Freelance Writing Forecast: Ride These Epic Trends in 2017

Writers: Ride These Epic Trends in 2017. Makealivingwriting.comLast year, I got out my crystal ball and created a freelance writing forecast that identified 12 hot writing niches for the past year. (You can check and see how I did.)

That post was one of the most useful posts of the year, judging from the traffic it got, so I’ve decided to do a new forecast for 2017.

But this time, rather than good-paying types of writing, I’m calling out the hot trends you should know about to earn well in the coming year.

How you take advantage of these trends and freelance writing forecast will depend on the kinds of writing you like to do and types of clients you serve. These are top-level trends that will affect all of us, whether you’re into blogging, magazine writing, or copywriting.

I’ve included action items that explain how to take advantage of each of these trends in the coming year.

The freelance writing forecast looks bright

The short version: I’ve never been more excited about the opportunities for freelance writers than I am right now.

Ready? Let’s look at the seven biggest trends coming down the pike:

 

1. Massive change

Whether you personally find Donald Trump terrifying or are excited to see him take office, one thing’s for sure — he has vowed to shake things up.

And I think it’s going to create writing opportunities that are, well, huge.

How will a new president impact the freelance writing forecast? It means every single business sector needs analysis, and they need it now. How will new policies affect their industry? Will these pronouncements really happen, or not? Businesses will be scrambling to reposition for success in the coming 4 years, along with progressive causes such as environmental preservation.

Once organizations figure out their angle, companies will need new RFPs and position papers, and nonprofits may plan different initiatives. The playbook is getting ripped up — and that means lots of fresh writing needs to happen.

Action items: Start building your rolodex of economic and business experts, particular for business or nonprofit sectors you specialize in, and you’ll be in the sweet spot when companies need help, or trade publications are desperate for stories. Read widely, so you know what’s already been said, and ask yourself what will happen next — then, pitch a story on it. If you write about or for government agencies, this could be an absolute bonanza.

Change is the essence of news — and there should be a gusher of it in 2017. Change = opportunity. Be ready to capitalize on it!

Not all of us are happy to see these changes come, but there’s no question that documenting and explaining the impact of those changes is going to be big business for writers.

2. The death of junk content

I’ve been wishing and hoping and predicting this one for years, and now it’s finally here. Google has killed the value of SEO-keyword-stuffed, low-value, 300-word content. The world of $5-$10 crappy blog post assignments is dying fast.

The final nail in this coffin? Automation has reached the point where short posts can be written by robot software, with an increasing degree of competence.

I get emails daily from writers asking me what to do next, now that junk content is dead. The answer is: Go after better gigs! My freelance writing forecast suggests that soon, more complex assignments will be all there is.

This trend is great news for talented writers, because the low end of the market is disappearing! All those $5 blog-post offers definitely had a negative effect on blogging rates overall. I believe we’ll have less work to do educating clients about professional rates in 2017.

Action items: Stop grubbing after low-paid blogging work. This is a fading ‘opportunity,’ anyway. Think of $100 as a floor for writing an under-1,000-word blog post — and get an ongoing retainer for a minimum of 60-90 days’ work. Think about how you can position yourself to get better-paid, better-quality gigs.

More and more businesses will stop wasting their marketing dollars on cheap, low-value content in 2017. Instead, they’ll focus more on riding the next trend in my lineup…

3. The rise of ‘Authority’ content marketing

Expect more businesses in 2017 to ‘get’ that the point of blogging is to build their authority, make them stand out from competitors, and deepen ties to customers. They need pro writers to create high-value, longform posts for that — hence the rise of $400 blog-post assignments.

In an effort to please Google — and due to the growing competitiveness of the blogging space — the pendulum has swung to extremely high-quality, longer blog posts of 1,500 words and up. I think it’ll be a long time before robots can write these — and that’s the big opportunity for freelance writers.

I am ecstatic to see blog posts finally get the credit they deserve for building businesses, and to see rates reflect the value of high-quality content to grow sales. This trend will only grow in 2017, as competition for top-notch blog ghostwriters intensifies.

Let’s face it — a 1,500-word blog post takes as much work as a 1,500-word article! These two forms of writing are increasingly converging. So don’t be shy about asking for a rate that truly compensates you for time spent creating authority posts.

