By Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning content writer and author who specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
I continue to be surprised by the kinds of freelance writing projects I am paid to write.
I’ve been hired to write descriptions of children available for sponsorship … award letters … public service announcements … acceptance speeches …. Bible study lessons …. a family Christmas letter …. even the text for an answering machine message.
You never know what kinds of freelance writing projects will come your way. That’s part of the fun! As you write, you may find that some projects are more suited to you. And you may become a specialist in certain types of formats and most certainly in a particular niche or two.
On the other side of the coin is the intimidation factor. The sheer number of kinds of freelance writing projects can be overwhelming.
Tip: writing projects are all one form or another of content. It may help if you group them – at least in your mind – into a few big-picture categories.
When the term “freelance writing” comes to mind, many people automatically think marketing materials that communicate or promote a product, service, cause, or brand. If you’re a freelancer, there’s a good chance you’ll take on some of these kinds of freelance writing projects. That’s because there’s so many of them.
Marketing materials can be grouped into two large subsets.
Every business, ministry, and nonprofit needs written content in order to operate and communicate with customers, vendors, staff, and other stakeholders: emails, memos, sales proposals, RFPs, concept papers, summaries, manuals, resumes, grants, press releases, strategic planning, business plans, cover letters, acknowledgement letters, inquiry fulfillment, newsletters, internal and external communications, marketing collateral, brochures, flyers, audio content, video content, auto responders …
No wonder they use freelancers.
Copywriting projects use a clear persuasive writing strategy with a specific goal of writing to sell – or in the case of nonprofits, writing to receive a gift. A large percentage of marketing materials can be classified as copywriting projects including ads, jingles, appeal letters, landing pages, sales pages, email campaigns, social media posts, SEO content, and donor presentations.
Web content encompasses all kinds of projects written for the internet – in itself, a specific style – with an important subset: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) content. SEO projects draw heavily on keywords and created with the purpose of attracting search engines or leads.
A web content writer is in demand. Web and SEO projects include websites, social media, product pages, landing pages, blog posts, articles, lists, guides, videos, infographics, and slide shows.
If you’re a tech geek and you like to write, you can make a good freelance income as a technical writer. Bob Bly used his freshly-minted chemical engineering degree combined with experience as editor of his college newspaper to land his first job as technical writer for Westinghouse. Today Bob is widely-recognized as a leading freelance copywriting guru, but he started out in this specialized genre. Technical writing is great for writers with a background in technology, business, science, math, and engineering or any specialized field. Clients and companies regularly need help with manuals, user guides, help pages, administrative modules, and training content to explain specialized information to the layman.
Articles, features, travel pieces, interviews, shorts, columns, blogs, lifestyle features, profiles – even short stories – these are the bread and butter for magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals and online periodicals. Newsletter articles fall into this category as does journalistic reporting. Freelancer Kelly James-Enger has built a solid freelance writing career writing articles. Check out these 6 types of articles that freelancers can get paid to write.
Instruction at all levels and topics requires written materials: courses, text books, work books, instructional materials, lesson plans, webinars, PowerPoint presentations, lectures, online classes. Some writers specialize in producing instructional content for a particular topic niche or specific student population.
User-friendly self-publishing tools and the internet have opened the door to an information product explosion. Solo professionals, small business owners, consultants, and other industry leaders regularly put their knowledge into information products, but often they don’t have the time to write them. Add to that the thousands of free lead generation downloads offered at and you can understand the demand for freelancers to write information products.
They include eBooks, PDFs, workbooks, online courses, webinars, video recordings, pamphlets, membership sites, audio recordings, and of course books.
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