How Freelance Writers Can Survive AI: 5 Strategies to Thrive

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 07/11/23 •  8 min read

I want to cover something that everyone has been talking about lately.

AI and freelance writing.

Spend any time on social media and you know AI is the hot topic.

And if you’re a freelance writer, chances are you’re a little bit nervous about what’s happening.

Half the talk is the world is coming to an end and they’ll be no need for freelancers, and the other half is you’ve got nothing to worry about there’s tons of opportunity.

I’ve already shared some of my thoughts on the future of freelance writing in 2023 in this post.

So in this one, I want to talk about a few of my thoughts on how freelancers can not only survive but thrive in a world of AI.

The AI Hype is Going Nowhere

The AI hype is going to continue. After literally decades of freelance writing being basically the same thing, AI is definitely going to change things in an entirely new way.

However, we’re about to be flooded with so much soulless, crappy, mediocre content. AI is very good at that, and since it’s cheap and easy to make, it’s going to be everywhere.

So here’s a positive about that, it’s going to elevate the people that can write interesting, entertaining, informative, and authoritative content.

So once everyone gets over all that AI content they’re seeing and not reading, they’re going to crave writing from people, someone who is authentic and who they can trust.

And that’s one area where you can really stand out.

Building up your own voice can open up all sorts of opportunities for you as a freelancer with businesses with customers that want that consistent, authentic voice that clearly wasn’t created by a robot.

So yes, the landscape is changing.

Yes, everybody for the foreseeable future is going to be going nuts over AI.

Yes, AI is probably going to get involved in your workflow in some way, shape, or form.

But it definitely doesn’t mean freelance writing is dead. If you’re serious about building a freelance writing business, then this is a big opportunity.

Specialization Matters

You’ve heard me say that finding a freelance writing niche isn’t super important, especially at the start and it’s ok to be a generalist.

But that may be changing when it comes to AI and freelance writing.

Because now, AI is kind of the Swiss Army Knife of writers. It can churn out a ton of general content pretty quickly. So being a generalist may not have as many opportunities as it did in the past.

I’ll caveat and say that if you want to stick to being a generalist, that’s fine. Just make sure you include a few of the other strategies I cover here, that can still help you stand out.

The best opportunities are going to lie in specialization, and this is a big change. Moving forward, it’s going to be more important to specialize.

That specialization and knowledge are going to be vital when competing against AI.

So think about a few things:

For example, here’s where being a medical blog writer or a technical writer that specializes in UX is going to put you at a major advantage and help make yourself irreplaceable.

My best advice is to think about a niche within a niche.

A financial writer for B2B financing.

A pet writer for insurance.

A health and fitness writer for moms over 40.

See where I’m going with these?

The deeper you niche the more opportunities you may have in the future because there are very few people who can go super deep on niche within a niche topics.

And since a lot of these may be in boring industries, it can help you land higher-paying clients.

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Brush Up On Your Interview Skills

A skill I think it’s gonna be really, really valuable in the future of freelance writing is interviewing people. Because of all the automated stuff out there, people are going to want to see more content from real people.

So interviewing SMEs, or subject matter experts, is going to become increasingly valuable in this new AI-automated world.

As you’re building your relationships and your skill sets, think about how you can get better at interviewing people.

What is your process for interviewing people? What is your process for reaching out to interesting and knowledgeable people that you can interview?

Having some of these connections within your chosen industry is going to be huge (but a tool like HARO can help, too), and that is a benefit for your potential clients.

Notice a common theme yet?

Connecting with real people and injecting real people into every step of the process — relationship building and writing.

In an age where everybody’s going faceless and going to AI, people will want more real and trustworthy people.

If you’re serious about building a long-term sustainable freelance writing business, then you need to think beyond the shortcuts. What’s the hard work you can do now that’s going to position yourself to be more successful down the road?

Because right now, everybody’s looking for a shortcut.

So if you do the hard work to find your niche, build those relationships, work on your outreach, and hone your approach to reaching out to people, that’s going to put you so far ahead of the game.

Get Into Content Repurposing

I did a video on content repurposing a little while back. It continues to be one of the more popular videos I’ve done in the last year, and I continue to think this is a huge, huge opportunity.

We now have so many channels, and so many people want to be on all the channels.

I feel this myself.

I’ve got a blog, newsletter, social media, and YouTube channel across multiple businesses.

I’ll admit, it’s hard to keep up.

I have content in a bunch of different places, but I’m only ever using it once. And, honestly, I don’t have a ton of time to transform everything into new stuff across new channels.

That’s where content repurposing comes in — and so do you.

What you do is take one piece of content, say a webinar, and offer to repurpose it. So, you can create a blog post out of it, share some of the best snippets on social media, use a few of the points to drive home a call to action in a newsletter.

Now you’ve taken one really good piece of content and created 5-10 new pieces out of it.

Most brands aren’t doing this (especially B2B companies), so there’s a ton of opportunity to take some of the stuff they’re already doing and make their lives easier by creating new, valuable content out of it.

It’s also a great way to help you get engrained in a company. Once a brand sees how good you are at this, it’s easy to start upselling new potential work opportunities.

Now they can come to you as a one-stop shop for everything they need.

Try Out Ghostwriting

The last thing I’m looking at for the future of freelance writing is an increase in ghostwriting. A ghostwriter is someone who writes content for someone else to post under their name.

It’s very common in the business world. And happens all the time with blog posts, as well as an offshoot called thought leadership. This is where you chat with an expert (usually someone in the C-suite like a CEO) about a topic, write down their thoughts into a solid post, and it gets published on a site like Forbes under their name.

A lot of brands pay very good money for ghostwriters.

And you can do it for blog posts, newsletters, social media — pretty much any type of writing.

The key with ghostwriting, and especially thought leadership, is brands are looking for writing in their voice. That’s really hard for AI to do without spending a lot of time playing around with prompts.

I don’t know about you, but most executives don’t really have any time for that. They’d rather hop on a 10 minute call with you, share your thoughts, and let you go and write.

Once again, as with the theme of this, is ghostwriting is often people-powered.

So it comes back to building that skill set, creating good relationships, and learning how to interview people and turn that into a good story.

Change is Coming

So those are some of my thoughts and predictions for AI and freelance writing.

I can’t tell you exactly what’s going to happen, but I do think leaning into some of these strategies is going to help you stand out and land more clients.

I talk to people all the time that have six-figure freelance-writing businesses and they’re planning and learning to adapt. You have to learn how to use all these new AI tools to your advantage.

So it’s time to start thinking about that now.



Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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