Of course, the ultimate authority-building content is a book or e-book. And every company that hires a marketing consultant is being told their CEO needs a book. This is a vast authority-building opportunity for writers to snag projects at $20,000-$50,000 a pop. (Stay tuned in the coming weeks for news from me on an opportunity to learn and get into this mega-lucrative niche!)

Action items: See what you can do to get great longform samples to show clients. Write a long post on your own blog, if need be! Better than that is to guest post on high-visibility sites your prospective clients tend to read. If you’re interested in book ghostwriting, start cultivating clients you could upsell, or consider writing a book yourself, that you could use as a sample of your longform work.

Guest posting on top sites is going to be more important than ever in 2017, because of the next trend:

4. Inbound marketing

At this point, the great writing assignments find you. You don’t find them.

And how do they find you? Increasingly, through your online presence, especially, your presence on high-traffic websites.

Outbound marketing is great for building your business, initially. I’m certainly not here to discourage anyone from pitching a magazine or company they’d love to write for! Go for it.

But… if you play this right, the freelance writing forecast for the foreseeable future suggests that once you’ve got a portfolio and built your inbound marketing machine, the good leads should come to you, through your inbound tools.

I’m talking your writer website and LinkedIn profile, most importantly, though in some situations (especially for young writers targeting Millennial brands) it might be your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or another channel.

At this point, great companies and magazines with big, fat assignments don’t put out job ads. Instead, they’re trolling online, checking out writers’ portfolios and their online visibility. Then, they reach out to writers whose writing style and online track record are a fit for their project.

I’ve gotten all my gigs this way for years now, and hear from more and more writers who report the same.

Example: I was poached from my Entrepreneur blog to write for Forbes. I was hired by a mergers and acquisitions company off my Forbes blog for what’s been about $10,000 of business-plan and other marketing projects, to date. Alaska Airlines and Costco are just two of the major companies that hired me after seeing my LinkedIn profile.

Action items: Build up your online presence! Getting inbound leads is what makes being a freelancer truly the dream lifestyle. If you don’t have a writer website, now’s the time to get one (if you need help, got a couple recommendations on this page).  Improve your LinkedIn profile, and make sure your tagline has keywords for helping you get found there.

While we’re talking online presence, there’s another big freelance writing forecast trend to get on top of:

5. Social media matters

I hear from a lot of older writers who loathe social media. Don’t wanna be on it. Don’t wanna learn about it. OK, then — write query letters to pitch magazines and enjoy.

But here’s the thing: A ton of the freelance writing opportunity these days is online. And the goal of much online content development is to get a lot of social sharing.

One of the big things prospects are increasingly looking at when they’re considering who to hire is how active the writer is in social media — and how effective in getting people sharing, chatting, and clicking on links.

I can tell you, my clients are often hoping I’ll share what I write for them with my own 15,000+ Twitter followers. That interest in your social-media skills and reach is only going to grow.

That means learning how social-media platforms work, and building a presence of your own on them.

Action items: Pick a social channel to be active (or more active) on, and get rolling. No, it’s not too late. Yes, you can learn this. Pick a few social-media blogs to follow, and find out how to make social media work for you. Don’t forget to have fun! Social media is a playful place.

6. Online magazines

More and more magazines are either developing exclusive content for their online readers, or stopping the presses and becoming online-only publications, as Rogers Media did with four of their publications in 2016.

Remember what I just said about social media? Well, when print mags move online, they care about traffic and social shares, just like blogs. The growth of digital magazines is another reason to build your online presence, so you’re well-positioned for the growing online-article opportunity.

As publishing (and ad revenue) move online, more article-writing opportunity is digital. Don’t miss out!

This coming year may well mark the tipping point where the cachet of a byline in a great online magazine equals that of appearing in a quality print mag. Did you know there are Digital Magazine Awards? Take a look at some of the fantastic, beautifully designed winning entries. Get over any lingering print snobbery you’ve got lurking around, and I think you’ll earn more.

At this point, I’ve earned far more money writing for digital editions than I ever did writing freelance articles for print. Great storytelling will live on, online. Expect online rates for fully reported stories to continue to rise.

