Today’s guest post comes from freelance writing guru Kelly James-Enger, whose new book, Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success, is out in stores and online.
When I started freelancing fulltime fifteen years ago, corporate work wasn’t even on my radar. I was going to write articles for magazines and newspapers, and work on the novel I’d been wanting to write for years. A few months in, though, I realized I was overlooking alucrative market—businesses and not-for-profits that hired writers to pen everything from Website copy to brochures to newsletters and more.
So I added business and corporate work to my writing repertoire. Along the way, I discovered there are at least five significant differences between writing for publications and writing for business/corporate clients:
The Way You’re Paid
When you write for print and online publications, you’re typically paid by the word. When you write for businesses, though, you’re almost always paid either by the hour or by the project. That means that you should have an hourly rate to quote a potential client. In other cases, the client may have a budget already or an hourly rate it pays writers and you only have to say “yes” or “no.”
The Way You Work
If you’re written for print or online magazines before, you probably know the drill. You turn a piece in to your editor, and then wait…and wait…and wait. Businesses tend to have tighter turnarounds than publications (though there are always exceptions to the rule!), so keep this in mind when accepting assignments. Depending on the number of “layers” you’re working with (not only your client, but her boss, and her boss, and possibly her boss), you may encounter multiple rounds of editing.
How You’re Recognized
When you write for publications, you’re usually given a byline. When you do corporate work, however, you’re almost never recognized as the author of a particular piece. That’s okay with me, because in general, business clients pay better than many publications.
When You’re Paid
This is a huge advantage to working with businesses. Small companies pay much faster than publishers. I’ve even had clients write me a check onsite after meeting at the conclusion of a project. In general, the larger the company, the longer it takes to get paid, but I almost always receive my check within a month or less. That’s a plus to doing corporate work.
What Rights You Sell
Write for publication and you’ll signs a contract that describes what rights the market is purchasing to your work. If you write a piece that you can resell, you’ll want to try to retain reprint rights to your work.
When you write for businesses, however, you’re selling all rights to yourwork—the business owns whatever you create. This isn’t usually an issue as the work you create usually isn’t something you could sell reprints to, but it is a difference you should be aware of.
On balance, I’ve found that writers needn’t choose writing for publications or writing for businesses/non-profits. A blend of both can diversify your workload, improve your cash flow, and make you more successful as a freelance writer.
Kelly James-Enger has been a fulltime freelancer, ghostwriter, and author for 15+ years. Her books include the just-released Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success (Writer’s Digest, 2012) and Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: The Writer’s Guide to Making Money Ghostwriting and Coauthoring Books (CreateSpace, 2010). She blogs about making more money in less time as a freelancer at http://dollarsanddeadlines.