Have plans of becoming an online freelance writer?

In the past, freelance writing was always associated with blogging and copywriting. But that’s not the case anymore.

My goal in this list is to show you the different types of freelance writing careers so you can decide what type of freelance writer you want to become.

Let’s get started.

How to Choose a Freelance Writing Work

The truth:

There is always a chance that whatever line of freelance writing you choose today will change next week, next month, or next year.

There are a few factors that will play in deciding which one you will stick with:

  • Potential income
  • Client base
  • Personality

I’ll explain all of them in a bit…

When I started writing, I was still a virtual assistant and was given some writing tasks by a Russian client.

Unfortunately, the website doesn’t exist anymore, though I was still able to get a screenshot of its past appearance:

Screenshot of cryptoversal homepage
The first website I wrote for

Anyway, I then tried to focus more on writing and was able to experience:

  • Copywriting (email and page)
  • Technical writing
  • Blog post writing
  • Social media writing

I stuck with blog posts for the following reasons (tying them up with the factors I mentioned earlier):

  • Blog post writing enables me to put a fixed rate per word on my services and scale my earnings by increasing the number of articles I write for a client.
  • Most of my earliest writing clients are related to blog posts so I was able to build a good client base related to it.
  • Naturally, my portfolio leaned more towards blog post writing — though it had taken a while before I figured to write solely about tech-related topics.
  • I grew a dislike towards copywriting since I felt many of the guys I knew sometimes mix a bit of deception into their content.
  • This led me to liking blog posts more and more because it focuses more on informing the reader without heavily selling a product or service.

I still do a little bit of technical writing related to WordPress and some social media writing for my own pages.

But most of my time is dedicated to writing blog posts for my blogs and for client websites. If I write a marketing copy, it will still sound more like a blog post.

My point here can be summarized in the following:

  • The best way to know which ones you will like or stick with in the future is to try as many types of freelance writing as you can.
  • Eventually, you will realize that you are more suited to one or two types (and you will notice the factors I mentioned are true).

If you have proved to yourself that what I said above is true, please let me know in the comment section. I would love to hear about it!

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    Types of Freelance Writing Work Online:

    Let’s now proceed to the main point of this article. Here are the different types of freelancing writing careers that you can do:

    1. Articles and Blog Posts

    This one hits close to home since this is what I’ve been doing since I graduated from being a virtual assistant.

    Writing articles and blog posts for websites is one of the most common types of writing gigs you will find on freelancing platforms.

    For example, one quick look at my feed and I saw this:

    A job post on Upwork looking for a good general knowledge writer
    A job post on Upwork looking for a good general knowledge writer

    Businesses that use content marketing as a method to gain more customers will need more writers.

    The game for content marketing has changed considerably and has now included “quantity” to the mix — in addition to simply publishing quality posts.

    If you were to ask me about the cons, this is what I have to say:

    Since writing articles and blog posts has a somewhat low barrier to entry (unless the articles need specialized knowledge), you will find a lot of competitors.

    If I were to do this business again from the ground up, I will focus on two things — building my own blog and creating a portfolio.

    But anyway, here are some resources to check out if you want to earn money writing articles and blog posts:

    2. Content Writing (Website Content)

    Aside from articles and blog posts, there’s also a need for content writers who will write for websites.

    This is different from the previous one since you’re not writing for someone’s blog. This is where you write the contents of the pages of the website.

    This is an example of a job post that perfectly fits what I meant:

    A job post on Upwork looking for a website content writer
    A job post on Upwork looking for a website content writer

    Pages companies may request you to write on include:

    • Home page
    • About us page
    • Service pages

    Writing the content on website pages is actually harder than you think — which is why companies look for people to do it instead.

    Here are some resources that might help:

    3. Social Media Content Writing

    Writing business-related social media posts and captions is easier said than done.

    I learned the hard way that writing a post on Facebook is a lot easier compared to writing posts for a page (and you sometimes need to do them in bulk).

    This is why you will see a lot of social media-related ads on Upwork:

    A job post on Upwork looking for a social media marketer
    A job post on Upwork looking for a social media marketer

    When creating content for social media, you have to consider the content calendar (if there’s one) and the theme.

