Are you new to freelancing and don’t know what kind of writing to tackle? Or perhaps you’ve been at it for a while and are just looking for a change?
What’s a freelancer to do?
Changing your niche can be time-consuming and can often feel like starting over. So how can you breathe new life into your work without switching topics?
Find a new type of work.
Doing the same type of work, week after week can become tiring. It’s also possible you’re leaving money on the table by not offering a wider variety of services.
What types of writing can you do as a freelancer?
It seems a substantial chunk of freelance writing jobs can fall under the description of “article writing.” Clients may call this type of work by any number of monikers but no matter the name, there’s plenty of money to be made with articles.
Among the most prevalent of jobs, online article writing is a popular choice for many freelancers. Sometimes called posts or pieces, online articles come in many forms. The intention behind online articles can range from informative to persuasive depending on the target audience and the clients’ goals.
This type of content typically ranges in size from 500 words, all the way upwards of 8,000 words.
Print articles are mainly found in newspapers and magazines. They are many times longer form and are typically higher paid than many online sources.
Because print sources often run on more infrequent editorial calendars than online sources, (weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even annually) they typically schedule their articles months ahead of time, making this type of work a timely expenditure.
While article and feature writing is among the most widespread of print work available, freelancers do have a lot of other avenues to explore.
Often the deciding factor in the question “Do I want to buy this merchandise?” is the product description.
Companies turn to skilled writers who can tell a story and entice readers to become customers, using only their words.
Helping consumers make well-informed decisions in the form of reviews takes careful research and concise wording.
Usually more think pieces than informative pieces, essays are generally a response to a question or statement. This type of writing is commonly found in magazines catering to a specific niche or target audience.
Social Media Copy
In today’s age, social media is the marketing powerhouse every business needs. With so many platforms to choose from and a different style required for each, a freelancer specializing in social media copy can sure clean up.
According to Pew Research, 79% of all the adults online are on Facebook. That figure translates to 68% of all Americans, which is a staggering number of potential clients.
Engaging copy on Facebook is often accompanied by eye-catching visuals (videos or photos). Although Facebook touts some of the highest character limits, the most successful Facebook copy doesn’t utilize the whole allowance, making light work for social media copywriters.
You can make a pretty significant impact with just 100 characters (the ideal length of a “strong” tweet, according to marketing sources.)
Clients seek out writers who can make their message or brand noticed by a wide audience using well thought out hashtags and easily digestible (yet provoking) sentences.
Because LinkedIn targets professional users, most copy found here is primarily B2B (Business to Business.)
Their decentralized publishing platform boasts large character limits and offers high visibility to an extensive professional network.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but a good caption is worth its weight in gold.
Despite being a photo-based app, Instagram captions including call-to-actions or further explanations can help promote products or brands at exponential rates.
Snapchats’ whole platform focuses on photos, videos, and above all, brevity. Businesses looking to use this platform only have a few seconds to catch the eye of consumers and get them wanting more.
Companies pay big money to sponsor their content on this platform and are happy to pay writers to help maximize their ROI.
Virtually all written content on a website is considered to be website copy. The intention and tone of the copy will drive the function of the text. It’s also crucial to driving traffic to the site as well as positively impacting search engine rankings.
The intent behind website copy is the reason behind why companies and businesses hire freelancers. When clients hire a freelance writer to manage their website copy, they’ll be looking for a writer who matches both their tone and intention.
While niching down is essential for every freelancer, it’s also important to pay attention to the intent behind your portfolio. Are you an informative writer or a sales writer? Does your work primarily inform or persuade?
Once you’ve matched with a clients’ intent, you can offer two main types of copy.
Static copy is essentially the bread and butter of any website. Typically it aims to inform the reader and convert them into regular consumers or customers.
Examples of this type of copy are sales pages, about me sections, and other information sharing pages.
When it comes to SEO, rankings, and traffic, dynamic copy plays a big factor. Where static copy intends to educate, dynamic copy entertains. An example of this sort of copy would be blog posts or other regularly updated written content streams.
Ranging from resources aimed at teachers or students to textbook writing, educational materials cover a great deal of work for freelancers.
- Website Content
- Resource Books
- Learning Guides
- Training Manuals
Among the most profitable of niches, there are many types of work that falls under the auspices of a technical writer. Regardless of the field, technical writing work often requires expert-level knowledge on the subject.
User End Documents
This type of work refers to any informational products aimed at consumers and users.
- Repair Manuals
- Assembly Guidelines
- Product and User Manuals
Usually research-related, medical writing is aimed at professionals and thus requires a high level of both specialization and education to complete.
- Research Findings
- Regulatory Documents
- Presentation and Promotional Content
Sometimes called “corporate copywriting,” marketing content can consist of things like informational and promotional content intended to help sell or publicize products, services, or brands.
- Press Releases
- White Papers
- Case Studies
What’s In A Name?
Whether online or in print, almost all writing can fall under two main categories; ghostwriting or with a by-line.
Many clients and companies want to fill their websites or publications with good content while maintaining themselves as an authority on their subject area. However, running a business and creating content can be extremely time-consuming.
Ghostwriters fill that need.
It’s notable that there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of ghostwriting work, which is excellent for those looking to fill their schedule.
However, unless explicitly stated by the client, your ghostwritten work cannot be used in your portfolio. The inability to use ghostwritten work to market yourself can be a big drawback, especially for newer freelancers.
Being credited for your work is often most preferable as you can use these in your portfolio and for self-promotion.
However, be aware, some publications intend to pay less per article in exchange for the exposure of a byline.
Finding Your “Why”
Burnout among freelancers is very common. It becomes even more commonplace when your workweek becomes routine, day after day. You can easily help combat the dreaded fatigue by switching up the types of work you do.
Additionally, when you offer clients a wider array of services, you may find yourself effortlessly increasing your income. After all, who wouldn’t want to make more money?
Regardless of your experience level in freelancing, learning about different types of work can be eye-opening and undoubtedly rewarding.
Bear in mind, trying out new revenue streams may come with a learning curve, albeit less than changing your niche altogether.
Any freelancer worth their salt will tell you, learning new skills is a vital part of freelancing success.