Written By PollyAnna Brown

How To Get Writing Gigs, Even When You’re Brand New

Writing jobs have become an integral part of modern society. Gone are the days where making a living as a writer was about as likely as being discovered in a mall during the 80s. In today’s remote working society, writing has become a need for every business on the planet (and the pay is pretty damn great!). So where do you even begin?

Identify Your Intrigue

There are many different types of writing gigs that you can book, and you want to make sure that you don’t drown in opportunity. Identify one or two types of writing that you want to dive into and leave the rest for later. Here are just a few types of writing you can choose from: 

  • Media writing
  • Sales and marketing copywriting
  • Content marketing
  • Website copywriting
  • Fiction writing
  • Reviews

All of these writing lanes have multiple projects you could write within them. For example, copywriting for sales and marketing could include opt-in pages, thank you pages, webinar scripts, video sales letter scripts, email sequences, sales pages, social media posts, social media profiles, bios, and more. 

You can choose a variety of projects within your writing lane to keep things interesting, or you can specialize even further—like specializing in blog content, email sequences, or sales funnel copy. Because the opportunity in each type of writing is so vast, it’s important to pick a lane that you want to explore so that you don’t split your energy chasing too many opposing leads. Think about it like jumping rope. Before you graduate to double dutch, you want to get really good at jumping with one rope. Once you’ve got that down, then you can learn to jump with two.

After you pick one or two areas to explore, it’s time to find where the opportunities live.

Identify the Opportunities

Opportunities are everywhere. You just need to know where to look. The list below will give you clear resources to use, and remember, this list is not exhaustive. So feel free to get creative because you are not limited by this list. Once you’ve identified the opportunities, you want to take that information and put it into a pitch.

Job Listings

Wherever there is a company or business, there’s a need for a writer. If you’re interested in any kind of copywriting or content writing, job listings are your new best friends. Job listings show you where the need is urgent right now and exactly what the companies are looking for so you know how to approach these gigs. You don’t have to apply for positions traditionally unless you want to—the goal is to see who you need to pitch and the best way to pitch them.

For example, check out these postings looking for a video game writer (yes, you can actually get PAID to write for video game companies!):

When you pop open these job postings, the company will tell you precisely what they’re looking for, including the kinds of writing samples they want to see. This gives you the power to pitch companies you’re interested in working with in the strongest way possible. 

Here’s an important thing to note. When a company puts up a job listing, they often will consider you over-qualified if you check off every single box on the list. So if you don’t meet all of the criteria that they put in their listing, that shouldn’t stop you from pitching them. 

Social Media Groups

There’s power in your network. The more you connect with the people or businesses you’d like to write for, the faster you’ll book gigs. Social media groups (like Facebook or LinkedIn groups) are powerful resources. Not only do these groups allow you to forge relationships with potential clients, but these are also some of the first places potential clients will ask for referrals when they have a need for a writer. Social media groups are also where you can educate your potential clients on what they want to look for when hiring a writer for the projects you specialize in. 

Social media groups are all about relationships and providing value. As long as you can do those two things, you can find a great supply of referral partners and leads for writing gigs. 


The value you put into building your relationships professionally will eventually be reflected in your bank account. Relationships are the number one way to get any gig, and they’re simple to build. All you have to do is be supportive to the people you want to network with in a genuine way, and put in the effort consistently.

For example, if there’s an editor that you know you want to pitch, start following them on Twitter or Instagram. Contribute to the conversations they’re having on those platforms with meaningful comments (e.g. comments that build them up, ask questions, or support them beyond “great post!”). When editors publish an article, share it across all of your social media channels and tag them. This also works with company executives or business owners.

Offer support before you submit an ask. There are two main reasons for this. The first is the law of reciprocity. When you do something kind for someone, there’s a natural instinct to reciprocate (this is why it’s hard to just say “thank you” when someone gives you a compliment). These types of interactions and support methods will build up your good karma points with the people you want to grow a relationship with. 

The second reason to offer support before you ask for anything is to take yourself out of the stranger zone. Cold pitching anyone is hard. I cold pitch most days of the week, and there is a HUGE difference between a cold pitch and a warm pitch. When you’re interacting with people on their social media in a positive and meaningful way, you start to trigger dopamine releases in their brain which they associate with your name and picture. That way, when you do reach out, they recognize you in a positive way and the interaction is more likely to end in a favorable result. 

Now it’s time to build your pitch.

Framing Your Pitches

There are three main components you want to demonstrate in any initial pitch:

  • Familiarity with the business, brand, or media outlet
  • A clear understanding of their needs
  • And that you’re the right fit for what they’re looking for

The key here is finesse. Instead of making you pitch for years on end to develop those subtleties, I’m going to give you the shortcut right now. The phrasing you use in a pitch is key—especially a cold pitch! People are protective of their businesses and readers. You cannot pop into someone’s inbox and give the perception that you know better than they do about what they need to do. It will not go over well. At best, you’ll hear crickets. Instead, lead with genuine compliments.

At the beginning of your pitch, tell the person you’re reaching out to what you like about the company or their work. Give them honest compliments that help them understand that you’ve actually been paying attention. 

