Why you should tweet for work
Twitter is not just a platform for as-it-happens news, views and the occasional rant, rave and funny meme...for freelancers, it should also be your go-to when looking for new writing work. Safrean Sian Ferguson explains why and shares five ways you can use Twitter to get your next writing gig.
1. Look for job opportunities and calls for pitches
Out of my first four paid writing jobs, three came from Twitter. By that, I mean that editors read my work through Twitter and offered me a job through the platform.
While I initially found jobs because editors reached out to me on Twitter, I’ve become less passive about this process. I now actively look for job opportunities and calls-for-pitches on Twitter - and I’m often successful.
Plenty of editors - myself included - post calls for pitches on Twitter. We might also use Twitter to share guidelines, explain which topics they’re interested in covering, and answer questions from potential writers.
Try regularly searching for terms like ‘call for pitches’, ‘call for submissions’, ‘pitch me’, ‘looking for writers’, and so on.
2. Generate pitch ideas
Twitter is an amazing source of ideas. It’s one of the many tools I use to generate pitch ideas. While scrolling through my timeline, I ask myself:
- What’s happening in the news? How can I cover it?
- Which tweets and memes are going viral right now? Can I write a reported piece or opinion piece relating to those themes?
- Is there a trend I can or should comment on?
Twitter also is a great place to find awesome pieces of journalism - some of which may inspire you!
3. Find a writing community
Finding a writing community is essential, especially when you work from home. Not only is a writing community a great source of camaraderie and advice - your community might also bring you job leads. Use the search function to take a look at who is talking about writing or journalism in your niche.
Use search terms like “journalist [your niche]” or “writer [your niche]” and define your search to ‘people’ so that you can find Twitter users with those terms in their bio. So, because I cover cannabis news, I might search the terms “journalist cannabis” or “writer marijuana” to find other writers like me.
You could also search hashtags like #amwriting to find more writers. Bear in mind that this hashtag is very general, and you might not find a specific niche that easily using this hashtag alone.
4. Find – and establish relationships with – editors
When I decide I want to write for a publication, and I’m not sure how to break into it, I start by following the editors on Twitter. I find them by searching for “[publication name] editor” or “[publication username] editor”. I try to interact with them, keeping our interactions genuine.
Following editors is useful because:
- You get to see their calls for pitches first.
- If you interact with them every so often, your name will stick out in their mind.
- You figure out what sort of content they like - and what they enjoy publishing. This helps you pitch them stories that you know they’ll like.
- They might approach you and assign you work. Many times, this strategy has directly led to editors reaching out to me and asking me to pitch them, or assigning me a story.
5. Gather up a following
Gaining a large following on Twitter isn’t just about stroking your ego. It opens doors for you.
In my writing communities, I’m often told by agents and authors alike that establishing a large social media following can go a long way in helping you sell your book idea to potential publishers. While Twitter is certainly not the only social media platform you can use, it’s super versatile and is more writer-friendly than, say, Instagram.
About the author
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and journalist who mostly covers social justice and health stories. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications, including Teen Vogue, Washington Post, Everyday Feminism, HealthyWay, The Tempest and more. She also works as a content writer and editor. Visit her website and connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.