Freelance Writing: Genres To Write About - Henry Harvin

If you are an aspiring freelance writer or if you have just started freelance content writing, one of the most common tips you shall hear is chosen a niche! And while choosing a niche is definitely important to your long-term success, there is something you need to do before you choose a niche.

You need to identify the type of writing you want to do or the type of writing that might best suit your existing skills and personality.

Choosing your type of freelance writing is like selecting a hat to wear. Sometimes you may choose a hat that fits your personality or to match your outfit, other times you choose a hat to protect you from the weather.

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There are tons of different types of content writing you can do when it comes to freelance writing and getting paid to write. You can choose the type of writing you will do based on what is familiar to you, what you are interested in, or based on your skills. Sometimes you may choose your type of writing because it is best suited to your income needs or your current situation.

Freelance writers have a wide range of genres to write about. The word “genre” refers to works that share a common content, form or style.

Here are some common genres to write about:

Blog writing

This is the most common type of content on the internet. Blog posts can be as short as 300 words, and as long as 2,000+ words. They usually have compelling headlines, keywords for SEO and a call-to-action at the end of the post.

Generally, blog posts are written in an informal tone and allow readers to leave comments. They can be used for educational purposes, entertainment, or to promote a service, person or product.

The act of updating the web content in a date-ordered posting is called blogging. It is different from the simple web writing in terms of the tone, formality, and features such as the community-building and comments.

Freelance bloggers may be hired by companies or individuals to maintain their blog and facilitate community building, in addition to directly or indirectly promoting a product, person or service.

Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting is when someone (the ghostwriter) creates content for magazines, brands, newspapers or businesses and is not credited for it. As a ghostwriter, you are not even allowed to mention the name of the client or display the work in your portfolio.

Why would anyone want to want to provide content if they won’t get the credit for it? Because ghostwriting is one of the very lucrative genres to write about. The compensation for ghostwritten piece could be up to 3 times more than a piece with your byline. Ghostwriters are usually hired to write novels, eBooks and hard copy books.

When you are a ghostwriter, you are writing content for someone else. This means your name won’t normally be associated with the final result. The client gets all the income from the sale of the final result.

Sometimes you are ghostwriting for someone who has a story to tell but is not a writer. Other times you may be asked to write blog post content in the same tone and style as the blog owner who is just too busy to write their own content. 

You also won’t receive any royalties or residuals if you ghostwrite a book. It can be a very lucrative freelance writing job because the expectation is that you can charge two to three times the rates of content writers.

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Keep in mind that if you ghostwrite content, you won’t be able to link to in your public portfolio without permission from your client. When ghostwriting, make sure that you clarify what ways you can use the finished product with other potential clients. At least list the type of work and type of business in your portfolio without naming the company or linking to the work.

Ghostwriting is a great fit for those who can tell an engaging story and who do not mind being behind the scenes. If you love to research and write but the thought of having your name on the cover of a book makes you want to curl up in a ball, you might make a good ghostwriter.

Academic writing

This refers to any writing done to fulfill the requirements of a university or college. Academic writing also involves creating scholarly publications that are presented by researchers or lecturers at seminars or conferences.

Documents created using academic writing include translations, essays, conference papers, research papers, academic journals and thesis/dissertations.

Whitepaper writing

Whitepapers are more sophisticated compared to other types of content. A whitepaper is an informative 5–12-page document that is designed to promote the product or service of a company. It presents a unique problem and explains how it can be solved using the company’s product or service.

The good news is that you do not have to be an expert in a subject to write a whitepaper. Your main source of information will be client interviews. Though writing whitepapers is time-consuming, one can make good money from a single project.

E-book Writing

E-books have become increasingly popular in recent years, generating billions of dollars in sales worldwide. This means that there is a huge demand for e-Book writers.

Most businesses and companies are now using free downloadable eBooks to as a way of luring prospects to submit their contact details. However, though this genre pays relatively well, you might not be allowed to retain the copyright for your work.

Case studies

Companies use case studies as a marketing strategy to acquire more customers. Case studies are basically success stories of their customers using their products or services. It explains the challenges a client faced, the solution the company provided, and the end result or outcome.

The conclusion of a case study is meant to influence prospects to make a buying decision.

