Freelancing: Where to Start

One of my goals for November is to up my freelance game.  I’ve always loved writing, and as a journalism student in college I spent a lot of time writing newspaper articles.  Since graduation though, most of the freelancing I’ve done has been few and far between, and almost exclusively for my town’s local newspaper.  This month though I really want to get my writing out there, and find some more sources I can write for.  And the logical first step in that goal is to figure out where to start.


Local Newspaper

If you work in freelance writing, the obvious first stop is the local small-town newspaper.  Bigger papers like The Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Times are awesome, but can be much harder to get into, especially if you don’t have a portfolio.  A smaller paper is going to be more willing to toss a couple feature pieces your way and give someone new a chance.

If you’re not sure where to start, head to the paper’s website and find the name of a features or news editor.  Send them an email, maybe with a resume and some writing samples attached, explaining your interest in writing for their paper.


In terms of online media, BlogHer is the first network I’ve freelanced for.  Because they’re a female blogging network, the article topics are going to be ones you’re more familiar with and could have a lot of fun writing.

There are a couple ways to get published through BlogHer.  The first way, which is how it worked out for me, is to make sure you’re regularly publishing your (well-written and interesting) blog articles to your BlogHer page as well.  Good content catches people’s eyes, and you might get an email asking if you’d be interested in writing a paid article.  The second way is to go ahead and submit your ideas through BlogHer Syndication.

Hello Giggles

My roommate introduced me to Hello Giggles over the summer, and I love the types of articles they publish on feminism, basic news, being a 20-something, and cute stuff from all over the Internet.  While HG isn’t a publishing network in the same way as BlogHer, where you’re able to publish your content for free at any time, the website is almost like a magazine/blog, posting several articles written by all different people in an online forum.

If you’re interested in writing for HG, the website’s staff is always accepting article ideas through their email here.  After you read a few articles on their site and get an idea of what types of pieces you’ll find there, go ahead and email the staff with a (very) short bio and a few relevant article ideas you have.

Thought Catalog

Unlike the other sites I’ve mentioned, Thought Catalog does not pay per article.  The website publishes your content on a free-basis, but is a great way of getting your name and your writing style out there.  If you’re just stepping into the freelance arena, it can be a good idea to publish through a site like this first to get the hang of writing for an online source that isn’t your own blog.

Like BlogHer, Thought Catalog accepts article ideas through a form embedded on their website.  Unlike BlogHer though, the ideas you submit to Thought Catalog need to be a full article, ready to be published.  Using the form on the TC website, you submit your information and the article itself to be approved or denied.