I’m going to give you a serious answer.
“Freelance writing” can be insanely profitable as a side gig if you refuse to play the game of those stupid content farms.
Software companies are totally obsessed with ‘content marketing’ right now — aka, well written articles that attract leads and sales.
I’ve seen full-time jobs for places like that (not necessarily those links) start at 75k.
For a freelancer who gets results — aka, somebody who can really write exceptional articles in the industry the software company is doing business in — you can easily command a rate of $70/hour and even much higher.
I know this because I’ve done it.
You just need to have a body of work online (create a blog) and go out there and hit up a bunch of medium-sized software startups.
They’ll give you a “bootcamp” period (test run) and if you get results, believe me, you’ll get repeat work.
Why do they pay much better than content farms?
Because they get better results from you. They don’t want SEO bullshit, they want well thought out essays that will attract the customers they are looking for. Average lifetime customer value for some of these folks is crazy high, so paying you $400 for an article that nabs even 3 customers is worthwhile to them.
Let’s say you are working for a company who sells help desk software. If you can write great articles on customers service, you’ll attract business customers who may end up signing up for the software.
These customers are generally worth thousands over their lifetime (software is generally a subscription business) which is why software companies will pay you so much.
Topics were all over the place, but generally fell in a general ‘B2B’ category, as I find B2B software companies make more money and pay more money.
Article length may vary. Sometimes you’ll be writing for their company blog, and other times you’ll be writing for a more mainstream outlet.
When I’ve published on company blogs, they want “friendly but professional,” which is pretty standard for the B2B space — they just want some personality but not your typical “blogger” language. The examples above that I listed should serve well for tone.
Sometimes you’ll need to write for more mainstream media. I’ve written for Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, FastCompany, Harvard Business Review, etc. They will want a very business tone and generally like much shorter articles.
Hope that helps a little.
>> EDIT: Someone asked for an “example” job post from a software company. Here is one, it is no longer taking applications, but it describes the job really well: http://jobs.bufferapp.com/content-crafter