Why Freelance Writers Shouldn't Fear Content Marketplaces
Content marketplaces are beneficial for every type of writer. Here's why.
Last year, I moved to San Francisco with just my freelance clients and a truck full of books and cookware to my name. I had left a life of food writing and magazine editing for the freedom of full-time freelance work. One night, as I sat up in my bed, propped up by pillows and writing a piece on the components of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test (which I had never taken), I wondered if I'd ever see those 1200-word pieces showcasing my knowledge -- and, ultimately, my experience and enjoyment -- again.
As work-from-home occupations and freelancing careers continue to grow year after year, it's no surprise that various types of content marketplaces are also springing up. Where there is a need for original content, there will certainly be an equal need for writers.
However, many writers -- especially those with journalistic or novelistic backgrounds -- find that even the word "content creation" leaves a bad taste in their mouths. "Affectionately" referred to as "content mills" or "content farms", these content marketplaces hire writers to work on a wide variety of projects for various clients, from small businesses needing a press release to eCommerce giants wanting to engage their customers through buying guides.
The common misconception that arises when freelance writers think of content companies is that all of these companies are looking to shell out meaningless, hastily written content -- and that writers of high caliber shouldn't waste their time. Lesser known is the high-end content side of these businesses, where content companies pair top writers with thought leaders, working together to develop narratives and nurture relationships with customers.
So why should you -- as a journalist, novelist, or full-time freelance writer -- take the time to work with content creation companies?
A Symbiotic Relationship
As a former full-time freelance writer, I know that we've all trudged through writing a blog post on something in which we had absolutely no interest (or even expertise). While there's no doubt that there is a high demand for digestible content for content's sake, there is always a need for niched, detailed, expert-level writing, regardless of the subject area.
High-quality demands follow high-quality supply, right? With the right types of writers -- those who succeed at marketing white papers, those whose interview skills can dig out the answers immediately, those who can write UX code and explain exactly what they're doing -- content marketplaces can reach a wider breadth of high-end clients, often looking for lengthier, more in-depth pieces.
Building a Portfolio and Following
Unlike ghostwritten work, many of these high-quality content projects bring along their own perks. With thought-leadership pieces in particular, many companies will want to include a writer's byline or a short bio to accompany the article.
Furthermore, working with big-names companies always looks nice on a resume or LinkedIn page. Depending on the company with which you work, you just might find that you've gained a social following in a realm that you never thought possible.
Taking A Break
After a few days of political articles, news headlines and parenting how-to's, some freelancers may want to branch out into other areas of interest. While many writers tend to have clients in a small handful of different subject areas, content marketplace offerings can often let you extend your writing outside of Industries in which you normally have clients. Just because a piece isn't as serious as your usual M.O., doesn't mean it can't be fun.
Are content marketplaces for everyone? Of course not. But they certainly have their perks -- and are well-worth investigating if you're looking to expand your freelance offerings.
Have a question about working with a content marketplace? Let us know in the comments below.
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