Have you ever experienced the frustration of crafting pitches for freelancing writing jobs, only to end up with a long list of rejections?
Even worse, have you suggested a topic for a piece of content, only to be met by deafening silence?
The fact of the matter is that supply outweighs demand when it comes to freelance writing. For all freelance writing jobs, there are an army of eager writers looking to fill it.
Thankfully, many writers are taking shots in the dark for those freelance writing jobs. A lot write in a haphazard, amateurish fashion. Furthermore, many suggest content which is unfocused, unpopular or downright unsuitable for the site they are pitching for.
If you take the time to harness the power of the secret weapon known as search engine optimization and keyword research, you stand the best chance of landing one of the many freelance writing jobs editors need to assign.
These ideas also work well for your own blog and driving traffic to it.
How to find in-demand article ideas
Blogs publish content in order to serve an audience with information that is likely to be informative and entertaining.
When you’re brainstorming article ideas to submit to a blog, it can be difficult for writers to know exactly what to pitch. It’s hard to get inside an editor’s head and imagine what freelance writing jobs they will assign.
As a result, writers often end up making one of the two following mistakes:
- Pitching something overly generic in the hope of acceptance, and getting rejected for being too general
- Pitching something unsuitable for the blog, or something too obscure and niche
Thankfully, there is a way around this dilemma. It’s possible to find blog ideas for writing jobs that are both relevant to the specific audience and based on what people are actively searching for.
Here’s the simple tactic to find a winning blog idea:
- Browse the blog you are thinking of pitching to. Make a note of its categories, topics, and the format of articles. Choose several that you think are a good fit for your own writing.
- Carry out keyword research using the process explained below to find the most relevant keywords.
- Combine these keywords with the format of the blog you identified during your research to make a series of topics/headlines to pitch to the editor.
- Narrow down your three best ideas
- Reach out to the editor in the way described below
This process does not guarantee you will land one of those freelance writing jobs that an editor needs to assign. However, it gives you a much higher chance of success, and stands to save you hours of frustration and wasted effort.
How to conduct keyword research
The basic objective of keyword research is to find the topics that people are searching for information about online. Then create content to meet that demand.
For example, let’s say you had a blog about freelance writing. If you carried out keyword research, and noticed that a lot of people were searching for the phrase ‘freelance writing motivation’, you would be able to produce an article on this topic with the confidence it would be in-demand.
How do you do this? Here are several options for carrying out keyword research, both free and paid, to help you find in-demand ideas to help you land more freelance writing jobs.
This is the easiest and most basic way of carrying out keyword research.
There are two quick and simple ways to get article topic ideas by using Google.
The first option: Simply enter your basic topic idea into the Google search bar, for example, ‘Writing’. You then follow this by the letters of the alphabet, for example ‘writing a’, followed by ‘writing b’ and so on.
See the image below for an example.
Google will autocomplete a list of topics that people are actively searching for, starting with the letters of the alphabet you input. You can be sure that these topics are in-demand if they show up here, and have a better chance of helping you land freelance writing jobs.
The other option is to carry out a search and then see the ‘also searched for’ suggestions that come up at the bottom of the page, as seen below:
The advantage to using Google for keyword research is that it’s quick, easy, and free. The disadvantage is there is no way to quantify the level of demand for different ideas, and therefore to numerically assess which idea is better than another.
KWFinder is a powerful keyword research tool. Although it has a paid mode, its free option is more than enough for carrying out a small amount of keyword research.
To use KWFinder, you input your writing topic idea into the search bar. KWFinder then returns data on this keyword, and other similar keywords, as seen in the image below:
By using KWFinder, you can specify exactly how much demand there is for an article idea when you pitch it to an editor. This alone makes your pitch stand out from the others.
Not every writer will need the level of keyword research offer from the premium services. However, if you think you would get enough value from them that they would end up paying for themselves, or you are serious about your own blog, you may wish to consider them. But before you do, check out the trial versions of these services.
How to get the most out of free trials for keyword research
If you are clever about this, it’s possible to carry out a large batch of keyword research with a free or reduced trial period for one of the following services. By systematically following the step by step process outlined above, you can produce solid topic ideas for freelance writing jobs to pitch to a wide range of blogs during your trial period.
Long Tail Pro
This is a keyword research tool originally created by Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits.
Long Tail Pro is based around the concept of finding ‘long tail’ keywords, which tend to be more niche and easy to show up on Google for than others. So, for example, instead of ‘healthy recipes’, a long tail keyword would be ‘healthy recipes for vegan teens’. The searcher has more specific needs, which are easier to fulfill.
The user interface of Long Tail Pro is shown below.
This is a great choice if you have your own blog, and wish to generate a large amount of content for it that will attract search traffic organically. It can also help you identify keywords to help you land more freelance writing jobs.
Semrush is a very high-powered service, and one which is probably outside the needs of most writers.
However, if you are looking to build a writer website which ranks highly on Google, the competitive research tools offered by Semrush may give you a serious advantage.
The Semrush user interface is shown below –
AHRefs is widely regarded as the most powerful keyword research tool, but also the hardest to learn.
It offers a massive amount of data, and the ability to track websites and the keywords sites are ranking for over a period of time.
This is another service which offers more than most writers will need, but is a great option if you are ready to create the best writer website imaginable, or dig deeper into keyword research to pitch ideas for freelance writing jobs.
Pitch the right way: Follow these 5 steps
The following are my top tips for including data and pitching in the right way, which I’ve learned through trial and error, both as a guest writer and as the owner of a popular blog.
- Take the time to find the editor’s name. This makes a big difference, and can often be found by browsing around the ‘about’ section of any given site or blog.
- Don’t use a template pitch. It’s easy to tell when something is copied and pasted. Take the time to write a custom pitch, as your results will be a lot better.
- Focus on what you can offer the blog, and why your content will benefit their readers specifically.
- Find other pieces of content on the blog you can link to within your own.
- Be friendly, positive, and respectful. Busy blogs get endless pitches, so a little courtesy will often go a long way.
Also, many blogs and sites will have a specific set of guidelines to follow when writing a guest pitch. You can search on a specific site by using Google’s ‘site:’ search feature. So, for example, if you wanted to search only Make A Living Writing, you would search ‘site:makealivingwriting.com’ followed by your search query.
If you use the above site search feature followed by ‘guest post’ and ‘guest author’ you can make sure you don’t overlook any guest guidelines that need to be followed.
Use keyword research to get freelance writing jobs
We’ve now covered how to follow a step by step process to find in-demand topics to pitch to any specific blog, and the right way to use this information in a carefully crafted pitch.
In summary –
- Use free or paid tools to find the ideas people are demanding information about
- Use this data to craft a careful topic in the style and format used by a given blog
- Write a carefully customized pitch to reach out and suggest how your idea will benefit a blog’s audience
Questions about keyword research for freelance writers? Let’s discuss on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Dave Chesson is the creator of the e-book keyword research tool KDP Rocket (yes, Carol uses, recommends, and proudly affiliate sells it). He also shares in-depth book marketing guides on Kindlepreneur.com, such as his recent guide to the best book writing software.