2014: The Year of the Freelance Copywriter
Following Econsultancy’s announcement last month that 45% of companies say content marketing is highly integrated with their SEO strategy, as a freelance copywriter, I wonder how this might impact the amount of work that copywriters receive this year. The findings, which come from Econsultancy’s State of Search Marketing Report 2013, takes a detailed look at how companies are using digital marketing channels, including paid search, search engine optimization and social media marketing.
The survey, which had over 400 respondents from both companies and agencies, was collected at the tail-end of last year in November 2013 and makes for promising reading from a copywriter’s perspective.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the survey results is that 51% of agencies also have content marketing high on their agenda. Assuming we’re using the term copywriter to include those who also have an interest in content marketing (for an interesting post about the definition of a copywriter, see Tom Albrighton’s blog), this could mean a prosperous 2014 for fellow freelancers. Digital agencies that outsource their copywriting are normally highly sought after by freelance copywriters due to the frequency of work to be had from their large client bases. Good news then perhaps, if these agencies find themselves even busier this year and in need of assistance from professional freelancers.
A Focus on Quality
One thing that definitely is in our favour for 2014 is the fact that Google are tightening up their policy on low quality content. Previous SEO techniques that used to work are now so 2012; keyword stuffing, spammy anchor text, dodgy link building methods – they’re all on the out. And with Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update, websites now need writers who can do as the name implies and actually write – and for humans no less! Coupled with an increased focus on social media, the only content that Google will be interested in this year is that which engages readers and adds real value.
A Return to Storytelling
I don’t know about other copywriters out there, but I’ve experienced an increase in demand for script writing services of late, particularly for slideshare presentations and videos. Could this be a sign of things to come? Nothing engages a reader more than being taken on a journey of experience rather than being thrown the same old facts. And one thing that many copywriters do very well is tell stories to help sell products and build brands. So, it figures that freelance copywriters would be high on the list of a video producer.
Content on Demand
With companies placing content at the top of their marketing ‘to do’ lists, businesses will surely want more content, quicker. Personally, I’ve had more ‘time sensitive’ pieces emailed to me this month than ever before. This year could see freelance copywriters working to very short deadlines as clients become accustomed to asking for content yesterday and expecting it on time too! The volume of content that larger websites will need could also skyrocket, as they strive to keep up with their competitors who are striving to keep up with their competitors and so on. And what’s more, this content will need to be engaging, as more content means more choice, which means shorter attention spans and therefore greater demand for quality – and so in dances the freelance copywriter.
So with all with this extra work that we’re going to have this year (please don’t hold me to this), could the freelance copywriting community see an increase in new blood and consequently, an increase in competition? Personally, (and I’m not just saying this for want of retweets from you all – although a few would be much obliged) I think freelance copywriters are among the friendliest people on the internet. Having already experienced the cut-throat world of the private tutor, I’ve found that copywriters are only too happy to share their insights into finding work and even on occasion, passing work on! However, I don’t know how I’d feel if my online friends were to suddenly become my online rivals for want of copywriting glory. Although in reality, if Econsultancy’s findings are anything to go by, with so many companies now focusing on content, even with more copywriters on the scene, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about – and we all have our niches anyway don’t we: a guest post on re-useable cups, anyone?
So what do you reckon? What odds would you give me on 2014 being the year of the freelance copywriter? What do you make of the survey findings? Are you surprised? Have you noticed any of these copywriting trends yourself?
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