    Add the fact that for more than half of your posts, there is a less personal angle that you can mix into it (unless you’re working on your own business).

    Since most of the time you will have to write the posts in bulk, you also have to learn how to use content scheduling tools like Hootsuite.

    If you find this interesting, here are some resources you can check out to learn more:

    4. Press Release Writing

    A few years ago, a client asked me to write a press release. I ended up editing one instead simply because I don’t know how to write it.

    A press release is a type of content that’s written to the media as a strategic message from an organization (like a release of a new product or feature).

    Read the job post below and you will understand my point better:

    Press release for my kickstarter campaign
    A job post on Upwork looking for help on press release writing

    There is a standard that’s being followed in writing press releases. Some say it’s quite easy — but I wasn’t able to wrap my head around it.

    Companies look for talented writers to do this since press releases are a good way to attract potential customers to the business.

    If you want to learn more about this, check out these resources:

    5. Proofreading and Editing

    Do people tease you as a grammar nazi?

    Well then, maybe it’s time that you take advantage of it! You can earn a lot of money simply by proofreading and editing the work of other people.

    The work pays big too — as you can see here:

    A job post on Upwork looking for an English proofreader
    A job post on Upwork looking for an English proofreader

    I’ve been writing for a while now and many of those I worked with also have their own army of proofreaders and editors.

    It may sometimes irk the writer — but I can’t deny that editors and proofreaders make the content so much better.

    If you’re interested in this, here are some resources for you to start with:

    6. Writing Product Descriptions

    You may have noticed that some e-commerce websites (like Amazon) have long and detailed descriptions of their products.

    Did you know that there’s a whole industry around writing these?

    Product description for Candwax on Amazon
    Product description for Candwax on Amazon

    Product descriptions are known to be one of the most important pieces of content in e-commerce since it helps people decide if they want to buy the product or not.

    Since companies have lots of products, they will need help writing the descriptions and making them helpful and convincing to the customers.

    If you find this interesting, here are some resources that could help:

    7. Book and Ebook Writing

    Do you have some ideas for a book? Maybe an alternate universe of popular books like that one with a male wizard with a scar on his forehead…

    Book writing can be a lot of fun, you know. Each book may not sell for much individually. But collectively? You can only imagine…

    Source: Unsplash

    If you go the freelance route, some of the tasks you may have to do include:

    • Kindle Niche Research
    • Short Stories
    • Book Proposals
    • Book Blurbs
    • Ghostwriting

    On the other hand, there are also plenty of people who want to hire book writers to write out their ideas.

    Usually, they give you an outline and some ideas on what to include. Then, they will ask you to fill in the rest.

    Here are some resources for you to start with:

    8. Book Editing

    Aside from writing, there’s also a need for book editors.

    I can totally understand why this is the case. Simply because if you’re the writer, you will have something like blindness to your own mistakes.

    This is why you will see job posts that look for book editors:

    A job post on Upwork looking for a book editor
    A job post on Upwork looking for a book editor

    Compared to the usual editing and proofreading, some book publishers and writers may actually ask for some past experience or some certifications.

    This is understandable since books are a more formal-ish type of content compared to the usual blog and web articles.

    Some resources that can help you with this include:

    9. Technical Writing

    If you’re good at explaining things and have a knack for documentation, you may want to try your hand at technical writing.

    While writing for blogs, I was fortunate to work with two companies as their technical writer — where I also learned how to use documentation software.

    A technical guide I wrote a few years back
    A technical guide I wrote a few years back

    Technical writers are responsible for creating various types of user documentation. This may include:

    • Tutorials
    • How-to Guides
    • Online Help Systems
    • Product Specifications
    • Installation Instructions
    • Warranty Information

    Personally, I think the work is quite simple — as long as you understand what you’re documenting. This is also ideal for those who learn how to use software fast.

    Anyway, here are some resources that could help:

    10. White Paper Writing

    This is quite similar to technical writing. But instead of creating user documentation, you will be creating marketing collateral.

    By definition:

    A white paper is an informational document usually issued by a company or not-for-profit organization to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product, or service that it offers or plans to offer.

