4 Things You’ll Discover as a Freelance Writer

So you, like Liam Neeson in Taken, “have a very particular set of skills” skills that make you a blog site’s dream, you can write all kinds of content. It’s time to start making money out of those skills.
You’re a freelance writer.

It is a strange, time-consuming thing to do. It takes time to get money from, and a great deal of flexibility. Your time will be spent in unexpected ways, you’ll focus on unexpected things.

Here are four strange side effects of the Freelance Writing game.

1) You’ll find yourself writing about a crazy variety of subjects

So, you’ve been accepted as a writer for a content mill. With your degree you can write about a load of different subjects. You settle on two, 300 words on the benefits of probiotics, and 400 words on a card counting strategy. Time to get googling.

Indeed, if you want to start off making money with writing random content on sites like Copify, the kind of jobs you could end up choosing on a day-to-day basis varies wildly, and usually, the content required is relatively obscure. After all, if it was easy to write about, they’d do it themselves, not pay a stranger online to do it.

This variety, though it adds a level of complexity, can actually be pretty fun as it forces you to think on your feet. It also gives you good professional experience as it forces you to be extremely adaptable, learn about a new subject, write about it, fit a brief, and meet a deadline.

2) You’ll think about milking anything from your past for an article

The Holy Grail of freelance writing is to get a piece published in a popular magazine or publication. This is often where the good money is; you might get £5 here or there on copywriting websites, but in a magazine you could be paid £50+ for a piece depending on their rates.  Some pay by the word, others pay by the type of content, but either way, here you’ll make solid money.

The problem is, as so many people want to submit to these places, and as they tend to have a team of writers onsite, they have access to all the content they could possibly want. So if you want to attract their attention you have to pitch something different, something only you can write.

Pretty soon you’ll find yourself going over your entire life history and everything going on around you to find that one unique thing.

One trick is find something relatively similar to something you might write about, this does two things:

  • Firstly, it shows that the topic is something people want to publish.
  • Secondly, you’ll be able to note the similarities and differences allowing you to come up with a way to bring your unique spin to something.

Influence and inspiration has always been key to writing, and this is no different.


3) Writing can be only a tiny part of it

It goes without saying that there are a lot of people trying to make it as freelance writers online. Therefore, to get any chance of success, to get the kind of money to survive off of freelance writing alone, you might find you need to learn to market yourself.  For most of us, this certainly wasn’t covered at uni. It might be something you have to learn, and learn quick.

Now, thanks to social media there are countless ways to go about doing this. If, for example, you’ve got a lot of followers on Twitter, you can consider them a ready audience for your stuff, especially if your Twitter feed is based around yourself as a freelance writer.
Twitter, and indeed all social media forms are invaluable forms of self-promotion, and self-promotion is ultimately how you’ll get your readers, and success.

Once you become more well known as a good writer then people may commission you directly. But this comes with time, success, and recognition.


4) SEO will be your overlord

This is what it comes down to. Three letters, three words – search engine optimisation.

There is no point writing something that isn’t likely to be read, or is hard to find. It needs to appear on a search engine. Often, you’ll find that people commissioning work want their pieces written with SEO in mind. Making sure a piece is optimised correctly could make the difference between having five readers, and five thousand. So it’s a good thing for you to get familiar with.

Now, what that means for you, the writer, is that you need to consider the right words to use, the keywords that will bring traffic to the article. These keywords should be pretty liberally used throughout and should also be used in the title or subtitle. Essentially it comes down to drawing the attention of the search engine as well as potential readers.

Luckily SEO is so essential for writing online copy that there are many, many free tutorials and guides online, which are all well worth a look.


Arthur is a graduate from King’s College London. Since graduation he has turned his attention to writing. You can follow him on twitter.

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