If you’ve ever been a ‘lancer, you’ve looked at the ads. If you are curious, head to your local Craigslist. Look under Jobs: Writing & Editing and Gigs: Writing. That’ll give you a fair sample of the usual offerings.
Don’t get me wrong; it is quite possible to get good writing gigs off Craigslist. It just means kissing a lot of toads along the way, and translating from adbullshitspeak to common English. In adbullshitspeak (ABSS), all faddish business jargon is in play. The ‘Lancer is here to help you parse the ABSS:
Academic writing: Professional cheating.
Best practices: Whatever makes the company the most money without giving you any extra.
Branding: Shoving stuff in front of people who would rather not see it; thus, fancy word for advertising.
Creating positive content: Writing fake glowing reviews for businesses whose business practices get them blowing reviews, trying to drown out the truth in lies.
Exposure: No pay.
Friendly environment: Chaotic environment, typically with a couple of half-nutso co-workers who can’t be fired for whatever reason.
Ghost writer: Person expected to accept minimal pay and maximum intervention/micromanagement. Will be lied to by client.
Other duties as assigned: Expect to be shunted into something else. Your opinion of it will not really matter.
SEO: You’re writing to game Google. Expect to be required to stick irrelevant HTML tags into your stuff for this purpose. Put another way, your job is to make the Internet worse.
Serious writers only: Yeah, in a buyer’s market, we have to advertise on Craigslist to get anyone interested.
Social media experience: Welcome to the world of comment trolls!
SME: Person who knows everything you will be required to document, but is incapable of conveying it to an uninitiated Philistine like yourself.
Top earning potential: This is the number you will never approach no matter what you do.
(we are not providing our company name): We don’t want you researching us until we get our pitch in.