Freelancing is one of the best ways to earn both money and experience as a commercial writer. You get to work from home, design your own schedule and set your own pace. But for these reasons, the number of people looking to freelance is unsurprisingly large.
If anyone wishes to stand out from this immense mass of wannabe freelance writers they would need to learn to develop skills that make them notably more capable of publishing better content than others. Such skills include:
- EXPERIENCE – Having professional experience in commercial writing will be a great aid for those looking to be hired by more clients. Even beginners may have some experience through unpaid internships. While applying for work, make sure to submit any certificate or employment records you might have. This will make you stand out as the client will see you as a candidate who is well versed in the art of writing content. If possible, create a portfolio with your best work and present it at an opportune time so that the client gets a full understanding of your skills. Keep sample works prepared at all times for readily presenting it to the interested clients for their consideration.
- SEO SKILLS – The purpose of displaying content on a website is to get the page to rank high in the search results. Clients hire content writers for producing relevant, quality content to keep the attention of the readers. A content writer with knowledge of how search engines work, and how to influence search rankings will prove to be very useful and the clients are aware of this. Educate yourself about SEO and learn how to work with it, and use the internet to do so. Read up on the importance of keywords and how to use them. Inform interested clients of your SEO skills by putting it in your resume or online portfolio.
- SUPERIOR RESEARCH SKILLS – Potential clients will demand to know about your research skills since research is of utmost importance in this sphere. They may assign a topic to you to test your capability of conducting a relevant and on-point research or they may ask detailed questions about your previous experiences doing it. For a freelance writer it is absolutely necessary to be well practiced in studying extensively about topics before writing about them. Having access to electronic library databases makes this easier. Using other online resources like Google Scholar also yields beneficial results for thorough research on most topics.
- EXPERIENCE IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND/OR PHOTO EDITING – Some clients want text along with photographs for content. Having some experience in photography paired with knowledge of an advanced photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop may help you to get hired by clients who would not be willing to hire you otherwise. The ability to shoot and edit images to cater to the needs of the client will attract more employers. Apart from this, experience in photography and photo editing also distinguishes freelance writers from their peers because adding a suitable picture to written content makes the article more attractive and easy to read.
- BASIC KNOWLEDGE OF HTML/CSS – Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used to design the look of the content on a webpage including the title, body, header, footer, font, font colors, text size etc. Being proficient in these web languages will help your chances in the market. Even a basic knowledge will make you stand out from most of your competition and help you qualify for more commercial writing jobs. Websites like the World Wide Web Consortium can be useful for this purpose as they provide free classes for beginners to learn HTML and CSS and get a clear understanding of how to use these while writing content.
- CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) – Although this skill is easily learned, knowledge of how to operate a content management system like WordPress may prove to be very advantageous. There are some blogs and e-zines which require the writers to submit their content through a CMS login profile as opposed to sending it via emails or content hosting networks. Websites like WP101 and LearnWordPress provide free tutorials to help you learn the how-to of one such CMS.