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Content Writing Skills in Demand, Report Says

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DoNanza, an online freelance jobs aggregator, has just released its quarterly Work-From-Home Market Trends report, which tracks the demand for freelancers in various job categories. Liran Kotzer, CEO of DoNanza, explains that, “Growth in freelance projects for certain technologies can tell us where the market is trending even before the finished projects impact market share.”

Of the top 25 requested skills on the DoNanza network, three of those that climbed the rankings were specifically related to design: graphic design, website design, and logo design. JavaScript, E-commerce and content writing jobs rose, as did positions requiring Internet marketing and link building skills.

For mobile app developers, iPhone skills (s aapl), remained steady at rank 21, while iPad climbed 12 spots to come in at rank 40, while Android (s goog) positions climbed a whopping 20 spots, becoming the 41st most-requested skill for the quarter.

If you’re a freelancer, or you’re considering freelancing, it probably isn’t a bad idea to check out this compact report to see if it can provide some insight into where the market is heading. And if you’re a developer specializing on content management systems, you’ll get extra value from the detailed analysis the report provides on jobs in these technologies.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m skeptical of most statistics. To gauge how well the DoNanza report may actually reflect the industry’s evolution, I decided to analyze my own niche to see whether it tallies with my experience.

Analysis: The Freelance Writing Market

I’m a writer, so I honed in on writing-related jobs. Here’s the information I pulled out on this market.

The top 50 skills in-demand freelance skills included several that involved writing (I’ve also included the change in position from the previous quarter):

  • position 13 Article Writing (-3)
  • position 18 Copywriting (-3)
  • position 24 Content Writing (2)
  • position 34 Ghostwriting (1)
  • position 37 Academic Writing (-1)
  • position 42 Technical Writing (-5)

There were other skills that could involve or be tied to writing tasks — Research, SEO, Internet Marketing, and Advertising, for example — but as a content creator I decided to focus on the jobs that specifically required writing.

Six writing-specific skillsets in the top 50? Even if we disregard the more specialized academic and technical writing listings, writers seem to be doing pretty well, with 8 percent of the 50 most requested freelance skillsets, and 12 percent of the top 25. Overall, of course, it seems that freelance writing jobs made up a smaller proportion of the market last quarter than in the quarter before.

The category descriptions seem to overlap — article and content writing in particular, as well as ghostwriting — but there does seem to be a trend away from using copywriters and article writers in a freelancer capacity. On the other hand, content writing and ghostwriting roles represent a larger share of the total job count than they did last quarter, and my own experience reflects this: I’m doing less copywriting, and more content/article writing.

Social media may be contributing to the perceived need for content development as organizations want information to promote via these channels. While companies might commission professional web copy as a one-off, the company blog is likely to require regular updates: content, rather than copy.

The rise in ghostwriting positions may have similar causes. Ghostwriting has well and truly expanded beyond the domain of the celebrity biography; ghost writers work in blogging and business writing, and the continuing explosion of the information product market seems to be creating more opportunities for ghostwriters all the time. For example, as web personalities cement their online presences, and get busier managing and developing their personal brands and businesses, more of them are turning to ghost writers to prepare content for them, at least on a basic level.

The Verdict

In the case of my own experience as a freelance writer, the DoNanza stats seem to reflect reality, and also suggest some changes in my field that I may need to watch in the future. Check out the report here.

(Editor’s note: If you’re interested in learning more about how the Internet has shaped the freelance job market, and the opportunities presented by a 24/7 global workforce powered by technology, check out our Net:Work conference, coming to San Francisco in December)

How well do you feel this report reflects the developments in your industry?

Image by stock.xchng user Lotus Head.

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One Response to “Content Writing Skills in Demand, Report Says”

  1. From my own experience and observations, a lot of content writers are adopting “copywriter” styles, incorporating obvious selling tones in their articles that don’t really fool anyone. I wonder if the demand for content writers is a reflection of website owners shifting away from copywriting in their blog content, or if it’s the sign of another trend altogether.