With the local economy suffering from the ripple effects of the double dip recession and jobs in South Africa being a relatively scarce commodity, many talented and competent individuals are turning to freelancing as full time careers or to supplement incomes. What is the world freelance writing about?
There are writers, authors and freelancers but what is the difference between these titles? They all involve writing of some kind. Writer is a title for anyone who writes anything at all, whether it is published or not. An author is typically someone who has had his or her writing published. What is a freelancer?
A freelance writer is someone who writes independently, an independent contractor – attached to no one company, publishing house, or boss.
Freelance writing work can be anything at all. Freelancers are usually hired by someone who needs some content written but does not have the time or skill to do the work themselves.
Jobs in freelance writing can be for magazines, newspapers, websites, blogs or marketing materials. The topics for freelance writing work can really be about anything at all, depending on the needs of the client.
What are some examples of freelance writing? One week a writer could be putting together a query for a magazine article they have written for a popular news magazine.
At another time, they could be writing up some blog posts for a new website. When that’s finished, perhaps they are doing an interview for an article the local newspaper has asked for. It can be that varied and can be something new and different each day.
There are freelance writers who specialize in certain areas. Some freelancers focus mainly on magazine articles, paying attention to what’s interesting and submitting their articles to publications that have their own circulation.
Other freelance writers prefer to be contracted for the work beforehand and are given a list of instructions and a deadline to get the work done. No single way is better than another with it comes to a freelance writing job, it all depends entirely on the writer’s personal preference, comfort zone and previous experience.
Some freelance writers prefer to dabble in a little bit of everything. This type of diversification helps writers avoid potential downtime when a project is put on hold or they are between contracts. Doing online freelance writing work is a great way to keep income coming in while waiting to see if a publication will pick up one of a writer’s articles.
Some freelancers are actually ghostwriters. Ghostwriting is the practice of freelance writing where the author does not take any credit for the work. This is often used when someone is an expert in a certain area or owns a website, but may not be inclined or talented when it come to writing. Articles by professionals and on websites are a great marketing tool for many business people but they may need the help of a writer. A ghostwriter can never take credit for the work or attach their name to the pieces written but can still get paid for their expertise and written work.
Regardless of the freelance writing job you are interested in, there is work and money to be had in freelance writing. The great thing about freelancing is that writers can start small and do just a few simple projects and then add more complex and higher pay work as their knowledge and experience grows as a freelance writer.
Writing & SEO
Before the days of the Internet, writing a freelance article entailed doing your research and putting together an appealing article.
However, the Internet has changed the way freelance articles are written and submitted. There is so much information on the Internet and websites are competing to have their information on the top of search engine lists. Too far down the list, and the article or webpage will get lost and no one will ever find it.
This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into the freelance article writing process. SEO is the process that web pages utilize to get higher ranking results on search engine pages.
There are strict rules that will place a web page or article at the top of the list. Not understanding or using these guidelines will definitely affect the traffic of any page. If a freelancer plans to write articles for publication online, having knowledge of SEO is a must for success.
How does SEO work? The freelance author must first know which keywords need to be written into the article to get it place high in the results list. If the article is about bathroom accessories, then keywords like bathroom accessory, bathroom accessories, decorative bathroom accessory, and other similar terms will be used when someone is looking for an informative article on the topic. Knowing the keywords that the user will type in is a necessary component of SEO work. Google Adwords’ Keyword Tool is a freelance writer’s best support for finding keywords that have already been used.
Then the next step is inputting these keywords into the article. Search engines will not count websites with excessive keywords or that or obviously stuffing keywords into their content. The article has to read and flow nicely, without the keywords jumping out as an obvious SEO technique.
Having SEO knowledge and experience is a desired skill set when looking for a freelance writer. Freelancers who are not already familiar with SEO should take the time to become used to the tool and use it effectively. If you think that SEO work sounds interesting, buy books related to the topic, either from a local store that carries hard copies written for this burgeoning industry, or search for e-books by reputable, “white-hat” SEO experts.
Current Trends in Freelancing
There are a lot of freelance writers competing for projects out there. Staying on top of freelance industry trends is essential when it comes to staying competitive. Experts have already predicted some of the trends expected for 2011.
The outsourcing boom that is happening in many major corporations is also an opportunity for freelancers. Freelance writers are being hired from all over the world to keep up with the supply and demand of such a content heavy world. Competition from India, Singapore and China will have freelance writers frustrated and confused, since many of these freelancers do not speak native English and their writing is often subpar.
Full Time Positions
There is hardly a corporation or business these days that does not have a website and many of them employ a blog to make a connection with their clients. Plus, becoming an expert and marketing to people online requires thoughtful research papers. Expect more companies to start hiring freelancers full time to cover their site content, Internet presence, marketing materials and technical writing needs.
The resume is hardly the best tool to use when finding a freelance writer. Resumes are filled with information on an applicant’s education and experience, but will not showcase the writing skill of the freelancer seeking work. Online portfolios are becoming a popular way to showcase previous projects and win new work.
With the advent of apps, more useful programs are being created every day to allow people to become more proficient in both their personal and professional lives. To utilize their time to the absolute best of their ability, freelancers will begin to outsource projects that take up value writing time such as marketing and accounting.
Freelance professionals will find more of a need to research and write full ebooks for their clients to self publish. Many of these ebooks will be used to generate traffic and more business for the company.