The State of Being a Freelance SEO Content Writer

SEO Content Writer

“Everyone wants to hire excellent SEO content writers, but few want to pay well.” Telling this, my friend looked at me and seeing that I moved my head in affirmative, he readily made more confessions so many that while we gathered to recollect old memories; it turned out an event to vent out professional anger.

“Then, you have those, who request for sample work. After you email the finished product/s, they either refuse to pay citing illogical grounds or pretend they never knew you,” continues my friend.

I agreed again because I couldn’t do without

Although freelance SEO writing is not a new phenomenon, I think the profession has picked up on demand more recently. And that means more opportunities, challenges, issues, and point of views.  Here goes mine!

Contents –

Benefits of being a freelance content writer

Challenges of being a freelance writer

Issues with freelance SEO content writing

The Solutions – A Point of View

Freelance Content Writer India

See the overwhelming volume of search results for the keyword “freelance SEO content writer”.

Benefits of being a freelance content writer

Achieve independence from a compulsive corporate culture 

Independence is perhaps the strongest of all words and the driving force behind all progressions humans made. Freelance brings independence from 9 to 5 monotonous office hours. It brings independence from an annoying boss, who’s determined to bring you down for his/her self-promotional goals. Freelance brings independence from corporate pretence. You no longer need to remain late at the office only to justify you are a serious employee.

Stay local. Work Global

Thanks to freelance you need not leave your home for earning a livelihood. Trust me as a case study! Delhi is where I made my professional breakthrough, and I stayed there for a total of 7 years. It was a great city – vibrant with potentialities. While I enjoyed my full-time professional engagement and 9-5 office duties, not a single day went when I did not remember my home.

Although I mingled with the new environment well, I never wanted to enjoy it at the cost of separation from my home. Slowly an urge to start something of my own emerge within, and one fine day I left Delhi for my hometown to venture into freelance content writing. The beginning was not easy, but I did not lose hope. Thankfully, after 5 years now, freelance writing is still the sole source of my income, and I’m loving it!

Meet new people and prospects 

You do not necessarily need to earn a degree to excel at work. Being a freelancer while my core competency should be at SEO content development, what I found is regular interaction with clients, shuffling between professional priorities, understanding their demands, researching the market, setting my goals and accomplishing them made me relatively good at business management.

Contribute to your local economy

Freelancers promote the local economy. You work for clients from around the world, but you get paid in local currency. When you spend the money earned from around the world at eating, and entertainment locally, you contribute to a stronger, sustained local economy. You help local farmers sell more, your spending contribution encourages more inflow of useful products and resources in your town.

Be green

Freelancers have relatively less carbon footprint than others. You do not commute at work, and your work should not have any notable environmental impact. Add to that, you do not need to lose hope of looking after your garden because you will be tired of traveling back home. Since you are already at home, you get enough time and convenience to culture a green living.

So, as a freelancer, you get the freedom to work on your own terms and live with new experiences that make you better at work and life. But freelance writing has its challenges. A lot of these, in fact!

The problem is freelancing is not a career. It’s a plain job filled with insecurities for tomorrow, misunderstanding with prospective customers, hours of wait for a valued assignment, and everything that is somewhat odd, and uninteresting for a full-time, salaried, no-risk seeking employee.

Challenges of being a freelance writer

The “I need high-quality content, but I will not pay well” clients

Writers, specifically those writing for the Web, are often underpaid, and overly-stressed. A facebook forum I am a member with often gets advertisements from prospective people who require freelance writers. The problem is they seek high-quality work for little money.

The prospects expect high quality, original piece of rankable content at the extremely lowly price. While such posts get mixed reactions, many writers still bid perhaps because there’s an increased competition and they need to make an entry.

The lack of social recognition

If you are a freelancer,  convincing the society that you deserve recognition is another struggle. When I returned home with a hope to not leave it again for professional achievements, many in my town were skeptical about my intention. A lot of rumors were doing the rounds. Perhaps I’m exhausted with metro life or I don’t like to work. Perhaps my family members compelled me to return. Perhaps I’m unemployed and useless. Perhaps I was fired for life. For all those and more, Kishor Da already sang “कुछ तो लोग कहेंगे. लोगो का काम हे कहना ” (The society will keep on making assumptions, it’s the best job they do)

It’s a Fake World. इनको फ्री मे मेवा चाहिए  

While virtual work environments enable writers to work with ease, it makes them connect with fake people. I still remember someone who found me using LinkedIn requested me to write a 500 words article as quickly as possible on the provision that he will start paying me as soon as the article is emailed. Finding the guy cordial, I quickly got that done. He published it and kept requesting for more articles, without mentioning anything about the pending money.

Sensing something fishy, I stopped writing anything altogether and requested him to pay for the work done first. He went in silent mood since then. My requests and inquiry went unattended. I still have my Skype conversation with him saved. But as a writer, the human in me prompts me to not shame someone in public. So, I rather choose not to name that fake nor post screenshot of our conversation. I, however, believe in the law of Karma!

Freelance writers lack and thus need unity 

The freelance writing industry is largely unorganized. Millions of writers are competing against each other to win a gig, but few want to connect with fellow few. Friendship and community union is almost non-existent here. This makes bad guys cheat with innocent writers and leave undetected. This makes writers become confused about laws and regulation when they want to step up their venture.

So, I know the arguments my friend put are not entirely out of substance. But it would be wrong to blame the people, society and the environment for all the challenges. It would be wrong to speculate on the unwillingness of writers to unite or the reasons why they can’t or do not want to unite. To some extent, we have our share of shit as well.

Issues with freelance SEO content writing 

Black Hat SEO Writing

Once upon a time content writing was all about placing keywords – this motivated a lot of anyone to become content writers. Even today, according to some webmasters, SEO-driven content is keyword oriented. This degraded the quality of written matters on the Web and stole the dignity and honor good content writers deserve. If this is that easy, why would anyone recognize your skill?

The Copy paste and grammer Gurus

Bad guys prevail everywhere. Some never hesitate to copy paste matters freely available on the Web and then call the work their own. Some pretend they have been duped by non paying clients when the truth is the latter rejected their work because of grammatical and contextual errors.

The Good – Solutions to issues/Looking at different perspective 

While freelance writing has its own set of challenges, it would be wrong to say everything it deals in and with is bad. If you confront one cheat, you will find ten genuine clients who might bargain but would not hesitate to pay for quality work at the end.

While freelancers lack social recognition, there are guys who have made it big as freelancers online. Blaming the society at large is partially wrong since people want evidence to accept one’s social status. If you can make it big as a freelancer, you do not necessarily need to prove it. You automatically gain one’s attention.

Talking about the fake work requests, the intuition to understand who is good and who is bad automatically grows within once you are in this profession for some years. I am better prepared now to identify the cheaters. Wait for my next article on this.

Time to Act? 

The freelance industry is becoming the freelance economy and no one can predict the course of the economy, but holistic efforts can make it grow organically.

Strict measures to identify fake job posters on virtual platforms, introduction of benchmark price for freelance writing assignments, formation of a legal entity that thinks about this industry, encouraging the culture of saying NO to low paying gig, and introducing measures that uplift the status of freelancers in the society are perhaps some of the most important things needed!

Let me conclude with a statement from my friend  – “I dream of a working ecosystem where clients reward good work, and writers understand their responsibilities.”

My friend has a noble intention. Meanwhile. we were so submerged in professional discussions, we did not notice how quickly two long hours passed by. After finishing the drinks, I looked at the sky while becoming ready to leave for home. It was a very hot day but the sky seemed to accommodate cloud. I hoped it would rain. And it did!

HOPE triumphs over everything!

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