If you want to be a freelance journalist, you need to know how to find and interview sources.
But if the idea of calling up a total stranger and asking for a few minutes of their time for an interview freaks you out, then what?
Stick with low-paying content mill assignments? Give up on freelancing? Don’t do that, OK.
Ask any veteran freelance journalist about finding and interviewing sources, and most will tell you they felt the same way starting out.
It take a little practice to learn how to find sources, build relationships, and ask the kind of interview questions that get people to spill their guts and plenty of juicy details for your assignment.
You might need to ignore those first-time jitters to ask a source for an interview. And once you’re on the phone or face to face with a source, guiding the conversation takes a little practice. But it’s a skill you can learn to develop.
Want to learn how to find and interview sources as a freelance journalist? Here’s how it’s done:
Do you get jealous when other freelance writers talk about how they knock out a simple blog post in under an hour — because it takes you half a day? If so, it’s time to attack this problem and get it solved. To earn a good hourly rate from freelance writing (and end up with a decent income), you’ve got to be able to write assignments in a time-efficient way.
This is especially true if you’re looking to get into content marketing, where you might develop a dozen blog posts or other pieces of content a month for each of multiple different clients. I speak as someone who at one point was writing 72 posts a month, between client blogs and my own blog.
Your success in blogging for clients is highly dependent on your speed. If you’re slow, you won’t be able to juggle multiple content marketing clients and book enough revenue — and you may even be in trouble in terms of meeting your deadlines.
Fortunately, learning to get the writing done faster has been a longtime hobby of mine. My drive to speed up was forged during 12 years as a staff writer, the last five of which required filing a story for our online edition, five days a week by 10 am (in addition to the 3-4 articles a week we had to write).
How did I learn to cut my writing time down? Here are my seven top tips:
How do you get paid what you deserve while doing what you love?
I thought about that a lot back when my freelance work mainly included writing for blogs and a local newspaper.
Then something happened that completely changed my writing business. I landed my first contract to ghostwrite a book.
That first project gave me the street-cred I needed to become a full-time freelancer and ghostwriter.
Want to learn how to land your first contract to ghostwrite a book and grow your freelance business? Here’s how:
If you want to boost your freelance blogging income, you’re probably doing all the things you’re supposed to do:
- Regular marketing
- Checking in with past clients
- Asking current clients for other projects
But here’s another income-boosting approach I stumbled on: Pitch extra services on the same work you’re already doing for clients as a paid blogger — in a context that matters to your client.
Those of you with sales experience already know this “want fries with that?” strategy. When I saw how well it worked, I about smacked myself in the forehead, because I didn’t think of it sooner.
Ever wondered why article writers often get paid more than bloggers?
Well, here’s something interesting that just happened to me that explains why I keep encouraging writers to learn reporting: I did a Google search on a term, and got some results…and then a section of results labeled “In-depth Articles.”
Article writing is the future. More businesses will be paying for it, online magazines are springing up — the lucrative opportunities for writers who can develop a great idea, do a sharp interview, and weave it into a compelling story are growing like mad.
We’ve also got article writing on the brain around here because of an upcoming writing class I’ll be teaching with Linda Formichelli — we’re giving out some free article-writing trainings to celebrate that right now, if you haven’t seen.
For more article-writing help, I thought I’d help you ring in the New Year with a roundup of the most useful posts ever seen on this blog about article writing. Enjoy!