a tweet asking if she knew who assigned for three of their magazines. (I didn’t do the whole courting thing – just dived into it.) Turns out she was the assigning editor for all three and was actively looking for submissions for one of them. I emailed her a letter of introduction and she emailed me writing guidelines. I’ve gone on to write for all three of those publications.
    Kristi Valentini recently posted…6 Things Parents Around the World Think Youโ€™re Doing WrongMy Profile

  17. Guylaine says:

    Perfect timing for me. I have been using twitter “passively” as you say for a while now. It’s time to start using it in a more targeted fashion.

  18. Fran Civile says:

    I was impressed by the suggestions in your article, Carol, that I shared it on my blog!

    I need to become more social and spend time investigating the ideas you presented … obviously time spent on twitter is not wasted.

    Fran
    Fran Civile recently posted…Finding Freelance Jobs on TwitterMy Profile

  19. Great post! I was already getting warmed up on some of these ideas and definitely will make note of the others. It CAN be a challenge sometimes to remember that an item may look great for reTweeting, but if it has nothing to do with your “brand,” you may be better off sharing it elsewhere than on your own Twitter account.

    One thing I like about Twitter is that, unlike LinkedIn, it allows you to check one person’s full list of Tweets (often without even logging on) at a time, without having to sift through all your other contacts’ latest updates. Makes following points #2 and #3 above far more efficient!

    I might note that, having compared the social-networking presences of several businesses, I now feel fairly competent at judging whether a person/business is a “LinkedIn type” (technical, finance, business-to-business) or a “Twitter/Facebook type” (humanities, personal services). It pays not only to have accounts with all three (not to mention Pinterest, which has really taken off), but to stay most active with those that have the greatest number of regular participants in your niche.
    Katherine Swarts recently posted…You Shower Your Grace on Human SoulsMy Profile

  20. So glad to know that I’m on the right track! I know that a tweet is more likely to capture *my* attention if I feel the person has really engaged the story or resource, rather than just hitting retweet, so I thought, ‘Ok, I’ll do that, too.’ ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Fabulous post, Carol, such a helpful ‘how-to’. I’m on Twitter pretty regularly, and while I’ve had some nice conversations and made some good connections, I don’t feel that I”m using it as effectively as I could be. This post gave me some concrete things to work on–thank you!

    • Carol Tice says:

      I see you on there! I can tell you one thing you’re doing right is when you retweet a link, you add a personal comment. I think that’s great for getting big bloggers’ attention vs simply retweeting what you saw initially.

  22. Emelia says:

    Once again, thanks Carol for helping out.

    I suck at social media and even once thought I could be having social phobia. But beginning August I decided to get out of my cocoon to learn more about twitter and start to be active. I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do on Twitter so I decided to share my own stuff and content for the blogs I love(like this one). I can honestly say I’m beginning to enjoy it.

    The thought of approaching editors on Twitter crossed my mind but I had no idea of how I was going to do it. This post gave me clear direction.
    Emelia recently posted…Stop Stressing About Not Making Money from Your Writing and Do the FollowingMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Glad I could help!

      My rule about social media is if you hate a platform, don’t use it. It’s not going to work for you. Personally, the challenge of 140-character posts appealed to me, and I enjoy Twitter a lot. I think more writers should spend time on there — it creates great writing discipline to have to be that concise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. Awesome resources, Carol. I’ll definitely check them out this week. I think I’ve been slow to really get started on Twitter, since I haven’t used it much before. I really appreciate the great tips, particularly who to follow for job posts. I’ve been thinking that my activity needs to be more productive on my professional account, so I’ll definitely be doing some Twitter work now.
    Peggy Carouthers recently posted…5 Strategies to Make Writing Blog Posts PainlessMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I *was* surprised to find so many interesting job-collecting people on Twitter, researching for this post! I hadn’t looked at that aspect of it before.

      I felt like I was ‘slow’ to get started on Twitter, too. And blogging, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But all we can do is start from where we are. Good things can still happen.

  24. Cat says:

    Super helpful. I met one of my first clients on twitter but havent used it much since!

  25. Julie Anne says:

    Hello,

    I’m glad you posted this. I experimented on my writing account about 2-3 months ago. Just by posting a combination of interesting tweets and writing samples — some in image and some in text — I received at least a few followers per day. It’s a modest progression, but progress nonetheless. I also recently started scheduling tweets more often. I seem to get a lot of favorites and retweets, and I usually look up those people and thank them for sharing my posts. I’ve gotten into some interesting conversations so far, and intend to use these tips to take it all to the next level.
    Julie Anne recently posted…Store, Product and Service Description Gallery โ€“ Numerous Industry ExamplesMy Profile

  26. Behlor Santi says:

    Great post, Carol … I’m breaking into commercial writing, and your suggestions sound just right. Behlor

  27. John Soares says:

    Excellent advice Carol!

    I have two main techniques for making Twitter manageable. First, I’ve created lists on Twitter to keep track of the important people I follow. This is crucial, since it ends the need to look at the tweet stream of everyone, which quickly becomes overwhelming once you follow more than a hundred people or so. Second, I use Hootsuite to view those lists and to schedule my tweets.

    And thanks for the shout-out about my Twitter hashtags post. I’m always open to suggestions about new hashtags to add.
    John Soares recently posted…Why I Am a Freelance WriterMy Profile

  28. Willi Morris says:

    I just realized I did this, and it was completely unintentional! So DH is a massive gaming geek, so when I came across a retweet that mentioned a games sale, I shares it.. Turns out it’s the head of the Able Gamers Foundation, which helps people with disabilities. He follows me, I follow back.

    Silly me didn’t check their website fully until a few months ago – they accept reviews that include accessibility ratings. And you get to keep the games you play!

    So helping an awesome charity + clips for future gaming mags + get paid with GAMES = awesome Twitter hook up.
    Willi Morris recently posted…How To Lose 50 Email Subscribers in One DayMy Profile

  29. This was a really helpful post! I have a Twitter account and do post in my niche area, but I really haven’t been able to see how it could help me land assignments. I appreciate the great tips!
    Leslie Jordan Clary recently posted…HomeMy Profile

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