This is the ultimate insider’s guide to the different types of writing that can form the building blocks of your writing career in 2022.
Having been a freelance writer for 15+ years, I’ve put together this ultimate guide to show you that there’s still a path for aspiring writers – you just need to pick the writing style that suits you best.
What are the most in-demand types of writing?
1. UX writing
The quickest way to improve any website is through its copy. UX writing refers to User Experience. That can be anything from calls-to-action, to button text.
UX writing helps navigate users around websites and apps, helping to define the customer’s journey. Every second spent (or saved) is BIG money for clients, which makes it such a lucrative writing profession in 2022.
As a writer, blogging has an extremely high ceiling, but very low floor. Put simply, you can earn nothing – or you can become a multi-millionaire. However, no matter how successful you become, EVERY writer should start a personal blog or portfolio site.
It’ll help you get jobs, build your online authority, showcase your work – and it it takes off, you could make money through affiliate marketing, courses, webinars, podcasts and much more. All you need to get started is a niche, a nice author bio for social proof, a handful of articles and a great work ethic!
3. Headline writing
I was a copywriter for 10 years, and the advertising industry will pay very well for creatives who have a flair for writing headlines. In the old days, this niche was most lucrative for mediums like print and outdoor posters.
The newer version of headline writing is in online and digital mediums, where companies will pay top dollar for people who can seamlessly integrate keywords and still make the user want to find out more.
4. Subject line writing
Any sales company still relies on email as its lifeblood. In fact, despite the influx of online tools and platforms, email is still where most relationships are started and nurtured.
Being able to increase open rates and read-rates through a catchy, informative subject line is a profession within itself.
5. Social media copywriting
There is an art to social media writing all by itself. There are so many things to consider that clients seek someone with real expertise.
You’ll need to write differently on each platform, consider word and character limits and be aware of the truncation points in the text (the bit where the user is asked to ‘read more’). You also need to be aware of best practices, like which caption lengths perform best for each platform. After all, there’s no point in having the perfect Instagram layout if the copy doesn’t match the visuals.
6. Sales decks
We all instinctively know the difference between a good sales deck and a bad one. There’s nothing worse than stating at an endless powerpoint deck in size 8 font.
The biggest difference maker is usually the copy. You’ll need to learn the art of storytelling to sell a product properly.
7. Short film scripts
I’m not talking about writing an epic like Star Wars.
I’m talking about those short 30-second punchy films that appear on social media every day. It might be selling a product, or telling a story. There’s an art to writing a script that moves fast and sells the subject in its best possible light.
9. Business / product naming
There are also sub-sections of naming in every business, depending on what initiatives they offer. Any programs or products that a business tries to promote start out with a name – and clients will pay big money to get it right.
10. Chatbot text
One of the wilder statistics over the past few years is that we might soon have more conversations with bots than each other. Companies are investing in chatbots to save money and resources on customer services teams.
With each chatbot needing a giant number of answers – all in that company’s tone of voice – there is serious money to be made in the niche.
11. Guest post writing
Most SEO agencies still use guest posting as a form of link-building. Most individual bloggers do the same. So much so, that there’s an entire industry in it.
If you’re skilled at producing 1000-2000 word articles that you can place on websites for links, then you can easily make a career from guest posting.
12. Linkedin articles
Every business leader or CEO likes to build their own online authority – but they don’t necessarily have the time to blog or update their social media profiles themselves.
There is good money to be made by agencies who offer to blog on behalf of leaders, often about new and emerging technologies on Linkedin.
13. Print ads
This is one of my favourite types of writing. While it’s less lucrative than it was, it’s still a huge and influential platform.
Print ads require plenty of creativity, and usually an extremely limited amount of copy, which is what makes them so fun to do.
14. Technical SEO
Different from guest-posting, on-page SEO is worth a lot of money of if it helps clients rank their articles higher.
This can be anything from alt text on images, to the right keywords in H2 tags, to the right density of phrases, anchor text and much more. You can use writing tools like Grammarly, Yoast and SurferSEO to help you out.
15. ebook writing
Writing an ebook is one of the best income streams as soon as you’ve built an audience. If you haven’t got one then you can help write someone else’s.
16. Podcast scripts
Today, building online authority isn’t limited to social media and a website. People want to speak to a wider audience in their own voice, and podcasts are an authentic platform to do it.
Each podcast normally contains an element of ad-libbing but it will normally have a loose script / plan to make sure it goes smoothly.
17. YouTube videos
While most YouTube videos seem ‘off-the-cuff’, you’d be surprised at how many successful and big influencers stick to a script.
Being able to write dialogue that sounds and feels natural is a very valuable skill and YouTubers can earn a lot of money if they get it right.
18. Programmatic ads
Programmatic ads are one of the untapped copywriting opportunities, and yet the demand is huge.
