With the world economy facing a potentially extended downturn, most industries are feeling the pressure. The TechCrunch layoff tracker has identified more than 35,000 layoffs over the last two months in the tech sector alone. But for freelance writers, it doesn’t have to be that way.
“Luckily, freelance writing is a career that thrives in good economic times and bad,” says Yuwanda Black, publisher of InkwellEditorial.com. “Why? Simply put, we live in the information age. No matter what’s happening in the world, information needs to be disseminated.”
If a company lays off their in house copywriting staff, the words still need to go out, says Black. The trick to bringing in freelance writing jobs is to identify the hot trends — hone your knowledge and ability to write about what people are interested in reading. The trick to identifying hot trends is to adjust your thinking and pay more attention to what the world is talking about, according to Black.
“One thing I think helps freelance writers get more writing jobs is to consider themselves as ‘information consultants’ rather than freelance writers,” she says. For example, right now one of the hottest areas for freelance writers is real estate. Even as the real estate and mortgage markets implode in some Western nations, the opportunity to pitch quality content about those topics is on the rise. Whenever you have people interested in a confusing subject where there is a scarcity of quality information, there is an opportunity for freelance writers to capitalize on that niche.
Black has put together a 2008/2009 Freelance Writing Jobs Report (PDF) that identifies the hot markets for freelance writing, from finance to technology to health to erotica. It’s a well researched report that may be helpful for freelance writers looking for a new niche to find work in.
We also can’t help but think that Black’s ideas might be relevant to freelancers in other areas as well. Companies may be cutting in house staff to save money, but they still have to turn somewhere to get the work done. Short term contract workers are the logical people to fill the void left by laid off employees.
Josh Catone joined Mashable in May 2009 and is Executive Director of Editorial Projects. Before joining Mashable, Josh was the Lead Writer at ReadWriteWeb, the Lead Blogger at SitePoint, and the Community Evangelist at DandyID.