Freelance writers have many options when it comes to writing projects that they can make money from. When new freelance writers start by picking their niche (which you totally need to niche down), there are a few ways they can do it.
Some writers pick a specific type of writing such as technical or blog writing or just pick an industry like medical, security, etc.
Other writers may choose several types of writing as well as an industry to niche down even further. If you’re not familiar with the different types of writing services you can offer, here are some of the most popular writing projects today.
Note some aspects of these projects overlap because different writers can do more than one type of writing. For instance, copywriters and promo and ad writers both write sales copy so they can both write landing and sales pages well.
Content writing and copywriting are two terms often used interchangeably because both have the same goal, to educate and promote. I’m using copywriting but just know that some people may call it content writing. Copywriting really covers many different types of content.
Copywriters work on a variety of projects and topics and know how to connect tidbits of information that allow readers to digest complex writing projects easily. Copywriters are critical to businesses because they understand how to speak the language of their client’s customers and brands. It’s one of the reasons copywriting can be so lucrative.
Copywriters seem to read the customers’ minds, so they get people to buy from a business without pressure or scams. It all starts with a valuable gift offer that solves a problem and draws them in to be raving fans. It really is the art of storytelling and sales all rolled up into one nice package that makes readers excited to consume more content and receive help.
Copywriters craft content such as:
- Website Copy
- Sales Content
- Traditional Print Media
- Product Descriptions
- TV and Radio Ads
Essentially, business writing consists of internal and external types of professional communication. Many people know that it consists of memos, letters, proposals, reports, etc. but it can also be social media content, blog writing, email marketing, and long-form content that companies use to educate people externally. That’s because it conveys information, delivers news, and influences people to take action. Let’s look at some of these types of writing projects.
Long-form content refers to projects that are 2,000 plus words, and not everyone has the stamina to keep up. Long-form writers can expertly bring insight into a powerful and comprehensive format. They often take complex topics and make them easily understandable to the ordinary person.
Long-form writers love data and often maintain a huge library of pertinent resources in their niche. They’re often known as subject matter experts by way of their research and writing. People who write long-form content are usually life-long students because they soak up information like a sponge. They can also make much money because of their expertise and the length of the content.
Some examples of these writing projects include:
- Pillar Blog Posts
- White Papers
- Case Studies
Blog writers turn complicated topics into friendly discussions. Their main purpose is to inform and educate by creating engaging content for businesses. They often work tirelessly on one article for several hours and spend a lot of time writing the perfect title that convinces readers to click on it.
I love writing blog articles for businesses, and the better you get, the more money you can command. This is an area where niching down to a specific industry really makes a difference.
Businesses want to hire writers who can talk the talk and walk the walk of their specific industry. I didn’t plan on it when I first started but eventually, blog articles are what I niched down to. That doesn’t mean I can’t write on other types of projects; blog writing is just my primary service offering.
Blog writers are intensive researchers. They search for statistics and data that backups the content they create. Blog writers know that content for these topics can’t be faked, so if they don’t have a clear understanding of a project, they reach out to experts for help. They also work with experts and influencers to add quotes or produce interviews that enhance the credibility of the content.
SEO expertise is another area that blog writers tend to specialize in because it’s necessary to optimize a business’s content, so they rank higher on Google search pages. So, sometimes SEO optimization falls within the scope of some of their writing projects. An experienced blogger can incorporate keyword phrases naturally into content without sacrificing its integrity.
Social Media Writing
Social media writers are often the loudest representation of a brand, and these writers need to be able to craft messages that spark interactions and conversations. According to the 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by the Social Media Examiner, 93 percent of marketers revealed that their social media efforts generated the most exposure for their businesses. A secondary benefit was increased traffic that generated 87 percent positive results.
These writers remain current on the algorithms and capabilities of social media platforms that constantly change to make sure their client’s message reaches the most people. They intimately know how to talk and engage with followers on each channel. Trust is a critical factor for businesses hiring social media marketers because they’re entrusting them with representing their brand.
Email marketing is critical to success for many businesses. It’s all about lead generation and knowing how to create content that drives results. Email marketing really incorporates copywriting to write compelling subject lines that prospects want to open. Psychology is a huge part of these projects because buyers make decisions to purchase based on emotions, not logic.
They take buyers through the different phases of a sale and carefully consider every word written. They understand A/B split testing to find out which message works the best and use the results to refine their writing.
Some writing projects that email writers take on are:
- Drip Campaigns
- Customer and Sales Nurture
- Transactional Emails
Often content or copywriters are the ones hired to write emails for businesses.
Magazine and Newspaper Articles
When many people think of writers, they picture journalists or novelists. Magazine and newspaper articles are the most conventional types of freelance writing. It’s still a great source of income for writers today.
Journalism works a little different because most of the time, these writers send pitches on a proposed article topic to magazines or newspapers for publication. Unlike the business writing we talked about, journalists receive a byline and get credit for writing the article.
With businesses, writers are creating content that the business essentially buys the rights of and publishes it under their name. Now that may sound awful, but it’s not because businesses pay well for content that drives them leads and increases their search engine rankings.
