Good news for those interested in freelance writing: anyone can set up a portfolio, label themselves as a freelance writer, and find freelance writing gigs. However, if you look through a few job boards, you’ll see that there’s a lot more to being a “freelance writer” than meets the eye. For one, there are many different roles (or titles) freelance writers can have; there are technical writers, marketing writers, B2B copywriters, bloggers… the list goes on. Which of these roles do you need experience for, and which ones are beginner-friendly?
A role or helps clients “place” you and the kind of writing you do. It helps define the function you play within the company, the specific mindset you bring to the table, and the problems you solve. It’s a good idea to choose one role and stick with it when you’re building your resume & portfolio.
If you’ve got no immediate leanings on which role you’re a fit for, investigate the following 5 writing roles. They are all areas with lots of available work, where talented newbies can jump in and find freelance writing gigs:
1. Content Writer
These are writers of general online content, which usually means blog or feature articles. However, content writers may be asked to a write lot of things (e-books, infographics, newsletters, video scripts, websites, etc.)
The job of a content writer is to entertain and inform their readers. Companies hire content writers when they need well-written and engaging content to keep their online presence fresh, to keep their brand in people’s minds, to provide information about a product or service, or to give their company a human touch.
Content writing can be a good place to get started, because it is varied and forgiving. You don’t need extensive industry knowledge or writing expertise to begin. And there are tons of businesses out there who need to create content on a continual basis to keep their web presence up-to-date, so you won’t have trouble finding freelance writing gigs.
Content writing is the place most new writers start by default. Although it’s a less specific role, that can be a good thing, because it sets you up to learn and become more specific later on.
Copywriters are marketing writers who create things like landing pages, advertisements, brochures, and email campaigns that are designed to convert readers to a specific action (usually to spend money, subscribe, etc). They may also write high-impact blog posts and other key content that is designed to drive a sale.
This area is great for those with a marketing mind, because you will need to get into your readers’ heads and figure out what makes them tick. You can start out as a copywriter without experience, but you will need to do a bit of self-study to learn the specific writing style (i.e. structure and language) that goes along with copywriting. The benefit is that copywriters are usually paid better than content writers.
3. B2B Writer
These specialists create informative and persuasive content that is focused on communication from one business to another. The writer’s job is to portray the business as an expert who is knowledgeable, helpful, valuable to work with, etc. Content includes white papers, articles, reports, press releases, proposals, and more.
B2B writers are good researchers and strategic thinkers, often with a previous marketing or business background. This is another specialty that is accessible to newbies who are able to pick up the writing style quickly.
4. Social Media Writer
These writers are responsible for planning, writing, and scheduling social media content. Their job is to help businesses develop an engaging social media presence. This role is a great way to make a living for those who already have a knack for social media, and it’s a hot area of freelance writing. You don’t need formal training or experience to get a job in this area, but it helps to already have thriving personal social media accounts.
Ghostwriters help put other people’s ideas into words. They are creative non-fiction writers who create books and e-books on behalf of a company, public figure, or anyone else who wants to commission their work. As a ghostwriter, you need the ability to emulate different people’s voice and writing style, because the goal is to create writing that sounds authentic to the person you’re ghostwriting for.
This is a good area for people who want to work on longer content. You can learn a lot of in-depth and interesting information about a subject while working on an entire book. For people who would love to do creative writing or book writing but want a career with steady pay, this is an area to consider.
These 5 writing roles have a lot of depth and variety. Choosing a role helps you create a signature writing style and methodology that clients see as high value. If you are the copywriting or ghostwriting expert, clients know exactly when they need to come to you with their freelance writing gigs. And while you might not be an expert in any of these areas yet, each of the roles above is friendly to talented new writers who are able to learn quickly.
Get Stats About Job Availability and Salary for These Roles
I’ve put together some more statistics and information about each of these roles, including stats about how many freelance writing gigs are available in each role and the average salary for each role. Would you like to receive this information? Please sign up here!
Who Wrote This?
I’m Renee Hyde and I’ve been a digital nomad freelance writer since 2012. So far I’ve visited 60+ countries and counting! On this blog I share tips about dreamy travel destinations, travel hacks, ways to work remotely and travel, and advice for living your best nomadic life!