As a freelance writer, it’s imperative to stay relevant in an ever-changing industry. While some aspects of writing will never change – such as the importance of excellent grammar skills – other aspects are evolving with the times. And if you don’t upskill, you’ll be left behind.
Two decades ago, writers didn’t need to consider search engine optimisation (SEO). Now, without basic SEO knowledge, freelance writers will struggle to keep clients. Even when writing for print media, most articles are also shared on the publication’s website and social media platforms, so clients will want content that has been search-engine optimised.
Two years ago, writers didn’t need to consider artificial intelligence (AI) writing tools such as ChatGPT. Now, there’s a flurry of panic in the writing community, with talk that copy and content writers will become obsolete. Of course, that’s not the case, but writers will need to up their game to stay employable. ChatGPT may eliminate low-budget writers on platforms such as Fiverr, who survive by undercutting industry-norm rates, and writing generic, paraphrased content. But that just emphasises that writers need to hone their skills and find a niche even more than before.
If you can’t beat them, join them. By that we mean evolve with the times. Animators adapted from hand-drawing each frame, to using computer-generated graphics. Accountants developed from using hand-written creditor and debtor journals, to inputting data via accounting software that is easy to use and track.
And likewise, writers will use AI writing tools to aid them, rather than replace them. Quality research, point of view, strong angles and interviewing techniques will now matter more than ever to stand out from the crowd of Fiverr copywriters and ChatGPT writing bland, generic content.
What else can you do to stay relevant?
- Network! Read our blog on how to grow your network as a freelance writer.
- Spend time on research – and become an expert.
- Upskill – there’s always room for improvement.
- Don’t deliver sloppy work. Keep your editor happy.
- Use apps and tools for writers to work smarter, not harder.