How to Use Google Alerts to Help you Find Freelance Writing Gigs


If there is one thing freelance writers have in common, it’s that we are constantly marketing ourselves. It’s not a good idea to get too comfortable in a gig, even if it has been steady and lasted for a long time, and even if the client has hinted that it will continue that way for some time. Things can change in the world of work for employees as well as freelancers very quickly, and while you always give your projects your best effort, you need to understand that you only have work as long as the client needs your services. It’s absolutely nothing personal; it’s just business. One way you can stay search for gigs is to set up Google Alerts for different keywords and have leads come to your In box.

Basics of Setting up Google Alerts

If you have never used Google Alerts before, here are the basics of creating one.

  1. Visit www.
  2. The first thing you will be asked to choose is your search term. You can set up more than one Google alert, so don’t feel as though you only have one chance to choose your keywords here. (A single user can create up to 1,000 alerts, so you don’t need to worry about running out of capacity for quite a while.)
  3. When choosing search terms, you can get specific results by putting the term you want in quotes, in just the same manner as you would if you were using a search engine. Do experiment with different search terms to see what kinds of results you will get. As you type in different ones, you will be able to get a preview of the types of results you will get if you choose that particular Google Alert to help you find freelance writing gigs.
  4. You will be asked how often you want to receive the alert (as it happens, once a day, once a week). For gig-searching purposes, choose either once a day or as it happens.
  5. Next, select Automatic to get alerts from all sources online. You can get leads from the Web, as well as blogs and discussion forums, and you don’t want to eliminate any sources of information.
  6. If there is a specific region you would like to select for your search, you can choose this for your alerts; otherwise, you will receive them from all over the world.
  7. Google allows you to receive all results or will filter out only the best results for you.
  8. Lastly, you can choose the e-mail address where you would like to receive the results.


Use Google Alerts to Mine for More Job Lead Sites

At Freelance Writing Gigs, we provide you with free job leads on weekdays compiled from various sources, but there is no way that we can monitor all the job sites online. You can take your Google Alert results and check out where the gigs are coming from to find more sources to look for gigs.

When your alert results come in, review them carefully. Do check to see whether there are any gigs you happen to be interested in applying for. That should always be your first priority. If not, go through the list again to see where the gigs are coming from. There will be names that are familiar on the list, such as oDesk, Elance, and Craigslist. If there are any site names that you are not familiar with, do a search for them online to see whether they may have other gigs you may be interested in, and bookmark them for future reference. This is your opportunity to build up more resources for searching for gigs.

Google Alerts and Looking for Gigs

There are a few more ways you can set up Google Alerts to help you find gigs:

  • Create general alerts for “writer wanted,” “freelance writer wanted,” “hiring writer,” “blogger needed,” etc. These types of alerts will give you a variety of results and you will probably have to wade through a lot of them to find something suitable. It is possible to find a few good leads using this method, and if you set up the alert to come to you daily, it doesn’t take long to go through them.
  • Set up more specific alerts for the type of writing you do, such as “press release writer wanted,” “health blogger needed,” or “hiring auto insurance writer.” You will get fewer results, but the ones you get will be more targeted. Try setting up this type of search for as it happens so that you can respond to an ad in a timely manner.
  • Do you have a dream client you would really like to work with? Set up a Google Alert for that company’s name to keep on top of company news, including hiring opportunities. You’ll want to know when you should be making your pitch or applying for an advertised position.

Setting up Google Alerts is a way to let your gig search run in the background while you work on other projects. While you wouldn’t want to rely on it exclusively to find gigs, it is another tool you can use to help you find freelance writing work.

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3 responses
  1. PowerLancer Avatar

    Just added this to our social schedule – thanks for the awesome tips, Jodee!

  2. Angie Johnston Avatar

    I use Google Alerts for everything! I have one for my name, one for each of my clients’ names, and even for topics I cover for some of my clients… it’s a fantastic tool.

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