"Just add the word 'tech,' and you'll find a developing market," Ilise Benun, author of seven books for creative professionals, tells clients when they're looking for new writing niches.
She used the example of a client who wanted to work in a highly specific industry to demonstrate her point. "'I want to work with horses,' she told me. 'Horse tech,' I said. She suddenly discovered an entire market dedicated to horse technology."
"I suppose that goes without saying," Benun continued, "but it's all about technology at this point."
User experience (UX) design, short-form video, and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) are changing not only the world we live in, but also the types of writing employment that is in demand. Because many developing tech platforms rely on excellent communications and content strategies as a foundation, freelance writers and creatives will have plenty of chances.
Here are a few fields that are on the rise that you should keep an eye on.
1. Copywriting for UX
There are two types of writing for technology: explaining or selling tech products and services, and embedding communication and storytelling into tech experiences.
User experience (UX) writing is a combination of the two, and it may be highly lucrative. According to a recent compensation study of about 750 UX writers conducted by the boot camp program UX Writing Hub, the median salary for this job title in the United States is around $110,000.
So, what exactly does a UX writer do? They assist people in navigating, comprehending, and interacting with technology, such as websites, applications, and other digital platforms. These designers are responsible for not only developing microcopy for websites and apps, but also for giving a digital interface its "personality." They may undertake "voice of consumer" (VoC) research and collaborate closely with product developers, visual and web designers, and others.
This could be a wonderful sector to break into for writers with strong project management skills and a flair for a short, crisp, and captivating copy.
2. Writing video scripts
Writing is still an important aspect of good video content, even if the ultimate result doesn't appear like words on a paper. And the demand for scriptwriting talents is increasing: In a recent HubSpot survey, more than 99 percent of marketers stated they anticipated to continue utilizing the medium in 2022, with two-thirds saying they would keep or grow their spending.
The text of a video script is commonly written with columns for audio and visual elements, as well as storyboards.
There are several opportunities to produce screenplays for training videos, instructional films, and corporate branding videos, not to mention the expanding field of content planning for short-form video channels such as Instagram reels or TikTok.
3. Immersive writing and design for technology
We may soon be interacting with a digital doppelganger of the physical environment and economy, in addition to websites, applications, and video. Now that Facebook has changed its name to Meta, all hands are on deck to build the metaverse. It isn't the only business betting on a virtual future.
If the metaverse takes off as expected, creatives will need to gain a great understanding of how people engage in VR/AR environments. Gaming writers and designers will probably feel right at home here, and experience writing open-ended, choose-your-own-adventure-style stories may come in helpful.
4. Collaborating and working with AI
The global AI market is expected to rise from $58 billion in 2021 to $309 billion in 2026, according to experts. As several AI-powered writing tools have already appeared, this is both welcome and concerning for freelance writers.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) allows AI to auto-complete search queries in Google or respond to emails and texts with automated responses. However, it goes further than autocorrect: Jarvis.ai is a full-service content production company that writes human-like marketing copy using GPT-3, a deep learning language model.
There are numerous viewpoints on this particular technological trend. (Another Freelance Creative contributor revealed hers in a piece earlier this year.) The rise of AI tools, according to UX writer Anja Wedberg, isn't a reason for human writers to experience an existential crisis. She wrote, "The future will not be written solely by robots or by humans, but by both." "Collaboration, not competition, is the best way forward." For example, writers may begin to use AI-powered tools in their brainstorming and headline-generation processes.
Benun, for one, sees AI as a possible threat. Nonetheless, she feels that writers will need to direct its creative application. "Writers will survive the rise of AI by positioning some consultancy services alongside writing," she said.
5. Developing content for the "creative economy"
Individual creators are becoming an entrepreneurial force, as evidenced by the rise of Patreon, podcasts, and other "creative economy" platforms. As of November 2021, fifty million people identified as creators, and the number is steadily increasing.
Danielle Hughes is an example of a creative professional who has taken advantage of this trend. Hughes invented the concept "Genuine Personality Brand" as a copywriting consultant who helps influencers shape their online presence. She assists clients in cultivating this concept online, ensuring that their personalities shine through on many platforms.
Hughes has "built her own ecosystem... by portraying herself as the authority on a notion that she essentially invented," according to Benun.
With the rise of paid subscriber newsletters, writers are also establishing themselves as successful creative economy businesses. Emily Atkin, a climate change writer who began her six-figure weekly Heated in 2019, is one of the many ex-newsroom staffers-turned-Substackers.
6. Improve your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) abilities like empathy, listening, and teamwork is also essential for creative professionals.
In times of fast change, EQ is especially vital for freelancers (as in, like right now). Personalization, the voice of the customer research, and inclusive language are all significant aspects of today's — and certainly tomorrow's — marketing. One method to avoid any silly mistake is to be mindful of creative choices and diligent about fact-checking.
Take, for example, the fact that 79 percent of today's consumers prefer products and services that are environmentally and socially responsible. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has updated its definitions of phrases like "net zero" in response to "greenwashing," or ambitious or misleading environmental ads. To avoid distributing false information, freelancers in this industry should keep an eye on future updates.
It's also important to incorporate EQ into client connections. "It's clichéd to say," Benun admitted, "but people will prefer to work with you because you care." Future-proof freelancer, developing technology, and artificial intelligence.