Freelance Writing Forecast 2020 — 12 Experts’ Top Predictions

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Expert Predictions for Freelance Writing in 2020. Makealivingwriting.comWill it be fair weather in freelance writing in 2020, or foul? Inquiring writers want to know. Which is why it’s time for my annual Freelance Writing Forecast.

(Wondering how we did with last year’s predictions? Check that out here.)

To find out the top trends that will impact how we pursue our craft next year, I reached out to stakeholders around our industry, including experts, coaches, freelancers, agency owners, and more. My rule is to not use the same experts year-to-year, so these are all new faces to the forecast.

I’m particularly proud that this year’s forecast includes two coaches I mentored — my Freelance Writers Den 2X Income Accelerator mastermind co-leader Angie Mansfield, and 2X grad Mandy Ellis, a high-earning freelancer who now coaches newbies for ASJA. So — get ready for some homegrown advice you won’t find anywhere else!

What do the experts see in store for us in 2020? Here are their predictions:

1. Yuwanda Black

Inkwell Editorial Publisher

Demand for freelance writing will continue to grow in 2020

Freelance Writing Predictions: Yuwanda Black

Yuwanda Black

Why? There’s three reasons:

1. More workers want the flexibility that comes with being an independent contractor.

2. It makes financial sense for companies that don’t have to pay for healthcare, vacation, or sick days.

3. And we’re living in an era of a global economy.

Want to make more money writing in 2020? Carve out a niche. You’ll earn more, not only because it makes it easier to land clients, but because it saves you time.

There’s never been a better time to be a freelance writer.

2. Bob Bly

Copywriter & author of 95-plus books on direct marketing

Digital content dominates, print slows

Freelance Writing Predictions: Bob Bly

Bob Bly

Web analytics will continue to enable clients to measure the results of the writer’s work with pinpoint accuracy, and those writers who can generate a large ROI for the client (e.g., SEO copywriters) will be in high demand and command top fees.

The market for freelance magazine articles as well as the number of magazines being published continues to shrink.

So there will be fewer markets for freelance writing. And publications that cut their print editions and publish digitally only will pay freelance writers lower rates than traditional paper magazines.

The book industry will have an increasingly greater number of writers who earn a pittance for the books they write, with a small elite of best-selling authors still earning the big bucks.

The mid-list writers will continue to see the number of publishers shrink along with advances, which are becoming increasingly minuscule for mid-list books.

3. Ruthie Bowles

Content marketing expert and founder of Defy the Status Quo

Content for video & media in high demand

Freelance Writing Predictions: Ruthie Bowles

Ruthie Bowles

One of the most exciting developments is the growing opportunity for dynamic writers to step into the video space.

We’re seeing a surge in purely animated these days (think Doodle or Toon videos) due to the lower production cost.

These videos need storyboards and scripts, which I think many freelance writers would excel at creating for clients.

Voice-over artists and motion graphics designers aren’t worth much without a strong creative mind that knows how to structure marketing material behind the project!

4. Andrea Collier

Multimedia journalist, book author and speaker

Business-savvy + writing skills needed to boost revenue

Freelance Writing Predictions: Andrea Collier

Andrea Collier

It is going to require freelancers to be much more nimble in 2020.

Work smarter. Work harder. Be more focused.

Ask yourself what you want and prioritize how to get there.

Also diversify your work out of your sweet spot–expand your brand with more ways to support your revenue streams.

And listen to your instincts. All freelance writing clients are not good clients. If it feels off, it usually is.

5. Mandy Ellis

Austin freelance writer and coach

Blog posts morph into journalist-style articles

11. Kim Rotter

Founder of An Army of Writers

Riches are in the niches in 2020

Freelance Writing Predictions: Kim Rotter

Kim Rotter

Because the percentage of workers who are independent contractors continues to grow, it’s more important than ever to stand out.

The most successful freelance writers in 2020 will be those with high-level expertise in a niche.

Even excellent writers who “write about anything” should consider narrowing their portfolios.

Also, I think independent writers and artists, through their industry groups, will successfully mobilize to change laws that incorrectly classify ride-share drivers and all freelancers as a single and equivalent class of worker.

12. Carol Tice

Freelance Writers Den founder and founder/writing-business coach of the Freelance Writers Den 2X Income Accelerator mastermind.

2020: The year of diversity

Freelance Writing Predictions: Carol Tice

Carol Tice

I’m calling 2020 the Year of Diversity. As a freelancer, your hedge against predicted #recession2020 or 21 is to have eggs in many baskets.

Warning: If you have only one client — or all your clients come through a platform like Upwork or one content mill or digital agency — realize that you’re worse off than if you had a day job!

You’re not getting the benefits of a full-timer, yet one platform or ‘boss’ could still end 100% of your income, tomorrow. Not good.

Now’s the time to get serious about marketing your business — effectively and regularly — to find your own direct clients. Stop undercharging, and start building an emergency fund. If you’re just barely scraping by, when a client or two suddenly drops or bans you, it’s disaster.

A diverse client base and a savings account are your best hedges against marketplace uncertainty.

If you also offer editing, have WordPress skills, can create infographics… that’s another way to be diverse and have more possible income streams. That gives you something unique to offer in your marketing.

My other prediction: contractor laws such as California’s AB5 won’t have a major impact on what most freelance writers do.

These laws restrict free speech and the media’s critical role in our society, which is flat wrong. The laws will be clarified, sued over, and appealed until they are revised and do what they were meant to do — target businesses such as Uber that exploit a 100% contractor workforce.

Plan for freelance writing success this year

If you want to move up and earn more this year, it’s not going to happen by accident. It’s not going to happen by taking a class, reading a book, or completing a course….without taking action. Now is always the best time to plan for success.

What’s your prediction for 2020? Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

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21 Comments

  1. AmyJo Bazzle

    Thanks for the great article! I appreciate all the expert opinions.

    Reply
  2. Neil Moran

    I initially resisted creating a niche for my freelance writing but have since done so and it has paid off. For me, it’s simpler too. I only have one basic subject (horticulture and gardening) to think about. That’s right, I can’t walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. Seriously, though, this specialization has lead to a lot of nice projects and some pretty good pay. Of course, I have to keep marketing my biz because these gigs don’t go on forever.

    Reply
    • Carol Tice

      I find those fairly tough niches to find good pay in, Neil — would love to hear where you’ve found good markets! Congrats on your success there.

    • Neil Moran

      I no longer write for garden pubs because of low pay and competition. My best pay has come from hort trade magazines and suppliers. I recently completed a product launch for a light meter and received competitive rates. Having said that, it’s tough getting these gigs. I also teach and do workshops on gardening and some landscaping in the summer.

    • Carol Tice

      Aha… got it. Yeah, what if you looked more broadly maybe at green energy or something? Sounds like time to expand your horizons. If you want help earning more, my coaching program is nearly done taking applications but there’s a couple days left… https://freelancewritersden.com/join-den2x

    • Neil Moran

      Thanks, I’ll think about it.

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