The chances are that if you’re trying to find out how to become a freelance writer, you’ve probably got some considerable writing skills and experience under your belt anyway. The things is, however, that certain skills are more in demand than others when it comes to freelance writing.
It’s important to identify your skills before learning how to become a freelance writer.
Remember that there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the skills you possess. You’ll find that certain writing skills are in huge demand – but you’ll find that this demand is more than met by the millions of freelance writers already offering their services in that writing niche. In other, less crowded writing niches you will find that there are far fewer jobs on offer, but consequently there are far fewer freelancers like yourself offering their skills and expertise. Although jobs may be few and far between, competition for them is likely to be low, and financial rewards are likely to be high.
Here’s a list of different types of writing that can net you a lot of work (and potentially a lot of money!):
- Web content writing (including SEO copywriting): Every website on the internet needs content on it. Web content is basically the words that make up a website. Web content writers are in huge demand – every day thousands of new websites are put online, they all need content from somewhere! Many freelance writers specialise in website content because there are so many jobs out there for this specific type of writing. Some research may well be required in order to complete web content writing so you have a good grasp of the topic or business that the website is about.
- Blog writing: Many websites out there now have blogs that run in tandem with them. Most CEOs and senior business managers simply don’t have time to keep their blogs updated, so they pay ghostwriters to do it for them; this is where you come in! Blog writers are in demand right now on all of the main freelance marketplaces. Blogs range from informal and SEO-focused to extremely detailed and technical. Have a look today to see if there’s some blog writing jobs that you could apply for.
- Press release writing: Plenty of internet marketing companies are now using press releases in order to boost their link building campaigns. Most press release distribution services out there require press releases to meet strict guidelines. Put simply, the average, inexperienced writer will have a hard job having press releases accepted. Therefore lots of companies are now looking to outsource the writing of press releases. Compared to SEO web content and blog writing, press releases tend to command an extremely high pay rate due to the skills required to write one.
- Article writing: As well as using press releases for link building campaigns, many SEO companies are also using article directory websites like Ezine and Suite 101 in order to generate back links to clients’ sites. This means they need to outsource high quality articles to freelance writers like you – once you turn the work over to them they then publish it on one of the online ezines, with a link embedded back to their client’s website.
- High quality article writing: Writing articles for publishing on ezines isn’t the only kind of work on offer out there. Sometimes respected online publications such as newspapers and magazines will advertise for contributors to a forthcoming issue – or they may just have some space they need to fill on their website.
- eBook writing: eBooks are becoming more and more popular – out there on the internet it’s possible to find eBooks on many different subjects, from improving your golf swing to helping you find a girlfriend. All of these eBooks come from somewhere; there are many publishers and internet marketers out there looking for freelance writers like you to write their eBooks for them – so start applying for eBook jobs today. Remember they usually command pay in the high hundreds of pounds, if not thousands of pounds.
- Business plans: Many would-be business owners out there will approach you for help; they need you to work your magic on business plans for them in order to convince bank managers and investors that their plan is worthy of a loan or cash lump sum. They will provide you with all the facts and figures you need, then you go away and fashion it into a well-worked business plan. Clients will pay hundreds of pounds for business plan writing work. A lot of the time you don’t need a whole lot of experience writing business plans either – it’s just a case of drawing together the information they provide you with.
- Academic writing: On many of the freelance marketplaces you’ll find lots of clients trying to recruit academic writers. There are a plethora of different academic writing jobs on offer including essay writing, thesis writing and so on. If academic writing is your strength, these kinds of jobs might be something you wish to focus on.
These tend to be the most popular forms of work that freelance writers opt for. Of course there are many other types of writing work that freelance writers can obtain including curriculum vitae (CV) writing work, email marketing newsletter writing work and even copy for printed flyers and brochures.
YOU NEED TO IDENTIFY OTHER KEY STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES BEFORE YOU FOLLOW MY GUIDE ON HOW TO BECOME A FREELANCE WRITER
There are other questions that you need to address before you can successfully make the transition from your day job to living the dream as a freelance writer. These include:
- What variations of English can you write in? If you can only write in UK English, you’re severely restricting the number of potential clients that you can work for. Remember, the majority of the world doesn’t use UK English as standard – US English is far more popular. Take a quick online course to help you learn the nuances of writing in the US English – you’ll make yourself far more employable as a freelance writer.
- How great is your spelling? If your spelling and grammar isn’t great you shouldn’t rely on the spell check feature in Microsoft Word, or whatever word processing software you use. Instead it’s definitely a good idea to enlist someone to proof read your work for you, prior to handing it over to clients. Nothing looks more unprofessional than sending over pages of writing that are littered with errors. The drawback to having someone proof read your work is that it adds time on, causing delivery schedules to be pushed back.
- Are you good at meeting deadlines? If you’re the kind of person that’s always an hour late for any appointment, or the person who has never hit a deadline in their life, perhaps becoming a freelance writer isn’t for you after all. Clients like their work on time, and when they don’t get it on time they won’t be happy. If on the other hand you strive to beat deadlines, you’ll find yourself right at home in the world of freelance writing.
After you’ve spent some time reading this section of my How to Become a Freelance Writer guide, make sure you note down your individual strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and the kinds of work you think you’ll be able to complete.