Pretty much all advertising in Google’s display network consists of some programmatic ads, which appear on millions of websites around the world. There is a real skill to them too, since you have to fit a finite amount of copy over 2-3 rotating frames – so there’s plenty of scope for creativity.
19. Facebook & Instagram carousels
Social media carousels deserve their own section, because there’s a real art to them. Typically you’ll have anything between 3-10 frames, which means you can tell a real story both in the image copy, and the accompanying post copy.
20. Radio / Spotify ads
The fact that I’ve put radio ads down at number 20 shows how much times have changed. However, what used to run on the radio now plays on Spotify.
Radio ads are a fun challenge, and a really great copywriting discipline to learn as you need to balance informational copy with a creative idea.
21. Children’s books
This is an evergreen type of writing that can be extremely lucrative – but very few people make it to that level. It’s a highly competitive type of writing to try, so make sure you have a backup plan!
22. Press release writer
Companies create press releases for all types of reasons. Normally it’s to communicate a simple message like a company sale or acquisition. However, it can be almost anything of note, by anyone. That’s why there is such a high demand for skilled factual writers.
As one of the oldest traditional professions, plenty of writers will feel a pull towards journalism. That can take many different forms, but the progression of digital publications away from print requires more journalists than ever.
24. Review writer
Having positive reviews for a product really matters. Sites like Trustpilot have millions of visitors, often just before the point of purchase.
While it would be nice to think that all reviews are genuine… they are not. There are thousands of writers producing them for sites like Amazon, which is fairly easy money in the writing world.
25. Speech writer
Writing speeches can be very lucrative, depending who it’s for. We never see the person behind some of the most historic speeches of all time, but they can have. a massive impact on business and society.
26. Product descriptions
There are billions of products sold on millions of websites. Therefore, writing product descriptions is a high-demand copywriting area. It often pays really well because the description is so important to the sale.
27. Resume / CV writing
Like anything with a big upside, people will pay good money to get a pro on the job. A well-written resume can land people a dream position, so there are tonnes of different writing services that provide it.
28. Online course writing
A popular income stream for many big websites is online courses and training. However, these presentation typically contain a wealth of video, written and instructional content. If you’re from a writing and teaching background, you can make excellent money with this type of writing.
29. Technical writing
Technical writing can appear in any sector, but usually requires in-depth knowledge of a subject area. A prime example would be medical journals, financial advice and automotive handbooks. If you have a forensic knowledge of a sector, you can make a lucrative earning writing about it.
30. Legal writing
Legal writing has a dialect of its own. To the untrained, it can be almost impossible to understand what it all means. However, there are tonnes of outlets for it, from Ts&Cs to legal advice blogs.
31. Translation writing
AI tools like Google translate do a fine job, but there is no substitute for a skilled translator. The scope and scale of these types of writing jobs is almost endless. In fact, renowned marketer Neil Patel advises translating content is vital for SEO – which opens up billions of pages of web content. If you speak two languages, this is an easy freelance gig that can pay very well.
Better still, translation can include ALL types of writing. Check out the translation dropdown on Fiverr.
32. Outreach & email writing
I’ve already covered subject line writing, because that’s a skill in itself. However, a huge part of relationship building is writing emails and Linkedin messages. If you can personalise your language and get results, this is a great way to earn money as a writer in 2022.
33. Brand tone of voice writing
There are millions of companies worldwide – and all of them have a tone of voice. That means there is a huge demand for people able to articulate what that means, and produce guidelines to help others follow.
If it’s not an entire tone of voice guide, then there are still hundreds of thousands of jobs in the branding / tone / storytelling areas.
34. Creative types of writing
Under creative writing you can file poetry, novels, play scripts, film scripts and many more. Creative writing is its own genre entirely. At the top, you can make billions (just look at JK Rowling). However, it’s fiercely competitive and requires more belief and proactivity than other types of writing.
35. Ghost writing
People love to tell their own stories, but aren’t always equipped to write these themselves. Ghost writing requires the ability to interview them, and translate their story into a compelling read. It can be extremely lucrative depending on the job you get.
36. Webinar writing
One of the best ways to learn in the post-pandemic world is through webinars. You’ll need to be able to take a subject, order content, clearly explain tasks and keep things short and compelling. Webinar writing is a real skill that people will pay good money to hire.
37. Proofreading and editing
Just because you’re not writing from scratch, it doesn’t mean it’s not a type of writing you should master. Proofing and editing can be very lucrative because it’s time consuming and requires a special attention to detail and patience that not many people have.
Proofreading is incredibly high-demand. Just take a look at the number of freelance proofreading jobs on Fiverr.
How to master these different types of writing
The 37 writing jobs I’ve covered are a mix of short copy, long copy, creative writing, technical writing and much more.
The variety as a writer is incredible – you can make money from writing jobs almost everywhere you look.