    Here’s an example:

    Source: Ethereum

    A white paper may get technical — which is why companies looking for a white paper writer may require some specialized experience or knowledge.

    On the bright side, the rate here is quite big compared to the usual form of writing (like blogs, web content, and regular technical writing).

    In addition, since the rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech, lots of companies are looking for white paper writers.

    If you’re interested in this, here are some resources to check out:

    11. Copywriting

    In a nutshell, copywriting is all about persuasion.

    You’re basically trying to get people to do something — whether it’s to sign up for your email list, buy your product, or avail of your service.

    There’s also a load of job posts online looking for a copywriter:

    A job post on Upwork looking for an email copywriter
    A job post on Upwork looking for an email copywriter

    Two specific forms of copywriting that you may encounter include:

    • Sales Copywriting
    • Email Copywriting

    Copywriting skills are essential in all forms of online marketing. So if you’re good at it, you will have no shortage of clients or projects.

    Here are some resources that can help if you want to start with copywriting:

    12. UX (User Experience) Writing

    It’s been a few years since I first heard of UX writing.

    By definition:

    UX writing is the microcopy on the buttons, the words, the sentences, and the paragraphs you see throughout your product.

    Now, if you search for it on Upwork and other freelance sites, you may not find an actual “UX Writer” in the title, so you need to read more on the description:

    A job post on Upwork looking for a UX writer
    A job post on Upwork looking for a UX writer

    It’s also a fairly new industry, so not a lot of people know about this even though they’re already looking for one.

    It’s also a good idea to directly contact tech companies and see if they’re looking for a UX writer. The competition is quite low today, so you may find lots of hidden opportunities.

    If you find this interesting, here are some resources that may help:

    13. Writing Case Studies

    If you’re good at writing and research, then this may be the job for you.

    A case study is basically a story that revolves around your client or customer’s success.

    By reading it, other potential clients can learn more about how a product or service helped solve a problem.

    Here’s an example:

    A job post on Upwork looking for a UX writer
    A job post on Upwork looking for a UX writer

    The great thing with case studies is that you don’t need to write from scratch. You can simply interview the customer and compile everything into a nice story.

    It would also help if you know copywriting and storytelling since you can weave in these two skills and impress the client even more.

    If you want to give this a go, here are some resources:

    14. Creative Writing

    This is a broad category but what it basically entails is writing anything that’s not technical.

    The great thing about creative writing is that you have total freedom in terms of topics and approach.

    There are also plenty of people looking for a creative writer:

    A job post on Upwork looking for a creative writer
    A job post on Upwork looking for a creative writer

    Specifically, this includes:

    • Game Writing
    • Poetry
    • Song Lyrics
    • Letters
    • Fiction Books

    Creative writing is all about emotion and connection. So if you’re good at writing and conveying emotions, then this category may be for you.

    Here are some resources to help you get started:

    15. Scriptwriting

    If you’re into movies and TV shows, then you may enjoy this type of writing.

    A scriptwriter is responsible for creating the dialogue and story for a movie, TV show, video game, or even a stage play.

    You would also find lots of opportunities on freelance platforms, especially those looking to create videos on YouTube:

    A job post on Upwork looking for a script writer for YouTube videos
    A job post on Upwork looking for a scriptwriter for YouTube videos

    This is also a great idea if you watch lots of YouTube videos every day, which gives you a good idea of how a good flow works out.

    Understandably, you may not have experience with this right away unless you have already written scripts for films and stage plays.

    What I can recommend here is that you do this for free first and get good testimonials. It will get the ball rolling and you can use it to market your services.

    Check out these resources to learn more:

    16. Legal Writing

    Legal writing simply refers to writing documents that are related to legal matters.

    Source: Unsplash

    This includes things like:

    • Contracts
    • Agreements
    • Policies

    Legal documents are often full of technical terms and can be quite confusing for the average person. This is where you come in as a legal writer.

    Your job is to make these documents easier to understand while still conveying all the important information.

    Here are some resources that might help:

    17. Grant Writing

    If you want to help non-profit organizations, then you may enjoy grant writing.

    A grant is basically a sum of money given by an organization to another organization or individual to support a cause or project.

    As a grant writer, your job is to write proposals asking for these funds, which is why people hire experts for this.

