So you’re a freelance writer. But are you just a writer is the bigger question.
I read job ads almost every day with the same interest and inquisitive mind that some people read the daily newspaper. And what I can tell you is a lot of freelance clients are looking for a writer plus some.
Yes, they want someone who can lay down the words but there are other things they aim to get accomplished. And they want it all to be done by the same person.
So, if you want to set yourself apart from the masses and keep your career moving forward, add more tricks to your showcase.
If you’re wondering what those tricks should be, keep reading. I’ll tell you what I’ve seen businesses asking for in the ads.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s what people use to try to boost their visibility in search engine results (normally Google’s).
I hope you already knew that. But if you didn’t, and you’re planning to build your writing career online, I strongly suggest you get up to speed, fast.
SEO skills are so commonly requested that they’re almost standard. A lot of online businesses virtually worship the Google God. If you can gain your clients favor with Google, you’ll stand out.
The thing is, a lot of people confuse knowing what SEO is with having SEO skills. That’s why you may have noticed some ads will say things like, looking for someone who “understands SEO best practices.”
In addition to knowing what tools to use and what strategies are effective, you also need to understand that these things change over time. So, you not only need the skills but you need to keep them sharp.
CMS stands for content management system. It’s the back-end or behind-the-curtains area of a website where you control how the site it works and what the visitors see.
I’m sure you’ve at least heard of WordPress. That’s the most popular CMS on the web.
A lot of clients want you to be able to use a CMS so you can prepare your content to go live.
Sometimes that prep work may only involve plugging in your article and an image and leaving it for the editor. Other clients may want you to format the headings, add links, write the excerpt, use SEO tools, and schedule the post to go live.
A business can save a lot of time by having a writer who can use a CMS, especially if there’s a significant amount of formatting to do and the site publishes a lot of content.
More clients are looking for writers who have photography and videography skills. And that’s because there’s a growing demand for original visual content. Nowadays, companies are just as concerned about being seen as they are about being heard. But of course, many don’t have the resources or the desire to have a writer and photographer or videographer work on the same project.
One ad I listed recently on the jobs list called for a copywriter who could not only write product descriptions but who could also stage and photograph the products.
For some clients, images are part of a package deal when they hire you for an article or blog. But others will pay extra for each photo or video clip.
Visual Editing Skills
Providing images is one thing. Being able to edit them is another. And it’s a skill that a growing number of freelance clients are looking for.
The stronger your editing skills, the better because there will be more jobs that you’ll qualify for that other freelance writers don’t. But even basic editing skills, such as the ability to resize, crop, add text, etc. will make you a more attractive candidate.
From what I’ve assessed, there aren’t a lot of clients asking for writers to edit video yet. But a few pop up here and there. Considering how visually driven content is becoming, it’s definitely a smart move to add video editing to your toolbox if you can.
Also Read: Why You May Want to Consider Amazon Business
Social Media Skills
If you’ve been dozing on social media, it’s time to wake up. A lot of companies are looking for writers to give them swag on the major platforms, and some are creating roles devoted solely to social media content.
They want people who know what to post, when to post it, and how to do it with maximum impact. Some also want writers who will engage with the audience in the comments.
I’m not going to speculate about the fate of blogs. But I will bet the farm that more and more businesses will be focusing on and investing in social media content.
Just because you have writing skills doesn’t mean you have social media writing skills. It’s a different ball game, and producing content for each platform is also different.
If you know the ins and outs of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, including how to connect with the community, how to format the post, and how to (allegedly) win favor with the algorithm, trust and believe that you’ll be working with a major advantage over freelance writers who haven’t developed those skills.
It may be worth your time to get familiar with other platforms like Linkedin, Pinterest and Tumblr, but clients don’t inquire about them nearly as often as
Some clients prefer freelance writers who have large social media followings, and some will not work with you if you don’t.
That’s because they want to get the biggest bang for their buck. And one way to do that is to expand their reach by getting access to their writers’ followers.
If and when you should use your social media accounts for your clients is another conversation but it’s one we’ll have soon.
For now, I’ll just say remember to factor what you’re offering, the benefits that you bring and any savings your clients may get from the range of skills you use for their work.
You don’t just want to be a more attractive candidate. You wanted to be paid what you’re worth.