You can also build skills in the types of writing above, by learning the underlying principles of ‘copy to sell’ or ‘storytelling’.
When you boil it down, all writing niches can be filed under these four types of writing:
1. Descriptive writing style
Writing to describe.
2. Persuasive writing style
Writing to sell.
3. Expository writing style
Writing to inform, by separating facts from opinion.
4. Narrative writing style
Builds on descriptive writing, but tells a story.
What are descriptive types of writing?
Descriptive writing is designed to describe events, characters, places and situations in a vivid way. Its purpose is to captivate your reader and help them experience the scenarios for themselves.
Descriptive writing uses lots of techniques like smilies, idioms of metaphors to paint a detailed picture in your reader’s mind.
It’s designed to immerse the reader into another world. Types of writing include songwriting, novels, poems, journals.
What are the best descriptive writing tips?
Work your way through the checkboxes with these simple exercises to help you master descriptive writing:
▢ 1. Focus on the senses
You want to immerse the reader, and that means writing about touch, taste, sound, sight and smell. Practice by writing about what you’re seeing and smelling right now.
▢ 2. Tap into your imagination
Rely on your memory to describe a scene from your past. What were the colours, shapes, lighting, angles? Can you take the reader into that scene with you?
▢ 3. Let readers paint their own picture
Imply thoughts and emotions through descriptions. For example, instead of saying ‘David was sad‘, say that ‘A frown formed on David’s face – he looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders‘.
What are persuasive types of writing?
This is simple – it’s to persuade people to do what you want them to do.
When writing in a persuasive style, you’ll use reasoning, audience research and emotion to persuade the reader to take action or think in a specific way.
Persuasive writing covers a wide spectrum, and is typically what companies will pay excellent money for. It helps businesses to sell products, it helps politicians to gather votes, it helps you write a great cover letter to get hired.
Types of persuasive writing include advertising, recruitment, sales and opinion pieces.
What are the best tips to master persuasive writing?
We all have to write persuasively to get jobs and make sales. The better you can get at it, the further you’ll go. Here are three exercises to help:
▢ 4. Write about benefits not features
To write persuasively, you need to talk about how you can benefit your reader – otherwise they won’t care. For example, on a cover letter, instead of writing everything you’re good at, you need to tell the reader why your skills will help them out.
When you’re selling products, don’t simply write a list of features. Tell people how each feature will make their lives easier.
▢ 5. Research your audience for different types of writing
People want to do things quicker, or buy products that make their lives easier. Do your research and practice writing short sentences about what you believe their motivation to be, and then use it as a reference point when you’re writing.
▢ 6. Write with emotion
Practice bringing emotive words and feelings into your writing. It’s an old cliche that ‘people buy people’, but it’s true – we all buy with the way something makes us feel. Make sure your writing appeals to their heart, not just their head.
What are expository types of writing?
Expository writing (otherwise known as informative writing) is about separating facts from opinion.
It’s designed to inform the reader by providing insights or facts about a subject.
Examples of expository writing include how-do guides, walkthroughs, educational pieces and some news outlets like Reuters that factually state events that have happened.
What are the best tips to master expository writing?
The best way to practice expository writing is by following these two tips:
▢ 7. Separate facts from opinion.
If you are writing facts, or evidence, or statistics, then simply write what they are. Don’t take a personal stance or opinion on them.
▢ 8. Study informative writing
One of the fastest ways to get good at expository writing is to help yourself get in to the rhythm or tone by readying other examples. Reuters is a great news outlet to study, and Wikipedia is another example of factual information that hasn’t been skewed politically one way or the other.
What are narrative types of writing?
Narrative writing builds on the techniques of descriptive writing to tell a whole story.
Descriptive writing can be a single sentence. Narrative writing has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Typical examples include a film script or a novel.
What are the best ways to master narrative writing?
Narrative writing is about storytelling. To master it you need to be able to plan a plot or a narrative. Here are some helpful tips:
▢ 9. Pretend you’re giving a speech
Write out a speech. This speech can be hypothetical but writing about a subject like you would speak about it will help you plan your narrative style with a clear beginning, middle and end. After all, you wouldn’t just get up on stage and say whatever came into your mind.
▢ 10. Plan your plot
This can be as simple as writing a chapter plan for your book. Under each chapter you can place a sub-heading which details what happens in this section. This will help your plot unwind over the course of a novel. For shorter writing, do the same.
For this blog piece I wrote every heading down first, so I could structure the information clearly.
How to make money with different types of writing
You can make a career from every type of writing, for example:
- Descriptive writing – songwriter, poet
- Persuasive writing – advertising, marketing
- Expository writing – news reporting, education
- Narrative writing – author, scriptwriter
For the rest of this piece, I’m going to show you some of the most lucrative careers you can start with different styles of writing.
While songwriting or becoming an author might be the most profitable – they’re also the hardest to get into!
