When professional writers are launching their freelance business, they typically have a million questions on their minds. These can range from the type of writing they should offer (SEO vs. technical) to the rates they should charge. However, one question that invariably arises is where to hang out that shingle and start bringing in work.
Is LinkedIn the answer? How about a snazzy website? Or create a profile on a freelance platform? After all, it would seem like having a “middle man” involved would reduce potential profit, right?
The reality is actually much more complicated than this. While freelance platforms certainly place a third party between writers and clients, this frequently is more beneficial than burdensome. In fact, there are a variety of advantages to utilizing a professional writer platform to create content rather than striking out on your own. Once you understand these advantages, you’ll likely be motivated to build your brand on a freelance platform.
What Are the Benefits of Freelance Writer Platforms?
Many people will tell you that the major benefit of writer platforms is the money. Because of the abundance of writing opportunities, working from a freelance platform means that professional writers can make as much as they’re ready to work for.
For some freelancers, this is absolutely true. It’s important to remember, though, that every freelance community has a different pay structure, and it is essential to research how much you’ll be bringing in and what rate you’ll pay in commissions because those fees vary.
There are also some non-financial benefits of writing on a freelance platform:
- Getting to know your editors: Some writing platforms come equipped with their own editors, and that’s already a major benefit since you won’t have to hire one yourself. However, most writers are far more excited about the prospect of working with the same editors over time. This allows you to get a feel of what they expect.
- Long-term client relationships: When brands look for writers on prominent freelance platforms, they’re often in it for the long haul. They have content needs that resulted in them seeking this sometimes-expensive service. Those needs will likely last for a while, so you can start building long-lasting relationships with those clients.
- No haggling with clients: Every writer who has attempted to strike out on their own has seen the surprise on the face of potential clients when they’re quoted a price. Some brands are used to seeing content mills (more on these below) quote $10-$15 for a 600-word article. If you’re on a writing platform, though, clients already know what to expect in the area of fees.
- Set your own schedule: Professional writers who seek out their clients can choose the projects they want to write proposals for based on deadlines they are comfortable with. As a writer, you can take on as much or as little work as you want on these platforms.
- Much of the hard work is done for you: If you’re going to strike out on your own, you better be ready to build a website, make cold calls, repeatedly post to social media and stay on top of job posting sites. This doesn’t even break the surface of understanding bookkeeping and tax needs. When you’re working within a freelance community, the clients essentially come to you — although there are ways to make yourself stand out to those clients (also more on this later) — and your tax forms are ready for you before filing season.
If you opt to look for jobs on your own, you’ll forfeit many of these benefits. On top of having to handle all necessary marketing yourself, it’s simply more difficult to create the ongoing income and security provided by many writing platforms. It really all comes down to what works best for you. Still, when most professional writers get a taste of the potential benefits of freelance communities, they have little reason to look elsewhere.
Freelance Platform vs. Content Mill
One of the biggest concerns professional writers have with freelance platforms is the idea of writing for a content mill. They’ve undoubtedly heard many horror stories about such platforms, so they often feel safer steering away from these freelance communities. However, the important thing to note is that many writing platforms are not content mills.
Put simply, a content mill is a company that pays writers low wages so they can keep the cost to clients low while still making a profit. Many brands utilize the services of these content mills because of their low prices, then end up with low-quality content that they believe is indicative of the industry as a whole. This is bad for both brands and professional writers.
To avoid working for a content mill, do your research to find the freelance platforms that pay what you’re worth.
How Writers Can Stand Out on Freelance Platforms
Many freelance writers chalk up negative experiences on writing platforms to the platforms themselves. Unfortunately, in some cases, writers squander the opportunities available to stand out on reputable platforms. After all, impressing clients and site managers will allow you to receive more opportunities.
Here are a few ways you can do just that:
Create a Stellar Profile
Finding a project that appeals to you is great, but it’s not always the writer that finds the project. Editors and marketing directors frequently reach out to writers directly based on information featured on their profiles. If the writing platform you’re on offers the ability to create a public profile, don’t waste the opportunity! Make it as in-depth as possible to showcase your skills.
Maintain Contact with Clients on the Platform
Far too many professional writers on freelance platforms make the mistake of writing for a single client and simply moving on. This can hinder your ability to create lasting business relationships. Don’t be afraid to reach out to clients after finishing a job for them. Tell them they can contact you if they need anything and that you can take on other projects if they enjoy your work.
If your writing stands out on a platform, account managers might reach out to you if they have last-minute needs. If editors, managers and others in the company know they can depend on you in a pinch, you’re far more likely to get better and higher-paying opportunities.
Treat It Like a Real Job
Professional writers know how difficult it can be to stay motivated during a lull. After all, one of the chief benefits of freelance writing platforms is flexibility. However, the worst thing you can do is overuse that flexibility. If you want to make substantial money as a freelance writer, you need to set specific work hours and treat it like a real job.
Freelance Writing Platforms Are the Answer
It’s undoubtedly tempting to hop on LinkedIn or even start cold calling to find brands that need to hire a writer. There’s a sense of freedom to be your own boss, and this approach has worked out well for many freelance writers. However, welcome to the post-pandemic workforce, where top brands are finding their professional writers in freelance communities.
More than 300 brands have found success hiring professional writers with PowerPublish, using managed services or finding brand journalists on their own. Our brands range from legal to technology to healthcare and more. Create your profile or find a writer that can serve your needs today.
Curtis has written professionally for 15 years. He is a college graduate with degrees in psychology, criminal justice, public administration, and disaster management. He enjoys writing in the areas of law, mental health, marketing, and social media. He currently resides in Atlanta and hopes to live overseas one day!
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