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How to Bid on Freelance Writing Jobs Through Online Marketplaces

Jun 17, 2008
Professional freelance writers usually use five steps to generate a steady flow of work. The five step process is: 1) bidding on work through online services marketplaces; 2) searching for jobs daily on job meta-search engines; 3) browsing online job boards to find jobs; 4) pitching query letters, proposals and article ideas to media outlets, such as magazines and websites; 5) marketing -- which includes offline and online promotion, networking and blogging.

This article will discuss how to successfully bid on freelance writing jobs through online marketplaces.

Elance.com and Guru.com are two popular online services marketplaces. Both offer writing assignments and projects, ranging from feature articles, keyword articles, website content, corporate copywriting, how-to manuals, and ebooks.

Many writers, such as my friend, Peter Callahan, are successful in bidding on projects through Elance.com because of the way they write their proposals. Peter's winning proposals always offer the client several initiatives to hire him. First, he can provide samples of his work proving he knows what he is talking about. These samples speak as actions and support his words that he can write intelligently on topics within his specialization. Secondly, his bids are far more appealing to the client because he has already established himself as an authority in his specialization. He has writing credits in popular trade and newsstand magazines. Finally, he quotes his writing services competitively as it relates to his experience.

Guru.com and Elance.com are two of the best places for writers to find work. As a writer, you can sign up with these two websites to bid on jobs. Both will provide you with plenty of freelance work. In addition to Guru.com and Elance.com, freelance writers use a handful of other job marketplaces to find work. Guru.com, Elance.com and other sites list freelance writing opportunities for writers to bid on at their leisure.

On these sites, writers write a proposal to win a bid for the freelance gig. The person (i.e. client) who had posted the project will select the bid and proposal based on what he likes best; he will then award the project to the writer with the best proposal. The idea, of course, is for the writer to write a winning proposal with a price that satisfies the client's budget.

As a writer, you need to realize several things to bid on jobs through these job marketplaces:

1. If you are a freelance writer specializing in a specific industry, then your bid should be higher than a "general" writer who bids on everything from cooking tips to great travel destinations. Even if you are a writer who writes on many topics, you should charge more if you know your industry and know it well.

2. Freelance writers hired through Elance.com and Guru.com will often bid against the clock so to speak. Often, a team of writers work together to complete projects. They will bid on a 10-article project and promise it within a week. You come along, bid on the same project and promise delivery within 6 weeks, and lose the project even though you bid the same price. Don't worry. It happens and there will be other projects. Secondly, chances are the buyer just bought himself 10 articles written by people who have no idea about the topic. Wait for the better jobs and establish yourself as an authority on the subject. The better jobs will present themselves to you when you least expect it.

3. Different individuals from all over the world will hire you on these job marketplaces. These individuals include affiliates, businesses, website owners, editors, magazine publishers, ad agencies, and so on. Be sure both you and your clients are happy with the terms.

4. Try to establish some consistency in how you bid on your jobs. You can base your bids (and price) on a client-by-client basis for a while; eventually you'll need to know how much you want to charge per word or per page so you can price competitively and price what you are worth.

Many online job marketplaces have writers bidding on jobs who are not professional writers. To become a professional writer, follow these tips:

TIP #1: You should meet all final deadlines.

TIP #2: You should deliver your work, upon final delivery, in a polished, well-written format and edited to the best of your ability.

TIP #3: You don't need to hire an editor unless you are writing books for publication. Still, you should review your work numerous times before sending it to the client.

TIP #4: Understand, even the best writers will still have typos. If the client catches something you didn't, you should correct it promptly. As a writer with true expertise on the subject matter, you should write clearly and with knowledge on the subject.
About the Author
Brian Scott is a freelance writer for http://www.FreelanceWriting.com, a free website offering freelance writing jobs and hundreds of writer's guidelines to paying magazines. Read his blog for freelance writers at http://workingwritersnewsletter.blogspot.com
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