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Because web is evolving so quickly, type of content a website needs depends on their purpose or goal. Web sales copy, of course, is meant to produce sales. But if a website has sales copy alone, their users may get turned off. How do they level out hype? They hire writers to write objective content such as articles and filler. Websites also understand importance of interactivity; interactive elements allow readers and customers to get involved. Surveys and "talk back" features help establish a relationship with website visitors. In addition to these elements, website also have goal of establishing an ongoing relationship with their users. Newsletters and discussion lists provide a quick reminder and a steady outreach to a website's target audience. Freelance writers create email content to fulfill this goal.
So, how big is online content market?
"Huge!" says Rachel McAlpine, founder of Quality Web Content Club, (http://www.webpagecontent.com) "Creating and maintaining web sites is a team job that requires many areas of expertise." "My most successful work so far is a horoscope column, believe it or not," says Brandi Jasmine, a freelance writer and digital photographer. (http://www.brandijasmine.com) Does she think there is enough work to go around? "I do, definitely. Actually I think that `dot.bomb' has helped freelancers. I have had no trouble getting freelance work, it's `full time jobs' that seem thin, few and far between. Portals and online publications are looking more to outsourcing and syndicated material as things get tight."
Looking Ahead - The Future of Web Writing Markets
Can you image web without decent writers? When I think of a web without professional writers, I often think of my well-meaning friends and neighbors who have often showed me their love poems and essays, eagerly asking me, "How much money can I get when I publish this?"
I try to imagine my old boss writing an online newsletter or my father writing sales copy. (Which could happen; Dad's an engineer and old boss a CEO --but I doubt you would want to read it ;-) I think back to days where term papers and transcripts were "free information" on web.
Whatever future of content is, I know that "free information" of olden days was free for a reason. The content writing of today pays well, and content of tomorrow is promising. As web matures, duties of writers expand and solidify. There is a reason that a website's writing doesn't work or a newsletter can't get any subscribers. This is where online content writer comes in. We're ones who will make it work.
"Web content writers need to know where we fit in, and make sure we have expertise in our own field. In end, all you need is three or four big clients," Rachel McAlpine says.
So, are you ready to go out and seek them?
*This article originally appeared in Web Writing Buzz Newsletter in April of 2000.
Melissa Brewer is a full-time freelance writer and author of The Writer's Online Survival Guide, available at http://www.webwritingbuzz.com. She hosts a website for professional freelance writers and she publishes a free weekly newsletter, The Web Writing Buzz, featuring articles on freelancing, writing jobs and publishing news from around the web.