Terminology for Beginning Freelance Writers

Photo of a person working on a blog post on a laptop computer.

Not sure what scope creep is or whether a kill fee is a good thing? Ever feel confusion when looking over the acronyms in job ads? Whether it’s CMS, B2B, or B2C, this is an issue that many new writers face. Not to worry—you’ll learn all about these terms and many more in this handy guide for beginning freelance writers.

Anchor Text

Anchor text refers to any words or phrases that can be clicked on to open a link to a new website or page. Some clients might ask you to use specific keywords as anchor text for internal links (within that same website) or external links (on another website).


A blog can refer to either an individual blog post or a group of blog posts located in a specific area of a website. When writing blog posts for a business, you may incorporate subtle or direct calls to action.


Your byline is your name. It appears below the headline of an article you’ve written. If your name appears at the end, it’s called a tagline (see definition).


B2B stands for business-to-business. It’s a marketing term that tells the freelancer the content should be written with an eye toward marketing the products or services toward other businesses. For example, a copy shop might do a marketing campaign aimed at convincing other companies to use their copying services.


B2C stands for business-to-consumer. It’s a marketing term that tells the freelancer that the writing should be aimed at selling products or services to general consumers, rather than to other businesses.

Call to Action (CTA)

A call to action is often included at the end of a company blog post. It urges readers to take some sort of action, such as scheduling an appointment, buying a product, or signing up for an e-newsletter. A well-written CTA should generally include the company’s name and phone number or email address.


Clips are pieces of writing that a freelancer can include in his or her portfolio. A client’s job ad might read, “Send three relevant clips along with your resume.”

Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS is a collaborative, digital environment that allows multiple users to manage content. Clients—particularly those that work with many different freelancers on an ongoing basis—often like to use a CMS. This can help them keep track of assigning, writing, editing, and publishing activities. For example, one commonly used CMS is Wrike.

Content Mill

A content mill refers to a company or a website that sells content for low prices. Freelancers who do work for content mills are typically paid extremely low wages. Writers Work does not endorse content mills, and actively eliminates their ads from our job boards.


Copywriting refers to writing any content (called copy) that is intended to sell a product or service. It can include blog posts, eBooks, or video scripts, just to name a few.

Editorial Calendar

A calendar used to organize and schedule the creation and publishing of writing. Some clients create their own editorial calendars; others ask freelancers to come up with topics.


A piece of writing that will stay relevant for a long time to come. Its relevance is not dependent on the season, for example.


Any writing that’s published without a byline, under a false name, or under the name of a real person other than the author. Most business writing is ghostwritten.

Kill Fee

In magazine publishing, a kill fee is a small fee paid to the writer if the publication doesn’t publish the agreed-upon piece. A kill fee is typically 10% to 20% of the agreed-upon price.

Landing Page

A landing page is a standalone web page written specifically for a particular marketing campaign. When someone clicks on an online ad, they “land” on the landing page.

Pitch (AKA Query)

A pitch, also known as a query, is a brief letter that suggests a topic for a piece of writing and explains why the writer is qualified to write it. The terms can be used interchangeably. However, “pitch” is typically used for magazine or newspaper writing, whereas “query” is typically used in book publishing.

Scope Creep

When a client hires a freelancer, the scope of the project refers to everything the freelancer is expected to complete. Scope creep occurs when the client asks the freelancer to perform more tasks for the same original fee. For example, Becky Freelancer is hired to write two blog posts. Buck Client later emails Becky to ask her to include images. Becky agrees. Buck emails again to ask Becky to include social media posts that advertise the blog posts. Becky recognizes the scope creep phenomenon and agrees, but informs Buck that she will have to charge an additional fee for the extra work.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The set of practices or techniques copywriters can use to make a web page more visible in a search engine’s unpaid results.

Seasonal Content

Seasonal content is a piece of writing with limited relevance. For example, these titles are seasonal: “Great Gifts to Give This Holiday Season” and “Shop Our Columbus Day Sales!”

Static Page

Also called an onsite page, a static page remains the same on a website, unlike a dynamic page such as a blog that updates each time it’s loaded. You’ll typically see static pages on the main menu of links. These might be labeled “About Us,” “Services,” and “Contact Us.”


In magazine and newspaper writing, a tagline is like a byline (see definition), but it appears at the end of the article. It consists of the author’s name and a sentence or two about the author. In the Writers Work app, your tagline also refers to the text located directly underneath your name on your profile. Examples of taglines include “Creative Copywriter” and “Experienced Blogger.”


A vertical is a topic, such as health, pets, and pest control. A copywriter might say, “I’m fluent in writing across many different verticals.”

Navigating the freelancing landscape can be tricky for beginners, which is why Writers Work offers one-on-one coaching services for our members. Sign up today and get your freelancing career going with our robust lineup of tools and resources.

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