The State Of Freelance Writing & Why It’ll Be Dead Within 1 Year
A few years ago, Google unleashed the Panda Algorithm on search engines and changed the way the world uses the Internet. Hundreds of thousands of freelance content writers held their breath as Panda single handedly did what content writers had been dreaming about since the late 1990s.
The learning algorithm went to work knocking down small percentages (that equated to thousands upon thousands) of websites that abused keywords and occupied rank with stolen or copied content.
Then, Panda did something that may have even surprised Google. The Panda became hungry for originality. It was voracious for it. Freelance content writers, sick of masking good content behind bad keyword cover, stopped holding their breaths and started cheering.
Panda Declared Content King
Hundreds of thousands of websites have declared 2013 the year of the content writer. The mantle was picked up and enthusiastically carried for a while. It stopped almost as suddenly as it had started. A few websites still declare it here and there but the year of the content writer never really gained the momentum it needed to become viral.
Perhaps everyone is finally beginning to realize what is happening. The freelance content writer is on the way out, a new kind of writer is coming, and there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it.
Now might be a good time to read – Freelancers: Should You Abandon Low Paying Clients/Jobs
Social Media Killing Freelance Content
Early in the Millennium, online sales crashed and burned, nearly taking several economies with it. Many thought that it was the end of ecommerce and for a short time, it was. Slowly, ecommerce websites rebounded, buoyed on the backs of a few giants that stayed afloat and saved online marketing. Many believed that if ecommerce could overcome that crash, it could overcome anything. Then it met Social Media.
It took 4 years for the largest corporations on the planet to figure out how to crack the Social Media nut and they did it the hard way, taking their knocks, bumps, and bruises along the way. As it turns out… content is king with Social Media as well. As usual, once they have fixed a major problem, they release a report and let it trickle down to the waiting small and medium sized ecommerce websites.
The report ‘Content: The New Marketing Equation’ released earlier this year through Altimeter’s Slideshare.net website, condemns the average, uneducated content writer to exile. The day of the college-educated Content Journalist will be here very soon. You can see the report here.
Are You Really Writer Material?
Freelance websites are killing credible writers. Freelance websites, the ones that introduce writer to ecommerce owners, are slowly but surely killing the credibility of the content writer. They do this by allowing just anyone to claim to be a writer sign up and be hired.
There is just the right amount of talented, if uneducated freelance writers in the world. Unfortunately, there are excessive number of kids with laptops, a passing grade in English, and a warped sense of what a writer is (read what they write and you may arrive on the same conclusion).
Far From Glamorous
If someone had put some form of testing or a reasonable trial to ensure product quality before unleashing these “writers” on an unsuspecting market, the state of content writing would be in a lot better shape to ward off an attack by collegians with laptops.
Perhaps they take pride in calling themselves writer, which is strange because there is very little about being a writer that is romantic or even ‘cool’. None of us write like Stephen King (nor does he write like us). We are not all living in a cabin in Maine writing a novel; very few of us have ever stepped in to a bed and breakfast. We are a lonely bunch of people who spend more time facing a word processor than we do reality.
Give us your Tired; Give us your Poor, your Wretched Masses…
Because the work is done and paid for online, the market can be influenced by anyone on the planet that is willing to do for fifty cents a job for which a real writer would deservedly charge $75. For instance, the Philippines has hundreds of thousands of writers writing for next to nothing to support themselves and their families.
The market is in a flux and has been for a long time. Unscrupulous or near broke marketers wonder why they should pay top dollar for great content when they can pay next to nothing for ‘meh’ content.
Panda May Change That
Panda is a very smart algorithm. You have to hand it to Google for coming up with this one regardless of why. In fact, Panda should have saved the freelance content writer by eliminating those who cannot write original, informative, keyword rich content. Instead, Panda’s Movement created a new problem and dumped it in the webmaster’s lap.
The site owner looking for a content writer that can meet Google’s criteria faces an enormous task. The solution is the obvious one. Webmasters have disowned freelance writers and are looking forward to Content Journalists.
Days of the Educated
The Content Journalist will have a degree in journalism or some form of writing. They will be well paid. There is no mantle to carry. You can bet your bottom dollar that they will be smart enough to unite in a field-protecting group. The Brotherhood of Content Journalists is here and the freelance writer is dead.
Author: Scott Kuttner
Scott founded the New Horizons Writing Academy for people who love to write but cannot afford to take college level courses. He also founded Nebraska Home Freelance Content Writers, a place for the freelancer to show his wares by teaching visitors how to write, blog, apply SEO and possibly meet employers. He is married to the love of his life, JoDee!