Report writing – finding work

Writing for the business market or copywriting can be a lucrative string to a freelance’s bow. In this two-part series, guest blogger and freelance writer Suzanne Elvidge gives you some tips on how to find the work and then tackle the reports.

There are a lot of different types of report a freelance writer might be called on to write, for a wide range of different audiences. They include

  • annual reports for a company or charity;
  • reports from meetings and conferences, including those looking at research areas or products;
  • reviews of products or topics; and
  • business intelligence and market research reports.

Like all freelance work, there is no simple one stop shop for finding all the work you need (but if you know of one, please let me know…). There are as many places to find work writing reports as there are types of reports.

Annual reports

PR companies are often responsible for producing annual reports for large companies, especially those listed on the stock market. Search on Google for PR companies in your area of expertise, or keep an eye out for PR job ads in the papers (the Guardian covers media and PR jobs on a Monday, or use its jobs website ), and contact them to see if they use freelancers. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for job ads for communications departments of companies that are in your field. PR freelance rates are generally quite good but writing annual reports is a competitive field to get into. Charities also produce annual reports – consider doing a couple for free to build up your portfolio.

Product and topic reports

PR and communications companies sometimes produce reports covering research on behalf of clients, perhaps showcasing the clients’ product and comparing it with other similar products. These can be based on published papers, or on presentations at a conference. Though often produced by staff writers, these reports can also be sent out to freelancers (and might get you a trip somewhere nice – or rather a trip to an airport and conference centre that might have a window that looks out over somewhere nice). Similar reports can review products in a market, or topics of interest such as ‘flu or green energy.

Business intelligence and market research reports

If you have an analytical brain and are good with numbers or markets, business intelligence and market research reports are a growing field – these are high-ticket reports used by companies to get background on new fields or new markets. Googling ‘business intelligence reports’ or ‘market research reports’ brings up a whole host of reports publishers, many of whom use freelance writers to produce the reports. Check out the ‘careers’ or ‘about us’ pages, which may include details of freelance requirements, or simply contact companies on spec.

Opportunities to write different types of reports also come up on PayingWriterJobs and Freelance Writing Jobs.

And finally …

Report writing requires organisation and an ability to meet deadlines, familiarity with the fields under scrutiny, comfort working with numbers and capacity to work alone and at a distance. But if you can do it, it’s an interesting market to tap into, and might even get you that view out of a hotel window!

Next week Suzanne will give us some tips on the nuts and bolts of report writing for when those commissions start rolling in …

Related posts:

  1. Report writing – the nuts and bolts
  2. Writing history for the commercial market – 1: finding the social context
  3. Freelance writing markets
  4. Writing for women’s magazines
  5. Freelance writing for the internet

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4 comments on “Report writing – finding work

  1. Baggybooks on said:

    This is a fascinating article. I have an accountancy background and have written a couple of articles for a consumer website.

    I am also a volunteer proofreader for a large NHS trust hospital. I read their draft patient leaflets and remove any medical terms which might confuse or cause concern.

    This is definitely giving me ideas!

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