Top 10 Terms to Know in Freelance Writing

No one taught me how to freelance write. I didn’t take a class, do an internship, or have any type of instruction. As a self-taught freelance writer, I entered the space knowing how to write but unaware of just how niche this type of writing is. If you’re in the same position I was four years ago, here are the top 10 terms freelance writing terms I wish I knew. 

1. SEO (search engine optimization)

SEO is how to write content on the internet so it is optimized for keywords on search engines. Many of my clients only want to write content in a way that gets traffic to their websites. 

Looking back it’s funny that I didn’t have any idea what SEO is. Some of the first messages I received discussed SEO, and I was immediately sent down that rabbit hole trying to make sure I could deliver. It’s important to note that SEO trends are constantly changing, and you need to stay updated on these changes for the highest-quality content. 

2. Keywords

Keywords are the words that make up a search term. They’re a big factor in SEO because search engines look for pages related to search by matching the keywords in your search with keywords in pieces of content online. 

3. Call-to-action (CTA)

Your CTA is the messaging that asks your customers to take a specific action. In blog writing, it normally occurs in the final paragraph. Examples of CTAs include asking your customer to purchase a product, sign-up for a newsletter, visit your website, etc. 

4. Content writing

This is one of the top freelance writing terms. Content writing is anything written without the purpose of advertising or selling a product. As a result, it tends to be more educational. Blog posts are typically considered content writing.   

5. Copywriting

Copywriting, on the other hand, is specifically designed to sell the reader something. It’s often found in marketing campaigns. You can find copywriting in a marketing email. 

6. Listicle

A listicle is a blog post that’s written in a specific list-based format. A common type of listicle is a short list of 10 to 20 items that are based on a specific theme. Another type of popular listicle is one that’s shorter (perhaps only 5 items) with additional information included about each list item. Clients love these types of posts because they’re popular and easy to read.

7. Voice 

The voice of a piece is the way the writing sounds. Some publications are informal while others are conversational, formal, academic, etc. I find it’s helpful to ask clients the voice or tone they’re striving for to ensure I understand how I should be writing. 

8. Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting is when you write a piece for someone else. They can publish the work under their name and claim the work as their own. Freelance writers often make their entire living as ghostwriters. Ghostwriting is how I prefer to work with clients. 

9. Freelance blogging

This is the type of writing that I specialize in. It consists of writing blog posts for companies. They could be posted by online magazines, on social media, or by companies on their websites. 

Blog writing is different from print magazine writing. It is informal and easy to read. 

10. White paper writing

This is a technical form of writing in the form of an expert research document. I often get requests to either write or review white papers, but I had never heard of them before becoming a freelance writer. 

Final Thoughts

There are some of the top freelance writing terms you should know. Comment below and let me know if there were any you wish you knew before getting started!

Read more advice for new freelancers in Top 5 Tips for New Freelancers