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What is a Freelance Writer?

Hello Everyone!  I hope you are all having a fantastic day!

For my first blog post, I thought I would share exactly what a freelance writer is.  The freelance world is booming as more and more professionals are seeking innovative and creative ways to find the necessary balance between their personal/family lives and their professional passions.  The flexibility that freelance work provides can re-allocate our time and give us the opportunity to use it more wisely and effectively.  In metropolitan areas, professionals can spend up to three hours a workday trapped in their metal coffins as part of their daily commute.  I am thankful that my commute is only down a flight of stairs.

Most people have heard of freelance photographers but freelance writer may well still be a misnomer. There are many niches in freelance writing and that is a part of what makes it so unique.  A close family friend is a military-combat photographer; his niche focuses on military personnel on the combat field and their day-to-day responsibilities in the line of duty.  He also touches on the military families who support these brave men and women. Other photographers may do portraits, modeling, nature and landscapes or even focus on urban life.  Writers have these same areas of expertise based on where our individual passion lies.

Thanks to technology, writers from all different niches can work from where ever they hang their proverbial hat and still connect with clients in need of their services. A client’s writing needs are varied and in that variety, blossoms the niche. Just as there are many types of photographers, there are many types of writers as well.  In both professions, we find our niche by focusing on what we enjoy, find interesting or simply where our individual passions lead us.

Some freelancers focus their business on corporate or business writings.  This can include anything from analyzing data into a coherent report, developing marketing material, writing white papers or even website content for a company, organization or even a non-profit.  The key for a writer in this niche is that they need to understand the world of finance, distribution, supply chain or the realm in which a particular business exists in order to provide the best content to the client.

Others may focus primarily in the literary niche; writing fiction or non-fiction, editing and proofreading or even writing screenplays or novelizations.  If you take a stroll through your local Barnes & Noble, you will see that there is a multitude of genres in the literary world and anyone who fancies himself or herself a wordsmith will certainly find their sub-niche.  The genre that has been exploding in recent years is the fantasy-fiction genre thanks in no small part to The Twilight Saga.  

There is also the educational niche, which is quite broad and can cover anything from curriculum development, education theory to today’s hot topic, educational reform.  This niche also goes beyond public education to include post-secondary academia; conducting quantitative or qualitative research, editing and proofing of theses and dissertations.  In this niche, just as was mentioned in the business niche, one needs to have some expertise in the general field of study in addition to being a wordsmith. 

Another niche is general article writing which is often a high-output area with writers who specialize in SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  You may be asking yourself, what is SEO?   Think for a moment, where we would be without search engines in our online existence; No, Google, no Bing, no Yahoo!. Search engines are the workhorse of the internet; without them, we would have no way of knowing where to begin to look for the information we need. 

SEO writers have a keen understanding of how search engines process what we put in our search parameters so that based on the content of an article, it will be one of the first hits you see in your search results.  These freelancers are pumping out content in short yet SEO-packed articles that are usually between 300 and 600 words.  These folks have to have a very broad knowledge base because they could be called on to write about anything from herbal medicine to erectile dysfunction.  They are usually paid in bulk or bundles of 10, 20 or even 100 articles at a time.

Some freelancers, like me, are somewhat of a hybrid of several of the niches shared above; while the bulk of our business comes from the literary and educational niches, if the topic is in our knowledge base we can certainly tap into our corporate or lengthy, non-SEO article-writing niche as well.  They key, for all of us, is to follow our passions. 

-Mary Ann

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