    A job post on Upwork looking for a grant writer
    A job post on Upwork looking for a grant writer

    Specifically, this includes:

    • Grant Research
    • Grant Proposals

    It’s not easy since you need to be very persuasive and understand the process of acquiring grants.

    This can also become quite lucrative since companies pay a great deal to have their proposal accepted. In fact, some even pay commissions.

    Here are some resources to get you started:

    18. Transcription

    Transcription is the process of converting audio or video recordings into written text.

    This is a popular job for those who want to work from home since all you need is a laptop and some headphones.

    There are plenty of companies looking for transcriptionists:

    A job post on Upwork looking for a transcriptionist
    A job post on Upwork looking for a transcriptionist

    There is a good opportunity here for beginners since you don’t really need specialized knowledge or even experience to get started.

    Then, when you have enough money, you can then buy some tools that may help the transcription easier (like a foot pedal).

    Check out some of these resources if you want to get started as a transcriber:

    19. Research and Summaries

    If you enjoy reading and have good research skills, then this job is perfect for you.

    People often don’t have the time to read everything they want, so they will hire someone to do it for them and provide a summary.

    I actually had a quick research work that earned me around $400 for a few hours of work only:

    A quick research work I did a few years back
    A quick research work I did a few years back

    The client gave me some questions and I simply had to research them, provide a quick summary, and provide the resources.

    The work I had was for a book summary, though some may ask you to research stuff for other types of content like:

    • News articles
    • Research papers
    • Blog articles (usually about statistics)

    This is easy work. But if you want to enhance or expand your skills even further, check out these resources:

    20. Writing Resumes and Cover Letters

    If you want to help people get their dream job, then you may enjoy writing resumes and cover letters.

    Let’s define these terms first:

    • resume is a document that summarizes your qualifications, skills, and experience for a potential employer.
    • On the other hand, a cover letter is a letter of introduction that accompanies your resume when applying for a job.

    If you didn’t know, there’s a lot of demand for resume and cover letter writers out there:

    A job post on Upwork looking for a resume writer
    A job post on Upwork looking for a resume writer

    Having copywriting skills really helps if you want to stand out.

    If you don’t have any experience with this, you can try offering this service for free at first. Lots of people on LinkedIn need this type of service.

    Check out these resources too so you will get a better idea of how to do this:

    FAQ: Types of Freelance Writing Careers

    Here are common questions and their answers related to freelance writing careers:

    What type of writing is most in demand?

    On top of my head, here are the ones I can think of that are most in-demand right now:

    • Website content
    • Blog posts
    • UX writing

    For website content, you can find web developers out there who might need a website content writer to replace the lorem ipsum they use.

    There is a high demand for blog posts. Unfortunately, most of this demand is low-paying simply because small websites don’t earn big right away.

    There is definitely a big demand for user experience writing. But you can’t do it right on the spot since you need to study some things first (see its section above).

    What type of freelance writing pays the most?

    If I had to choose one — it’s definitely copywriting (writing direct marketing-related content like emails and sales pages).

    Here’s why:

    • Because you can always negotiate with the client and ask for a revenue share type of compensation.
    • Basically, you agree to a small upfront service fee but you will be entitled to a percentage of the revenue.
    • Clients like this approach since it shows how confident you are with your craft. The more your content sells, the more money the client makes.

    But don’t believe people who are saying this doesn’t take a lot of work since they have ready-made templates you can use.

    There is still a lot of work that needs to be done here. The biggest one is convincing a client that you can write a good copy when you just started out.

    How do I turn my writing into a career?

    This deserves a post of its own. But I’ll answer this in a few points:

    • You need to figure out first what type of freelance writer you want to become.
    • Then, seek out initial clients who are willing to work with you who have no portfolio yet.
    • Save the link to the articles you have written so you can present them to future clients.

    Another approach here is to focus first on building your portfolio. This may include:

    If you have some questions or experiences you want to share, please do so in the comment section below.

    Author

    Alan is the founder of Work Pajama and other sites by Content Growers. When he's not writing here, he's busy helping clients generate more qualified leads and increase sales by educating readers with strategic content and writing blogs.

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