Today many publications have online forms, so you may write online and print articles for a newspaper or magazine. And while these publications may keep you on as a full-time writer, with freelancing, you’re doing a lot of juggling sending queries to multiple magazines.
You may not get paid for these articles for weeks or months after you’ve written them so that’s something to consider. But a byline allows you to easily add these pieces of writing to a portfolio you can use to gain other clients.
There are a few different types of magazines, such as:
- Popular consumer magazines that the general public reads and are found at most supermarkets.
- Custom publications that businesses produce for their clients or customers for marketing strategies.
- Trade or Industry magazines that are produced for specific professions or industries and members have subscriptions.
Ghostwriting is a category all on its own, but some people tend to shy away from it when really you can be quite successful and get paid well. Skilled ghostwriters must morph into the voice of the brands and people they write for. Ghostwriters often help businesses lack the skills or time to create engaging content that builds trust and illustrates expertise.
The ghostwriter must be adaptable and flexible, often producing more than one type of content such as press releases, blog articles, emails, case studies, white pages, and more. I personally love ghostwriting because it allows you to offer a variety of services and topics.
Often, you’ll interview company personnel to capture the right tone as well as some excellent stories to write about. Over time you learn the right questions to ask, and the whole process becomes second nature. Plus, like most of these types of writing, you’re developing a relationship and networking with many brands to increase your skill and make new connections.
Related: Learn How to Be A Ghostwriter Today
Greeting Card Writing
Another fun type of writing that’s for creative writers is creating greeting card messages. Often, people purchase cards and decorative poems because the writer captures an emotion that the buyer struggles to express.
How much you’ll earn from your poetry and greeting cards depends on who publishes your content. Rates vary for this type of writing. A top tier greeting card company may pay you up to $300 per idea while another company may only offer you $10 per card. The Greeting Card Association is a great resource to check out for more tips and information on writing for greeting card companies.
Academic writing is sometimes one of the first types of writing projects that new copywriters start with. If you love writing academic papers, you can get paid to write them for other people.
The biggest drawbacks are that it’s technically unethical and doesn’t pay very well. I added it though because I want to make sure you get the full picture of different types of writing. As a newbie, you’ll likely stumble across companies on Indeed trying to hire writers for academic writing.
I stumbled across them and thought that since I loved writing papers in college that it may be fun to get paid to write them. I soon learned that basically you’re writing papers for high school and college students. I was horrified to see dissertation papers on the platform.
It makes you wonder how the doctors of the future are going to be competent if someone else did all their homework and writing for them. Carol Tice over at Make a Living Writing has a good article on academic writing.
Some writers have a gift for taking complex technical topics and making them easier for anybody to understand. If you have that ability, technical writing might be a good fit for you. You may write instructional content such as how-to guides, user experience (UX) messaging, manuals, and FAQs. Technical writers create content that provides in-depth explanations of different technologies.
Not only is this a profitable industry, but you also have the chance to work with some of the most well-known companies in the world. Imagine getting to write the set-up guide for the next iMac or creating the Standard Operating Procedures handbook for a Fortune 500 company.
These writing gigs can be quite lucrative meaning you can make a healthy salary and live comfortably, but it’s not for everyone. But if you aspire to work with some of the best and most successful businesses, it’s a great option.
Brand journalists are brilliant storytellers. They’re not afraid to cold email people and are often extroverts. Brand journalists are the ambassador of the client’s brand. They know just how to illustrate businesses in a positive light, whether writing stories, press releases, or company bios.
These writers use in-depth interviews to get to know the brand they’re representing intimately. They shine brightest when writing human interest projects and long-term content. They pitch these stories to third parties for publishing to increase media coverage off their client’s brand.
Besides press releases and company bios, they also write boilerplates (boilerplates are the standard last paragraph of press releases that outline a business’s services, awards, products, etc.), customer stories, brand stories, and internal business communications. They also write killer headlines that make people want to click through and read more.
Promo and Ad Writing
Promo and ad writers construct short, compelling messages for advertising. This type of writing compels people to act because the call to action is loud and clear. These messages bring brand awareness to consumers and drive conversions.
Copywriters often complete promo and ad projects because they need someone who can utilize psychology to resonate with prospects and persuade them to take a specific course of action.
Promo and ad writing includes:
- Direct Mail Copy
- Product Descriptions
- Sales and Landing Pages
- Advertising Copy
- Online Company Promo Blurbs
Some freelance writers also earn money from fiction. They do this by writing books then selling that book to a publishing company, or they sell it on their own through a program like Amazon’s Kindle Publishing.
How much you make from writing fiction depends on many factors, including how much you know about selling books, what your audience wants, and when your book releases. Some writers offer freelance services and write fiction on the side to balance their income.
These are the primary types of writing projects that freelance writers make money from. When you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to simply focus on one or two types of writing until you get more experience.
However, you may not know what type of writing you want to do. Don’t be afraid to spend some time experimenting and trying different projects until you discover the writing style you love the most.
Remember, contrary to popular belief, the more you niche down, the more money you make. People pay for writers that are experts in their industry. Which type of writing do you think you’d enjoy learning more about? Leave a comment below and let me know!