Freelance Niche: Editing

Editing is an important part of the freelance writing career, or at least it should be. If you know grammar extremely well, and you have a knack for making other people’s writing better, you may want to consider focusing on editing in your career. Writers with an eye for detail (ie. perfectionists) can most certainly earn a great deal of money as an editor.

What Editing Entails

Some editing jobs are simple proofreading, while others require rewriting. An editor may need to adjust the grammar, spelling, and awkward sentence structure of a piece that was translated from another language or clarify the thoughts written by someone who has trouble writing well.

Web copyediting is important, as many people need to make sure that their website content is appropriate, error free, and professional. I have seen some editing projects that require the daily editing of batches of web articles written by different people.

In the editing niche, you may find some academic editing work, such as dissertations, essays, text books, speeches and more. In some cases, editors are required to have some background knowledge in the subject matter so that they can verify accuracy in text as well.

Business documents such as proposals, white papers, letters and similar pieces may require and editor’s eye as well. Reports may require industry knowledge or experience, which can allow an editor to charge a higher rate for their expertise.

People searching for jobs may also look for an editor to assist with their resume and cover letters.

It is common that writers who want to get published will hire an editor to perfect their work before it goes to print. Writers can truly benefit from having an editor available to assist with proofreading and developing ideas, and that is a good selling point you can use.

How much are editors paid?

Editors sometimes charge by the hour, making $30-$100 per hour. Some editors charge a few dollars per page, depending on the amount of work that has to be done and their level of experience. Proofreading would naturally pay less than rewriting or restructuring a work entirely.

Editing Tips

It is best to try to change as little as possible when editing. Preserving the voice of the author is vital, as is making sure that the intent and meaning of the words remains.

Take your time and pay close attention to detail. As an editor, it is your job to pick up on things that the average reader would not.

Look beyond the internet for editing and proofreading jobs. While there are some available online, they may not pay very well, and there is fierce competition for those projects. Local businesses, magazines, newspapers, and other writers may have a need for editing, so try to network offline as much as possible.

Build a strong portfolio. Every writer is also an editor to some degree, so as someone who specializes in editing, you need to exemplify excellent grammar and polished, error-free work. As you gain experience, you may want to consider presenting some “before and after work” so that potential clients can get a sense of your ability. You must be able to prove that you can write well because a good editor is also a great writer.

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Freelance Writing Niche: Copywriting

Copywriting is one of the most lucrative freelance writing niches. Simply put, copywriting is written language that is persuasive or promotional in nature. In a word: advertisement. Ads come is a wide variety of forms, and no matter what form it is in, someone has to do the writing. Copywriting can also be public relations related.

What do copywriters do?

Corporate brochures, periodical advertisements, direct mail copy, booklets, pamphlets, press kits, sales letters, speeches, profile articles, and annual reports and among the types of assignments you would take as a copywriter. You may write for all types of media: print, online, television, or radio. Your clients may be local businesses, online businesses, small and independent owned or corporations.

How much do copywriters make?

As always, pricing depends upon your experience and reputation. This may also vary from project to project. In general, however, the average pricing ranges from $30 to over $100 per hour, and $1-$2 per word.

How to land  copywriting assignments

The best thing that you can do to draw clients is to have high quality samples. For every type of copywriting assignment, you should have at least two or three polished samples. You can start with creating a polished ad for your writing services and high quality website with good copy written by you. Maintain a collection of samples for both an online portfolio and a hard copy portfolio. You will need both.

Write articles about how you approach your craft, why people need copywriters, and how you can help your target market. Get them published online and elsewhere. Use your advertising skills to make people want to hire you.

Network as much as possible. Keep a business card with you and listen to people carefully for leads. Get on a few social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin to connect with people who need public relations help or advertising. It is a great idea to start looking in your own neighborhood for small businesses that might need your services.

As much as most people hate cold calling, it is worth a shot. You don’t have to hound people, just let them know who you are, what you do, and how to get in touch with you. If you have an open ear, talk to them about their business and how you can help them bring in more customers or polish their public image.

Copywriting Tips copywriting

I recommend reading The Copy Writer’s Handbook: A Step-by-step Guide to Writing Copy that Sells by Robert W. Bly.

In the meantime, here are some online sources for copywriting tips:

12 Copywriting Tips…

Featured Copywriting Tips…

Copywriting Tips and Ideas (blog)

Freelance Writing Niches I didn’t think about

I’ve been exploring various freelance writing niches lately and I came across a list of narrow writing niches that I haven’t yet considered. Here are a few that stood out to me:

Menus

Real Estate Ads

Brand Bios

Case Studies

Executive Summaries

Catalog descriptions

Event Programs

Game Rules

Captions

Role Playing Games

These are all things that require some writing skills that I hadn’t yet thought of. What are some other freelance writing niches that you know of?

Freelance Writing Niche: Non-profit writing

I have mentioned before that writing for non-profit organizations is a great way to build your portfolio. It is possible to specialize in this type of writing and work with a number of non-profits.

