Career Development

What Does a Freelance Writer Do?

Find out what a freelance writer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a freelance writer.

Freelance writers work independently on a variety of projects, often with little to no oversight from an employer or client. They may write about anything from fashion trends to financial planning to food and beverage reviews.

Freelance writing is a relatively flexible career that allows writers to set their own schedules and work from home. However, it’s also competitive—there are more freelance writers than there are available writing jobs at any given time. Freelancers must be able to produce high-quality content quickly in order to stay competitive in this field.

Freelance Writer Job Duties

Freelance writers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Writing advertising copy for various products or services
  • Conducting research on a topic or industry to gather information for an article or book
  • Writing articles, blog posts, and other content for websites or blogs
  • Maintaining a portfolio of published work that can be shared with prospective clients
  • Preparing an article for publication by researching topics, collecting data, conducting interviews, writing drafts, submitting to editors for review, and fact checking

Freelance Writer Salary & Outlook

Freelance writers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of writing they do.

  • Median Annual Salary: $63,500 ($30.53/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of freelance writers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Demand for freelance writers will be limited because many people write blogs and other types of content for free on social media sites. However, demand for freelance writers should remain strong for specialized topics and for projects that require research or knowledge of a particular subject.

Related: 25 Freelance Writer Interview Questions and Answers

Freelance Writer Job Requirements

To become a freelance writer, you may need to have the following:

Education: Freelance writers need at least a high school diploma or GED. Many employers prefer to hire writers who have a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, communications or another related field. Some aspiring freelance writers choose to take courses in creative writing, journalism and technical writing.

Training & Experience: Freelance writers often have a background in writing and editing. They may have worked as journalists, editors or technical writers. They may have worked in the publishing industry or as a copywriter. They may have worked as a technical writer for a software company or as a copywriter for a marketing agency.

Freelance writers may also have experience in other industries. For example, a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness may have worked as a nutritionist or a physical therapist. A freelance writer who specializes in business may have worked as an accountant or a financial analyst. A freelance writer who specializes in technology may have worked as a computer programmer or a web developer.

Freelance writers may also receive training in the form of seminars and conferences. They can attend conferences and seminars to learn more about the topics they specialize in. They can also learn about the latest trends in the industry and how to adapt their writing to appeal to modern audiences.

Certifications & Licenses: Freelance writers are not required to have any certifications, but many get them to increase their earning potential and competitiveness.

Freelance Writer Skills

Freelance writers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information to another person. As a freelance writer, you may be communicating with clients, other writers, editors and other individuals involved in the production of a written work. Strong communication skills can help you to convey your ideas clearly and to understand the ideas of others.

Research: Researching is the ability to find and interpret information. Freelance writers often conduct research to find topics to write about and to find information to support their writing. This includes searching for information on the internet, reading books and articles and interviewing people.

Time management: Freelance writers often have multiple clients and projects at once. Having good time management skills can help you meet deadlines and maintain a healthy work-life balance. You can also use time management skills to help you prioritize your work and make the most of your time.

Editing: After a freelancer writes a piece, they may need to edit it. This can include proofreading for grammar and spelling errors, but it can also mean making changes to the structure of the piece. Freelance writers may also need to edit other people’s work, which can mean knowing how to edit other people’s writing styles.

Creativity: Freelance writers often work on marketing campaigns, sales promotions and social media posts, all of which require creativity. Creativity can also help you think of new topics to write about.

Freelance Writer Work Environment

Freelance writers usually work from home, although they may occasionally travel to meet with clients or attend conferences. They typically work on a variety of writing projects at the same time and must be able to meet deadlines. Because they are self-employed, they must be able to manage their time and workload effectively and be disciplined in their work habits. They also need to be able to market their services to potential clients and build a good reputation in the industry in order to get more work.

Freelance Writer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how freelance writers work. Freelance writers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Content Marketing

The growth of content marketing is a trend that has been growing in popularity over the past few years, as businesses have realized the importance of creating and publishing high-quality content.

Freelance writers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in content marketing. This includes writing blog posts, creating social media content, and developing long-form articles. In addition, freelance writers should be familiar with the latest trends in content marketing, such as video marketing and infographics.

More Demand for Long-Form Writing

As readers’ attention spans continue to shrink, there is an increasing demand for long-form writing. This means that freelance writers will need to be able to write longer pieces that capture readers’ attention and keep them reading.

To succeed in this market, freelance writers will need to be able to write in a variety of styles and formats. They will also need to be able to research and develop ideas for long-form pieces.

A Greater Focus on SEO

As search engine optimization (SEO) becomes more important, freelance writers will need to focus on writing content that is optimized for search engines. This means writing content that is keyword-rich and easy to read.

In order to be successful in this field, freelance writers will need to be able to not only write well, but also understand how to optimize their content for search engines. This requires a deep understanding of how search engines work and what they are looking for when they index content.

How to Become a Freelance Writer

Freelance writing is a great way to make money from home. It’s flexible, so you can work when and where you want. And it can be lucrative if you’re good at it.

The best way to become a successful freelance writer is to build your portfolio of published articles. Start by pitching ideas to websites that publish content related to your area of expertise. When you get an assignment, write a well-researched article that’s interesting and informative for readers. Edit your work carefully and submit it on time.

Once you have some published articles under your belt, start looking for other opportunities. Offer to write blog posts, create marketing materials, or ghostwrite books. You can also find freelance writing jobs on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru.

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways to advance your career as a freelance writer. One way is to specialize in a particular area or type of writing. This will make you more attractive to potential clients, as they will know that you have the expertise to write the type of material they need. Another way to advance is to build up a strong portfolio of published work. This will show potential clients that you are a serious and professional writer who is capable of producing high-quality work. Finally, networking is essential for freelance writers. Connecting with other writers, editors, and publishing professionals will give you a better chance of getting your work published and will help you to advance your career.

Freelance Writer Job Description Example

We are looking for a freelance writer who can produce high-quality, well-researched articles on a variety of topics for our website. The ideal candidate will have experience writing for the web, SEO knowledge, and a knack for creating catchy headlines. They should also be able to work independently and meet deadlines. The articles will range in length from 500-1,000 words.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Write original content for a variety of clients in a range of industries, including but not limited to: website articles, blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, and more
  • Understand client needs and objectives, and produce high-quality work that meets or exceeds expectations
  • Adhere to deadlines and maintain open communication with clients throughout the writing process
  • Effectively manage multiple projects at once, while maintaining a strong attention to detail
  • Conduct thorough research on assigned topics using a variety of sources
  • Write copy that is clear, concise, and persuasive, while also being accurate and error-free
  • Edit and proofread your own work, as well as the work of others, before submission
  • Stay up-to-date on trends and developments in your industry and areas of expertise
  • Offer creative solutions and outside-the-box thinking when it comes to tackling writing assignments
  • Proactively seek out new business opportunities with potential clients
  • Maintain a positive and professional attitude at all times
  • Continuously strive to improve your writing skills and abilities

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, communications, or related field
  • Minimum 4-5 years professional writing experience with solid portfolio of work
  • Exceptional writing, research, and editing skills
  • Ability to work independently and with a team to meet deadlines
  • Excellent organizational skill and multitasking ability
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Adobe Acrobat Pro

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Social media or content marketing experience a plus
  • Proofreading experience and familiarity with standard style guides a plus
  • Experience working with content management systems, WordPress, etc.
  • A keen eye for detail and appreciation of great design
  • Familiarity with search engine optimization (SEO) principles


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