Journalism Advice

Our Top 10 Journalism Advice Stories

Pitching, writing, getting paid—here are the burning issues for freelance writers you love

Sure, Mediabistro is your go-to when it comes to media career advice. But we’ve also got you covered when it comes to hard-earned wisdom about how to strike out on your own and go freelance.

A few of our journalism advice stories perennially rank as our most popular pieces—and rightly so, because they hit the big subjects that all freelancers should care about: How to ply your trade as a freelance writer, get assignments, get paid—and paid well.

Think of the list below as our greatest hits, and your refresher course for what you need to become a successful freelance writer. (And if you’re looking for more freelance gigs—and why wouldn’t you be?—be sure to check out the freelance jobs available now on our job board.)

1. How to Become a Six-Figure Freelancer: It is possible to go from the occasional writing gig to true financial security through your freelancing efforts. Here’s the top-notch advice you need to plan for success, expand your markets and earn the most for your time.

2. The Rookie Guide to Freelance Writing: This guide is essential reading for anyone looking to make the leap into freelancing. Packed with tips on getting started, making connections and the steps to take before pitching, it’s a great idea to keep this article bookmarked on your browser.

3. 8 Terms to Know If You Want to Be a Digital Media Journalist: It’s official: Digital has taken over journalism. Here are a few must-know terms used daily in today’s newsrooms. (Bonus: This glossary lays down the law on the proper pronunciation of GIF.)

4. 6 Ways to Track Down a Magazine Editor: Ever taken the time to develop a knockout pitch, sent it along and felt it fall into the abyss? You’re not alone. Here, successful freelance writers share what it takes to get ahold of an editor.

5. 4 Things to Consider When Setting Your Freelance Writing Rate: Most freelancers have no problem handling clients, hitting deadlines and creating killer copy. But when it comes to setting a rate, that’s a different story. Here’s all the info you need to set a rate you’re comfortable with—and that keeps the lights on.

6. 10 Terms Every Freelance Writer Should Know: Ah, journo jargon: Comprised of intentionally misspelled words, abbreviations and lingo from the early days of news, these terms are still going strong in newsrooms today. Don’t look like a rookie on your next gig: Brush up on your content talk with this handy list.

7. How to Get Your First Clips: It’s a newbie catch-22: You can’t get assignments because you don’t have clips, can’t get clips because you don’t have any assignments. Here’s actionable advice on breaking through this beginner’s rut.

8. 6 Tips for Submitting Freelance Writing Clips: Your clips are often your first contact with a new client or publication, so it’s important you make them count. Here’s how to show off your work in the best light possible and land gig after gig.

9. Your Life in 1,000 Words: The Craft of Personal Essays: In the age of sharing (or maybe, oversharing?) you’ll have no trouble finding a place to pitch your first-person story. See how to get your story out of your head and into a Word doc with this how-to on the personal essay.

10. 7 Steps to Landing the Assignment: No matter how long you’ve been freelancing, the key to landing an assignment is an irresistible pitch. Here’s how to craft a query with the extra oomph required to get you the gig.

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