I love Britney Spears, and I’m not afraid to let the world know it. It may be the single subject I post most about on social media, a situation further exacerbated by three quirky facts about my life: 1. My sister also loves Britney, so we’re often posting Britney-related minutiae and tagging each other; 2. I take a weekly dance class dedicated entirely to Britney songs and choreography, so I’m often posting either links to sign up for the class or video of the class itself; and 3. I play pop covers on acoustic guitar at a monthly open mic, and my Britney catalog is immense, so I often do whole sets dedicated to her, which are posted on my feeds. In short: If you follow me on social media, the one fact you’re most likely to know about me is that I love Britney.
This seems trivial, but if you are a freelance writer, I strongly encourage you to post the shit out of any such passions you have. (I would add this to the other great advice in this piece about scoring freelance work on The Muse.) My incessant Britney posting resulted in three great assignments the week her new album, Glory, came out in August. (It’s really good, please go listen to it, and make sure you get the deluxe version, which has the best songs.)
Here’s why it worked so well: The number-one way freelancers get assignments is so basic that beginners, in particular, never think of it. An editor—who is, after all, just a human being—thinks to herself, “I want a piece on X subject. Whom do I know who could do this?” Then a name pops into her head, and she emails that person. That’s it. You want that name to be yours.
So when Britney’s album dropped and editors I knew wanted to assign pieces about it, they immediately thought of me—I had, via years of passionate Britney posting, associated my name almost directly with hers in many people’s heads. The result was a week of indulging my passion, starting with a Billboard assessment of this album in the context of her career, continuing with a feminist analysis of Britney for Bustle, and ending with actually going to the MTV Video Music Awards to see her performance and write about it, again for Billboard.
Of course, it’s necessary to note that other factors had to be solidly in place for this chain of events to occur. Namely: 1. I have many longtime friends on social media who are editors at cool places. 2. I have been a professional writer for more than 20 years, and have written full-time about pop culture and women’s issues for 15 of those years. So I had to know the right editors, and they had to trust me.
Still, it’s worth noting: If you’re a freelance writer, posting about your passions isn’t simply fun. It’s good business.