Action items: Research online magazines, and opportunities for online-exclusive articles with print magazine sites — and pitch them! If you have a niche hobby, I can tell you there’s a booming business in online magazines about everything from karate to crochet. If you’ve been trying to crack a big-name print magazine, getting into their online stable can be a great way to connect with those editors.

7. Multimedia

The rise of digital has also meant an explosion in video selling, charticles, slideshows, infographics and other visuals. You may think that’s a problem for writers, but it’s not.

All of these formats still need a writer. There’s good money in video scripts and writing video sales letters, creating ‘show notes’ from podcasts, editing transcripts, and more. As we continue to move from broadcasting to narrowcasting, the number of possible clients is exploding.

Example: The best traffic I ever got in three years posting for Forbes came from slideshows. Since I was paid partly on traffic, these were a big factor in the nearly $2,000 a month I earned. Don’t turn up your nose at writing clever, longish photo-captions! It’s actually fun.

There’s real money in image-driven writing — and these projects can give a big-time boost to your online presence.

Action items: Get visual! Think about where you connect with these types of writing. Learn more about what companies want from a writer in these formats. Create some samples, find a pro bono client or two, and then go for it.

Rates will rise — there, I said it

My biggest prediction for the 2017 freelance writing forecast is simply this: The marketplace is getting more competitive. That means rates have got to go up, as companies try to attract top talent.

They’ve already gone up, as with the appearance of $400 blog-post assignments. We’ll see more gigs at higher rates in 2017.

The tables have turned from 2009, when there were many desperate writers, few full-time jobs in a down economy, and less online marketing. Now, companies are competing in a strong economy to get the best writers — the ones who can help them stand out in what is now a raging din of online marketing noise.

The best online writers are increasingly quite expensive — if you can even get them. I often ask around my network of business writers to refer clients who want to hire me…and often, all the other writers I ask are booked up, too.

The other factor driving rising rates: Writers have simply gotten smarter. My sense is there are fewer suckers willing to work for peanuts. Unemployment is low in the U.S. What’s left on the playing field are mostly serious pros who want real pay.

The authority trend is skyrocketing demand for great writing that gets engagement and drives sales. In 2017, even more clients will have to pay professional rates to get sophisticated, writers with a proven track record of driving online engagement.

Action items: There’s never been a better year to aim high. Whatever size client you’ve been pitching, add a zero to your revenue target and move up (i.e. target $10 million revenue prospects instead of $1 million, or $100 million instead of $10 million). Ask for a raise, or raise your rates for new clients. Make the case that what you do helps that business earn more, and is worth real money.

Position yourself to work with bigger companies and publications that can pay better. Raise your online visibility. Great prospects are going to be out there, looking to hire a great, savvy writer. Will it be you? Take a closer look at the freelance writing forecast and decide where to focus your efforts in 2017 to move up and earn more.

Need help busting your fears, so you can take advantage of 2017’s opportunities? Join me and Linda Formichelli for Write Big in January, and get coaching and support:

 

Get a free e-book (100+ Freelance Writing Questions Answered by Carol Tice) and free updates! Sign me up!

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47 comments on “Freelance Writing Forecast: Ride These Epic Trends in 2017
  1. Emma says:

    The most useful writing post I have read in the last year or two. Go, Carol, go!

    • Carol Tice says:

      Glad you liked, Emma! It’s so easy to just have our heads down grinding out work, without asking, “Where is this all going? How is the marketplace changing for writers?” I think it’s an important annual activity to stop and take stock — and think about how you could capitalize on the evolution of our industry.
      Carol Tice recently posted…Freelance Writing Forecast: Ride These Epic Trends in 2017My Profile

      • Stacey Freed says:

        Thanks for posting this. I’ve found a lot of success with online magazine articles and with writing for third-party content providers, Contently and Imagine Pub. They value my knowledge and expertise and pay well. I don’t snub my nose at writing articles, advertorial, listicles, slideshows. You’re right.

        • Carol Tice says:

          I HAVE heard about writers getting $500 a post from some Contently assignments — seems like they have some good opportunities. Image Pub I’ve never heard of. I’ve earned a ton with online articles, personally — there’s a lot of great-paying brand journalism and other good gigs…and I suspect there’ll be more in 2017.

