Writing for money means someone is paying you to produce something for them. Depending on the gig, that might be topical articles, product or service reviews, a narrative piece, or technical specifications. Regardless of what the paid writing assignment is, there are some common characteristics that all jobs require. If you want to do well in this endeavor, you must adhere to certain standards and maintain a level of quality. In fact, consistency is one of those critical traits of successful freelance writers.
There are many paid writing gigs that require the writer to create something on subjects they may know little or nothing about. This is actually quite common in the “writing for hire” freelancing world. Buyers aren’t necessarily looking for subject matter experts, but rather someone who can quickly and efficiently research a topic, and then write a quality piece at a relatively low cost. In many cases, it’s preferable to the buyer that the author not be an expert, as that expertise generally comes at a steep price. Being able to look up, research, and quickly synthesize information is one of the most important abilities someone writing for money can possess.
Buyers will always want the highest quality content for the lowest possible price. This is no different than anyone, ourselves included, who as consumers would like to find the best “whatever” we can at the lowest cost. Content buyers are no different. On the other hand, the old adage, “you get what you pay for” is true, and works in reverse as well – if someone wants higher quality, they will expect to pay more money for it.
The paid writing market supports a wide range of buyers. There are those who specifically look for price as the driving issue. They are looking for writers who can produce at the cheapest rate. For them, quality is a consideration, but not the driver. They are very willing, and in fact looking for, those who can produce “passable quality” cheaply. These buyers expect that what they get will not be top-notch, and that is where they benefit. Since the base cost is generally based on the time it takes to produce, they look for writers that can research and write fast. Well, researching and writing fast almost always comes at the expense of quality. But that is often preferable. This type of job is generally for “secondary” purposes, such as filling up space on websites where the main content is already there, or to publish on article directories and Web 2.0 sites for the purpose of being able to insert links back to the “primary” content or website.
When you are writing for money, you want to hone your research and writing skills constantly. Regardless of the job, buyers are looking for work that doesn’t need to be re-written, meaning 100% grammatically correct, proper English, punctuation, etc. They expect that whether you are producing a “quick & dirty” piece, or focusing a lot of effort on quality, that the deliverable will be readily usable. Though it is very common for buyer and writer to go back and forth with revisions, all buyers would prefer that what they get from you is ready to be used for whatever their purposes are.