What will freelance writing look like in 2018?
I like reading predictions about where the freelance economy is headed. It’s a good way to keep an eye on freelancing trends and identify gaps.
To answer this important question, I asked 9 experts to share their thoughts on where they believe the industry is headed in Australia, and what freelancers need to do to stay relevant and in-demand.
For this week’s blog post (4 of 52!) I’m publishing 9 predictions for the gig economy (including one of my own). Thank you so much to all the experts who contributed.
SEO adds value to copywriting
I’ve seen clients have little to no knowledge of how SEO can impact their content creation and marketing efforts. As copywriters it’s our responsibility to be experts in what we do so it’s crucial to have that understanding of how SEO marries with copywriting and marketing. Improve your SEO skills by seeking out proven, practical courses because increasingly clients will demand results for their copywriting investment in future. I offer SEO along with copywriting and the satisfaction of seeing tangible results like increased sales for clients is amazing especially after they’ve been struggling for a while. Rashida Tayabali Copywriter
The complete package
One trend we’re increasingly seeing in the freelance writing world is that it’s no longer enough just to be a great writer. 2018 will be all about how well you package your pitch, and that means thinking about digital repurposing of your stories and offering a package of copy, multimedia, tweets, web-ready images. We’re now seeing some publishers (print and digital) demand all of the above as part of commissions, so it’s always good to consider your pitch and how it might work on multiple platforms in order to be easier to sell.
Another trend? Your work doesn’t finish when you file copy. Granted, it’s not something many journos are fans of, but there’s no doubt that if you have a strong online presence and aren’t shy about spruiking your work you’ll get more of it. It might be sharing a recently published story, copy you’ve written for a client, a project you managed, a social campaign that did well. Not only will you score brownie points with the one paying your invoices, but it’ll keep the work flowing as well. The passion for audio stories and podcasts continues to grow as well, with 58 percent of publishers saying they’ll be focussing on these areas in the near future. Finally, we’re also seeing a rise in the use of journalism crowdfunding platforms – which could be worth a shot if you have a strong, loyal readership which loves your work and what you do. Rachel Smith & Leo Wiles www.rachelslist.com.au
Freelancers as edupreneurs
I think the biggest trend for 2018 will be freelance writers starting to think of themselves as entrepreneurs. As the number of people working as freelancers grows worldwide, there is a strong movement towards freelancers becoming “edupreneurs”. I think this will translate into seeing freelance writers stabilise and diversify their income streams by producing e-books, resources and courses. It seems like a smart trend – freelancing can be so fickle and developing your own intellectual property that you can then share with your audience makes use of freelance writers’ communication and entrepreneurial skills. Lindy Alexander The Freelancer’s Year
F2C Freelancer to client
There’s a definite trend in businesses skipping the whole ‘big agency’ model and heading straight to a freelancer, if not a freelancer working in conjunction with a production company. If no serious hardcore research or substantial strategy is needed, savvy, self assured marketers and business owners are seeing great opportunities and serious savings in utilising specialist freelancers, who not only write and ideate expertly, but can think strategically and work collaboratively. More than ever, quality freelancers, in my mind, are ‘go-to’ suppliers in the marketing food chain. It’s never been easier for companies to tap into their expertise, similar to how they’d engage a production company, web developer, or sound studio – most of which work independently to a core agency. No longer are freelancers simply the poor cousins of the big boys. Steve May Rockatansky
Niche freelance writers
I’ve definitely noticed more clients are looking for freelancers who have some experience or knowledge of the industry they’re in. As a health writer, I’ve experienced an increasing number of clients in the health space, who want to work with me. While they definitely value my broad knowledge of the current health ‘climate’, and knowledge of where to source information, they’re more concerned with HOW to communicate to their constituents. (i.e. tone of voice, language etc.). Some health topics can be fraught with fear and overwhelm so finding someone who can break down this information into ‘easy-to-understand’ language that empowers, rather than scares, is increasingly important to my clients. I would imagine that the same would apply to other niche industries such as legal, fintech, finance. Nerissa Bentley Write to the point communications 
Agencies adopting freelance model
I’m seeing more digital agencies in particular use a freelance model instead of employees. It frees the agency of staff related burdens and costs. And it gives them the luxury of picking and choosing a combination of freelancers appropriately skilled for the job. I’m on a roster for a few digital agencies working in this manner and selling that approach as a benefit to clients. Kate Merryweather Dot Com Words
Professional development on the list
2018 is the year for freelance writers to take charge of their own professional development. Keep up with industry trends, new technologies and audience behaviours. No matter your niche, we live in a fast-moving world. You need to be across why a Facebook algorithm change is important, or how voice recognition will change content. Businesses, brands and agencies are keen on the freelance model, and they warm to freelancers who bring industry smarts as part of the package. Amanda Vanelderen WorkWords
Video copy
2018 will be the year where businesses see the value in using freelancers who have specialised knowledge in particular industries. Whilst there will always be low cost overseas alternatives, as a financial services and fintech copywriter, having an in-depth understanding of the Australian market and financial products brings a unique advantage to the table. I also see an increased demand for copywriters to provide video copy. Traditionally, a blog post might include some social media snippets but being able to bring a strategic approach to leverage the content to its full potential via video is what smart brands are looking for. Catherine Fowler Cath Fowler Marketing
There is an increasing need to engage with the consumer in an authentic a way as possible, particularly in the professional services sector. This will influence the choice of communication channels, propel reluctant social media users onto the platform and hopefully result in more genuine messages of real consumer benefit. What does that mean for freelance copywriters? One of the main areas of increased involvement will be assisting clients to find this authentic message. Working collaboratively to drill down through their marketing messages for a greater understanding of their purpose and philosophies which should shape better communication. It could mean more time needed for this process or a change in mindset when shaping a brief. Lyndall Talbot LTD Consult
What do you predict for 2018? Share your thoughts by posting a comment.