Hey Yuwanda, I was just wondering what the seo market looks like since two of the major freelance websites merged together and also if you have an active forum in case any questions arise. Thanks.
In case you don’t know what he’s talking about, oDesk and Elance merged in the spring of 2015 to become what is now known as mega-job site Upwork.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Here’s the site’s affiliate disclosure policy for full details.
Quick Upwork Stats
The site has:
- 12 Million+ Registered Freelancers
- 5 Million+ Registered Clients
- 3 Million+ Jobs Posted
- $1B+ Worth of Work Done Annually
Whether you love these type of “content mill-like” sites or hate them, they’re not going anywhere. In fact, employers are using these sites more than ever — and so are freelance writers.
5 Reasons Many Freelancers Write for Content Mills
Many freelancers cut their teeth on these sites, for a variety of reason, five of which I outlined in this post, writing:
You might as well know up front that anytime you say “I write for a content mill,” it’s going to cause a ruckus in freelance writing circles, as the comments section of this post prove. However, if you’re a newbie to freelance writing and …
- Don’t have the confidence (yet) to pursue your own gigs;
- Don’t have the time or desire to market for your own gigs;
- Like writing and just want to make some extra money using your skill;
- Want to learn a new form of online writing (SEO content); and/or
- Earn a little while you learn a new trade …
Then writing for content mills can fit the bill.
Many freelancers have landed some of their biggest clients using sites like this. Proof? Read on.
Freelance Writers Who’ve Had Success Finding High-Paying Work on Sites Like Upwork
In answer to the freelancer who wrote to me, I responded:
I don’t use freelance writing jobs sites to find jobs normally. However, I did do a test run this past summer just to prove how much work was out there and blogged about it in a four-part series starting here.
Also, [six-figure freelancer] Laura Pennington is an expert on Upwork. She blogs regularly here. Here’s a post she did a few months ago that may shed some light on finding work via these types of sites.
In that linked-to post, Laura divulged that she landed a $50,000 editing contract that stretched out over five months. And she’s not the only one to have this type of success with Upwork. Proof?
Following are links to some first-hand, in-depth posts by freelancers who explain their success with the site, and how they did it.
- How Elance Writing Jobs Helped One Writer Earn $113,553 Last Year
- How I made over $4,000 in my first month on Elance (Upwork)
- How to make $1,000+ per week on Upwork
- How Ari made $10,000 on Upwork in 1 month
- How To Earn $125 Per Hour Writing On Upwork.com
- Think You Can’t Earn $100 Per Hour on Upwork? This Writer Does
Even though I don’t use bidding sites to get freelance writing jobs, it’s because of success stories like this that I’m cautiously optimistic about them. More and more companies are turning to them to find freelance talent for the same reasons many freelancers use them – it saves time.
Content Marketing Driving the Need for Freelance Writers Like Never Before
And with the amount of work that’s needed these days thanks to content marketing, it’s no wonder it’s thriving. With three million jobs posted annually, it is the world’s largest freelance marketplace.
So again, while these types of sites are not for everyone, they’re here to stay. Speaking of the demand for content marketing, following are some stats to show you just how much work is out there.
- Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates more than three times as many leads (this is why companies are so keen on investing in it);
- Content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders;
- The majority (88%) of B2B marketers use content marketing in their marketing strategies;
- Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of content marketing: For every $1 spent, email gives back a whopping $38 in ROI;
- Most B2B marketers use at least 13 content marketing tactics: marketers benefit from creating various content formats (eg, blog posts, infographics, slideshares, case studies, etc.);
- 73% of major organizations hire someone to manage their content marketing strategy;
From blog posts to infographics and everything in between, creating unique, consistent, and truly useful content is the No. 1 way to connect with a target market effectively. And this is why companies are more willing than ever to shell out big bucks to freelance writers — like you!
All of the above stats are from the Content Marketing Institute.
More Companies are Outsourcing
With so much content creation needed, companies are outsourcing a lot of it like never before. Proof? According to the Entrepreneur post, Why Your Company Should Consider Outsourcing Content Creation:
…the Content Marketing Institute found that, on average, 44 percent of B2B marketers outsource content creation, and up to 57 percent of B2B technology marketers outsource content writing, design, editing, and even distribution efforts when necessary.
The Most In-Demand Freelance Skills
According to a study done by Upwork, content writing is one of the most in-demand freelance skills. But even more interesting, as the graphic to the left highlights, 7 of the top 20 skills are relevant to freelance online writing.
How to Land High-Paying Freelance Writing Jobs – Even as a Newbie
I hope that as an aspiring freelance / SEO writer you see that it’s not a matter of the work NOT being there. The question is, are you prepared to go after it?
Yes, the market is more competitive. But if you define a niche, create some killer writing samples, price your work competitively and market consistently, you can make a full-time living as a freelance / SEO writer. This linked-to post details exactly what you need to do to start making a good living right out of the gate.
SEO Writing Help Forum?
Just wanted to answer this question before wrapping this post up. No, I don’t have one. Unfortunately, I just don’t have time to monitor a forum (those things require a lot, a LOT of work). However, I do answer frequently asked questions about SEO writing in blog posts like this.
In fact, that’s why I started this site’s sister site, SeoWritingJobs.com. There’s a wealth of information on that site going back to 2009, so spend some time there. Nine times out of 10, I’ve answered a question you have in mind, especially if it’s a general or frequently asked one.
As the success stories above illustrate, starting a freelance writing business is not rocket science. The merger of oDesk and Elance hasn’t changed this. In fact, as more employers flock to these sites, the more it underscores just how much work is out there.
And, those freelancers who have proven successes — whether they use Upwork or not — are no more special, talented or in any way different from you. What they did was take action. Are you ready to do the same?
What’s Your Take on the Freelance Writing Market These Days?
Have you gotten work from sites like Upwork? Have you seen an uptick in demand for your services? A downturn? How do you find writing jobs? Would you ever consider using a site like Upwork? Why/why not? Sound off in the comments section below.
Here’s the first module of the SEO Writing E-course – absolutely free. Just download and read.
This module gives you a great overview of what SEO is all about. It’s jam-packed with a lot of info, so don’t get it and let it sit on your computer.
If you do, it will open up a whole new way of making money online for you, whether you use the knowledge to write for yourself … or for others.