Whatever your niche interest, there are probably venues within that niche that hire freelance writers regularly. There are lots of databases of freelance job listings, one of which can be found here.
Lots of online writing gigs are listed in the Bay Area, though lots of content will have no connection to that geography. There are also freelance agencies that serve small businesses, hiring out content and finding work for you.
Digital Sherpa, Content Launch, and Zerys are examples of agencies that will hire you to write content for other sites on a rolling basis. Content farms will offer a small amount of money for a huge amount of writing expected from you in a very short amount of time. These sites pay writers next to nothing, have no content standards, and lower the standards of online discourse considerably. Prepare a portfolio of your best work. While many future jobs will be interested in your experience and in your resume, online jobs—for the most part—will come down to one thing: Advertise your skills online.
Promote your self and your skills on social networking sites like LinkedIn as a writer available for a variety of tasks. What if a pioneer-revival website needs a copyeditor, or needs someone to embed as a period-minstrel to do research at Civil War re-enactments? Employment sites like Monster and JobFinder are also good places to start, though they cater less to online employment for writing than you might be able to find your own on places like Craigslist.
Submit to publications that pay contributors. While this would be a next-to-impossible way to make a living, publishing work in respected journals is an important way of building credibility as a writer and giving yourself a good-looking resume.
Think of it less as a money-making venture and more as a reputation-building step. Look for editorial or content positions with online publications or businesses.
Keep your head down and inquire about full-time opportunities until you find something. Keep an eye out for open submission calls. This can be an excellent way to get your good writing considered by professional publications. Submitting work to selective journals is much easier if you become familiar with individual publications and the types of work they tend to publish.
Spend time researching the writers, the editors, and reading the entries on the publications before you submit your work. Consider culture publications like Slate, The Awl, Jezebel, Flavorwire, the Culture-ist, all of which accept submissions on a rolling basis, and produce a diversity of interesting and engaging content. Non-fiction and cultural criticism would be excellent for these publications. These are all highly-respected online journals that publish work by respected authors.
Read the submission guidelines. It should be clearly marked on the site menu. In particular, you want to pay attention to the open-reading period dates to make sure you get in a submission on time, whether or not there is a required reading fee, whether or not there is a page count limit on submissions, and other specific instructions. For some venues, it may be appropriate to query the editor before submitting your work.
If so, prepare a formal proposal to submit your concept for a writing project. No uncapitalized informal emails to the editor, or PMs via Twitter asking Paul Muldoon if he wants to read your poems for the New Yorker.
Go through the proper channels. Make sure to pay attention to the policy regarding "simultaneous submissions" and multiple submissions. Multiple submissions, or submitting more than one piece at a time, is generally not allowed anywhere, except with poetry.
Write your proposal or your piece and polish it thoroughly. Show them your best stuff and polish it thoroughly, editing, revising, and cleaning up your work like crazy. Online publications are often looking for "buzz-worthy" stories and new perspectives in their content.
Submit your writing to the editorial staff and wait for a response. Almost every online publication accepts submissions online, either through a submissions manager, or via email as an attachment.
Proofread your piece one last time and let it fly. Write a cover letter, addressing the section editor directly, by name. You should be able to find this information on the "Masthead" page of most publications. In your cover letter, include any previous publications, your contact information, and a general salutation.
Stick with it and resubmit if necessary. Most publications are highly selective, choosing only a small number of the pieces under consideration. If you get a long string of rejections, welcome to the club. Revise your work, resubmit, and research new venues to try with your best writing. Find a free blogging template that you like. If you want to put up your own writing online without having to worry about going through the hassle of a big submissions process, a blog is the best idea for you.
Using one has never been easier to negotiate. Look around for some common blog templates, checking out examples and playing with the interface to see what you like best. Common and popular blog templates include Wordpress Blogger Weebly Tumblr. Find a unique perspective or topic to write about.
What do you like? What are you like? What do you have to offer the world? It might be a good idea to start a blog to document your home building project, or the great handmade banjos that you lovingly craft. Develop a blog around your life as a maker of the thing you make. Travel blogs are extremely common, and can be a great way of keeping in touch with people back home. Nobody probably wants to listen to you complain about your dirty dishes, but if you do it intelligently, humorously, or with excellent writing, who knows?
These are all real blogs. Get experimental and document your project. Read other blogs to get a sense of the style and community. Check out the competition by reading the styles and the topics of popular blogs and obscure blogs alike.
Whatever blog use as a template, you can search other blogs using the same one, getting some sense of how to customize it and use the template to its best potential. Consider ways to tweak the formula to stand out. Instead of being mildly self-deprecating and twee, make your blog super-sarcastic, or squeamish about the outdoors to see if that fits in more with a fun slant on the topic. Write a diversity of content. Start writing the kinds of blog entries that fit in with your intentions. Make them witty, well-polished, engaging, and diverse.
No one will come back to read the same entry about your breakfast humble brag about how healthy your first meals are day-in and day-out. Update your blog frequently. Stay on schedule and aim to produce at least a few entries per week. Start social networking accounts for your blog and share your entries. Follow other blogs on the blogging platform you use, and share their entries to jump into the community. Start a Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram account specifically for your new blog and start sharing the heck out of your new updates when they come out.
You can even use the online community as an inspiration for subsequent updates and posts, if it works out that way. Listen to constructive feedback and ignore haters and trolls. Some people can be ugly and harsh, so try your best to ignore them and keep doing what you do. Branch out to your own site to generate ad revenue. The more you learn about this vast, exciting website, the more fun you will ultimately have each time you log in.
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