Could this be the golden age of freelance (and other timely observations)


A few short items for you today. Too short for a blog post, too big to ignore. Let’s start with a news item showing that we could be heading into a golden age for freelance content creators.

Digiday reported that more agencies are outsourcing their content needs to freelance creators as the work becomes more challenging.

A research report showed that 71 percent of in-house marketers and 68 percent of agencies are outsourcing their content needs to freelance creators. They also reported that the most effective type of content for driving results seems to be blog posts (!). They pointed to these freelance advantages:

  • Flexible resources
  • Specific industry knowledge
  • Lower cost
  • Metrics to connect content to sales

The demand for content is rising, with 86 percent of agencies agreeing that there is an increasing need, and the majority of them are further investing in content marketing in the long run. With economic pressures in 2023 and the threat of bot content, this is good news indeed for the freelance crowd.

Creators for the win

YouTube creator Jimmy Donaldson (Mr. Beast) is raising $150 mm at a $1.5 billion valuation. He has 108 mm subscribers and his latest video had 47 million views, which would make him 25 times bigger than Fox News. If that doesn’t speak to the power of the personal brand, I don’t know what does.

Book learning

I learned something interesting this week. I’ve often said that writing a book is like getting a master’s degree — at least the way I approach it! Now that I’m nearing the end of the writing journey for my next book, when I look back at the first chapters, they need an upgrade. I’m smarter now than I was at the beginning of the process!

Another slap in the Face … book

Surprising precisely no one, Facebook will shut down its invite-only newsletter service, which was started in the great newsletter hype/panic moment last year. You might recall they were paying influencers and artists to write essays through their subscription service.

No company on earth has jerked creators around more than Facebook. And they wonder why young people are abandoning the platform.

Solid advice.

golden age for freelance

Always learning!

Gave the closing keynote address at a conference in Suriname, a small and lovely country in South America. The audience was so wired and enthusiastic! Truly a ton of fun. However, I made a big mistake.

I searched Google for an image of the Suriname football (soccer) team in action to add some local flavor to a slide. I picked the best action picture and thought this would create a great reaction. But the crowd sat there a little stunned.

It was a picture of the US team.

The front of the jersey was not visible in the photo. Apparently, Google was delivering USA photos to me even though I was sitting in Suriname and searching for Suriname!

It was embarrassing but I made fun of myself and announced “Damn you Google!” to the audience. This ended up as one of the most popular parts of my speech! People commented that it was nice to see somebody vulnerable on stage. Many people even thought it was purposeful!

Something ALWAYS goes wrong at a speech and the more you speak, the more you learn about handling adversity with grace.

Tok power

In my classes, I’ve stated that TikTok is the most significant addition to the social media scene since Facebook. There are layers of depth to the platform that make it significant. Here’s another piece of proof: Pew Research reports that a small but growing share of U.S. adults say they regularly get news on TikTok.

This is in contrast with many other social media sites, where news consumption has either declined or stayed about the same in recent years.

In just two years, the share of U.S. adults who say they regularly get news from TikTok has roughly tripled, from 3 percent in 2020 to 10 percent in 2022. Also bigger than Fox News!

A lot of people are worried about how China is collecting data through TikTok. Shouldn’t we be more worried that millions of people are getting their news through TikTok?

Ah, Twitter

I have always loved Twitter. But it is becoming clear that Elon Musk spent $44 billion without a plan. Unless his plan has been to destroy it.

Of all the mistakes he has made, perhaps the worst is the clumsy firing of key employees. The capacity of Twitter’s engineering team to keep it alive and safe has been savaged. Even if he wanted to re-build, who would work in that toxic culture of fear?

Useful nugget

Did you know that Google’s PageSpeed Insights page will give you a free and near-instant score for the mobile and desktop versions of your website? Thank you to John Espirian for this reminder.

Sort of my personal code:


Have a great week everyone!

Mark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the author of some of the world’s bestselling digital marketing books and is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Follow Mark on TwitterLinkedInYouTube, and Instagram

Illustration generated by AI courtesy MidJourney

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