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what is freelance writing - Copify 3

What is freelance writing?

Do you love to write? Have you ever considered turning your writing into a way to supplement your income – or even make a living full-time? Becoming a freelance writer might be right for you. Freelance writing involves getting paid to write. If that sounds like your ideal kind of job, keep on reading!

A freelancer is a self-employed person who provides services to individuals or businesses on a short-term or temporary basis. Freelancers are sometimes referred to as contractors because they work for the duration of a contract while retaining their self-employed status. Some freelancers work full time, while others freelance on a casual basis only. Anything goes with freelancing: you are your own boss and can be as flexible as you like.

What does freelance writing involve?

what is freelance writing - Copify 4There are many different kinds of freelance writing. Many freelance writers are engaged in copywriting. Copywriting is the practice of creating content for marketing purposes. This can include brochures and manuals, web content, press releases and articles, email campaigns, advert content and scripts, and slogans or mission statements. There are thousands of businesses out there who require a skilled writer to craft and create their promotional materials – and many will pay extremely well for the right freelancer.

Copywriters and freelance writers often find themselves engaged in blog writing, or in producing a kind of marketing article known as ‘sponsored content’. Blogging is an important skill for freelance writers, as most companies now include blog articles on their site which are tailored to their industry and audience. Social media posts are also in demand, and freelancers often write the content you see posted by your favourite brands on sites like Facebook and Instagram.

Even if you have no formal experience as a writer, you no doubt have experience of using social media. You might also write a blog of your own. If you do not have a blog, consider starting one right away. It is a great way to practice your writing skills, and it showcases your own skill as a freelance writer.

What to expect as a freelance writer

When budding writers ask “what is freelance writing?”, they often want to know what they can expect to be writing about. There is no simple answer to this question: absolutely anything goes!

All manner of businesses and services require content writers, and freelancers are ideal for short-term and one-off tasks. You could find yourself writing for holiday companies, for solicitors, for medical centres, for stores, for fast food chains… The possibilities are almost endless.

Some freelancers work with individuals, writing personal promotional material such as resumes, cover letters and employment network profiles. Freelance writers are also frequently engaged as ghostwriters. This means that somebody comes up with the idea for a book or an article, and the freelancer puts that idea into words.

Freelance writing rates

what is freelance writing - Copify 1As a freelancer, you typically set your own rates. There is often some degree of negotiation involved until you find the price level that suits both you and the client. Depending on the type of work you do as a freelancer, you may choose to charge a fixed rate by the word, by the hour, or per unit. Freelancer rates should be sufficiently high as to cover all of their costs – including marketing, rent and utilities, equipment, subscriptions and other necessary expenses. The most highly skilled and reputable freelance writers can earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars per writing gig.

Do freelancers get credit for their work?

As a rule, freelance writing work is completed for a client, and when the job is complete the client owns that content. Often, the client takes credit for the work publicly. However, some clients may offer their freelancers the opportunity to write and be published under their own name: freelance journalism is one such example, where authors of articles are credited with bylines.

If you write blog posts, they may also be published under your own name and they could include a link to your website or social media profiles, as well. This is great for portfolio building – you can use links to your published freelance content as examples for potential clients.

Follow influential freelancers for top tips

what is freelance writing - Copify 2If you want a better understanding of freelance writing, take a look at the work others in the industry are doing. Following key influencers on social media, and reaching out to them with questions and even pitches, can improve your online visibility. You should take the time to read blogs, articles and features written by other freelance writers, especially those working within your niche.

Take a look at Jordan Bunker’s work, for example. The fashion blogger has spotted a gap in the market for male orientated style blogs, and he has made this specialism his own. You could also follow Jeff Bullas, a content marketing guru and trusted social media personality. For a more general look at the social media industry, Elna Cain offers a wealth of resources and advice guides for new freelancers, and she is very responsive to queries.

Finding work: content writing agencies

For freelance writers, the writing is just a small part of the job. You need to secure the gig in the first place, perhaps through pitching to businesses or through content marketing. When you do land a job, you need to ensure that the contracts are agreeable to you and the client, and signed by both parties. At the end of the job, you need to invoice for payment – and chase it up when necessary.

Working for a content writing agency such as Copify means that all these steps are covered. All you need to concentrate on in the freelance writing itself, and you don’t need to worry about debts, unscrupulous clients, and other things that keep freelancers away from their primary tasks. You can take writing gigs with confidence, knowing that you will be paid for your hard work and that there will always be work available for you.

Main image credit: Burst
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Kathryn Allison

Kathryn has almost a decade of professional writing experience, through marketing agencies and as an independent copywriter.

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