The internet has us chasing trends 24/7. Every day, every week, there is something new to learn about social media, marketing, and freelance writing.
As a freelance writer, knowing where to invest your time and what to capitalize on is part of your job description.
To help, here are some of the major trends to keep an eye on in 2019.
Long Form Content
Clients are seeking writers who can or want to write long-form content. About five years ago, the trend was 300-600-word blog posts. This has increased dramatically.
Long form content is basically a long article. These articles are usually between 1200 and 5500 words, sometimes reaching up to 10,000 words.
The reason clients are seeking this long-form content is that it attracts more users to their site. It’s simple: the more words you write, the higher the opportunity to get all the search engine optimization (SEO) words in there a bunch of times.
If I write a 500-word article on the best desk lamps, I might get that keyword in there five times. However, if I write a long-form piece, I can get the ever-important keywords in there 20 or 30 times.
Plus, the longer the article, the longer a reader is the on the site. This translates to more page views, more clicks, and so on.
The more content your clients have, the more likely it is that readers will return to read more.
Along with long-form content, clients expect every sentence to be golden. They want high-quality content.
High-quality content means unique angles, reported in exciting and engaging
As a writer, it will be helpful to understand how the Google search algorithm works and how to write content that ranks. Clients are going to want you to know how to find competitive keywords.
High-quality content is what will keep a reader returning.
Interviewing experts, witnesses, or victims is trending in 2019. With the endless regurgitation of round-the-clock news, reported pieces are timely and attract a wide audience.
Reported pieces are typically what journalists submit to newspapers or magazines (or other news-related websites.) These are pieces that contain no opinion, only facts.
Master of All Trades
Clients are looking for a one-stop-shop this year. They want to hire one person to take care of strategy, social media, and SEO. They want you to understand analytics, keywords and search queries, target audiences, social media influencers, how to beat the competition, and write branded content, and hold strategy meetings…PHEW!
Clients are seeking freelancers who can deliver more of everything.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
Writing as an expert on any subject automatically puts you in a position of authority. People want to read what the professionals have to say on certain topics.
You could be an expert in anything.
- Baking or creating recipes
- Dog handling
The list goes on and on.
Underneath the umbrella of SMEs, you’ll notice a boom in the search for resume and curriculum writers.
Many of us need new or updated resumes right now because there is a vast population leaving behind the 9 to 5 world.
Resume writing sounds like it would be a pretty easy gig, but it takes significant talent. It’s not about simply choosing the right template anymore. (I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with professional resume writers, and their skills blow my mind!)
Resume writers need to know things like:
- An understanding of various industries, from entry-level to experts
- Applicant Tracking System (ATS) capabilities
- Human resources and recruitment functions
There’s even a National Resume Writers’ Association that offers membership and certifications. This is the year to start learning about creating resumes if you’re looking to branch out.
Curriculum writers have to have a college degree, ideally at the master’s level. They also have to have experience in educational writing, technical writing, curriculum design, and actual teaching. This is a big trend this year because so many students are turning to online education.
Freelancing full-time is on the rise, and co-working spaces are found in big cities and small towns everywhere.
A co-working space is an office or cubicle in a building full of other entrepreneurs, freelancers, and writers. It’s a communal setting where you still get to be your own boss, but you’ll feel like you’re part of a bigger community.
Some freelance writers prefer working near other people in an office setting to get their minds ready to work.
Co-working spaces are usually an all-inclusive deal. In an all-inclusive package, you’re renting space that pays for shared use of Wi-Fi, copy machines, beverages and snacks, a desk and chair or even a dedicated office.
Co-working is not for you if you aren’t productive in an open-office setting, or if you get distracted easily. It also might not make sense financially if you are just starting out in your freelancing journey.
Sponsored and Branded Content
Potential clients are seeking writers who can effortlessly pull off sponsored and branded content.
Branded content is content that is not written expressly as an advertisement, but instead, its purpose is audience engagement. Branded content is posting on Pinterest, Instagram, or writing a blog and is usually carried out in-house.
Branded content writing is only going to grow more popular. It’s a way to authentically connect with an audience, and companies everywhere are clamoring for that visibility.
Sponsored content is a bit different.
Let’s say ABC Company reaches out to Jessica the Writer. Jessica and ABC Company collaborate together. ABC Company then writes its own content and passes it back to Jessica the Writer. Jessica then publishes the material to her website. Welcome to sponsored content!
Even if you haven’t heard the term “affiliate marketing” it’s likely that you already know what it is.
It’s basically when an online retailer like Barnes & Noble, for example, pays a commission to someone who has successfully generated sales for them via their website.
For example, Jessica the Writer would write a blog post and include a link that gives shoppers 10% off their order at Barnes & Noble. Barnes & Noble will then give Jessica part of the proceeds for sending them business.
If you have a popular blog, website, or a large social media following, retailers may reach out to you and ask if you’d like to promote their stuff.
Before you agree to write branded content, sponsored content, or share affiliate links, make sure you understand all the pros and cons, and definitely make sure you investigate the company from top to bottom.
You wouldn’t want to endorse anything that doesn’t align with your own values.
While it may seem taboo, or even a bit uncomfortable, negotiating compensation is part of the freelancing package. With wage transparency, freelance writers can stop agreeing to low rates that should be unacceptable.
You may have noticed that the freelance writing community is generally supportive. We want our fellow writers to have success. To do that, we share rates and payment information about clients that we’ve worked with.
This promotes equality and fairness, and it serves as a warning signal for who NOT to work for.
Hang around in a group of writers long enough, and you’ll hear who is on the good list and who isn’t. Wage transparency is about being empowered while lifting the veil on bad practices.
New Laws Protecting Freelancers
In 2017, the state of New York enacted a law called Freelance Isn’t Free. It ensures that freelancers have a right to timely and full payment as well as protection from retaliation. New Yorkers can even send an electronic complaint form if they aren’t getting paid.
With such a broad swath of employees leaving their jobs in search of freelance work, this could be the newest legal trend in 2019.
Freelance writers should have the same protections as those who are employed by large companies. Fingers crossed that this trend spreads far and wide.
Final Thoughts on 2019 Freelance Writing Trends
While this list may change and shift several times over the next few years, freelancing is no longer a trend; it’s a movement. Keep learning, keep being curious, and always keep your eye on the next big thing.