Editor’s note: This post was written by Christopher Jan Benitez, content marketer during the day, heavy sleeper at night. Dreams of non-existent brass rings. Writer by trade. Pro wrestling fan by choice. Family man all the time.
There is no denying that freelance writers are essential in the world of online marketing. Sure, big firms probably have teams of in-house writers to do most of the work. But even they require extra manpower from time to time. This is where freelance writers come in.
Freelance writers provide the much-needed content for marketing, advertising, blogging, and link-building for SEO. They should also be flexible and able to write from a broad selection of topics for more work opportunities. Just like the digital marketing industry as a whole, writers should be quick to learn and adapt to the changing circumstances.
Facebook Instant Articles
Digital marketers (and freelance writers) should know that the competition changes with every new software or platform introduced, especially if this platform can change the way content reaches the target audience.
Facebook Instant Articles is one of the anticipated trends that will peak in 2016. It enables content marketers to simply make their articles fully accessible within the Facebook app. This means users will no longer have to click away from the site to view whatever information they need.
Also remember that Facebook introduced the “buy now” feature, which allows users to make purchases from within the platform. This makes social media marketing on Facebook much more than just for lead nurturing and generation. And with all these being said, the demand for freelance writers who are skilled in creating quality content that’s optimized for Instant Articles is likely to increase.
As a freelance writer, you can’t afford lacking an area in your skill set that will likely to be in-demand for the following years. Of course, you still have to write engaging and informative content that’s apt for Facebook users. But additionally, any knowledge about HTML5 will come in handy since Instant Articles will be using this language. With it, you can insert audio captions, interactive apps, videos, and other types of content in your article. These basics should suffice if you want to remain competitive in 2016.
If you want, you can even monetize your own published articles through ads. So if you’re a writer with a flexible schedule, consider becoming an independent publisher on Instant Articles as a side project.
“Publishers who use Facebook’s platform currently have two revenue options: Either filling display ad inventory themselves and keeping 100% of the revenue, or offering 30% revenue to Facebook in exchange for letting Facebook handle placement. Andrew Waber of Marketing Land notes that this makes Facebook into an even more influential advertising player.” – Neal Ungerleider – Fast Company
Diversification of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest entrepreneurship opportunities available on the internet. Ever since it began, it raised the demand for freelance writers who can create compelling content. Hire a bad writer and you can watch your affiliate site’s click-through rate (CTR) suffer.
But in recent years, it takes more than just a good freelance writer to optimize your affiliate site.
As people are getting more accustomed to seeing ads and marketing messages, they become more inclined to ignore them altogether, especially if the information is presented in a banner-like fashion. This is what marketers describe as “banner blindness”.
Remember that content marketing is still recognized as the most important area of digital marketing – foreseeably through 2016. Your content should appear as credible and authoritative as possible to optimize them for better clickthroughs.
Establishing authority is another long-term process. It starts by offering valuable content that showcases your expertise. Then it’s increased through a series of multimedia content that answers many niche-related questions. Finally it’s reinforced by reminding people of your experiences with a certain market (ie: Showing your credentials.) – Steve Scott – Internet Lifestyle Without the B.S.
Speaking of being credible…Blog posts are currently one of the most-trusted content types by millennials according to Mashable.
Another observed trend is the focus on building the credibility of a single person, as opposed to prioritizing the brand image of a whole company. This tactic is more apt to be used with a little storytelling.
This is why freelance writers should pattern their content according to successful blogs or bloggers if they want to increase CTR. In addition to leveraging new forms of content like infographics, it will serve you well to learn from highly successful blogs.
Delivering Content with Mobile in Mind
At first, online marketers incorporated responsiveness on websites as an add-on to accommodate mobile users. But now that there are more searches coming from mobile than desktop, adding responsiveness and focusing on mobile-optimized content are mandatory.
“We all know Mobile traffic will only ever go up, make your content future proof with mobile content.” – Gareth Bull – SEO consultant based in London
In addition to storytelling, long-scrolling is another content trend that came with mobile’s rise to dominance.
Long-scrolling, as the name suggests, is a content design approach that puts all information in a single, long-scrolling page. This format is proven to be more convenient for mobile users thanks to one of the simplest control gestures in touchscreen devices – swiping.
For freelance writers, it’s all about focusing on having a consistent flow. Refine your writing further if you want readers locked in a single page. And if you structure your content accordingly, you can maximize the page’s dwell time, reduce the bounce rate, and finally, increase the conversion rate.
You can learn more tips on how to write for your mobile audience by reading this excellent post by Neil Patel at Content Marketing Institute.
Writing as a career comes with the privilege of constantly being exposed to learning opportunities. Use it to the fullest by welcoming trends and new tools in your arsenal. Good luck!