Will we all be freelancing soon? It was this question, asked in a radio-show, that got to me. People and companies increasingly opt for project-based relationships instead of more permanent ones. An area changing fast in that direction, is the writing industry. I’m a freelance writer myself and I work with a lot of journalists/writers in my graphic jobs. Below some trends that got people talking and will definitely influence freelance writers in 2014.
1. Data-journalism: Journalists will shift from hunter/gatherer style to a mode of interpreting big data. Before, when information was scarce, most efforts were devoted to finding the actual story. That is changing rapidly since data-sets become available to anyone now. Getting the information is not the problem anymore, but processing it is more important than ever. The role of writers? They are interpreters, who are able to give the, much needed, sense an structure in the never ending flow of data.
2. Visual storytelling: We can help people process data not only by making interpretations, but also by focussing more on presentation. Visual tools are must-haves these days in communicating what’s important and relevant to the consumer. More infographics and data visualizations are shown in traditional media and on the web. Very useful to update your skills in that area or… work closely together with designers.
3. Content is King: Companies are becoming publishers. They are creating news websites and other online content as part of their marketing strategies and… they are hiring freelancers to do the work. Whether you call it brand journalism or content marketing the opportunities this trend poses for freelance writers, have never been better.
4. Niche Magazines: Are magazines dead? According to Samir Husni, they’re more alive than ever. He launched 870 new titles last year only. Many new titles are niche publications. His advice for writers: specialize as much as you can in certain topics.
5. Writers going Indie: Freelance pay rates are getting lower and lower. Given these conditions, it’s not surprising that journalists are becoming entrepreneurs by launching startups or writer communities, that they write crowdfunded articles instead of selling to a publisher, monetize a blog by charging readers, or give self-publishing a shot. Lots of alternative possibilities out there.