Freelance writing is no more limited to freelancers only. While many freelancers have already taken or are seriously thinking to take freelance writing as their profession, many professional writers too, are joining them seeing the enormous money-making potential of the market.
No wonder online writing or writing in/for websites has somewhat become an ‘industry’ itself. In a world overwhelmed by massive outsourcing, terms like ‘Ghostwriting’, ‘Article Marketing’, ‘Content Publishing’ etc. have started becoming familiar to us. If you’re a writer with a natural gift in your power of expression complemented by good writing skills, it’s your time to take your scoop.
Most of us are completely unaware of the writing bids featured in many freelance job sites on the internet. Amongst those who do know, a large portion has no or very little idea on how and where to start. For them, this write-up may help.
Let’s face it – winning an online writing bid is not easy. You need to be very particular about the project details as well as bidding conditions. You also need to showcase yourself in a convincing manner. Although there is no ‘the solution’ to winning the bids, following steps may increase the chances of winning dramatically:
1. Promote Yourself – Portray Your Picture
Most of the freelance writing sites allow you to create an account followed by a profile. Make sure you give a clear idea about your skills, qualifications and limitations. An honestly written profile will attract more buyers than an over-blown profile since eventually a buyer will somehow discover your true attributes. In your profile, write about your specialties and expertise. Try to be as brief yet expressive as possible. Also outline your language skills, certifications etc. When provided, use an attractive tag like “Experienced Web Content/Article Writer”.
2. Keep Yourself Informed – Subscribe to Notifications
Freelance writing websites allow you to remain informed about the projects posted by the buyers. Look for subscriptions to project notifications by email or RSS feeds. You can opt for particular types of projects to be included in the notification e-mails. You can also set the price range of the notifications.
3. Be Sincere, Persuasive and Patient – It Pays
Wining a bid takes time. You may soon be frustrated with the fact that you are not being able to win a bid. Don’t lose your heart. Remain sincere in browsing through all the projects you can work on. Be patient and continue to pursue the buyers with your bids. Hundreds and thousands of buyers are submitting their new projects each day. It may not be far that you will win a very attractive project from a buyer who likes your profile, portfolio and overall approach.
In addition, do a little experiment with your asking price and submission timeframe. Lower them a little (remaining within your affordable limit of course) to draw attention of the buyers.
4. Get a Good Rating and Review – It Increases Future Chances
This will only be possible after you win and successfully complete a project. Even if it compromises the cash-value of your written work, you may at times need to ask a very low price in order to win and earn a good project rating. Remember, buyers frequently look at those ‘star’ ratings and reviews written about you by other buyers. As a buyer, wouldn’t you be more comfortable awarding your project to a writer with 100 positive reviews and 10 star ratings than one with no such credentials?
5. Apply With a Positive Tone and Convincing Bid/Cover Letter
Almost all the websites which feature freelance writing bids have an option for a cover letter or bid letter. A cover letter is where you place additional bid information along with the bid amount and turn-round time. Always be polite in these letters, use salutations and complementary endings where appropriate. If you don’t want to converse much about your bid here or want to negotiate different aspects of the bid, refer to them in the Private Messaging options when available. Try to be brief, specific and to the point in convincing the buyer to choose you amongst other bidders.
6. Keep Private Things Private – Use Private Messaging Options
Private Messaging (PM) is a useful feature of many bidding sites. If you want to discuss certain issues away from the eyes of other bidders, negotiate price/deadline or have something extraordinary to offer to the buyer, simply use the PM box. You may choose to serve your excellent cover letter in the PM along with sample works. You may also ask relevant questions to the buyer before taking the job. Such questions often increase your winning probabilities.
7. Show Your Works – They Speak For You
When bidding for projects, a buyer has no means to verify your qualities. A buyer is always sceptic about an unknown writer. Your profile may be over-blown or at the worst, a complete fake. You may have copied a good cover letter from somewhere else. To eliminate such suspicions from your buyer’s mind, show him your works.
Attach a well written article or sample write-up matching the project’s requirements. Whenever possible, serve the links to websites or blogs where your previous works have been published (e.g. EZine, About.com, eHow.com, Associated Content or other leading news/information sites). When giving samples, also consider minor details like, file size, format, font etc likely to be available at buyer’s end.
8. Bid Logically – Use Common Sense
When bidding for a project, remember to use your common sense. Try to understand the buyer’s requirement vis-à-vis your affordability or capabilities. A buyer may need 100 articles of 500 words each in 3 days. If you are a lone writer, it could be a nearly impossible assignment.
You should then consider not to bid or bid with your limits specified. Don’t just agree to buyers’ needs, remember your abilities. Winning a project and getting a bad rating would ruin your career in this field. On the other hand, if the writer needs an article of 1000 words by 1 day quoting maximum $10, don’t say that you’ll need 5 days and $50 for the job. Use logic plus common sense while you bid.
9. Choose Between Working Inside or Outside the System – Remember the Risk vs. Gains
Working inside the system refers to using of the website’s submission, clarification, arbitration, review/rating and payment systems. Working inside the system guarantees the payment and dispute resolution. It however, imposes a commission charged from the revenue you earn from the projects.
On the contrary, working outside the system means working on one-to-one communication basis. There’s no commission involved, thus you save some dollars. But beware of the fact that, such relationship may result in frauds; a buyer may just evaporate taking your work without paying a single cent. It is only the amount of trust you develop mutually which can guarantee your payments.
10. Abide by the Rules – Save Your Soul
It has become a common practice that we sign-up with many websites without reading the terms and conditions. When you create an account in the freelance writing sites, read all the terms and conditions carefully. Abiding by the site’s rules and conventions insures your protection from fraud while increasing the chances of winning projects.
Breaking rules like giving out your contact address in bid letters may make you lose a very attractive and affordable project and at the worst may cancel your membership. You must play safe with the rules – always.
Although it is entirely up to a buyer whether he/she will award a project to you, it is the application of some basic techniques which increases your chances of winning a writing bid. Experience shows that by following the aforementioned points, writers have won many projects and continue to earn a lot of money applying them as a regular practice.