For example, take Crazy Maple Studio from the job listing above. They’re looking for a video game writer. They’re hiring for their main app called Chapters, which is an interactive storytelling platform. The company licenses stories from authors and then gamifies them for their audience. 

If I were pitching them, I’d look at where my interests and theirs align. Reading was my first love, and the idea of writing for a game like this gets me all tingly. So I’d download the game, get familiar, and start my pitch like this: 

“What you’re doing at Crazy Maple Studios is epic! I’ve been playing Chapters, and I love how it feels like a fantasy comic book unfolding with each click. My favorite game so far has been Love at Stake. As an avid reader and self-proclaimed bookish nerd, the way you’ve chosen to license stories from authors makes me even more excited because I can see many opportunities for growth and expansion.” 

In the second part of your pitch, share why you’re reaching out and show that you paid attention to what they said their needs were. Continuing with the example for Crazy Maple Studio: 

“I came across your job posting on Indeed for a narrative designer and I wanted to reach out. It looks like you’re growing fast and need to add to your writing super squad to keep up with the demand for new stories. I’d love to explore that with you.”

The third part of your pitch is where you sell them on you. This is where you play to your strengths. Remember, you don’t have to tick off every box. Also, because you may not be looking to get a J.O.B., I’m going to show you how to pivot this pitch as a freelancer.

“Not only am I a professional writer that loves contributing to a strong team of storytellers, but I’m also your target demographic. I can bring insights to the table from being immersed in the market that many writers would simply miss. 

As a freelancer, my strength is in building relationships quickly with my writing and speaking to audiences in powerful ways. While I’m not looking to retire my freelancer badge, I would love to have a conversation about working together. Relationships are important to me, and when I bring a project on, the intention is to have a long term relationship with the client. I’m not a ‘one-and-done’ type of writer. This is great for you because you don’t have to worry about paying benefits or staying on top of me to make sure my work is done. I’m self-motivated and deliver projects on time consistently.

When are you free for a quick chat to see how we can grow Crazy Maple Studio together?”

Finally, add your writing samples. Do not attach them to your email. Send links with the full link displayed in your email, so the receiver knows what they’re clicking and what will pop open. 

Writing Samples (Even When You Don’t Have Any)

This is where you get to shine your best, especially if you’re new. 


Established writers lean on their strongest published samples (—guilty!). Not necessarily because they’re amazing, but because they’re already completed. While published samples can go over well, there’s still a chance they can work against you if they’re in a different tone, industry, or personality than the person you’re pitching. The people you book writing gigs with often struggle to see themselves in someone else’s words. So if you haven’t written for someone like them before, they may run in the other direction because they don’t feel you can capture their voice. That’s dangerous territory. 

Luckily, there’s an easy solution that has been one of my top ways to book writing gigs of all types, over and over again. 

Write a custom sample for the person you’re pitching. 

There are several reasons to do this:

  • You get to showcase your understanding of the brand, their message, their voice, and their style
  • If you’ve worked with clients in the past under NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), you can still show off your skills without breaking your contracts (suuuuuuper important!)
  • The potential client isn’t distracted with someone else’s brand or industry
  • This gives them the opportunity to see what working with you is like and vice versa

If you’re not sure where to start with creating a custom writing sample, check out this article on building your writing portfolio fast.

Nabbing That Gig

Once your pitches and custom writing samples are out, get your follow up game on point! Track your emails to see if your prospect has opened them so you know whether or not they saw your message. If they haven’t seen your email within seven days, send it again with a new subject line. 

While following up via email is great, there are many other ways to follow up. Keep interacting on social media. If you’ve ever spoken with this person in a private message on social media, send a follow up there. You’d be surprised how many emails get lost in the interwebs, never to be seen again. Tech faux pas happen, so don’t assume that if you don’t hear back that they don’t like what you have to offer. 

Getting writing gigs is all about consistency. Consistently showing up, pitching, maintaining and growing your relationships, and actually writing. The best way to go about this is to treat your writing career like a job. Set hours for interacting on social media. Set different hours for discovering opportunities. Set another set of hours for pitching. And finally, set a chunk of hours for writing. You don’t need many gigs or clients to create a stable living, but you do have to be consistent and show up. 

What are you going to do today to further your writing dreams?

PollyAnna Brown uses her 10+ years experience in entertainment, communication, and personal development to help business owners and entrepreneurs grow their audience, impact, and income. She is the founder of Storytelling Marketing® and co-owns a Business Growth & Publicity firm where she specializes in profitable publicity™. PollyAnna’s on a mission to help entrepreneurs and business owners leverage their time, make more sales, and create a positive impact using publicity and storytelling. Her work has been seen in Thrive Global, Kindred Spirit Magazine, Wake Up World News, and more. To connect with PollyAnna, check out her LinkedIn here:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/pollyannawrites/

Your Comments:

  1. Karan Kaul says:

    Hi. That article on building your writing portfolio fast isn’t showing up for me and I don’t have Linkedin to contact you. Could it be I’m using a super old browser? hmm. probably. 🙂

  2. henry says:

    I live in the Caribbean looking simple and easy ways to write for a living.
    I would like free entries of course.
    Would I get that here.

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