Top 5 tips to succeed as a freelance journalist

Perfect your pitch

You have around 0.2 seconds to capture the attention of a flat-out editor whose email inbox is inundated with pitches, and yours is like a pebble a BIG pond. You’ve got to make a ripple. After researching and understanding the publication, wordsmith your way to the top with a punchy pitch on a complete story (not an idea) and make sure it’s clear why you are the right one to bring it to them.

Take rejection

There is no greater motivator than rejection!  So you will definitely be getting a LOT of motivation to keep sending those pitches.  It’s a part of every freelance journalist’s daily routine. Accept the rejections and move on – don’t take it personally. Instead, dust yourself off, rework your pitch for a different publication or ditch the idea and start on a new one.  Set yourself a goal and stick to it – 10 pitches a day… You will reap the rewards.

Find a niche

It’s great to be a jack of all trades when it comes to freelance journalism and you should definitely step out of your writing comfort zone to keep your talent fresh.  However, when you are just starting out in the industry, writing about something you are passionate about will get you leverage and quite possibly a regular gig – if you find the right publication for your specialisation. 

Create an online presence

Once you start seeing your byline proudly in print, it’s important that you capture these articles in an online portfolio.  One way of doing this is by creating a website with a linking blog. A blog not only allows you to practice your writing but is a great way of attracting new attention.  Getting active online and networking with other journos will put you on the radar for referrals and new opportunities.

Enrol in a course

Insiders’ tips, templates and in depth info on the industry framework coupled with a professional mentor, ongoing support and expert advice – backing yourself with a course in freelance journalism really seems like a no-brainer. Courses such as the one offered by the Morris Journalism Academy, will provide you with the industry knowhow which will go beyond putting pen to paper.  This foundational knowledge will quickly have you writing your way to freelance journalism success.

Top 5 tips to succeed