14 Freelance Writing Skills You Need to Succeed

Anyone who can just put words together can call themselves a writer.

Some time ago, anyone with whom you networked on social media would address themselves with a beautiful writer title: “prolific writer” or “seasoned expert writer”.

Just a little conversation with them will reveal that they do not know Jack about the niche in which they’re positioning themselves as experts.

As I will always say, prove your work by quality, not with big titles.

I am of the opinion that a small title with big results is better than a big title that will outsource all jobs just to maintain quality.

Leave the titles alone!

Come learn the fundamentals and skills that will enhance your freelance writing career.

Stop this madness of creating courses, funnels, and landing pages on writing that teach absolutely nothing. It is a form of extortion!  

What are the Kinds of Freelance Writing Skills?

We have soft skills and hard skills.

Hard skills are innate qualities that are teachable and measurable.

They include;

  • SEO
  • Computer Knowledge
  • Coding
  • Business Management

Soft skills are interpersonal skills.

They include;

  • Communication
  • Stress management
  • Adaptability
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Receptiveness

Skills for Freelance Writing You Need to Succeed

#1 Editing and Proofreading

One of the most important freelance writing skills is editing and proofreading.

Freelancers who are successful at writing know how to edit their work before sending it to their clients.

Freelancers should send in their best work every single time, which means editing and proofreading.

You can use a reliable proofreading app like Grammarly that will make your work better.

The most potent way to edit my work is to read it out loud.

If it sounds odd when read out loud, then it needs editing to improve the flow and make it sound natural.

Have a rest. Allow your brain at least five minutes or more if possible, to shift from writing to editing mode before the final editing.

You can have an editing process that all your articles follow before they are sent out. This way, all the errors are corrected.

I know that most clients still send corrections, no matter how perfect the job is, it is better to correct all minor errors before sending in the work, as it speaks volumes about credibility.

#2 Networking/Social Media

Networking skills should be developed by all freelance writers.

Social networking is the most effective way to maintain the relationships that clients want and expect from the freelancers they work with.

Actually, you will meet most of the clients on social media and networking websites. If you are inactive, you won’t be found.

While on these platforms, you’ll need to communicate your services and their unique value proposition before any client can buy into it.

You are your first cheerleader, and no one will believe in you more than you do in your career.

According to a recent Twitter poll, networking is the most important skill for freelance writers to have. Approximately 45% of respondents stated that networking had the greatest effect on their careers and had helped them find freelancing writing opportunities.

The ability to keep social and professional contacts is known as social networking.

Many freelancers use Twitter or LinkedIn to build an online profile and network with others.

#3 Computer Knowledge/Word Processing

As I included this as one of the must-have skills for freelance writing, it seemed like an easy one. The ability to type accurately and quickly is an important skill for freelance writing.

The simplest way to improve your typing speed is to simply spend time typing; practice makes perfect, especially in the long run.

Your freelance writing job is done on a computer; therefore, it is important to understand computers, prompts, shortcuts, word processing software, and content management platforms.

#4 Writing Skills

To be called a professional writer, you must master advanced freelance writing skills like tone, voice, concise writing, flow, etc.

When writing professional content for clients, you need to use advanced skills.

You must be able to write catchy introductions that catch the reader’s attention immediately.

You will write to sound like the brand and target audience.

Although you don’t have to be an authority on the things you write about, you should be able to do research and write clear, short copy regularly.

#5 Grammar

Freelance writing without understanding grammar is brash!

One of the ways to improve your grammar is to read extensively.

Although reading is generally good and encouraged, you should also read a lot about the type of service you provide for your clients.

#6 Research

Another important freelance writing skill that will aid success is research.

When conducting research, don’t just concentrate on the first page of Google results; and focus on more advanced research works, such as interviews.

Always use trustworthy sources and double-check their facts before putting them into your work. Use tools such as BuzzSumo to find trends.

While some articles are entirely based on ideas and do not require cited sources, others require studies and statistics for them to be seen as credible.

It is fine to conduct a thorough Google search while working on an article that needs thorough research. Also, try to find the sources from which those facts were gotten.

How to find reliable sources:

Learn how to use Google Search. Knowing how to cut down on Google search results can help you find a source faster. For example, you can use quotation marks to get results that exactly match a term or phrase.

Verify the information. The internet can be incorrect. Before you use any statistics in your work, double-check them with two or three other unbiased sources.

Verify the quality of the source to ensure the information is dependable, correct, biased, and current.

Use Google Scholar. Search for academic publications on your topic.

Cite your sources. To avoid plagiarism, cite your sources whenever possible, whether it is hyperlinks, reference lists, or social media tags.

#7 SEO  

Freelance writing needs writers to have a basic knowledge of search engine optimization, specifically how to use keywords, create meta descriptions, and format using the best SEO practices.

The algorithm changes now and then, so you need to be on top of your game.

As a result, mastering SEO is an ongoing activity rather than a one-time occurrence.

