Becoming a freelance journalist requires a unique set of skills. While many dream of the lifestyle freelancing offers, turning this dream into reality isn’t as easy as writing a few interesting pieces. To make a living as a freelance journalist, you must wear many hats. From marketing to researching topics, freelance journalists work hard for this coveted title. Regardless of industry or niche, if you want to make a living as a freelance journalist then the following advice can boost your chances at success. Remember, talent is nothing without passion and drive.
Cultivate Your Craft and Curiosity
The foundation of any successful freelance journalism career is knowledge. While some journalists have a natural ability to craft compelling copy at lightening speeds, they aren’t the majority. For most, mastering their craft requires years of dedication. Along with studying technical materials and style guides, look for local or online journalism workshops. Continual training is paramount in an industry that rapidly evolves. Consider taking journalism courses at a community college or invest in certification programs. To become and remain competitive, your skills and working knowledge of your chosen industry is imperative.
Create a Powerful Online Writing Portfolio and Blog
Trying to become a freelance journalist without a professional blog and digital portfolio is akin to making coffee without hot water. Sure, it’s possible, but it just isn’t the same. While most aspiring freelance journalists understand the importance of an online presence, few understand how to successfully execute this freelance lifeline. The International Center of Journalism
perfectly details the issue with most blogs and digital portfolios. Instead of focusing on content, journalists attempt to create complex and visually attractive websites.
The purpose of an online portfolio is to quickly and easily showcase your best work and provide a centralized place for client communication. Resist the temptation to become a web designer and craft an awe-inspiring website. Instead, chose a clean and simple template that puts your words at the forefront. Along with your best written works, include a contact form and other essential information, such as rates and availability.
Focus on Building Relationships
The path to making a living as a freelance journalist is a mixture of building relationships with key players in your industry and submitting your work to various gigs. Unfortunately, the biggest problem many new freelancers encounter is a lack of balance between building relationships and pitching stories. As reported by Forbes
, to become successful you can’t hide in the dark corners of the internet.
The fastest way to success is through relationships. While you must actively apply for opportunities to continually grow your experience, not to mention your bank account, freelance journalism success directly relates to relationships. Communicate with influential professionals via social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Attend webinars, conferences and other networking opportunities as often as possible.
Making a living as a freelance journalist is easier and harder than ever before. Thanks to the continued integration of digital media across all industries, there’s a greater need for quality journalism. Of course, as the number of opportunities grow so does the competition. To make a living as a freelance journalist in the 21st century, you must learn to master the many layers that create this exciting career.