  2. Rob says:

    My editors are already asking for 1200+ word articles: have been for about six months now. They’re paying me better for them, too. I suspect they’ll up the word count in 2017. We’ll see.
    Rob recently posted…What’s better, success or happiness?My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Exactly, Rob — many of us have already seen these trends get rolling, and I bet we’ll see more of this in 2017. Everyone who does content marketing is scrambling to figure out what really moves the needle, now that this has become so popular. What stands out? Better quality, longer content is definitely a starting point.

  3. Todd says:

    Carol, I think that blog post, especially under 2k words, are going to be kind of like a loss lead for writers. It is a chance to show companies what you can do and lead to other assignments. Another thing to help with the inbound marketing is guest posts on well-respected sites in the writing industry such as this one, Copybloggers, and Copyhackers.

    I’ve already been approached by a local startup to help use content to grow his business in anticipation of a big 2017. The potential is there, especially if you can do a certain kind of writing well– ie. whitepapers, ebooks, landing pages, web copy, direct respsonse,etc.

    It should be fun and interesting to see what the future holds.

    Another thing I think is that writers should find some way to build a product. I think you taught us that 😉
    Todd recently posted…Entrepreneur Stories: Q&A with Santa Claus!My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, every freelance writer should be thinking about how they can diversify, and self-publishing to me is an incredible opportunity that only THIS generation has been able to take advantage of. You’re kind of nuts not to be thinking about whether you could find a way to earn some from your own products.

      For me, blog posts have ALWAYS been a way in the door and a chance to upsell bigger, better-paying assignments to the client. With longform, I’d say we have a better chance to impress clients and it’s an easier transition from there to a case study, short e-book, or other longer project.

      One tip I’d give everyone is to pitch VARYING post length. If they want all 2,000-word posts, I think our job is to convince them that that approach tires out readers pretty quick. I try to vary post length here on my blog — I think not everyone is up for super-long posts.

      Also, some ideas just don’t need 2,000 words to be conveyed! But you see endless posts that could easily have been cut in half. Our job is to help clients serve readers — and not abuse their time. One watchword and way writers can stand out, I think, is to call b.s. on the whole “all posts are 1500 words” mentality.I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve unsubscribed to that do only super-long posts. Who has time? I think if you have a varied schedule of 500, 1000, 1500-word posts, you can attract and retain different types of readers, and it’s a better strategy.

      So — way to look like a marketing ninja, just by pointing that out. Also makes you not look greedy, like you just want to rack up a big bill developing all 2000-word posts. 😉

      • I remember when “everyone” said that blog posts should always be under 300 words–still run into an occasional prospect who believes that.
        Katherine Swarts recently posted…Caring Content, 9/27/16My Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          I DO hear from writers who’re still getting that…and that’s the opportunity to educate and help them understand that is a TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY at this point — Google will actually penalize them.

          Now you look like a genius…and perhaps they’d like to commission some longer posts at real rates. 😉

  4. Jean Compton says:

    Carol~I love your tips on “Multimedia”. Since I love taking photographs almost as much as I do writing, I’m very interested in exploring this idea of writing captions for slideshows, etc.

    Jean Compton recently posted…The Challenge of ArtistsMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Doesn’t even have to be your photographs, either — I used all stock images through the agency relationships Forbes had for mine. Multimedia isn’t just for visual people…plenty of opportunities there of all types.

      • Jean Compton says:

        Any tips how to get into this area of writing? I.E., who’s looking for writers for this type of assignment?
        Jean Compton recently posted…The Challenge of ArtistsMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          Jean, read around and see who’s doing slideshows. Forbes, I can tell you, does TONS of them and strongly encourages contributors to do them, because they get completely mind-boggling amounts of traffic.

          Google ‘top slideshows about X topic’. Really, it’s not hard to find markets. Cruise Slideshare for your topic — many of those will be re-posting from other sites.

      • Emma says:

        Carol, maybe you can do a post specifically about slide shows. How does it work? Do you find the photos plus write the text? If so, do you ask them which image bank they have a relationship with?

        Or is it just the writing?

        Thanks for all your helpful info on this site!

        I’ve been freelancing for three years now, and your posts have made me more confident about asking for better rates.

        • Carol Tice says:

          Emma, the answer is, “it depends.” Every client will have their own way they do it, and you just ask them what it is. Some will have an account with a particular photo platform or network of agencies, some will have a tool for putting them together, some may have you turn in materials to someone else who codes it…you’ll just have to ask the what their process is like.

