Freelance journalism is a struggle because it is never easy to fare the best in this industry. This industry requires from its participants freshness in ideas and consistency in work. Moreover, it will push you out of your comfort zone and make you work tremendously.
Now, the whole introductory paragraph might make freelance journalism look like an endless struggle; however, it is not as grave as you imagined it to be. What journalism expects from you are unconditional dedication and an urge to dig information, present it in an ethical manner, and contribute to public discourse.
If you are a freelance journalist and looking for work, then we have a handful of tips to spark that fire in you. The tips we have mentioned in this article are proven to be successful provided you take them seriously. With these tips, you can do away with unreasonable hassles and find work.
Here are 6 things you should keep in mind when looking for work:
1. Networking Is Key To Finding Work
Journalism is essentially about networking. The more connected you are to the outside world, you better you will be heard.
A principal rule in freelancing is to keep yourself visible to the public vision. Networking helps in keeping you in the memory of people who can significantly help you in finding work. Connect with your previous employers, join forums run by journalists, and create profiles on mainstream social networking websites.
If you have a side job which is not related to journalism, then you should not undermine the importance of your colleagues in the job hunt. Your colleagues might have strong connections with people involved in journalism and even recommend you for projects. So, connect as much as possible.
2. Research Publications As Well As About Their Editors
Before you pick any project, it is always better to research about it in depth.
If you are planning to submit an application for a job in a publication company, find out important details: newspapers and magazines it publishes; whether it has an online presence; how the public views the company; and the type of articles it publishes.
Only after you have thoroughly studied what you are up for, then you should submit applications. It is always preferable to go for work which you find enjoyable. However, in case the work requires you to undertake work in areas which you are not comfortable with, then you should communicate the same to the client and recommend negotiation.
Knowing the editor is equally important. Every editor views article differently—there is no standard code to impress editors. Therefore, you should know the type of editor you are dealing with. For example, whether the editor has a conventional approach towards contemporary issues, or whether the editor is flexible.
Whatever you do, do it intelligently. You might be super talented, but without preparedness, even you cannot give your cent percent.
3. Suggest Subjects Which Others Are Missing
If you are an expert on topics which are relatively obscure, then you should certainly go for them. Many journalists out there are under a misconception that nobody is interested in knowing about things less talked about. Well, actually, people would not know until you tell them, and that is why there is the scope.
You need to talk about things which are missed out by other reporters. If you take up such topics, you will create your own niche. People will start identifying you easily because your topics differ greatly from what they generally read.
The only problem is getting your editor ready for these subjects. Editors need strong, convincing arguments to change the approach of articles. When you pitch an idea, you should be armed with information and necessary arguments to prove your point. If you do the argumentative part nicely, your work is will get a go-ahead.
One important tip: before pitching an idea, make sure you run through the database of your company and check whether the topic has already been covered. Do not rely too much on editors; they are humans too.
4. Develop An Online Portfolio
You have to exploit the resources available online, and the best way to do that is by creating a portfolio.
A portfolio is basically a documentation of your creations. You upload all that you have worked on and put it on public display. All the mainstream freelance websites allow their users to upload a portfolio which acts as a reference tool for clients out there.
In case you are starting new and do not have any creations to upload, then you should write down samples and upload the same. Upload as much as you can and in good quality so that clients are able to assess your abilities and determine whether you are cut out for the job applied.
5. Stay Updated
You are a journalist, and hence, there is no room for redundancy. As a journalist, you are under a duty to keep yourself informed of every important change that affects your area of interest.
For example, if you are into medical journalism, then you should be aware of latest medical discoveries, controversies, conferences and what not.
Clients will expect the best and the latest from you. You cannot dupe them either because your content will be up in the public domain and subject to scrutiny. One mistake and your reputation may get tarnished forever.
There are many applications available for download which offer instant access to information. From automobile journalism to contemporary news, you can know everything on just a click. Although the importance of reading newspapers can never be overstated, you might not be able to read them every day and hence, these applications can be of great help.
6. Take The Challenge
Journalism is tough, but once you are here, you will enjoy it. It is about you making an initiative for creating a well-informed society. For that, you will have to go through a lot of struggle. But, that is the exciting part of one of the noblest professions in the world—and you better come out victorious.