One excellent way freelance writers can uncover hidden writing opportunities is to Google the phrase “write for us” (in quotes). Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! index this popular phrase. Search results typically include a medley of ad agencies, businesses, webmasters, publications, etc. seeking writers to contribute content.
Go ahead—give it a try.
Your results will look slightly different than mine BUT still similar in that the title and brief description of each result has the “write for us” phrase somewhere, most likely identifying a potential writing opportunity. My results led me to blogs, websites, and publications that needed ongoing content.
Google is able to identify websites that need writers by matching this phrase as:
An <H1> Element: This is referred to as a “Header” element in HTML terms. The person creating a post may decide to use an <H1> element to increase the font size from the rest of the text. <H1> elements signify to search engines that this is important text.
<DESCRIPTION> Tag: Another HTML element that encloses a snippet of text telling search engines what the webpage is essentially about. This piece of text usually appears under the title link in search results and/or the first few sentences of a post’s text. (Learn more about the <description> tag.)
<TITLE> Tag: This HTML element encloses a piece of text that is the title of the post or the title of the webpage. (Learn more about the <title> tag.)
(And/or) URL: Today—for SEO purposes–the URL can inherit the <TITLE> tag’s text and convert it into a hyphenated phrase. For example, if the webpage’s title or <TITLE> tag is “Write for Us! We Pay!” the URL will be: www.WebsiteName.com/write-for-us-we-pay.html or something similar to it. Search engines like Google and BING detect the phrase in the URL.
Body Text: This simply refers to the post itself.
Let’s face it—“Write for Us” is one of many obvious phrases that easily manifests in most individuals’ minds when posting an announcement or a solicitation of services to find writers.
- Webmasters use the phrase to find bloggers to blog for them;
- Agencies use the phrase to find writers to write content for clients;
- Businesses use the phrase to find writers to write for their websites;
- Editors use the phrase to find writers to write articles for their publications;
Suppose you needed writers to write for your blog, what phrase would you use as your webpage’s title and/or in your post? Perhaps the words: “Seeking writers…” “Hiring Writers…” “Looking for Writers…” “Write for Us…”, ETC. One thing is for certain—you would knowingly or unknowingly use a popular phrase that would draw the attention of writers.
Search engines are dumb. While they will—on command—churn out results of writing opportunities for you, they cannot tell you if these opportunities pay or don’t pay.
Of course, we want the ones that do pay. With some slight tweaking and fine-tuning, we can have Google eliminate most results of non-paying opportunities. To do so, we’ll need to use Google’s Advanced Search. Just follow these steps:
2. Enter “write for us” (without quotes) in the “this exact word or phrase:” field. (We omit the quotes this time because this pre-programmed field automatically encloses the words as a single phrase for us.)
3. Enter “pay*” (without quotes) in the “any of these words:” field. Notice the asterisk? This tells Google to find results with variations of the word “Pay” in it, such as: pay, pays, paying, paid, payment, etc.
4. Because we want Google to fetch fresh opportunities (i.e. recent ones), I tweak the “last update” field and select “past week”—depending on when I last searched.
5. You can tweak the “terms appearing” field to force Google to match the phrase to: 1. Anywhere in the page; 2. In the title; 3. In the URL; 4. In the text; etc. The default is #1 which we will use.
Now tap the “Advanced Search” button to perform the search.
My results will look different than yours because I searched on a different date.
Scroll through your results and visit some of the websites. You’ll see that Google does a decent job at culling relevant “Write for Us” opportunities that pay money. Naturally, you’ll still bump into a few “not as relevant” results—perhaps you landed on an outdated webpage, or a writing gig recently closed, or the pay rate was too low.
To yield the best results for yourself—based on your interests and specialty—experiment with Google’s Advanced Search. You can add different modifiers to the “all of these words:” field. For example, if you specialize in writing about new business ventures, why not add the word “business” or a similar word to the field to narrow your search to more specific writing opportunities? I also suggest you further familiarize yourself with the Advanced Search fields and experiment with different phrases.
If you have any questions, please email me.