Most business owners either do not know how to write a case study or do not have the time. This is why there is a huge demand for freelance writers. If you can write compelling case studies, you can make lots of money in this niche.

SEO Writing

SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. The objective of SEO is making webpages more attractive to search engines as a means to boost traffic. Although search engines make use of different factors for ranking websites and pages, in terms of SEO writing, its focus is on creating content using specific, targeted phrases or words, termed as keywords or keyword phrases, to help search engines find and rank the webpage.

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The main challenge of SEO writing is to ensure that content is balances so that search engines rank it. At the same content should also remaining interesting and appealing to the reader.

The first step to be an SEO content writer is to comprehend search engine optimization. In case of written content, it starts with finding a phrase or keyword to build the content around. Often, this is given by client.

When you are provided a topic keyword or phrase, you should research it using the following steps:

  1. Enter your keyword or phrase into a keyword tool, such as Google’s Keyword Tool or SEO Book Keyword Tool.
  2. Look at the number of searches done for that keyword or phrase over the last month. Although a lot of search is required on that word, the number of searches is not the only consideration.
  3. How much competition is there for that keyword or phrase? If a keyword is search volume is very high but competition is also high then you may find it difficult to rank for that keyword in the search engine. At times it is better to pick a different keyword which has less search volume but competition is also low.
  4. What other keywords are there? The tools are of great help for identifying keywords that might be better or variations of the keyword to use in the article to avoid using a single keyword too much.

Mastering the art of SEO places you in a good position to attract high paying freelance writing clients.

Press Release Writing

A press release is a brief statement that is used to announce some information about a business. This could be an announcement about a scheduled event, a new product launch or a new accomplishment. Such information is presented to the mass audience through blogs, magazines or newspapers.

A skilled press release writer can earn hundreds of dollars for writing one 400-1000 word piece.

Product Description Writing

If you visit any online store, you will probably see photos of various products accompanied with detailed descriptions. Businesses hire freelance writers to craft compelling content that describes the features and benefits of their products.

The aim of a product description is to convert visitors into paying customers.

To be a great product description writer, you must have a good understanding of SEO. Optimized content will be more visible online; thus, attracting more prospects to the store. Since product descriptions are usually very short, you might be required to deliver dozens of descriptions at once to a client.

Copywriting

When it comes to promotional materials and marketing materials, this is where the copywriter shines. If you want to be a copywriter, it is critical that you understand the primary goal of this type of content is to sell. Copywriters work on a variety of different types of content and the focus is to promote, persuade the reader to take action, or to sell a product. 

  • email sequences
  • product descriptions
  • buyer guides
  • product reviews
  • category descriptions
  • sales pages
  • gift guides
  • white papers
  • case studies
  • website copy

To be a more effective copywriter, one should learn the techniques copywriters use to persuade and encourage readers to take action.

If you have experience in sales of any kind, copywriting might be right up your alley. This is also a good field if you like telling stories about a company or product and it is history, if you love to shop online, or if you are good at researching different products and comparing them. If you do not like sales then this type of writing probably is not the best fit for you.

Technical Writing

If you happen to have a background in a specialized field such as engineering, computer science, or medicine, consider that you might be good at technical writing.

Writers in this specialty, write manuals, SOP’s, and evaluation reports targeted toward other experts in their field. But technical also encompasses things such as business plans, legal briefs, grant proposal writing, instructional or training content, and curriculum.

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Technical writing is a good fit for those who naturally write in a more formal way and for those who are good at organizing content, workflow, information, and data. If you have been told you can explain complex topics in an easy-to-understand way, technical writing is the place to start.

Journalism

Another type of freelance writing is traditional journalism. These are writers who specialize in writing feature articles and sometimes investigative reports about a topic or event. Often journalistic articles are a more comprehensive projects with tight deadlines.

The focus of journalistic writing is on presenting facts verified and supported with first person interviews, statistics, and other sources. Attention to detail and the ability to unearth sources to verify the accuracy of your article are critical.

It can be a lucrative area but can be difficult to break into as a beginning writer or if you do not have the required credentials.

If you love a good mystery and do not mind putting in extra effort to get down to the truth and reveal the facts, consider journalism.

