Most Sundays will find me propped on my couch, TV on, laptop in hand – scouring job listings for freelance writers. As a freelancer you can learn a lot about where the jobs are, what they’re paying and the skills they require by just browsing listings. Following are four trends I’ve noticed recently.
I. Emerging Skill Sets Freelance Writers Should Invest In
Content marketing is all the rage these days. And, the word “content” includes so much more than text. One thing I’ve noticed recently is that more freelance jobs are starting to be available for professionals who do things like create videos and infographics.
These skills go hand-in-hand with freelance writing. For example, if a client hires you to write a series of blog posts, you could offer to throw in an infographic for each post – and charge additional for this.
Why would clients pay you to do this? Because search engines like to return mixed media results, eg, textual articles, in addition to video, infographics, slides, etc.
So if you want to land more writing gigs, it might be wise to update your skill set to include those services that complement online writing, eg, video editing; infographics creation; slideshare creation; etc.
II. Online / SEO Writing Rates are Increasing
While you still see ridiculous rates posted for some jobs (eg, $5 for 500 words), rates for online writing jobs are increasing. It’s not uncommon to see blogging rates of $20 to $50 for 400 to 500-word posts. In fact, $20-$25 seems to be somewhat of a “floor” for serious businesses who are looking for freelance writers.
The Average Salary for Freelance Writers in the U.S.
FYI, the average income for freelance writers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $55,420 per year ($26.64 per hour) in 2010. And employment opportunities for writers and authors is projected to grow 6 percent between 2010 and 2020.
Online writing (especially in the SEO sector) is one of those jobs where incomes are high. According to job search site SimplyHired.com, the average wage for an SEO writer in the U.S. is $66,000 as of this writing.
III. Social Media Jobs are on the Rise
As content marketing is the preferred online marketing strategy for many right now, it’s not surprising that social media jobs — eg, social media account management – are more common now as well.
The reason for this is simple. Once content is created, it must be promoted. It’s one of the things that search engines like Google uses to rank a site. And one of the main problems most small business owners have is that they just don’t have time for social media.
According to the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 86% of marketers report that social media is important to their businesses. But the average small business owner has limited time and money to spend on social media. A recent survey by Zoomerang states that 59% of small businesses spend less than $100 on social media (42% spend nothing), and 74% don’t employ anyone to manage their social media. [Source: Small Business Trends (8/1/2013), Social Media Tips for Being Socially Savvy on a Budget]
IV. Full-time, Work-from-Home Writing Jobs are Becoming More Common
More companies are hopping on the telecommuting bandwagon. This is another thing that didn’t surprise me considering the money that companies can save by allowing employees to work this way, and the fact that technology makes it easier than ever to do these days.
What DID surprise me was that many of these gigs came with great benefits.
The opportunities in freelance writing have never been greater. And, for those freelancers savvy enough to expand their skill sets, so is the earning potential.