          And — yay about the better rates!

  5. Tessa says:

    Thank you for this post, Carol! There’s so much info. here. I recently stumbled onto your sight and I’ve been ravenously reading what you have to say. I’m overwhelmed in a good way by all your advice. I was so excited I had to mention your website on one of my recent Instagram posts.

    I’m currently working on building my portfolio and plans for my writer website.

    Also, I recently read your post about the $2000 article you wrote in seven days. There was a conversation about short hand versus recording versus typing while interviewing happening in the comment section. Can you provide any resources for learning short hand techniques or direct me to any articles you may have already written about this?

    Thanks again for your insight!

    • Carol Tice says:

      I haven’t really written about learning shorthand, because I think most writers refuse to bother! I started with Speedwriting (which I see now 3 different programs have been marketed under that name, so no idea which one I learned!), and then sort of adapted it from there for my own purposes.

      Here’s a post on some of the other systems: http://www.alysion.org/handy/althandwriting.htm

      My attraction to shorthand probably comes from my maternal grandmother — she had learned shorthand as a secretary for the California state employment department, where she worked for many decades (and gave us teens inside lines on good summer jobs!). She used to leave notes like grocery lists to herself in shorthand, which we always found so mysterious and cool as kids.

      But seriously — the ability to take notes to me is a terrific skill, especially if you plan to do a lot of reporting where you’re in-person. I don’t use it that much these days, because I’m mostly talking on the phone…for which I bring out my other secret weapon: my 120+ wpm typing speed. EVERY writer should work on being a fast typist! That’s an essential skill.

  6. Chanoa Tarle says:

    I just made a to-do list filled with ideas and inspiration after reading this post. Here’s to the most successful year yet!

    • Carol Tice says:

      I’d love to hear what action items this brought up for you, Chanoa!

      This may be a tough year for many of us coming up, or at the very least one full of unexpected changes, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity for us, too.

      • Chanoa Tarle says:

        I’m happy to share! The link to the Digital Magazine Awards led me to two apt titles I’ve never heard of before as well as one online pub that’s been “haunting” me to pitch for some time.

        I was considering offering a free e-book to a friend or a non-profit to have a good sample and then I came up with the idea to offer one one on my website. I’ll develop the idea soon.

        Finally, this was one of two signs nudging me towards guest posting (in a matter of hours). Guest posts, here I come!

        • Carol Tice says:

          Awesome! Yeah, I was FASCINATED by those Digital mag award winners — some fabulous stuff!

          On the print side, I can tell you I went to a huge Barnes & Noble near my new home last night in Seattle, and I was blown away by how many publications they had that I had never heard of. Folks who’re interested in print should find a LARGE newsstand to visit for ideas. I could not believe how many crafting and history mags there were, just to name two niches. And they had 3 writing mags! Crazy. But new titles DO continue to be born, and offer opportunities for writers to break in.

  7. Saima says:

    Very, very timely and useful post, chockful of good advice. Thanks Carol!

  8. I’m all for #4! I’m now updating my website and social-media profiles to project the impression “large corporate clients preferred.” Not to put down smaller entrepreneurs (after all, I am one), but I personally prefer a client big enough not only to pay high, but to already have enough experience with content marketing to understand its value AND what it comprises.

    • Christy says:

      I am rather bad at self-marketing, but for some reason, #4 has suddenly kicked into gear. I had an attorney contact me via social media and ask me if I could write a page for him on a specific law in his state. He told me it would be a test post and paid me $160 for it (it was a short article). He liked it and sent me more work. I asked him if he could refer me to others, and he did. Before the end of that day, I ended up with another law firm client with ongoing work. I’m rather inexperienced at this and think I may have underquoted myself, but I’m happy with the ongoing work!

  9. Nora King says:

    Hi Carol,
    Something I want to know more about is how to obtain work-at-home opportunities. I hear that there are many writers who do this on a regular basis but I seldom see this advertised. I would also think that this would be a trend since companies are increasingly interested in cutting down on the costs’ of employing full-time staff.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Not sure I follow…you mean full-time jobs that are work-from-home? Just set your filters on Indeed or LinkedIn to ‘remote work’ and you should be all set.