Other types of freelance writing

As with any career, there are some type of freelance writing that do not fall neatly into the above categories.

Fiction Writing

Most of us are familiar with fiction writing. It is storytelling that is fictionalized by you, the author. It is possible to ghostwrite fiction in which case your name would not be listed as the author.

Types of fiction include:

  • Flash fiction
  • Short fiction
  • Novella
  • Novel

Fiction can be literary commercial. It is categorized into genres such as romance, mystery, horror, etc. Many genres are further divided into sub-genres.

If you have a great imagination and can tell a good story that keep readers turning the pages and wanting more, consider fiction writing. If you have always wanted to see your name on the bestseller’s list, fiction writing is one way to do it.

Essay/Non-Fiction Writing

This genre can include anecdotes and memoirs or can be educational or persuasive in its aim. It can be lengthy like a book or significantly less. This category may overlap with journalistic writing, blogging, speechwriting or web writing.

Grant Proposal Writing

The grant or proposal writing is the act of putting together the written content of a funding proposal. Generally, proposal writing goes beyond simply writing the proposal. It instead explores into aspects of budget, research, accounting, and project management.

The entire proposal packages, proposal letters, or shorter query letters can be written by proposal writers. Their responsibilities may include filling out static forms.

Poetry Writing

Writing creative verse. Poetry is literature in meter form. It is a form of written words that has pattern, rhythm and rhyme. Poetry can be serious or funny. Poetry is as creative as you try to make it. Basic poetry is in section form, called a stanza. The stanza can have rhythm and rhyme, or simply a blank verse!

There are three types of poetry: dramatic, narrative and lyrical. It is not always possible to make distinction between them. 

Script Writing

Script writing is basically writing scripts for spoken word performance or recording. It may overlap with fiction writing.

Speechwriting

It is an art of conveying a message to your audience. It is done either using oral communication or through other means, such as power-point slides, “speech writing” has the same function as normal writing. The reasons for “writing” are to explain, to inform or to persuade.

Resume writing

This type of writing is exactly what it sounds like. People who need a high-quality resume, will often pay a freelance resume writer to write the content for them. Many freelance writers specialize in writing resumes and it can be a lucrative arena, depending on your skill level and the clients you serve.

If you understand how to elevate a housewife to a domestic engineer and if you have a variety of knowledge about different jobs and careers, consider resume writing. If your friends and family come to you for help when they need a resume to apply for a job, resume writing could be well-suited for you.

Greeting Cards

If you have a way with words, especially those used to celebrate special life events, holidays, and everyday occasions, consider becoming a greeting card writer. There are numerous companies who will pay you to write greeting cards.

There you have it. My suggestion is that you choose from this list based on your personality and personal interests. Spend some time researching the type of freelancing writing you want to do and try it out to be sure it is a good fit.

Once you know which type of freelance writing suits you, it will be a lot easier to think about that next step.

If you have a way with words and can evoke emotions without breaking a sweat, you might be able to earn money as a freelance greeting card writer. If you love to write poetry and do not mind spending time to select just the right word to say what you need to say, this could be a good option for you to try.

Critical Writing

Critical writing is writing in review mode. It is writing to analyze or interpret something. Book reviews, movie reviews, and product reviews are examples of critical writing. 

Conclusion

When you are picking a content writing niche, consider the following three things:
  1. It should be something you are knowledgeable about or are willing to learn a lot about.
  2. It should be something that a specific target client will want and be willing to pay for.
  3. It should be something you are interested in and/or enjoy writing about.

FAQs

Q1. What is content writing?

A1. Content writing is basically the process of planning, writing and editing the web content. It is done typically for digital marketing purposes. It can include writing articles and blog posts, scripts for videos and content for specific platforms

Q2. What is niche in content writing?

A2. Your writing niche is a focused area in writing like writing press releases or blog posts where you are experienced in and knowledgeable of writing about. One can have a wide freelance writing niche like finance and niche down to specific topics within finance like cryptocurrency or investments.

Q3. How to choose a niche for content writing?

A3. Niche for content writing can be chosen by following the below-mentioned four steps:

  1. Identify your areas of expertise
  2. Identify what you are passionate about
  3. Identify opportunities or gaps in the market
  4. Identify the crossover of the above-mentioned areas.
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