How to Find Online Writing Markets and Write for the Web

Web writing can be lucrative for freelance writers – if they know how to find online writing markets! These five tips for web writing are inspired by freelance writer Susan Johnston’s recently released The Urban Guide to Online Writing Markets.

“I’m an avid seeker of online writing opportunities,” says Johnston, “and I noticed there wasn’t a good directory for that area. So, I decided to create one.”

That’s a perfect example of seeing a need and filling the gap. Johnston’s eBook combines a directory of online writing markets with samples of successful query letters and “loads of tips on contacting editors, sleuthing out new markets, and more.” She explains the benefits of writing for websites, how to write follow up letters to editors, and shares other places to find online markets (bonus tips!). To learn more, go to The Urban Guide to Online Writing Markets. And, here are a few ideas for finding online writing opportunities…



How to Find Online Writing Markets and Write for the Web

1. Figure out what type of online market you want to write for. The internet is your oyster! You can write for e-zines or content sites such as Suite101 or about.com. You could dive into the world of bidding sites, such as Guru.com or Elance.com – or you could write for the websites of national magazines like Reader’s Digest or Health. One of my favorite online sites to write for is MSN Health (they don’t have a print magazine, just online content). Each of these online writing markets has pros and cons, which Johnston describes in The Urban Guide to Online Writing Markets.

2. Think strategically about how to earn money writing. Here’s one of my favorite freelance writing tips, from a widely published feature writer: “Analyze your revenue performance periodically to see what’s working, what’s not, and where the opportunities are,” says Emmy-award winner Iyna Bort Caruso. “Then adjust your business plan accordingly. Market aggressively. Send out queries and Letters of Introduction, get your URL on as many relevant website directories as possible, network with other writers and be generous with leads and advice, and experiment with joining organizations to see where the returns are.” It doesn’t matter whether you want to earn a living as a novelist, blogger, or freelance web writer…you need to be strategic about your career.

3. Learn the difference between writing for print and writing for online readers. Some web editors ask for articles that are search engine optimized, while others just require well-researched, well-written articles. Several web editors have asked me to write my article in a slideshow format (each tip in the article has its own slide or window), and others have asked me to link to other articles in their website. A great way to learn the difference between print and online writing is to explore popular content sites, such as Yahoo, MSN Health, and WebMD. Watch for linking strategies, slideshow presentations, and search engine optimization.

4. Write a professional query letter. Some freelance writers don’t have as much respect for online writing as they do print writing…but I think writing for money is writing for money! I earn a living as a full-time freelance writer and blogger, and I tend to prefer online writing over print. If you’re a writer who wants to earn money, you need to treat web writing as seriously as you do print writing. Write professional query letters, follow up with the editor in a few weeks, be clear about your writing assignment and pay rates, and meet all your deadlines.

5. Be open to writing for different online markets. Until I read Johnston’s eBook, I didn’t realize how many web writing markets there are! An online writer could stay busy for years with her list of possibilities – some of which accept reprinted articles, which is a big plus. Topics include finance, entertainment, grandparenting, dating, web development, freelance writing, and more. Johnston also lists the online markets by pay rates, so if you wanna make money writing right now, you know where to pitch.

What’s your favorite online magazine or website to write for – and what doesn’t work for you? Please comment below…

Susan Johnston is a Boston-based freelance writer and blogger who has covered business and lifestyle topics for The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, DailyCandy.com, Yahoo! HotJobs, and many other publications. Visit The Urban Muse or follow her on Twitter.

Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen on twitterLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on pinterestLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on linkedinLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on googleLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on facebook
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
Shalom! I can't give you advice, but please feel free to share your thoughts below. I'm a writer in Vancouver; my degrees are in Psychology, Education, and Social Work. I live with my husband, two dogs, and cat. We can't have children, and we trust in God's love, grace, and wisdom. Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28.

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10 Responses

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Judith,

    Thanks for your comment; welcome to Quips and Tips! I hope to see you ’round these parts more :-)

    Laurie
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post ..Writing for Online Magazines – How to Find Work on the Web =-.

  2. Judith van Praag says:

    Laurie, Yours is a great blog to stumble upon! In 2000 I started writing for a Dutch web magazine for parents (of little use to Eng.writers) http://www.ouders.nl (archive my work http://www.ouders.nl/mpra.htm) that’s where I pretty much learned the ropes for web writing.
    I enjoyed writing for interfaithfamily.com while founding editor Ronnie Friedman was on board.
    What doesn’t work for me is when web magazine editor + editor in chief turn facts into fiction (because that suits their personal agenda better) without consulting me, the author/ journalist.
    .-= Judith van Praag´s last blog post ..Writing in Two Languages at the Same Time =-.

  3. Prerna says:

    Thanks for sharing these Laurie.. Am on the lookout for newer opps and these tips have been really helpful.
    .-= Prerna´s last blog post ..Book Review: Friendship for Grown Ups by Lisa Whelchel =-.

  4. Susan Johnston says:

    Thanks for the great write-up, Laurie!

    And Lori H, I use the same strategy for finding new markets. It works pretty well in a lot of cases!
    .-= Susan Johnston´s last blog post ..5 Lessons from the 2010 ASJA Writing Conference =-.

  5. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    That’s brilliant, Lori! What a great way to find writing markets…and it could be a great way to network with other writers….I love it!
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post ..How to Find Online Writing Markets and Write for the Web =-.

  6. Lori H says:

    I have a confession to make, Laurie. I’m always looking for new outlets, so whenever I find a new writer whose work I like, I research where they’ve been published and swoop in. I contact the Editors there and find out if they’re taking freelance queries, etc. So thank you writers who do good work!!
    .-= Lori H´s last blog post ..The Beddgelert Story in Snowdonia National Park, Wales, UK =-.

  7. This is a helpful article Laurie.

    One word of caution though to readers, I am regularly training professional writers who believe that their existing writing skills are all they need. The reality is that web writing is a much more refined process that calls for some technical knowledge of web publication.

    If you feel you may have a knowledge gap you may like to check out my online web writing course. It could be a worthwhile investment.

    Malcolm Davison

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