High-quality freelance writers and brand journalists are currently in high demand and stand to be for years to come. Although the content marketing and freelance writing markets were already growing before COVID-19, the pandemic accelerated their growth, opening a sea of opportunities for freelancers.
Taking the plunge to work on your own can be intimidating. The truth is that in the current market, creators who are knowledgable, have a history of success and can understand the needs of both B2B and B2C marketers can thrive.
Content marketing has been around for quite a while, though its reach has increased as it has developed from blogs to include social media, podcasts, infographics and more. It is cheaper than other types of advertising, but it has not been fully embraced until recently. Early on, companies spent money figuring out what type of content to publish online about their products or services because search engine algorithms were constantly changing the way content was identified.
Years ago, search algorithms ranked content packed with keywords and backlinks to anywhere. Now, ever-changing search algorithms are optimized to pick out credible and engaging content, not just those containing specific words. As a result, algorithms favor longer content, especially those with links to trustworthy sites and tempered SEO tactics.
Search algorithm consensus has allowed companies to understand what they are supposed to be posting. Today, companies just need to worry about keeping up with changes in the way people search for things. As a matter of fact, credible blog posts can increase traffic by almost 50% through indexing and ranking.
How does this information impact freelance blog writers? These changes clarified the value of content marketing to companies that sell products and services on the internet. The pandemic brought the power of internet content marketing to the forefront, and businesses seeking to reach both B2B and B2C customers increased their content budgets without increasing staff size. This is where freelance writers come in.
While the COVID-19 pandemic was an extremely unfortunate event, it forced consumers and companies to digitize in any way they could, and eCommerce sales increased by 43% in 2020. Pre-pandemic consumers took to the internet to learn about products they wanted but more often bought through brick-and-mortar retail. The post-pandemic customer’s journey predominantly occurs online, from research to purchasing or signing a contract, forcing companies to provide quality information to their customers through online content.
The pandemic has pushed companies to increase the usefulness of their online presence. This pivot accelerated the inevitable movement to marketing and brand journalism. Now, the content marketing market is expected to expand to $417.85 billion by 2025. That is a massive jump of almost 50-fold from the pre-pandemic estimated growth.
Growth like this in any industry is scarce and creates the perfect opportunity for the creative class to make a career out of doing what they love.
Now that most people have a smartphone, they can query wherever they stand. Consumers use the internet for information of all sorts, including shopping, news, entertainment and more. In 2020 Qualtrics reported that 91% of 18- to 34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as reviews from people they know.
Consumers want information they can trust, and they can identify a snake oil salesman from terabytes away. PPC (pay-per-click) ads have low click-through rates — below 4% — for this very reason.
Conversely, content marketing and brand journalism are non-sales approaches to marketing, building trust and relationships, which is why it is becoming increasingly popular.
Freelancing is Considered a “Real” Job
Until recently, freelancing or participating in the gig economy was something many writers and creative professionals did between jobs or as a supplemental source of income on the side. But it was unusual for a person to find a full-time career as a freelancer.
Now, large companies are seeing the advantages of temporarily hiring specialists to complete specific tasks — whether creative, technical or more — and workers are embracing the benefits of being a gig worker.
Hiring freelancers allows corporations and businesses to tailor a team to a specific project. They can also hire a writer proficient in particular niches whenever needed. While most successful freelance writers gain clients through networks, many new platforms are offering work for fair pay to talented writers.
Shortage of Talented Writers
Thanks to the pandemic, businesses are waking up to the fact that they need to increase the utility of their online presence. The call for credible information requires a talent for effective communication. Since the explosion in the content marketing space, there has been a high demand for writers across many industries. Here are some niches in need of writers and brand marketers:
- Technical Writing
- Long-Form Copywriting
Generally speaking, writers are needed in areas that require research and the aptitude to assemble a final product. Of course, companies still need social media content managers, so those freelance writers with the capability to do both — write content and effective social media — are sought after most often. Talented writers and journalists with the skills to research and write can provide credible content that businesses can use to build relationships with customers.
How do I Take Advantage of the Content Marketing Boom?
Get yourself out there!
- Update your portfolios on sites where you regularly find work
- Search out other high-end platforms and marketing agencies and make a pitch
- Check job boards for work in your niche
- Connect with people on LinkedIn and other social media sites that could get you closer to landing a great gig
- Utilize LinkedIn and HubSpot to take online courses and certifications that will improve your resume
- Create a blog with writing samples for clients to peruse
Do anything you can to get away from the $0.01/word shuffle. Create a goal to write something and reach out to a new contact every day.
Little bites will get you far in the long run!
Overall, the content marketing market is set to grow exponentially over the next four years. This means that there will be tons of work for high-quality freelance writers and brand journalists.
Make the most of your skills by practicing and reaching out to job providers within your niche. There is a lot of market share to be had in content marketing over the coming years; putting in a little bit of effort will pay off in the long run.