Welcome to the unpredictable, exhilarating – and occasionally pajama-clad – world of freelance writing.
Sure, stringing words together is something many of us did for pesky school assignments, but turning them into a thriving business? Now, that's a whole different story (pun intended).
In this article, we'll delve into the essentials of freelance writing.
We'll discuss the process of securing writing jobs, outline the responsibilities and key skills of today's freelance writer, and shed light on the earnings landscape.
Ready to navigate the world of words? Let's dive in.
What is a freelance writer?
Let’s get the basics out of the way.
A freelance writer is a professional who writes content without being tied to a single employer or company long-term. Instead, they operate as their own business or brand, taking on individual writing assignments or projects from various clients.
So why is this specific mode of working on the rise?Well, freelance writing offers flexibility and variety – sort of the perfect deal for anyone looking into digital nomading or an extra job.
However, remember that it also requires discipline, adaptability, and a proactive approach to securing gigs and maintaining consistent income.
Check out this video on the realities of working from home:
If you're up for the challenge however, keep on reading!
Now, just because you know how to write doesn’t necessarily mean you're a writer – but since most of us do know how to write, harnessing that basic skill can lead to a lucrative career – whether you're looking for full-time work or are interested in flexible freelance gigs.
Freelance writers often specialise in a variety of niches and areas, depending on their interests, skills, and market demand.
Some important and popular areas for freelance writers include:
Content Writing: Crafting engaging content for websites, blogs, and online platforms. This can include how-to articles, listicles, and informative pieces tailored to a particular audience.
Copywriting: Writing persuasive content designed for marketing and advertising, such as web copy, product descriptions, ads, and email campaigns.
Technical Writing: Creating detailed, clear instructions or documentation, such as user manuals, product specifications, and technical guides.
SEO Writing: Focusing on content optimised for search engines. These writers ensure that articles, blogs, and web pages rank well on search engines by incorporating relevant keywords and following best practices.
Journalism: Reporting news, crafting feature stories, or writing articles for magazines, newspapers, or digital publications.
Ghostwriting: Writing on behalf of someone else, typically without public credit. This can range from blog posts to full-length books.
Creative Writing: Crafting stories, poetry, scripts, or other narrative-driven content.
Academic Writing: Producing scholarly articles, research papers, and essays often for students or academic publications.
Social Media Writing: Tailoring content specifically for platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, optimising for engagement and reach.
Medical & Scientific Writing: Focusing on content in the healthcare, medical, or scientific sectors. This can include white papers, journal articles, or patient information leaflets.
Remember that these are only some types of writing jobs you will stumble across, and that freelance writers often specialise in a multitude of areas and topics.
How much can you earn as a freelance writer?
Let's talk money.
In the freelance writing landscape, the niche you choose and your personal experience significantly influence earnings.
For example, Content and Copywriting, rooted in marketing, often fetches higher rates due to its direct role in driving sales and business growth.
A junior copywriter in the UK can expect to earn around £25.000 a year, whereas a more seasoned copywriter could earn anything from £31.000 a year or more.
However, diving into technical sectors like tech or finance can be especially lucrative.
The complexities and specialised knowledge required here command higher compensation – starting around £35.000 per year and going upwards.
On the other hand, journalism has a bit of a bad rep for not being very lucrative. However, this again comes down to experience and level of expertise.
In the UK, experienced professional journalists can expect to earn up to £40.000 a year, however people new to the sector might find themselves earning significantly less.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
One can't discuss writing in today's digital age without mentioning SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
SEO writing bridges the gap between creative content and the algorithmic demands of search engines, and SEO-knowledge is becoming an increasingly important tool for writers in all domains.
Given its crucial role in driving organic web traffic, a significant component of digital marketing, skilled SEO writers are in high demand and can often command competitive rates – boosting writers' earning potential
A junior SEO specialist in the UK can expect to earn around £20.000 a year, with more seasoned workers earning double that amount.
Remember, setting your rate isn't just a game of comparison. It should be a reflection of your unique expertise, background, and credentials. While it's tempting to mirror someone else's rate, it's essential to set your freelance rates according to your own worth and experience.
Another thing to consider are the various payment structures involved in the freelance writing industry.
Writers might be compensated hourly, reflecting the time invested in a piece.
Alternatively, they can be paid per assignment, offering a flat rate for the entire project.
Another popular approach is the per-word rate, ensuring that writers are compensated for every word they craft.
Each method has its merits, and the choice often hinges on the nature of the project, the writer's preference, and the client's budget.
The writing domain is diverse, with rates often varying based on the content type and its intended audience – and different writing tasks come with unique demands.
Being well-versed in a niche, especially within the UK market, or possessing specialised skills in SEO or copywriting, can increase your rate.
Similarly, if your educational background includes English, journalism, or similar fields, you're in a strong position to set premium prices for your work.
Freelance writing and AI
Speaking of tech, let’s address the elephant in the room here.
The integration of AI – particularly large language models such as ChatGPT – into the writing landscape has stirred quite a discussion in the freelancing world.
On one hand, some of the new technology that’s around could be very helpful as they can assist with content creation, optimisation, and even translation.
AI seems to have streamlined tasks that once took freelancers considerable time, allowing for quicker turnaround times and enhanced accuracy.
As with SEO-knowledge, learning how to work with large language models is becoming an increasingly important skill to harness to succeed in the competitive landscape and to make you stand out as a writer.
However, it's important to remember that it’s not all about efficiency.
The core of writing remains a deeply human endeavour, rooted in creativity, emotion, and unique perspectives. While AI can generate content, it doesn't replace the nuanced, human touch that many readers seek.
This isn't about replacing writers but about complementing their capabilities. As technology evolves, understanding how to effectively use these AI tools could become an invaluable skill.
It's less about pitting man against machine and more about harnessing both to navigate today's competitive writing climate effectively.
How do I find freelance writing jobs?
Diving into freelance writing, whether you're a newcomer or a veteran, presents its own set of challenges and opportunities. That's where Freelancer Club steps in.
Our platform consistently updates job listings, ensuring that you're never short of potential gigs. But finding jobs is only a part of the equation.
Check out this video to learn more about how to write a killer job proposal:
Freelancer Club also assists with the intricacies of the freelance lifestyle. We provide guidance on essential aspects of things freelancing – from contract nuances to effective client communication.
Think of Freelancer Club as your go-to resource for all things freelance writing, ready to support you at every step.
Sign up today and learn more about everything we can offer.