      If you mean remote freelance writing jobs…that’s what 99% of freelance writing jobs are. They’re not on-site or full-time. But maybe fill me in a little more?

      I didn’t call out ‘work from home’ as a trend, because that’s been a trend since about the late 1980s. Every survey they do of big businesses (and government also!) says they are seeking to downstaff or to allow more work from home days, hire more remote freelancers. I think at this point, outsourcing of creatives is the norm — I can’t really call it an emerging trend.

      • Nora King says:

        Hello again,
        I appreciate that you have responded so quickly.
        I am confused by your answer that most freelance jobs are work-from-home jobs. I have worked with Indeed and other online job boards to change my keywords so that they indicate “freelance”, “work-from-home”, “remote”.
        I have even completed the cover letters when it was not clear in the job description whether the job was on-site or not and indicated that I am interested in a work-from-home opportunity.
        Part of the reason for this is for the lifestyle but another reason is that jobs listed are located in major cities. I live in a rural community and there are little-to-no opportunities for work in my niche market.
        I appreciate your feedback.
        Nora King recently posted…Show Off Your WorkMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          I wish I knew why you can’t find any remote-work writing gigs, Nora — that’s about all I know of that’s out there!

          But one tip would be to stop responding to online job ads, and prospect to find your own clients (you might check out my Get Great Freelance Clients ebook for more on that). When you reach out to prospects, you state the parameters you want to work under. As I say, most businesses that hire a freelancer at this point are expecting them to work remotely.

          I lived on an island for 20 years, and I went into town for face to face meetings with writing clients maybe a half-dozen times in all that time! Most work is entirely remote now…especially when you set up the relationship that way.

  10. Lotsa good news for me here, with authority content, long content, and multimedia especially.

    Awesome post, Carol. Thank you!

  11. Prerna Malik says:

    SO awesome to read this Carol! I’ve already planned a 6-month strategy and will be doing a lot of these things – raising my rates, leveraging multimedia as well as online magazines and so much more.. LOL!!

    Excited about the opportunities that this year holds!

  12. Zoe Larkin says:

    This is so weird. I checked out your site looking for old posts about freelance blog writing then I find this right on the top!

    I’ve just been offered a gig writing a photographer’s blog posts. I used to second-shoot for her, but we’re now on different continents.

    I’ve got to the tricky part of telling her how much I’d like per hour (gulp!). I’m not a professional writer (thought I am a writer) and I was surprised to read “think of $100 as a floor for writing an under-1,000-word blog post”.

    I was going to charge $25 an hour, with a blog post being 2-3 hours’ work. Am I undercharging as the market rate is more, or overcharging as I don’t write for a living, I take pictures…
    Zoe Larkin recently posted…A postcard from BerkeleyMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Zoe — don’t quote an hourly rate, for starters (and $35-$50 an hour is what we consider a starter, newbie writer rate.) That means your earnings will never rise. Charge by the piece, and your hourly rate will go UP steadily with a client, as you become more efficient at doing their assignments. And yes, around here we consider $100 a floor for 500 words, maybe 750. We like to see $200-$300 for 1000 words and longer.

      Understand these are all BOTTOM rates — my last 2 1000-word blog post I was paid $400-$500.

      If these ‘sound’ too high to you, you might want to read this:
      http://www.makealivingwriting.com/billing-day-job-hourly-rate-freelance-business-fail/

      Of course, writing for a solopreneur photographer, these rates may not make sense, because generally, solopreneurs are not good writing clients. But hopefully this at least gives you a sense of what we strive to earn in order to stay in business.

      • Zoe Larkin says:

        Oh, my, goodness me! You have really convinced me to charge per job, and I understand it now. I read your other article that you linked to – makes so much sense!

        One commenter really hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “And your mission is to deliver the project. When you rate per hour you tend to be happy with “the more hours I will work the much money I will earn”, which is not the right direction of thinking.”

        How true is that. I understand now that the hourly rate will in essence go up not because you charge more over a duration of time but because you do the same assignments in less time… durrrr!

        You’ve convinced me to go for it and stop undervaluing my time, my services and myself.

        I’ve just one more question, which is this. Perhaps someone could shed some light.

