If you’ve tried your hand at the freelance writing game, you may have become disillusioned with the industry. Because let’s face it: for all the well-paying writing gigs that actually pay what your time and effort are worth, there are dozens of ads for writing gigs that pay peanuts. And that means a lot of legwork on your part to find and land those gigs that are worth your while.
But I have found three writing gigs that are not only new and exciting; they also pay very well and are in-demand right now.
And the truth is you don’t even have to be a professional writer or have much experience at all to take advantage of these opportunities. Most of these projects can be completed with common sense or by studying and modeling your own work on successful examples in the marketplace already.
And with billions of dollars in business being done online every month – a number that grows every day – there is no shortage to the number of available projects and companies that are hiring freelance writers regularly. In fact, a shortage of writers is why they’re all too willing to hire freelancers without a lot of experience.
Here are three of today’s hottest freelance writing opportunities:
#1: Product Descriptions
When your job is writing about and marketing a product for a company, it comes with one immediate bonus: you’ll be getting free samples. This is necessary for you to write a thorough and honest description. But more than that, you’ll be on the front line of some very exciting tech gadgets.
And don’t get this confused with product reviews. A product description is exactly what it sounds like: you will describe the product you’re hired to write about. You don’t have to worry about stating an opinion and backing it up with facts.
Your job as a writer of product descriptions is to familiarize yourself with the product and describe it as clearly as possible with the consumer in mind. You’ve no doubt read product descriptions online – simply follow those examples. And product descriptions are generally on the short side, no longer than one or two paragraphs. What could be easier than that?
To get an idea of the sort of product descriptions you’ll be writing, here’s an example I pulled from Amazon.com for a digital camera:
Simple and stylish, this chic compact camera is packed with advancements that make it easy to get a great shot every time. Smart AUTO recognizes 32 predefined shooting situations, then automatically picks the proper camera settings for you. Saving memories in breathtakingly realistic 720p HD is as easy as pressing the dedicated movie button. You’ll see extraordinary resolution and fast performance with the 16.0 Megapixel Image Sensor and DIGIC 4 Image Processor, and capture more dynamic, exciting images with the 5x Optical Zoom with 28mm Wide-Angle lens. New Digital IS greatly reduces blur by recognizing the main subject and applying the best camera shake correction. Easy quality that’s easily affordable: that’s the PowerShot A2300 digital camera!
As you can see, it’s equal parts marketing pitch and technical specifics. You don’t have to possess the skills of a hardened salesperson, nor do you have to be an engineer. All you have to do is look the product over, fiddle with the features, and write up a paragraph describing it.
#2: Marketing Emails
This next writing gig plays more to the salesperson in you. Basically, a company will hire you to write short emails and newsletters that they will send out to their subscribers. These marketing emails could cover everything from a new product launch to announcing a sales event. They usually won’t be more than a page.
These marketing messages will include a call to action and a fair amount of persuasive writing. Your job here is to turn potential customers into paying customers. Your angle for writing marketing materials is more geared towards making a sale. You should include technical information about the product or service you’re marketing, but nowhere near as much as a product description.
Keep in mind what an effective email consists of: a subject line that grabs you, a pinpointed message, and a call to action. Make sure your marketing emails excel in every way possible. Your client will often have guidelines for what to include, so be sure to get guidance from them before getting started.
You can get paid in two ways: one, an upfront fee for writing the marketing email and/or newsletter, and two, a percentage of each sale your marketing efforts result in. This form of marketing is incredibly effective, so the potential for earning money is truly limitless.
Again, if you’ve signed up for any email lists, you’ve received this type of email. It’s easy enough to follow these examples with your own work. I recommend you save the best examples of marketing emails you receive to create your own “swipe” file for future projects.
You’re not plagiarizing here, or copying word for word. But it’s perfectly fine to model your emails’ structure on these examples.
#3: Video Scripts
This is the funnest freelance writing gig there is. If you’ve ever had aspirations to become a screenwriter, here’s your chance to flex that muscle. Your job as a video script writer combines the two writing gigs above – product descriptions and marketing pitches – into one small, concise package. And due to the increase in high-speed Internet access, this freelance writing gig has the biggest potential room for growth.
Writing a video script on a freelance basis is exactly what it sounds like: a company offering a service or product decides to market using video. Naturally, along with the visual component of a video, there must also be the speech component.
That’s where you come from.
Your job will be to familiarize yourself with the product or service the company is offering and write a video script – or dialogue – for the voice actor to read. Your client will most likely give you a list of key points they want in the script and your job is write a short script – they’re generally one or two pages, one page equaling about one minute of screen time – in a compelling, conversational, yet informative tone.
I’ve done a few of these myself and they’re really a blast. And the great thing is, you’ve already been exposed to hundreds of examples. Every commercial that comes on TV had someone write the words that are coming out of the actors’ mouths. Every commercial you hear in your car stereo, someone sat down and wrote that script.
And that can be you. The main ingredient to becoming a successful and sought-after video script writer is the ability to write conversationally while getting certain key technical points across to the viewer or listener. With a little practice, I have no doubt you will succeed. Do that well, and you’re not only selling a product, you’re telling a story.
Your search for freelance writing gigs is best done online. There are hundreds of job and project networks that will give you access to available opportunities.
Here are few to check out:
The most important thing when applying for a freelance job is to follow the application instructions to the letter. If they ask for a cover letter, write it. If they want writing examples, send them in.
If you’re starting out without much experience, you can start with small projects and work your way up to higher-paying gigs.
I wish you the best of luck!
P.S. I’ve just give you three growing niches for freelance writers. But here are a few more resources that will help you avoid the pitfalls and sharpen your skills and thus increase your profits.
Writing Product Descriptions Tips
Marketing Email Tips
Video Script Tips
Your Freelance Job Search