If you’re a feature writer contributing to magazines or newspapers, the chances are that you might be feeling pretty bummed by the current state of media affairs (unless you’re a travel writer). There was an article in The Guardian recently (sparked by the closure of Marie Claire’s print edition in the UK) about ‘how the British fell out of love with magazines’, and the collapse of newspapers in Australia has been predicted for years. But in the last little while I’ve seen a striking trend. One that offers real hope for freelance writers.
Sponsored content – a great freelance writing opportunity (and how to find clients)
If you love writing feature-style articles for glossy magazines or print newspapers, all hope is not lost.
A recent report from Roy Morgan found that ‘in today’s digitally-focused world print newspapers continue to be an important advertising medium to reach both mass and niche audiences.’
Yes, but what’s that got to do with me? I hear you ask.
Because in my experience more and more magazines and newspapers are commissioning freelance writers to produce sponsored content.
Sponsored content is also known as ‘brand sponsored content’ and it’s when an article is written in the same style, tone and voice as the rest of the publication. The only difference is that a brand has paid for the article to be produced.
[This is a useful article explaining the differences between brand journalism, native advertising, sponsored content and branded content]
I think every single magazine or newspaper (and digital outlet for that matter) I currently write for has some kind of sponsored content in its pages.
It may not be every day or every week, but these publications often run sponsored content in campaign cycles.
For example, at the moment I’m working on a campaign of three pieces of sponsored content for an Australian publication. I receive a detailed brief together with the contact details of interviewees I need to include in the piece and payment of $1/word.
I’ve worked on these kinds of campaigns quite a lot and I’m noticing a huge surge in the numbers of editors being appointed to commercial content roles and an increase in opportunities for freelance writers.
How freelance writers can find high-paying writing jobs in sponsored content
Start with the publications you have previously written for. If you don’t have much experience, don’t worry. This technique can still be helpful for you.
Have a flick through (or scroll through) the pages of the publication you have written for or want to write for.
Look for articles that have disclaimers like “produced in collaboration with X brand” or “this article was produced in partnership with X brand”. Sometimes it may just simply say “sponsored content”.
Then reach out to the editor.
This is the most important part.
Almost always you won’t be dealing with the ‘regular’ editor.
Instead, you’ll want to contact the content editor.
This kind of role may have a number of different titles such as:
Commercial digital content editor
Commercial content editor
Audience growth editor
Native and commercial editor
Head of branded content
You all know how much I love LinkedIn and how you can use it to find high-paying corporate clients, right?
Well this is the time to use your LinkedIn searching and connecting skills to connect with relevant commercial content editors.
Just a few days ago I connected with a commercial content editor on LinkedIn and she messaged me straight away (after I sent her a quick letter of introduction) to say that she was looking for writers and she had passed my details on to another commercial editor she knew.
I don’t know about you, but it took me years before a ‘regular’ editor recommended me to another editor, but in the commercial content world these editors are looking for steady, reliable writers.
Look at online newspapers and you’ll see that most have a sponsored content section. Who is usually writing that content? Freelance writers.
These are some of the best freelance writing jobs around.
So what are you waiting for? Start reaching out and connecting!
Do you write sponsored content? Have you noticed a growing demand of this kind of writing?
Amazing and valuable information, as always. And, the proof really is in the pudding! Just a few short hours after reading your article, I established a connection with a content editor who said she’d put me on her writer’s list and asked me to email her with more info about my specialties.
Now to nail that email so I can land those briefs! Many thanks, Lindy. I really appreciate all you do for those of us in your reading community 🙂
This makes me so happy! Good on you for reaching out and congratulations!
As always, I love the nuggets of wisdom you share! There are so many possibilities, and it’s good to be reminded or informed of what’s actually out there!
Quick question though – when connecting with these kinds of editors, do they expect you to produce examples straight away, or is this requested further down the line when they’re actually in need of you?
Basically, is there a different process to working with these editors and this kind of content?
I ask this as very new writer, in the process of strategising my entry 😉
Thanks for your comment and kind words.
In my experience, you work with these editors in much the same way. You might need to have a little more contact with them throughout the process to check on specific things about what should be included (or not), but basically it’s the same.
In terms of whether they expect you to produce examples straight away – I think it would depend on the editor. I imagine that most would want to see a sample of similar/related work before they engage you.
Hope that helps,
Thank you Lindy! I have been trying to find out how to get into sponsored content for months. I’m looking forward to trying this! Have a wonderful weekend.
You’re welcome Laura! Let us know how you go.
Hi Lindy, would you say there currenty are still many such opportunities for freelance writers?