So you want to make money as a freelance writer, eh?
Whether you’re already freelancing or just dipping your toe into the freelancing waters, you’ll want to have an idea of common writing services and how it benefits your client.
Then, and only then, can you charge high-dollar rates.
Freelancers can find clients through:
- Online job boards
- Cold pitching
- Social media sites
Once you find your ideal client, you may be wondering what services you should you offer to land the highest paying jobs. From editing to writing blog posts, there’s a writing style for every freelance writer out there.
Here I cover some of the highest paid freelancing jobs you can score as a writer.
Must-Have Skills for Freelancing to Land Big Gigs
Before you can get excited about what to charge for services, you’ll need to know what offerings are the most valuable to clients. Skills for freelancing vary and companies with the best budgets will pay premium rates to writers with the best services.
Some of the most in-demand offerings you’ll see on job boards include:
Editors are an invaluable tool to companies, small businesses, and even for writers like authors. Anyone with an eye for detail who has a good grasp of grammar rules can be an editor.
Editing is improving other people’s writing by finding mistakes, correcting grammar, and improving writing flow. It really varies based on the assignment. Some jobs are basic — like proofreading and editing a newsletter — while others are more complex, like editing a master’s thesis.
Why Is Editing Valuable to Clients?
- It’s difficult to proofread your own work
- Fresh eyes on copy offer an impartial opinion
- Polished copy looks professional
- Clean copy makes companies look trustworthy
What can you charge? According to the Editorial Freelancers Association website, editor rates range from $30-$50 per hour. That’s certainly a beginner rate. For more advanced or challenging copy edits like technical or academic editing, the rates increase substantially depending on the difficulty of the subject matter.
2. Blog Writing
There are two types of blogging — creating content for your own blog or for a company’s blog. Both generate revenue streams very differently, so you’ll want to dive in to better explore which is best for you.
Known as a content marketing technique, a successful blog boosts search engine rankings, builds trust, provides value, and converts prospects into customers.
Creating blog posts for clients can include different topics and industries. As a blog writer, you may have to generate topics/titles for approval before writing. Or, you may be given a keyword and outline to work with. As a basic premise, you should have writing skills and some general SEO knowledge for keyword research.
To be successful, you should also understand your client’s audience and how your client creates revenue with their blog to send the right message to the right people.
Why Is Blog Writing Valuable to Clients?
- Content marketing brings in conversion rates 6X higher than other methods
- A blog can be a central part of a company’s marketing strategy
- Businesses may have writers on staff, but still need help producing content
- Full-time bloggers also use ghostwriters
- Businesses publishing 16X per month get 3.5X more traffic
What can you charge? Well-researched, SEO-optimized blog posts fetch hundreds of dollars a post. AWAI lists $150-$800 per post, depending on what a client needs.
3. Website Copy
Website copy should read well, contain strategic keywords, create interest, and compel the reader to explore more of the website. Website copy may be more concise than blog posts, but writers still need a basic understanding of SEO and a thorough understanding of the message the company intends to convey.
If you’re writing website copy, you may be creating:
- Landing pages
- About pages
- Home pages
- Bio pages
- Service offerings pages
Each page will have different word counts and depths of research required. Copywriting, which is what website copy is, is basically copy “telling” that persuades a reader to buy, read more, or further engage with a company.
Why Is Website Copy Valuable to Clients?
- A company’s website may be the first impression for customers
- Creates cohesive brand messaging
- High-quality copy has a better chance of boosting organic search traffic
- Enforces a reader’s sense of trust and connection
What can you charge? Some experienced writers charge by page. Depending on the content you’re creating, you can charge from $500 up to $8,000 or more per page of website copy, according to AWAI.
4. White Papers
White papers are essentially a mix between a corporate brochure and a magazine. These in-depth pieces educate customers while also providing viable solutions for problems they may be having.
If you love doing research and writing long-form copy, white papers might be for you. These pieces may be as long as 10,000 words or more and often require a high-level of technical understanding.
Before you start, you’ll need to have a good understanding of what outcome the client is trying to achieve with the paper, what problem they are solving, and how their company solves it.
Why Are White Papers Valuable to Clients?
- Demonstrates expertise and thought leadership
- Can be used to increase conversions
- Improves website reach (SEO)
- Gives customers an idea of how the company can help them
- Provides in-depth information in an interesting format customers love
What can you charge? White papers range from $3,000 to $10,000 for 6-14 pages of copy. Rates depend on the level of research, interviews, etc. Once you have a few under your belt, you can raise your rates or charge a flat fee (if you normally charge hourly) based on estimated word counts or amount of interviews required.
5. Case Studies
Love story telling? Then you’ll enjoy taking on case studies for clients. Case studies are concrete examples of how a company’s product or services have benefited their customers.
A case study may include:
- Before/after facts
- Customer success stories
The copy should be written to relate to the client’s ideal customer. This helps the company further attract more customers that understand how this product/service will benefit them.
Why Are Case Studies Valuable to Clients?
- Offers specific examples of how clients benefit from products/services
- Focuses on the customer experience
- Demonstrates the company’s expertise, customer service, and client connections
- Allows for follow-up with case study subjects to show continued success
What can you charge? General writers earn rates anywhere from $40-100 per hour. Once you have more case study experience, you can charge flat rates. When pricing, consider how many interviews you’ll need to do, along with the amount of time you’ll need to research. Some experienced writers make $2,500+ per case study.
See What the Marketplace Needs
If you want to see what’s a “hot commodity,” then look into what the actual marketplace needs. Check out job boards like Indeed or MediaBistro to see what types of content companies are hiring for. Once you see a common thread of hiring for specific roles like copywriters or social media writers, you’ll have a solid idea of what you can call yourself when you pitch companies.
A word from the wise: Don’t pitch content you’ll hate writing.
Even if you think you’ll make a quick buck, it’s not really quick. For example, it will be a painful process to dive into researching about finance law if you absolutely hate that subject. It will take you twice as long to write, which means you’ll end up making less per hour.
Instead, look into creating content that naturally jives with your interests, talents, and hobbies. If you love knitting and scrapbooking, look at large craft companies that may have a need for content like newsletters or blogs.
Play around to see what you enjoy doing. If you like interviewing folks, writing case studies might be your thing. If you prefer lots of research and a conversational tone, then look into crafting blogs.
There’s really something for every writing style. It’s up to you to find out what you love and what you want to do to pay your bills!
What have you found to be some of the highest paid freelancing jobs around? Share in the comments below!