What non-profit writing jobs are out there?

Religious organizations. Local churches, synagogues, and mosques, may need some writing done. If you are a religious individual, this could be an open door for you. These organizations may need weekly bulletins, monthly or quarterly newsletters, letters to members, minutes for staff meetings, fliers for upcoming events, and a host of other documents. Website content and ghostwritten books are also a regular need.

Green organizations. Environmental awareness is becoming increasing popular. There is a need for website content and web articles as well as various print materials related to green organizations, events, programs, and general information about how people can get involved. These types of organizations may have work for you if you are passionate about the earth.

Animal organizations. Some writers are animal lovers. Between animal cruelty awareness, protecting endangered species, and shelters or zoos needing exposure, there is plenty of related writing to do.

Disease awareness, prevention and research. Government grants are sometimes available for disease research, and non-profit organizations are often looking for someone to help with proposals. There is also a need for articles, press releases, fliers, and newsletters. Health is a very serious issue and literature on disease is always needed.

Children’s organizations. There are so many organizations that are focused on children. If you love children and want to make a difference in very young lives, writing for these organizations is one way to do it. Hungry, diseased and/or impoverished children are all over the world. Your writing can help organizations raise money and awareness.

Anything else? I am sure I have missed something, but if you think about what you care about the most besides what is going on in your immediate world, there are plenty of organizations that connect with that passion. Education? Addiction? Personal development?

Tips on non-profit writing

In general, grant proposal writing is a fairly important aspect of non-profit writing if you plan to make this your writing niche. It will certainly come in handy if you are dealing with various organizations that don’t necessarily have the financial means to accomplish all of their goals.

Donate and discount. One way to show that you truly care about an organization’s cause is to offer free and/or discounted writing services. Show that you are honestly committed and want to help.

Think marketing. Non-profit organizations need marketing more than any other type of writing. Remember that raising awareness is crucial, and fund raising is also very important. If you have good marketing skills, you can make it in this niche. Check out these tips for writing non-profit marketing copy. You may also want to look at the Non-Profit Marketing Guide website.

I found an old blog with some good information on freelance writing for non-profit organizations. The posts are from some time ago, however the information is still relevant and helpful.

Non-profit writing is a great niche if you are just starting out or if you simply care more about a certain cause, or causes, more than money. There is not too much competition in this niche because of the money factor, but it does have potential if you are willing to work hard and network with different people and organizations. It can be very rewarding.

If money is an issue, you can always keep non-profit writing as a sub-niche that is complementary to the other higher paying work that you may do. It can be beneficial for any writer to get involved with a cause, even if it is not their primary freelance writing focus. Consider this niche, or at least writing for a good cause.

Freelance Writing Niche: web content/website promotion

Web content writing and website promotion is the first niche that I started breaking into. I am still learning about writing different types of web pages and I have experience in writing SEO articles and article marketing. Here is an overview of this niche and some tips regarding how to get started with this type of writing and how to do it well.

Different Types of Web Content

Blogs. For freelance writers, blogging is an important tool. Maintaining a blog with high quality posts is an easy and free way to self-publish, build your portfolio, establish credibility on certain subjects, and market yourself as a writer. Blogging can also open doors for your writing career. Writing blog posts for other people or companies can become a regular paying job in itself if you write for enough clients.

SEO Writing. Search Engine Optimization includes the methods used to raise the ranking of a website. SEO writing is basically preparing content that is rich with popular keywords or phrases and links. There is an increasing demand for writing website pages, articles, and blog posts that will attract search engines and place websites among the top links on the first page of the search results on popular search engines. It is not as complicated as it sounds, and it is actually one of the quickest ways to start earning money when freelancing online.

Website Pages. Every website you visit has some type of writing on it. You can be the author behind the content on these pages. Start-up companies are always looking for someone to assist with content and almost always look for writers with SEO experience. Assignments might be for a search engine optimized home page, a privacy policy, about us page, product descriptions or all of the above. Sometimes clients need a sales letter or a landing page that will lead to the client’s main website or product that visitors can buy. Other times landing pages are used as a means to build a subscriber list to an enewsletter.

Article Marketing. One internet marketing trick that all freelance writers should be aware of is article marketing. There are tons of article submissions sites all over the internet that people use to promote their services, drive traffic to their websites and establish their credibility. These articles are typically informational and should follow the submission guidelines of the sites that they will be submitted to. While promotional content is commonly rejected, an area on the submission forms called a resource box allows for a brief sales pitch and url directing readers to company websites or product pages. While the individual websites may not receive high search engine rankings, the articles might, giving those websites exposure through the resource box at the bottom. These are often required to be search engine optimized.

How to Land Web Content Writing Projects

If you want to establish yourself as a freelance writer who specializes in web content and website promotion, you have to learn internet marketing. Learn all you can about SEO, landing (also called squeeze) pages, blogging, Twitter, social networking, Reddit, Delicious, RSS, Squidoo, and article marketing. It is important for you to build your own web presence and learn how to use these tools so that you can establish yourself as an expert in writing for the web. Your portfolio should include all of the different kinds of web content. If you make use of the tools, clients will eventually come to you.

