Although there has been a general lack of data on the impact of COVID-19 for writers, it is clear that freelance writers have been seriously affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Take the example of the airline industry:
Data available show that four of the five largest in-flight magazines have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If major magazines like Delta Sky and Southwest, known to pay writers a minimum of $ 1 per word, had to close due to COVID-19, you can only imagine what it means for small players.
The impact of COVID-19 extends beyond the airline industry; travel, hospitality, education, technology, transportation and real estate are just some of the main industries affected – and many of the magazines and publications that pay writers in these niches had to suspend things because of the pandemic.
The recent Writers in Charge survey that assessed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the independent writing industry was very revealing. Some key highlights include the fact that:
- 71 percent of freelance writers lost business due to COVID-19
- 58.7% of freelance writers saw their projects postponed or canceled due to COVID-19
- Clients Simply Refuse To Pay 48.8% Of Freelance Writers Due To Pandemic
If you are a freelance writer, or a writer in general – what do you do to survive a time like this? Here are five ideas:
1. Recognize the crisis with existing customers and adjust your communication
One of the mistakes you can make as a freelance writer is to pretend that the COVID-19 crisis doesn’t affect you or affect you in any way.
Do not do that.
COVID-19 has so far infected millions and killed almost 200,000 people at the time of writing, and it is present in virtually every country in the world … so there is a very real possibility that your client either or affected by this pandemic.
If you have not already done so, you must recognize the potential impact of this pandemic on the lives or business of your customers; if they are not physically affected, their business probably is. Acknowledge this and suggest ideas on how their business can thrive (by pivoting, focusing more on a particular aspect that is needed right now, or adjusting their messaging to their customers to show how they are dealing with it).
2. Consider offering a discount or adjusting prices until the crisis ends
It is understandable that many companies are paying close attention to spending right now; no one knows how serious COVID-19 will become and when it will end. There are also fears of long-term economic effects that will result from the pandemic. Customers may be reluctant to spend for this reason.
As a freelance writer, make an offer to your clients that they cannot refuse; offer them a discount, adjust your prices or give them an offer to encourage them to give you more work as long as the pandemic lasts.
3. Rotate your freelance writing business until the crisis ends
One of the world’s largest hotel companies, Marriott International, has complained of losing up to 90% of his income in its most profitable regions (like the United States) due to the coronavirus. It’s scary, but unfortunately it’s the new reality for organizations in certain sectors.
Not all industries are equally affected by COVID-19. Some – such as travel, airlines, hotels and tourism – are deeply affected, while others – such as health care and food – are booming and growing.
In the industries involved, most organizations have lost more than half of their revenues and will not be back any time soon. Trying to continue to market yourself as a freelance writer in these industries right now will be futile exercise.
There are two solutions for this problem.
Solution 1: pivot:
Look for and enter the thriving industries.
For example, companies using remote work software are currently thriving; start paying attention to the companies listed in remote work tool lists and compilation of COVID-19 work from home as potential customers to present and reach.
Solution # 2: work on your email:
While your customers may have been affected by COVID-19, they likely have other product lines or categories that are overlooked but will thrive during this time.
For example, restaurants are deeply affected by the closures related to COVID-19. This does not necessarily mean the end of business, however; if you have a client in the restaurant industry, you can highlight the growing interest in home delivery and get started to help create marketing content to develop this new arm of their business.
4. Double your marketing efforts
Many organizations are simply not in the mood to do business as usual at this point. This is understandable and you should expect fewer responses from the companies you present.
The solution is to double your marketing efforts. Increase the number of cold pitches you send out, start responding to more job postings and start reaching more potential customers than you were before the pandemic.
Now is the time to increase your marketing efforts, not reduce it.
5. Start saving a percentage of your freelance writing income
Do you know the freelance writers who will be most affected by this crisis? These are the ones with no savings.
If you don’t have savings as a freelance writer, or a rule for saving as a freelance writer, it’s not too late to start now.
In fact, this is one of the best times to start saving as a freelance writer.
While many freelance writers are already groaning about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the reality is that things are likely to get worse. Experts have been predict a recession long overdue and indicators show that COVID-19 is likely to be the trigger for one of the greatest recessions the world has ever known.
This means for freelance writers a long period of uncertainty, and things may be more painful if you have no savings. So spend a lot more time on your marketing and make more money now using the tips I have already provided. Work more and earn a lot more than you need, and start saving now!