8 Lucrative Freelance Writing Niches (Plus How to Get Started)8 min read
Whether you want to write on the side or make it your full-time job, freelance writing can offer you flexibility while letting you get paid for your creativity.
But if you hear “freelance writing” and think it’s only for journalists and bloggers, think again: Businesses and organizations have lots of opportunities for skilled freelance writers. You just have to know how to find them.
Read on to learn more about eight profitable freelance writing niches, plus some tips to help you get started.
8 Lucrative Freelance Writing Niches
1. Grant Writing
Grant writing can be a high-paying way to make money as a freelance writer. Grant writers create proposals that help institutions and organizations apply for financial support from the government or other non-government organizations.
If you’re passionate about working with nonprofits, this is a great way to support them while making money at the same time.
Grant proposals have specific structures that require research skills and writing. Some of the typical sections of a grant are the cover letter, executive summary, need statement, budget, objectives, information about the company, strategies, and evaluation. Ultimately you’ll be responsible for writing a compelling proposal that wins.
In addition, many nonprofits may need long-term freelance grant writers, which means you may be able to land a contract that guarantees consistent income. However, you’ll need to build a proven track record of success before these kinds of contracts are likely to be available for you.
How much you can earn: As a grant writer, you can earn between $25 to $100 an hour, depending on your skills and experience.
How to get started: The Non-Profit Ready, Grant Space, and Grant Training Center offer training and other resources to help you get started with grant writing. This post about grant writing from The Write Life has even more resources for you to check out.
A copywriter uses marketing tactics and psychology to create a compelling copy that sells or creates a brand’s awareness. See those ads on Facebook, Instagram or Google? Those few lines that make you want to know more are the work of a copywriter.
Copywriters charge more for their services because, unlike other kinds of writers, they create copy that sells the product or service. It’s a skill that is in high demand. Many e-commerce businesses, digitally native brands, and companies use copywriters to create digital ads, copy for landing pages and email campaigns.
How much you can earn: According to copywriter and content strategist Jacob McMillen, 80% of copywriters earn between $35k-$65k/year.
How to learn more: One of the best places to learn conversion copywriting is Copy Hackers. McMillen also has resources to help you learn how to become a copywriter on his site.
3. Case Study Writing
Case study writing uses the art of storytelling to show how customers benefited from a product or service.
As a case study writer, you will be interviewing customers who used the product, then using those interviews to write copy for marketing purposes.
A typical case study runs between one page and four pages, but writing isn’t all you’ll do. You’ll likely also have to develop interview questions, set up interviews and interview customers and write the copy.
How much you can earn: You can earn between $100 to $2,500 per case study, depending on the amount of work.
How to learn more: This resource from Coschedule will help you learn more about case study writing, and includes templates for your first case studies.
4. White Paper Writing
White paper writing is another profitable freelance writing niche.
But what exactly is a white paper? A white paper is a formal, evidence-, data- and research-based type of writing that presents a problem and provides a solution to the problem or issue in the industry. White papers are usually written for a wider audience.
Companies invest in white papers because they can help establish the company as an authority in the field. In addition, companies use white papers for lead generation.
How much you can earn: Your potential earnings depend on your experience and your area of expertise. Gordon Graham of That White Paper Guy charges between $7,000 to $9,000 per white paper writing project in the blockchain niche, and according to Elna Cain, a beginner white paper writer can charge upwards of $2,500, depending on the project.
How to learn more: Elna Cain has a step-by-step tutorial to help you write a white paper. Another place you can learn more about white paper writing is the Writing Center.
5. Video Script Writing
The demand for online videos is sky-high these days. A recent survey from e-commerce app Oberlo found 85% of U.S. internet users spent at least some time each month watching online videos.
More companies are turning to these videos for marketing purposes, including video blogs, tutorials, interviews, product demos, presentations, testimonials and ads.
One of the many skill sets necessary to produce these videos is that of a scriptwriter. Before a company or organization starts filming a video — especially one intended to promote a brand or create awareness on a topic — it’ll need a script that forms the foundation of the video.
