7 Supplementary Skills You Need
to Succeed in Freelance Writing

See also: Top Tips on Freelancing

Freelance writing is a viable avenue that can be used to earn consistent income if you’re proficient in writing any type of web content. Many established freelance writers make up to 6 figures every year engaging in this lucrative writing venture. With hundreds of freelance platforms now on the internet, you can be in touch with a client after a few clicks.

Gone are the days when writing prowess is all you need to complete freelance writing tasks. The evolution of the internet has resulted in the need to acquire other skills if you want a lasting freelance career.

Freelance writing supplementary skills

These 7 supplementary skills are crucial if you want to succeed in freelance writing:

1. SEO Writing

In order for web content to be easily accessed by readers or viewers scattered across the globe, it must be highly ranked on the result pages of search engines, particularly Google.

It is nearly impossible for a writer to succeed in today’s freelance writing market without having any expertise in Search Engine Optimization. That is because SEO plays an important role in search engine visibility, which is critical to driving traffic to a website.

While SEO, in general, encompasses a wide range of content optimization practices, the main skill you need if you want to thrive in freelance writing is SEO writing.

SEO writing basically involves the incorporation of commonly used search terms into well-written web content. These search terms are referred to as keywords and they form the core foundation of all SEO practices.

As a freelance writer, you should know how to make use of keywords when writing web content for clients. This doesn’t just mean inserting keywords into the texts that make up an article or sales copy, it means ensuring the keywords blend seamlessly with the rest of the content so that its quality isn’t hampered.

A lot of clients will only hire freelancers that have shown competence when performing SEO writing tasks like keyword research and incorporation. So, you need this skill if you want to survive in today’s freelance writing terrain.

2. Graphic Design

Equipping yourself with graphic design skills is one of the pivotal freelance writing tips you shouldn’t ignore. Though some might downplay its importance because it isn’t closely related to content writing, having this skill puts you above the competition when vying for certain freelance writing gigs.

On its own, graphic design can be a freelance gig that is capable of earning you some extra cash. More importantly though, there are some writing tasks assigned by clients that require proficiency in the use of graphic design tools.

Some clients may demand that you help them design feature images for the web content tasks they assign to you. If you don’t have the expertise to accomplish this, it will automatically rule you out of contention for these types of writing jobs.

Two commonly used graphic design tools you should certainly learn how to use are Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw. They are quite easy to operate and can be used to create an image from scratch and to also modify existing images.

3. Digital Marketing

A lot of freelance writing jobs that are assigned are usually for the purpose of carrying out digital marketing tasks. This is because digital marketing has overtaken traditional marketing as the most popular sales medium.

If you want to succeed in today's freelance writing world, you must have the knowledge of various digital marketing practices, and also have the expertise to carry them out. Your skills must cover a variety of mediums including social media marketing, Pay per Click Marketing, AdWords, and of course, display advertising.

4. Communication Skills

As you know, the freelance writing industry is mostly faceless with a majority of freelance writers completing assigned tasks from remote locations around the world. Due to the setup of the market, you must have excellent communication skills in order to stand a chance of nurturing a successful freelance writing career.

Since you will not be face to face with your prospective clients, it is crucial that you imbibe valuable communication techniques that will help you build rapport with clients. Doing this will also improve your chance of getting a steady flow of freelance writing gigs.

5. Basic Web Design

You’re probably wondering when you will ever need to use this skill in the freelance writing market. Believe it or not, it may actually be sooner than you think. It isn’t uncommon for a client to assign a major freelance task that includes website design and content writing. If you don’t have basic web design skills, you won’t stand a chance at competing for the job.

Whether it is a client that wants to build a new website or one that wants to upgrade the content of an existing site, you can only offer your expertise if you have the skills needed to handle web design projects.

You don’t need to be exactly versed in web design before you can undertake certain tasks. Once you have equipped yourself with basic HTML and CSS programming, you should be good to go.

6. Blogging and WordPress Management

The blogging sphere has become quite populated with millions of blogs and billions of blog posts all over the internet. This has led to an increase in the demand for freelance writers, who are needed to create content for the blogs.

If you want to take advantage of the opportunity to write for blogs, you must have vast knowledge about blogging and must also be able to manage a WordPress site.

WordPress is the biggest CMS tool on the internet and is widely used by bloggers. So if you want to widen your freelance writing net to accommodate blogging tasks, you should master the use of WordPress.

7. Data Input and Microsoft Excel

Data entry work is very popular among freelancers as many businesses outsource this task. Sometimes, freelance writing jobs involve entering relevant data into Microsoft Excel sheets and creating a professional Excel document. This will be almost impossible for you to accomplish if you aren’t proficient in the use of the data analysis tool, Microsoft Excel.

The tool is often acquired along with other Microsoft Office tools like Word, which is the popular text editing tool used by freelance writers.

Mastering Excel and acquiring data inputting skills will boost your chance of securing more freelance gigs, and this will lead to an increase in your monthly income.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Self-Employment and Running Your Own Business

The Skills You Need Guide to Self-Employment and
Running Your Own Business

If you are thinking about running your own business, or already do so, but feel that you need some guidance, then this eBook is for you. It takes you through self-employment in easy steps, helping you to ensure that your business has more chance of success.

The Skills You Need Guide to Self-Employment and Running Your Own Business is the guide no new or aspiring entrepreneur can afford to be without!

Based on our popular self-employment and entrepreneurship content.


Times have changed and you must change with it if you want to succeed in any endeavour. This expression is even more accurate for freelance writing. Writing prowess alone can no longer guarantee success; you need a lot more if you want to make it big in the field.

About the Author

Anthony McKenzie is a renowned freelance writer and an SEO expert who has carved an impressive career on reputable platforms including Upwork and People per Hour.