I’m going to talk about writing careers you can start right now, with a much lower barrier to entry.
How to get jobs in different types of writing?
Here’s a quick overview of the best, most-profitable writing careers you can pursue right now.
1. UX (User Experience) writing jobs
The quickest way for any business to increase conversions is to change their copy.
That’s why UX writing is the fastest growing writing genre – and one of the most profitable.
Think about it, if you can write some brilliant copy for a button, or put together a call-to-action that makes people buy, then your writing has a tangible impact on sales.
One company that excels in their UX writing is booking.com
Their website and app is packed with phrases that drive immediate action:
‘3 people are looking at your room right now!’
‘6 people booked this room in the last 5 minutes’
’24-hour discount ends in 30 minutes’Copywriting that increases urgency and drives action
These phrases use persuasive writing techniques to inspire urgency and action to drive sales. The copy on their website helps to make booking.com billions each year.
Other examples of UX writing might be navigating a user around a website or a digital experience. In these instances, saving time is saving money. This is in such a lucrative space that you can make serious money as a freelance writer or employee.
2. Social media writing jobs
I wrote about this on my biggest marketing mistakes piece because so many brands fall into the trap of being active across all channels, but without the writing skill and content to make an impact.
Due to the explosion of social media, there is more content than ever before. The average user scrolls through hundreds of metres of social feed every day – and all that content has to come from somewhere.
There is a massive demand for skilled short-copy writers who can communicate with impact to different audiences.
The need for social media copywriters is only going to get bigger.
3. Blog writing & SEO writing
Whether you’re writing for your own blog (like this piece), or writing guest posts on other blogs, there is a huge market for persuasive and informative long-form writing.
This requires background knowledge in SEO, since you’ll need to target specific keywords for each article. If you can help a company crack the top 10 for their keyword then you can become extremely valuable to them.
SEO companies often employ teams of long-form writers.
Or you could do it yourself and start a blog like this!
4. Advertising writing jobs
This is a broad brush, because advertising can include all media types – from print to outdoor posters, from digital banners to point-of-sale copy.
However, the skillset required is very specific.
I spent 5+ years working in advertising agencies at the start of my career and it’s a real talent to be able to communicate a number of points in a limited number of words. I used to enjoy being told to write 50 words of bodycopy, or a ten-word headline because it became like a puzzle.
5. Journalist writing jobs
Journalistic writing is actually one I would recommend steering clear of.
This is strange as 15 years ago it was one of the most sought-after jobs in writing. However, the influx of news sites has taken the industry towards increasingly click-bait copywriting, and therefore the salary expactations have dropped significantly.
If you can make it through the ranks towards more opinion style pieces and become a ‘name’, then the opportunities to earn are still lucrative. However, like getting a book published or writing a hit song – it’s a tough nut to crack.
Top tips to improve different types of writing
No matter what type of writing you do, you’ll need to get the fundamentals right. Here are some writing tips for all styles:
- Nail your message. Stay on-point and have a clear idea what you’re trying to say and who you’re trying to say it to. Which leads us to…
- Understand your audience. Whether you’re speaking to Gen Z or baby boomers, you’ll need to tailor your message for the right people.
- Get your grammar right. No matter what type of writing you’re going for, there’s no excuse for misspellings or sloppy grammar. Use a tool like grammarly to help you.
- Use the right techniques. If you’re a technical writer and your copy is filled with similes and metaphors, your audience won’t have a clue what you’re talking about.
- Practice, practice, practice. Like anything, writing is a skill that you can refine. But you need to do it regularly or you’ll get out of the flow. Keep getting better and the opportunities will come.
What tools can you use for different types of writing?
There are several tools you can use to help you along the way.
1. Grammarly – to help you cut out mistakes
2. A free paraphrasing tool – to inspire you to enrich your vocabulary
3. Yoast SEO plugin – to write SEO optimized articles
4. An idiom directory – to give you wordplay ideas and phrases
How to master different types of writing: a conclusion
There are so many avenue open if you decide to pursue a career in writing.
The first step is deciding whether you’re more suited to a descriptive, persuasive, expository or narrative style.
Then you’ll need to assess which jobs to apply for, or the type of freelance career to pursue.
The potential to make money will be a factor in your thinking, so I would go for a role that is growing in demand, like UX writing.
Conversely, I would avoid a role that has become oversaturated such as journalism.
To practice different types of writing, go through the exercises listed.
Let me know how you get on. I’ve been a freelance writer and self employed blogger for 10+ years, so ask a question in the comments below and I’ll respond to each one.
The four main writing styles are descriptive, persuasive, expository and narrative.
The five writing steps are:
1. Ideation – coming up with a concept.
2. Research – researching high quality sources.
3. Drafting – Creating a first version.
4. Editing – Finalising the finished version.
5. Proofreading – scanning for errors before publishing.