To succeed as a freelance writer, you need to have the same basic skills as a writer who does their work as an employee at a publication or an advertising agency. You need the ability to research a topic and present the required information in a manner that engages the interest of the reader. In almost every instance, outside the realm of news reporting and even that could be argued, the writing we do is intended to “sell” something. To create freelance writing that really sells, you need to follow a few key steps.
First, identify the idea or product or person that you are selling. The project may not come to you with a list of keywords or a specific sales agenda, but it is there, somewhere in the work order. It might take a little back-and-forth with your editor, but eventually you’ll get a clear picture of what point needs to come across. That’s what you’ll build from.
Secondly, research the topic thoroughly, but spend some extra time on the area of the subject that will help you to slant the work in the direction it needs to follow. For instance if you’re writing a travel article for a magazine that heavily promotes cruises, you might want to research an island destination’s general aspects and spend extra time discovering what you can about its role as a cruise destination.
Step three is to put together a clear, concisely worded article that provides the reader with the information that they need to either make a decision, or to further pursue an idea. Some articles are sales pitches. They simply sell an item or concept. Others woo the reader and nudge them on to the next article, the next step. Your work order or directive should convey which approach you need to take with your freelance writing. The direct pieces will be strong pushes with their emphasis on the “sell”. A piece that sells indirectly will romance the entire general subject but offer informative nuggets about the product or concept.
Finally, read your finished work and correct any grammatical errors or misspellings. While you’re at it, take an opportunity to polish it for the reader and to shore up any weak points. The finished product should fit not only the specifications of your initial work order, but reflect the quality of your own freelance writing ability.
Freelance writing is a great way to do what you love and do it on your own time, working around your own schedule. Following these basic steps will help you improve the quality of your writing and, as a result, enhance your ability to sell your freelance writing to employers.