It’s hard to get bored as a freelance writer.
When you’re not chasing new leads or sending reminders about invoices, chances are you’ll get to tackle a lot of unique projects. Some freelance writers cut their teeth blogging, while others are all about eBooks. I’ve even met a few who make a living with sales emails.
Being a good writer doesn’t mean you’re a perfect fit for every type of project, though. I can’t write sales copy to save my life, but I’m pretty good when it comes to blogging and tech tutorials.
If you want to be successful, you need to find out which project types are a great fit for your skill set. After all, specialization is one of the best ways to command higher rates.
Let’s talk about some of the most common types of freelance writing jobs you’ll run across.
5 Types of Freelance Writing Jobs (And Which Ones Pay the Best)
Luckily for you, I’ve been around the block a few times and I have experience with pretty much any type of freelance writing job there is. Let me tell you what you’re in for.
Blogging is a ‘relatively’ easy market to break into as a freelance writer.
There are millions of blogs out there, some of which don’t require that much experience to write for. Of course, the more experience you get, the better your pay should be.
Personally, blogging jobs are my favorite. They tend to lead to long-term business relationships and you get to focus on a very specific set of subjects, what we call a niche.
If that niche happens to be something you’re passionate about, then you’re literally getting paid to write about something you enjoy. It doesn’t get better than that.
Keep in mind, though – blogging jobs that pay well usually require a lot of experience and research chops. Nowadays, long-form articles are all the rage, so expect to write blog posts well over the 1,000-1,500 word range as a rule of thumb.
There are a lot of definitions that get thrown around for whitepapers. Basically, they’re in-depth reports on a specific topic, usually geared towards a business audience.
Whitepapers tend to be highly technical. They outline a problem and break down a solution. The tone tends to be serious and, in my experience, a technical whitepaper can take several weeks to write.
Here’s what a whitepaper is not:
- An in-depth blog article
- An eBook
To give you a real-life example, here’s an excellent whitepaper from HubSpot that discusses emerging technologies for small businesses.
It’s pretty dry stuff, but it gives you an idea of what you’re in for if you want to focus on writing whitepapers.
This is not the type of job you can get unless you have a ton of relevant experience in the industry you’re writing for. With that in mind, you’re looking at per word rates that can go anywhere from $0.20-$0.30 all the way up to a dollar.
If you’re in this line of business, chances are you want to write a book.
Maybe you’ve already done it (in which case, kudos!) and since this is 2019, anyone can self-publish in a matter of minutes.
That same growth in self-publishing has led to a sharp increase in demand for freelance writers who specialize in eBooks. If you fancy yourself a romance writer, for example, you’ll find hundreds of offers on every freelance platform and job board you can think of:
Usually, though, those types of gigs pay terribly. We’re talking about less than $0.06 per word for books that can go well into tens of thousands of words.
It’s basically slave labor.
If you want to write eBooks, your best bet is to focus on technical topics. There are a lot of businesses and people who want to publish books online to build their authority, so there’s a healthy market for ghostwriters.
Breaking into the ghostwriting industry at that level is pretty darn hard, though. In most cases, no one is going to trust you with a full book unless someone recommends you or you’re well-known in your industry.
The few freelancers I’ve met that make a living ghostwriting books got there because their name is everywhere online. They run blogs, constantly publish guest posts on other publications, and have an active presence on social media.
It’s a ton of work, but if you can get it, we’re not talking about cents per word, but full dollars, if you don’t get paid on a per-project basis.
4. Landing Pages
Before we talk about landing page copy, let’s look at an example.
Landing pages use some of the most aggressive sales tactics you’ll run across in your life. They’re shameless about tugging your emotions, they wear you down with sob stories and promises about improving your life, and more.
It takes a very specific type of writer to write good sales copy.
I can tell you I’m not one of them, but sometimes I wish I was because those guys are some of the best-paid freelancers in the market.
A great landing page can lead to a massive increase in conversions for a business, which is worth a lot of money.
That’s why it’s not rare for great sales copywriters to charge expert rates for their services. Sometimes, you even get a percentage of the sales your copy drives, which is a pretty great setup.
5. Email Copy
If you take a look at your inbox now, you’ll come across a lot of examples of very different copy.
You have the aggressive sales pitches, that read a lot like landing pages, …
… email campaigns designed to get you to sign up for products, …
… informative newsletters, and more.
If you decide to focus on email copywriting, you’ll probably want to specialize in a specific kind of message. Writing emails requires you to be very succinct, unlike blog posts or eBooks.
Most people get dozens of emails a day, so you have to be able to write headlines that get clicks and hold readers’ attention for at least a few minutes.
If you can do that, you’ll always be in demand because email is a massively important channel for most online businesses. Sales copy emails, in particular, pay incredibly well.
Just as with landing pages, talented sales copywriters in this area can also negotiate a percentage of the sales their campaigns get.
There are many more types of freelance writing jobs than the five we covered today. However, if your skill set is a good fit with any of them, you shouldn’t have any problems finding work.
If you’re new to freelance writing, blogging tends to be the easiest market to break into. Landing pages and email copy often require a lot more experience because businesses rely on them to make sales, so there’s a lot of pressure.
The same goes for eBooks and whitepapers – without a fleshed-out portfolio, no one is going to consider you for projects that might take months, so it’s important to build some experience first.
Do you have any questions about different types of freelance writing jobs? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!