How to Get Paid More Than $50 an Article

Earn More From WritingBy Carol Tice

This week I’m answering a question from new writer Gina Alianiello — she writes:

Carol, you mentioned ads for copywriting jobs that are higher
paying, but I never see them. Where do I look for ads that
pay $50 and above for article writing?

The quick answer, Gina, is that the vast majority of good-paying article assignments aren’t found in an ad online. Whether it’s an article for a publication or a copywriting project for a business, most of the lucrative jobs are found either by querying or otherwise connecting with an editor, or in the case of copywriting, through networking and prospecting to find business clients.

I think a lot of writers are worshipping at the shrine of the online ads as if that’s the only way or place to find a writing assignment. Instead, think of the online ads just like you do the traditional newspaper classifieds — as the last refuge of the dysfunctional and desperate publications and companies.

So the most important strategy for finding good-paying article assignents is to work your virtual and in-person networks, meet new people, and find great new clients. You won’t be in a mass bidding war when you do this, so rates tend to be higher.

That said…there are some better-paying article jobs online. In Move-Up Markets, I wrote about the increasing number of gigs I’m spotting that pay at the next rung up, $75 or $100 a post. Personally, I’ve gotten online article projects off ads I responded to cold that paid $.50-$1 a word. More than once. And ongoing clients worth more than $1,000 a month, also off job ads.

My tips:

• Troll widely. Like dating, you’ve kind of got to browse a lot of losers to find your prince. Skim ads and move on quickly if you don’t get a good feeling or the posted rate is low.

• Think niche expertise. One of my best new clients this year I got off a cold cover letter I sent through a niche job board for financial publications. That’s right, I now blog for CBS off a cold ad, at pay that started above $50 a post and is moving up steadily. So it can happen. If you have any type of niche expertise in a field not everyone understands — foreign exchange, reiki therapy, whatever — that is where you will earn more. Seek out the lesser known job boards to strike this kind of gold.

• Only respond to job ads that smell great. Solid clients are up-front about paying real wages — their ad will say “pays $50 an hour” or $.50 a word or whatever, or will say something like “is competitive with our (specialized) industry.” They tell you their Web site URL so you can look it over before you respond. Ideally, they’re a publication that’s been in business a long time, or a business that’s a known name or at least long-established. The exception here would be venture-capital-funded startups, which can also pay well.

Before you ask, yes, these listings are out there — I usually find at least 3-5 that fit these criteria each week.

Gina asks good questions! I answered another of Gina’s questions on my Make a Living Writing blog this week.

Got a question? Send us an email and we’ll answer it here on WM.

This post originally appeared on the WM Freelance Writer’s Connection.

Photo via Flickr user tenaciousme