It is essential that, when writing any form of article that will be published on the internet, you optimize for SEO.

Write with Google’s search algorithms in mind.

These are some basic SEO for writers;

Title: When writing a blog post, use your primary keywords in the title.

Keywords: Research the topic and find keywords to include in the article, even if the customer does not give any. Free keyword research tools from Ahrefs will be indispensable.

Organize your work: Google likes content that has good readability and clear structure. Use headings, bullet points, bold text, and shorter paragraphs to help arrange your work.

Include internal links: Include hyperlinks to the content published by your client.

#8 Content Management, Blogging and WordPress Management

Freelance writers must learn how to use content management systems (CMS), like WordPress.

It is a good additional skill for writing.

Content management also involves understanding analytics, improving communication skills, and keeping up with trends like Google updates.

With it, you can include blogging services in your freelance writing portfolio. This will increase your credibility and earnings.

Strong blogging skills are needed to become a successful freelance writer.

According to software writer Alex B. Boswell, “Being a good writer is just one aspect of having good blogging skills. “Content needs to be formatted for ease of reading, expert insights added to establish credibility, a basic understanding of graphic design to create images, and thoughtful call-to-actions added to encourage conversions.”

Use these few steps to enhance your blogging skills:

Start a side project: create a WordPress website with WPEngine, then buy a domain from StudioPress. Write about something you’re interested in outside of your niche. Incorporate techniques you will read about to make the website rank.

Guest post for various business websites and learn about different blogging and writing styles, which may help you learn a trick or two that will drive traffic to your freelance website.

#9 Effective Time Management

The secret to a freelance writer’s success and productivity is time management.

Because of the nature of our work, good time management ensures that schedules are met without losing quality.

I value my time because I have a lot to handle; jobs from multiple clients, reading, research, and editing. One tool that eases me is using calendars or project management software, setting realistic deadlines, prioritizing tasks, and developing a work schedule.

#10 Storytelling

Storytelling is not just for poets, novelists, and creative writers, it is also one of the most important writing skills for freelance writers like copywriters and content writers.

According to science, if you want people to respond, tell a captivating story.

Professional writers use storytelling to turn tough ideas into captivating concepts that attract readers. This is because a consumer’s decision to purchase a product or service is not simply based on its efficiency.

Even if you are new to freelance writing, create writing samples that highlight your storytelling skills.

From experience, some clients won’t be bothered even if you have little idea about their topics if you can tell a good story that communicates it.

Post them on your freelance website as a portfolio.

#11 Digital Marketing

Any experienced freelance writer will tell you that digital marketing is involved in most of the projects your clients will bring along.

Having said that, you’ll require simple freelance writing skills to understand and become an expert in digital marketing.

Freelancers need good marketing skills to effectively offer their services and attract clients. They need to know their target audiences, build strong web presences, and write interesting portfolios to improve visibility.

Writers can improve their marketing skills by using social media, networking, and showing writing samples.

#12 Adaptability

Adaptability is a necessary skill for freelance writers to successfully manage the changing nature of projects and clients’ standards.

It is that skill that makes freelance writing seem seamless, especially when one is juggling between different topics, writing styles, and platforms. Basically, it is accepting new challenges you are not used to and delivering excellence.

One thing I do is seek feedback. I send my work to a few people who I know will critique the life out of it. I work on the feedback they point out and the cycle continues.

It keeps you on edge to constantly learn.

#13 Communication

What is freelance writing without effective communication? It is that skill that allows one to understand clients’ needs, and project requirements and embrace feedback.

I still take the stance that freelance writers should work on their communication skills if they must properly negotiate with clients.

They should be able to ask the right questions, negotiate both payment and terms, make clients understand realistic expectations, negotiate deadlines, gain clarity on clients’ needs and desires, accept constructive criticism, and build strong relationships.

Since freelance writing is done mostly remotely, you need to be great at communication to ensure that projects go smoothly and avoid miscommunication.

#14 Conducting interviews

Recently, I learned that interviewing skills are essential for freelance writing.

It isn’t about gathering a bunch of people and asking questions.


It is about getting the correct information from people.

Interviewing skills are basically for freelance writers who write journals and research work.

You can apply this skill to your work with clients and prepare a bunch of questions for them.

FAQS on Freelance Writing/writer Skill

What do you need for freelance writing?

A good command of the language you will write in. Reaching out to clients. Motivation to start a project and finish it. Internet connection and research skills.

How much does freelance writing pay?

As of Feb 28, 2024, the average pay for a Freelance Writer in the United States is $23.27 an hour.

What is the easiest type of freelance writing?

Business emails
News articles

Which freelance writing pays the most?

Book Writing otherwise known as Ghostwriting.


Freelance writing skills have gone beyond knowing how to put pieces of words together. Anyone who can write a readable piece cannot call himself a writer.

Read about the skills that make you a true freelance writer.

It is in quality, adherence to principles, and management of tools.