Even though we’re nearing the end of 2018 in just four months, the trends this past year have a lot to say about what’s to come, and what is currently working for freelance writers. The good news is right now there are tons of freelance jobs out there, so if you have a specific niche in freelance writing you excel at, now is the time to perfect your craft. The trends today will likely carry into tomorrow and 2019, and it’s likely new trends will crop up along the way. Stay on top of the trends and move along with them and success will undoubtedly come your way.
It's also wise to learn about the following trends so you’ll know what to expect the rest of this year and the years to come. Hopefully, the demand for writers in the following niches and others will continue to grow. From how things are going right now, it seems very likely that it will.
Sales Ready Content
With writing, there is always room for marketing and sales, which means a brand will need writers to get the job done. There is an endless amount of writing tasks a writer can help with, especially when it comes to social media and blogging. Check out some of Casey Hibbard’s thoughts on this, from Make a Living Writing.
“Casey Hibbard, Compelling Cases
What do clients want in 2018? Sales-ready and snackable content – two buzzwords that keep popping up.
That means giving clients a variety of content – in all sizes – that’s ready for all their needs, from social media to grab-and-go tools for sales reps. Here’s how:
Social – Team with a designer to create graphical social posts that drive traffic to new content such as white papers, case studies, blog posts, webinars and more.
Intro summaries – Include summary text when you deliver content such as white papers and case studies. These teasers encourage readers to click for more.
Sales slides – Summarize content such as product benefits or customer stories on sales slides that are ready for reps to simply add to presentations.
Tip: Think about ways to shorten your clients’ to-do lists. You’ll be a more valuable asset and can sell higher-priced packages that include these various deliverables.”
Are you a fan of SEO? If so, this might be the niche for you to work on and perfect your skillset. Find clients who need SEO help and get a headstart in this industry. It may be an excellent way for you to make a living while pursuing what you’re good at and love to write. World Writer’s Hub explains how SEO friendly articles may be the ticket to excelling as a freelance writer:
“Some bloggers find it difficult to write SEO friendly articles. The demand for SEO article writing will be on increase. Folks would love to be seen on Google, Bing and other search engine platforms respectively.
It is your duty as an SEO copywriter to meet their needs. You need to get ready because this is going to be a value-packed moment where you need to deliver. SEO articles are commonly referred to as keyword-rich articles and SEO copy.
For example, if your client sold ethnic art like American pottery and American paintings, some of the keyword phrases you would use in the article are “American art”, “Ethnic art,” and “American pottery.”
All you’d do is to write a 500–750-word article (the length of most keyword-rich articles) for your client’s website, blog, newsletter e.t.c. Companies pay freelance writers skilled in crafting good SEO served articles for their campaigns.”
Make a Living Writing believes that email newsletters will do well in 2018, and who knows; perhaps they will also do well in 2019. With businesses juggling multiple tasks it’s nice having a freelance writer come on board to assist with newsletters. Writing newsletters could be a fantastic way to find your niche and write your heart out.
“Jane Friedman, JaneFriedman.com
Look for an upsurge in paid-email newsletter models from freelancers who’ve made a name for themselves.
Hamish McKenzie recently launched Substack as a platform to support such efforts, and well-known names, at least within their communities, are getting in (Bill Bishop and Mallory Ortberg to start).
Watch for this: Read the tea leaves about the blogging platform, Medium. If you’re making money or a name for yourself on Medium, good for you. Milk it for all it’s worth while it’s still around, but be prepared to replace that revenue and platform with something else.
The platform has pivoted so many times, there’s nowhere left for it to pivot to, and who knows when the venture-capital money will run out.”
If you’d rather write a novel and see where it goes, go for it! Right now the main trends are entertainment and self-improvement, and if you have some thoughts to share with the world now is the time. Not all freelancing has to be for clients; it’s okay to work on your own writing goals as well. Plus, as you work on writing a book, you’ll also be focusing on your craft, which will only improve your writing skills. If that includes writing a novel and making money that way, Pro Writing Aid says that’s great news.
“Self-publishing opens the gates to more authors to get their work out there. Thanks to the increase in digital books consumption, authors can self-publish with little financial backing.
People are reading more for a variety of reasons. Currently, the most popular categories are self-improvement and entertainment. With the rising dominance of Amazon over the industry, smart writers will take advantage of self-publishing trends to offer books readers want.”
Freelancing is Growing
So you may be wondering why freelancing may be the way to go, especially being a writer. Well, if you like a variety of different projects and working with various clients, freelancing will likely work out great for you. The past couple of years have shown tremendous growth in the freelance writing industry, which means it probably won't slow down anytime soon.
“Freelancing is constantly on the rise which is great. It simply means there are plenty of opportunities for professional writers for hire. Be sure to make a profile on some of the biggest freelance platforms (or all of them) and be sure to put a great deal of effort and attention into your profile. This is what potential clients will see and this is your best selling point. This is where you will get jobs and build your reputation.”
If you decide to stick with freelance writing, The Social Media Monthly recommends investing in an app such as Grammarly to help check your writing. It never hurts to have another set of “eyes” that will keep your writing flawless for clients!
“Apps like Grammarly would be advisable, and not to cheap out and get the free version. All clients today expect your work to be flawless from a purely technical standpoint and there are so many apps today that there is no excuse not to be.”
The Word Count is Going Up
Writing longer articles has been the trend this year, which is largely due to the fact that longer articles get more attention on Google and on the web in general. Blog Mutt goes into this more in detail below:
“In 2016, Orbit Media noted that the length of an average blog post had risen to 1,054 words (up from 887 in 2015). Short blogs just don't get the results that most bloggers are hoping to meet. Longer blogs—those measuring 1,500+ words—tend to get more social media attention and lead visitors to spend more time on your site.
Of course, it's not just about word count. The point is to produce high-quality posts that people are genuinely interested in reading. Readers aren't looking for fluff content. They're looking for posts that will tell them more than what they can find in half a dozen different places across the internet. It's also more important than ever to include other media with blog posts: images, video, and audio help attract readers and genuinely interest them in the content.
Long-form content, like e-books and content at 4,000+ words, gives you something to promote, increases your search engine rankings, and helps further establish your authority in your field. Of course, in order to reap those benefits, you need a dedicated person producing that content for you. Who is writing your long-form content, and where does the time come from? Answering that question is a critical part of building your 2018 content-production strategy.”
More Female Entrepreneurs
If you’re a female entrepreneur who has worked hard to keep her clients you can pat yourself on the back because you deserve it. You’ve worked hard to get where you are and don’t for a moment ever doubt your worth. It’s encouraging to know that since 2007 female-owned businesses have continued to rise (more on that below from a writer on IndyLife) and from the trends, it looks like that percentage will continue to go up.
“We all know about the wage gap and the prevalent issues of gender diversity in the workforce. But many professionals feel that corporate companies just aren’t doing enough — or moving fast enough — to make a change. In many ways, freelancing offers a clearer path to success for women.
In fact, more and more women are shifting to a freelance career due to the opportunity to bring home a higher paycheck. New research from Lystable (a freelance platform) shows that women are earning more than men in a variety of freelance fields, such as graphic design, videography and writing.
Since 2007, the amount of female-owned businesses has risen by 45 percent, and that trend will only continue into 2018. As more and more female entrepreneurs succeed, an increased number of women will gather up the confidence and inspiration they need to make that first step toward an indy lifestyle. If you’re a female freelancer, take advantage of this growing community of peers and role models.”