As a video scriptwriter, you can work with companies, bloggers, online course creators, or anyone that uses video marketing.
How much you can earn: A scriptwriter can make between $200-$300 per scripted minute of video.
How to learn more: Check HubSpot to learn more about video script writing.
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6. Press Release Writing
Companies and organizations without an in-house public relations team may instead hire freelance writers who can write newsworthy press releases.
A press release notifies media outlets about upcoming events, achievements and products. The press release should convince the media that your event is something that interests their audience.
A press release has a strict format, which means you can use for any other press release you write, so once you understand the ins and outs of newsworthy press releases, you can easily scale your services up.
How much you can earn: The average rate for freelance press release writers is $80 per hour, according to Writer Access, which also includes more information about how to set your own rates.
How to learn more: HubSpot has resources available to help you learn how to write a press release.
7. Business Plan Writing
A business plan is a blueprint that shows how you are going to run your business and achieve goals, and it’s crucial for both business operations and for seeking funding. For many new business owners, writing a business plan can be time-consuming, not to mention intimidating.
That’s when you can step in to offer your services as a freelance business plan writer.
Writing a business plan calls for extensive research skills, as well as have some experience conducting market and financial analyses. You’ll also need industry-specific knowledge and the ability to clearly convey business concepts. Here’s what else you’ll need to do to be a successful business plan writer.
How much you can earn: You can offer these services to entrepreneurs and possibly generate between $500 and $3,000 per month.
How to learn more: Learn how to start a business in this freelance writing niche at More Business. You can also check out this resource from GoDaddy.
8. Technical Writing
Technical writing is a valuable skill in all kinds of tech-related fields, including finance, medical, engineering, computer software and hardware, and consumer electronics industry.
A technical writer’s work is to break down more complex tech terms into readable texts for a specific audience. Think of web design tutorials, blockchain content, electronic user guides, company policies, research reports, e.t.c
If you have a background in a technical field and you’re good at communicating high-level information in a way that’s simple to understand, then technical writing could be a profitable writing niche for you. (Bonus points if you’re a witty writer can make often-dry tech content more engaging and fun to read.)
How much you can earn: On average, freelance technical writers can earn $27 an hour, according to PayScale.
How to learn more: Instruction Solution has a beginner’s guide on getting started as a technical writer.
How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
When launching your business in the freelance writing niche of your choice, the first thing you should do is create a strong online presence, such a website for your portfolio. Make sure you optimize your social media profiles, especially LinkedIn, to attract potential clients.
And now it’s time to start looking for work! Below are places you can check for paying freelance writing gigs in the niches we outlined above.
Some of the best job boards for freelance writers are:
Another place to find freelance writing jobs is LinkedIn’s job board. Make sure to turn on notifications so that you can get notified about jobs immediately.
You can also use LinkedIn to connect with people in the industry you are interested in working with. Remember to add a personal note when sending a connection request! We have more advice to help you nail networking on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn can also serve as your online resume if you keep it updated with relevant skills and experience and write a great description that sells yourself for the About section.
People post job opportunities on social media all the time — you just have to use the right search tools and hashtags to find them.
On Facebook, search using phrases like “need a copywriter,” and you’ll be given a list of Facebook Groups and posts that match your search terms.
The best way to search on Twitter is using hashtags like #copywriter, #technicalwriterneeded and #hiringacasestudywriter. This guide has more information about finding freelance writing jobs on Twitter.
Networking is one of the most important things you can do as a freelance writer. You can network through connecting and engaging with prospects on social media, attending virtual webinars organized by prospects. You can also join freelance writers’ Facebook groups and forums. Make sure post new content, comment on others’ posts and share your expert advice!
Networking may seem difficult, but the secret is simple: Give more than you take. If you’re still feeling unsure about it, check out our guide to networking for introverts.
Charity Jerop is a freelance content creation specialist and a blogger at charityjerop.com. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.