What Are the Most Popular Freelance Writing Gigs?

 


Freelance writing is a fantastic career. I think so, at least, as I’ve been doing pretty well in it. Still, there are things I wish I knew at the outset that would have saved me some time and would have gotten me on the road to decent earnings sooner.

Here, I break down some of the most popular forms of freelance writing so you can decide sooner which ones might be the best gig for you.

Feature Writing

Writing features means providing content for magazines, newspapers, industry journals, and other publications. Often, the piece is reporting on an event, trend, or another topic of widespread interest. It usually involves conducting research and interviews and is meant to provide the reader with tangible information.

Sometimes, a feature can be an opinion piece, but more detailed and cited than a simple editorial.

Of all the types of freelance writing gigs, this is usually the best-paying.

Copywriting

If your goal is to persuade someone to buy or use a product or service, you’re engaged in copywriting. This is the prose copy you’d come across in a printed advertisement, email blast, or mailer. A copywriter will also write the script for a radio or television commercial.

The goal is to sell, essentially. You might be selling an idea or a physical item. You might be selling someone on taking out a loan or supporting a political cause. Influence is the name of the game.

The level of detail will vary depending on the forum you’re writing for.

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Blogging

Many businesses and digital ad agencies will hire bloggers to add SEO content to their site with short articles and posts. It’s as simple as it sounds; people are commissioned to pen blog posts. Usually, it’s to provide some useful information for readers so they will visit the website hosting the blog and then stay to visit other pages on the site and convert sales.

Ideally, a good blog post answers a question someone might search for on Google, so they then visit the website you’re writing for. An example might be a roofing company or their digital ad agency hiring you to write “What To Do Following a Hail Storm” or a law firm assigning you “What Is Estate Planning?”

Freelance blogging is often looser than feature writing when it comes to tone, but it’s not often an area for opinion writing. That would be more for your personal blog.

Listicles

Like blogging, listicles are designed to drive web traffic. Their simple format makes for quick, reasonably simple writing. It can range from practical information such as “Top Ten Real Estate Markets In North Carolina” to more subjective, entertainment topics such as “Top Twelve Hottest Superheroes.”

A lot of listicles come across as clickbait. Some clients who will hire you to write a listicle just want web page visits. Others who want readers to stay at their site will ask you to produce more substantial pieces. That said, the listicle is an easy format to write.

Social Media Content

Businesses that maintain a strong online presence need a steady stream of content that can inform, influence, entertain, and be brief. It’s harder than it sounds. Freelancers in this arena will need to be familiar with optimizing reach on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, and, now, TikTok.

This gig can involve more than writing. Freelancers may also be expected to provide graphics support in charts, infographics, photos, and the occasional video.

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Freelance Editing

Technically, this isn’t writing, but it’s adjacent enough that it deserves mention. Many freelance writers also offer editing services and will be hired by ad agencies to review other writers’ work. Among the editing, responsibilities would be making sure a piece is consistent with agency standards, is grammatically correct, and properly cited when necessary.

A freelance editor will also work with writers on style suggestions to improve the piece overall.

Welcome to the world of freelance writing

Whatever type of freelance writing you choose to focus on, I recommend you try a bit of everything when you can. Variety makes you a stronger writer, and experience in several different writing formats can make you more attractive to potential clients.

Understand that within each of these categories are nests of niches and categories and subcategories to get involved in. For instance, there’s tech writing, but under that umbrella is cybersecurity writing, software review writing, cloud computing news and advice, and so on. Travel writing can include travel by air, sea, or road — or focus on resorts, hospitality centers, and tourist attractions.

One thing I particularly love about freelance writing is the variety.

Enjoy. And best of luck!

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