Do you want to know how to land high-paying freelance gigs that average $0.30 to $0.50 a word? Consider writing about finance. The field covers everything from personal finance articles on topics like “How to Open an IRA” to in-depth stock analysis marketed towards investors ranging from day-traders to Wall Street fund managers.
If you have a background in the industry as a financial professional, it’s fairly easy to attract paying client’s right from the start, but even if you don’t, there are ways to build up your resume.
You can leverage personal trading experience into topical expertise by just knowing how to customize your query to match a potential client’s needs. If you lost money on a stock, you can write an article on what to look out for when investing. Maybe you fought your way out of debt using a creative solution; why not submit the story to personal finance blogs and tell readers how you did it?
Virtually everyone has some kind of exposure to the world of finance; it’s your job as a writer to take seemingly bland topics and transform them into entertaining reads that your clients will love. So if you’re ready to take the plunge and dive into the financial writing niche, here’s how to do it.
Freelance Job Boards
Starting out, you may want to begin by taking assignments that pop up on job boards like eLance and oDesk, or get your feet wet with content mills like Demand Media Studios. While they may not pay very much, it’ll help you build a portfolio that you can reference when applying to the clients that you’re ultimately striving for.
Other places like ProBloggerJobs (http://jobs.problogger.net) will have a mixture of good and bad gigs. You might have to filter through some of the noise, but you can find some clients that pay quite well—$0.10 to $0.25 per word. Most freelance job boards will offer a variety of assignments from copywriting to healthcare to finance, so you’ll need to pay close attention to the description so that you don’t accidentally scroll past a potential new client.
One way to impress clients is by showing them that you’ve contributed to financial blogs. You can typically just pitch the author of the blog with an idea that relates to what they do and get something on record that you can use as credentials.
A word of caution: make sure you’re familiar with the blog before you try to pitch an idea. Nothing says amateur like a blanket query that doesn’t match the website’s angle. If it’s about stock trading, don’t try to send them a post about how you saved money couponing—it’s a quick way to ensure the editor remembers to ignore anything you send them in the future.
Leverage your niche
If you’re already a freelance writer, then giving away freebies and working for content mills won’t hold much appeal. Don’t worry; you don’t have to start back over from scratch in order to break into financial writing.
You can turn your current niche into something that fits the criteria for finance as well. How? Let’s say your current niche is writing about healthy living. Why not write an article that discusses how to invest in goods that allow you to make your own homemade household products more cheaply than you could buy them at the store for? Now you’ve got something that matches healthy living, business, and budgeting. You can spin that as an article for a personal finance blog to get you in the door for even bigger opportunities.
Once you’ve built up a bit of a background in writing about finance, you may want to try your hand with the giants of the industry: investment newsletters and magazines. You’ll need to have some experience in writing about investments like stocks and bonds, but it’s not too hard to learn and the payoff can be big. Writing for a newsletter usually means you have a steady income stream with projects due on a regular basis and minimum payouts of at least $300 per article.
You can get experience by submitting articles for sites like Seeking Alpha (http://seekingalpha.com/). Take a look at what’s trending and how the material is structured to give you an idea of how to write for industry professionals. Don’t get intimidated by the numbers—you can learn everything you need to know by just reading other people’s articles. If you want to go above and beyond, consider attending an investment seminar or picking up a book on stock analysis.
Writing about finance doesn’t have to be your exclusive niche. By opening yourself up to other possibilities you’re building up your own portfolio and experience that will lead to better clients no matter what industry they’re in.
About the author:
Daniel Cross has been in the industry as an investment writer and financial advisor since 2005. His experience includes being Editor-in-Chief of a corporate newsletter aimed at employee education regarding investing and retirement planning, crafting thought-provoking white papers for financial service firms, and myriad pieces of work that can be seen on StreetAuthority, MoneyUnder30, Investopedia, Seeking Alpha, Morningstar, and many more.