I recently had a chat with Laura Quick, founder of Good Grit magazine, about some freelance writing best practices. I’ve been writing for Good Grit for a couple of years now. But I wondered what advice she’d offer someone looking to write for her magazine for the first time.
With each question I asked, her answers kept pointing to the same theme – RELATIONSHIPS!
If you want your pitches to stand out – build relationships. If you want to write for a publication again and again – build relationships. If you want to one day write a regular column for a publication – build relationships.
Here’s how you can get started building relationships that will boost your freelance writing career.
Be social on social media.
Don’t just use social media to talk at people. Don’t just post and peace out. It’s called social media for a reason. Be social!
I understand that trying to be social on EVERY platform is stressful, so I’m not suggesting you do that. Pick one platform and go all in. (You can have accounts everywhere and automate content on the platforms that aren’t your focus.)
Use your social media platform of choice to find editors to connect with. Read their content to get to know what they’re passionate about and why they do the work they do. Like and comment on their content. Have real conversations with them.
This is actually how I started writing for Good Grit. I followed Laura on Instagram and she followed me back. I liked and commented on the posts to her IG grid and sent her direct messages responding to her IG Stories. And one day, she sent me a DM saying, “Hey! Do you want to write for my magazine?” And, of course, I was like, “Um, YEAH!”
Before you run off to social media stalk the editors of your favorite magazine, keep in mind this: Real recognize real!
Don’t be fake! Don’t feign interest in an editor’s social media posts just to get on their radar. Every comment I posted and every DM I sent to Laura was genuine and something I would have done whether she was the founder of a magazine or not.
Don’t be afraid of some face time.
When I moved back to my hometown of Birmingham to teach, I knew I wanted to freelance on the side. But since I’d never lived in Birmingham as an adult, I didn’t have many connections. So, I created them! I reached out to editors of local publications I wanted to write for and invited them to coffee so we could meet face-to-face.
During our chats, I found out their vision for the future of their magazines and what content voids they were hoping to fill. Because of these conversations, I knew what kind of story ideas would work and which ones wouldn’t. And when I sent my pitches, my emails weren’t ignored because these editors knew my name.
Many editors set aside time in their week for these types of meetings. And even in the midst of a pandemic you can meet virtually through Zoom.
Network up and across.
Don’t get so busy networking up that you forget to network across. Building relationships with other writers is just as important as getting to know editors.
Your fellow writers will encourage you to keep going when you receive rejection emails from editors or don’t hear back at all. Other writers can help connect with editors who may be interested in your work. Other writers will let you know which publications pay and which ones don’t.
Sometimes other writers can get you gigs. There have been times when an editor has approached me with a story that I couldn’t take on because of time constraints and I recommended they reach out to another writer in my circle instead.
Join my free Facebook group, the See Jane Write Network, to start connecting with other writers today.
If you want to learn even more tips on freelance writing, don’t miss my webinar So You Think You Can Freelance on Sunday, November 15 at 6 p.m.