        If the client is fussy and wants one round of edits followed by another and another, (and you aren’t ‘on the clock’, because you’re at a fixed price until the assignment is done) how do you deal with the possibility of spending hours on email or phone with them making tweaks, edits, changes, rewrites etc. – especially when they don’t really know what they want?
        Zoe Larkin recently posted…A postcard from BerkeleyMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          Some copywriters limit to two edits and then charge more beyond that. My personal pitch has been, “I write until you’re ecstatic.”

          I consider it my job to ask the questions and gather the materials needed to write a great first draft they love and accept without changes (which is what typically happens for me). And I find that confidence angle converts a lot of prospects. But you’ll have to decide how to play it.

          • Zoe Larkin says:

            “I write until you’re ecstatic”… Bravo Carol! That’s so brilliant and funny. Should be your motto!

            Thanks for the advice and encouragement. I didn’t end up getting the gig, because my price was too high for the client (the photographer) but still, I think I handled it well.
            Zoe Larkin recently posted…A postcard from BerkeleyMy Profile

  13. Jeffrey Wong says:

    Carol,

    Great post and I commend you for what you are doing here! I have been relying on my ‘bread & butter’ vocational skills for way to long and I believe I am going to take the plunge and start writing as an alternative avenue, creatively and monetarily. Despite the inertia of some (me included), it seems the social media/branding component is paramount and ubiquitous if one wants to generate leads and increase exposure.

    What are your thoughts on sites like Contently? They allow freelancers to generate a writing portfolio on their site to recruit ‘vetted’ writing talent for their content clients.

    As an aside and on the issue of rates, they have published writing rates submitted by freelancers from various media outlets.

    Link as follows: contently.net/rates-database/.

    Thanks and best,

    Jeff

    • Carol Tice says:

      I’m aware of their database, though I haven’t really vetted it to find out how useful and in-depth it might be.

      The pitfall of using Contently for your portfolio is then you’re on a platform where it’s encouraging your prospects to keep browsing around and see other writers! Where if you have your portfolio on your OWN writer site, that doesn’t happen. 😉

      That said, we ARE seeing some better-paying jobs on Contently these days than we used to. ClearVoice is the one I’ve found pays real money, but not sure if it has similar portfolio tools, but I discuss my experience with them here: http://www.makealivingwriting.com/content-mill-writing-for-400/

  14. This post is exactly what I needed to read and hear at this point in my writing. I’m making the transition into full time freelancing from another field and recently secured a 3-month retainer contract. I’m also diligently looking at restarting my blog, trying to get unstuck with something.

    This blog confirms things I already new and am working on, and also gave me broader ideas. As I reach out to do more, I’m excited to see these trends and will follow them.

    This was what I needed to confirm I was heading in the right direction. Thank you.

  15. Alvin Leong says:

    Carol,do you see a paradigm shift this year in the freelancing world moving from a hourly billing system towards a value pricing model?

    • Carol Tice says:

      Alvin, who’s billing hourly? I can’t even recall the last time I did it! Smart freelancers have been billing by the project forever. Resist all attempts to force you to track hours!

      Working on an hourly rate means your hourly rate NEVER goes up, unless you ask for a raise. Where with project rates, as you become more efficient at doing the projects, your hourly rate skyrockets, and your client is never the wiser. 😉

      • Alvin Leong says:

        Hi carol, thanks for the reply, it seems like job boards like upwork still using hourly billing and there’s even talk of a hidden economy there earning more than 100 bucks an hour…go figure
        Enhanced fixed bids are the way to go but hourly rates seems to be a much entrenched view in this business even for the freelancers themselves.

  16. Alvin Leong says:

    so true…common sense is uncommon

  17. Samson says:

    Carol,
    You are right. Authority content is key. RIP to the 300 words blog posts.
    Well, I cannot call myself a veteran writer. But i have noted that writing blog post less than 1000 words this day and time is useless. I am doing that always with my content. I am even aiming to hit the 3000 mark.
    Atleast at the end of the day, I will create value for my readers and boost my skills.
    I did a search on google on the most competitive sector; “SEO” I noted that the top 10 results were blogs that contained more than 2000 words. They also had many images.

  18. An informative, uplifting and, above all, insightful post, Carol. One to cut out and keep for the year!

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