There are tons of web content writing jobs available on www.elance.com, www.guru.com, www.bizreef.com, www.craigslist.org, www.ifreelance.com and others. Create a profile, post your portfolio, and bid on the jobs. Over time, your web writing skills will develop, and the best way to learn is to keep taking this kind of project.

Tips on Writing for the Web

Learn how to write keyword rich articles that flow well. Do keyword research to find the best phrases to use on certain subjects. It is important not to write for the search engines directly, but for the people doing the searches. In order to succeed at SEO articles and blog posts, you have to strike a balance between keyword density and readability.

Write short sentences and paragraphs. Long sentences and massive wads of text turn off web readers. Break up your sentences and paragraphs to make your points quickly and clearly.

Use subheadings. Most people will only scan through articles to grab information quickly. If you use subheadings as a sort of map that will help readers navigate through your article, there will be a better chance they will read more of your article. Make it easy for them to find the information they are looking for quickly.

Use a descriptive title. Your title should explain what the article is about specifically. What will the reader learn by reading your article? If your title answers this question and grabs the attention of the readers, it is good.

Keep your language simple. Avoid advanced jargon that will alienate people who aren’t familiar with your topic or industry.

Be conversational. Writing in the same way that you speak is challenging. Knowing when it is appropriate to break the rules of grammar takes skill and practice. Your ultimate goal is to connect on a personal level with the reader when writing for the web. This will engage them more than a sterile or strictly technical approach.

Improve your writing in general. Perfecting your writing skills will be a life long journey. There will always be a new aspect of writing to master. Take a look at this collection of writing tips from various professionals.

Choosing A Freelance Writing Niche

There are several different writing markets, types of writing and styles. It helps to be versatile in your writing, but it is also good to have one niche focus. Perfecting your skills in one or two specific types of writing can improve your credibility as a writer and draw in a certain type of client. Think of it this way, would you want to have surgery with a doctor who can perform 50 different surgeries satisfactorily, or one who can perform 10 surgeries, including the one your need, with absolute excellence? The latter would have a more intimate knowledge with the surgery you need, and that would boost my confidence in the odds that things will go well.

As a writer, it is good to be flexible and produce a variety of genres, but there has to be something that you are the absolute expert in. You need a “specialty” to let customers know that you have dedicated time to honing a particular style/genre of writing, and they will naturally feel more comfortable with you rather than someone who claims they can write it all.

The main fear with choosing a niche focus is wondering if people will understand that you can do other types of writing. I suggest narrowing how you market your skills to about five specific styles/genres/niches so clients know that you do other things, but also get the sense that you are a focused expert who has practiced specific skills. Out of those five things, pick one that you will totally master and market that as your primary service. Here are some niches focuses you may want to think about:

-ghostwriting

-short web article writing

-print magazine article writing

-professional blogs

-website content writing

-sales writing/copywriting

-poetry

-novels

-ebooks

-fiction

-non-fiction

-newswriting (choose between hard news, features, press releases, profiles)

-resume writing

The list goes on. Start with what you have experience in or a natural knack for. Improve and nurture those specific types of writing and add a new one every once in a while. This will help you grow as a writer and establish yourself as a professional writer. Having a narrow focus will show that you take pride in your quality and skills, and that will earn the respect of many clients.

How to Find Your Writing Niche

It is easy for some people to figure out what their writing niche is. For many, finding a writing niche is like searching for a needle in a haystack. As a freelance writer, you might be exposed to a variety of different projects, and may not feel confident in any single subject or genre. Establishing yourself as an expert in something can prove to be beneficial to you, and will make you more attractive to buyers. Here are some tips on finding your niche, and some suggestions of areas you can break into.

Start with what you know. If you have a degree in something, if there is a subject you just happen to know well, or if you have done several related projects, that could be your niche. For example, if you wrote a number of articles on fitness, you can establish yourself as a “Fitness Article Writer.” If you have done web page content for a number of projects, you can establish yourself as a “Web Page Content Writer.”

If you are just starting out as a writer, what hobbies do you have? What interests can you write about? You are a writer, so why not write about being a writer? Learn even more about it and become an “Expert Writer.”

Basically, you can become an expert on anything that you want to be an expert in. In the freelance writing business, you have the opportunity to learn about virtually any field. Aside from particular subject matter, here are some areas that you can hone your skills in and develop your niche:

-Copywriting

-Public relations

-Non-profit writing

-Education

-Technical writing

-Editing

-Ghostwriting

-Magazines/trade publications

-Newspaper

-Poetry and/or short fiction

-Greeting cards

-Screen plays/television/movie scripts

-non-fiction articles/books

-novels

-children’s writing

-web content/website promotion

-epublishing/ebooks/ezines/enewsletters

In future posts, I will get into the details of these niche areas to give you a better idea how to break into the area. Developing a freelance writing niche is important, so I am definitely going to give the subject some time.

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