While magazines have staff writers, most of them also buy stories from freelancers. Pay varies widely, depending on the size of the magazine and the market. Trade publications are often more lucrative than consumer publications, though you may need certain credentials to be considered.
In general, freelance writers send editors a query letter (although these days it’s much more likely to be an email) describing the topic of piece they’d like to write, alongside other details such as length and overall slant. Queries should be short, polished, and contain a hook that will pique the interest of the editor.
Many of the larger blogs outsource work to freelancers. Pay varies from $5-$10 per post on the low end to hundreds of dollars at the peak. Depending on the niche.
Blogging can be fast-paced with a tremendous amount of pressure to either break a story or be first with a relevant take on a hot topic. Writing about something a week after the fact, long after all the big blogs already commented on it, might work for magazines, but blogging is about timeliness - ask any SEO Expert. Stay on the cutting edge of your niche, break news, or be among the first to comment on big stories, and your writing will be in demand and you can command a higher rate.
Blogging is one of the few arenas where you can craft your own style, mixing journalism techniques with conversational style to create your own identity. Develop yours, but when writing guest posts for other blogs, play by their rules and write to their audiences.
Many blog owners look for writers on job boards, by advertising on their sites, and through word of mouth. Establishing a strong online network will help ensure you always have plenty of work.
Websites require large amounts of content, from “About Us” pages, to product descriptions, to reader-friendly FAQs. While some opportunities are advertised on job boards, word of mouth and a strong network are necessary to secure the most lucrative leads. Often, web content writers are subcontracted by the site’s designers, so it's also a good idea to make a few connections in the web design world. Find the right partners and you could find yourself teaming up on many projects.
Many writers look down on writing Search Engine Optimized keyword articles, while others find them a source of steady work to fill in the gaps between more rewarding assignments. Pay ranges from dismal ($1 for a 500 word article) to acceptable ($10-$12 for a 500 word article).
A fast writer can make a fairly good hourly rate, as long as they’re willing to write uninteresting, keyword-driven copy.