Imagine yourself as a freelance content writer. Making money for the words you write, and that too from your own cozy room. Without having any formal training in content writing. That sounds like a scam, or at least dreamy.
And it might sound grandiose, no doubt. But does it have to be? Is it really that impossible—making money, writing online, in this digital age? We don’t think so. Let’s see why not.
One reason could be because you’ve heard a lot of bad advice. Because people are asking money to get you enrolled in their online courses. Because you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of the writing industry. And a lot of the other scary stuff that has been stopping you from getting started as a freelance content writer.
But, what if a single piece of the blog contains almost every element that you will ever need, to finally electrify your career into writing. A blog that contains types of writing, getting clients, cashing dollars, personal branding, and all the rest—with sincere honesty—in a single piece of blog!
Read further. Here’s the complete holy grail of freelance content writing.
1. Freelancing over Full-Time
First things first, why only freelancing? After all, a full-time is more secure, reflects stronger in your resume, and is easier to get (it’s easier to get a mediocre full-time than to establish yourself as an industry-leading freelance writer).
Well, the answer lurks in the above paragraph. There are so many perks of freelancing that a full-time could never suffice: working hours of your own choice, working for yourself, and of course, the elephant in the room—more money!
Now that you’re convinced, let’s move forward with the building career part.
2. Getting to know with Types of Content Writing
Being a freelance content writer, you have many options to choose from. These options cover almost every type of freelance writing career. Here’s the list:
- SEO writing
- Technical Writing
- B2B Writing
Most probably, blogging is the first thing you must have heard, when it comes to freelance content writing. And this option might be the simplest one to understand.
To boil down, all the blogs you have been reading from a different niche, are written by bloggers. So all your favorite websites hire bloggers to create their blogs. Therefore, it’s simple to understand, it’s simple to get into this industry and you’ll find tons of opportunities when you’re starting.
Also, if you are thinking that blogging is dead and has no potential—you’ve heard another bad advice. Every business today, post blogs to maintain trustworthiness among their customers and readers. Hence, these businesses need writers to create one.
Other than that, you can start your own blog and monetize it to earn money. So there are two major ways to earn as a freelancer here, and some freelancers do both.
They write for other websites as well as run their own blogs. Running one’s own blog can be extremely beneficial once you manage to create a community of readers. After that, you can generate lots of passive income as well.
b) SEO Writing
If you’re already familiar with SEO, then skip this part, if not here it is. There are three categories when it comes to SEO: Technical SEO, Off-Page SEO, and On-Page SEO. We have to deal with on-page SEO.
On-page SEO as it sounds is done within the particular page / blog / article. For instance, if you’re writing a blog while taking care of the on-page SEO. You’d have to look for keywords placement within the content, the title tag, meta description, and the ease of reading. Don’t worry it’s not brain surgery.
Just to compare, off-page SEO is way harder so it doesn’t take much time to master the on-page. Not to mention that WordPress plugins such as Yoast SEO will make the job even easier. You have to check your scores using the plugin and you can edit the content accordingly.
Most of your clients will be using WordPress, so the majority of your projects will be on the same. Therefore once you learn on-page SEO and content writing (duh!), you’re ready to roll.
An SEO writer earns good money because he is offering two extremely valuable services at once.
c) Technical Writing
Many people might think it’s not sexy—technical! And it’s not if you don’t have a technical background like IT and engineering. But if you do, you’re looking at the greener side of the valley.
Technical writers reshape the complicated ideas into a simpler form—so that a majority of users can grasp the idea. The industry has a wider range to cover: technical reports, documentation reports, user manuals, instructions, and so on.
Furthermore, a technical writer might also work on white papers, social media, software explanations, and so on. Therefore, you’ve always something to get your hands on.
This writing form is quite instructional. Because the aim is to deliver the information in a simple form so that the audience can take given action.
Hence, if you consider yourself to be someone who can take lots of technical stuff and compress it into a digestible form, you should consider this form of freelance writing.
Microsoft last year conducted a survey. The survey included the list of most important hard skills, marketers will need in the coming decade. Guess what! Copywriting was ranked number three.
Copywriting is not only the dominating skill in digital marketing, it also pays pretty well. However, with great money, comes ‘not easy to master a skill’. Yes, copywriting is not the easiest in the writing field, but it sure is worth learning.
So once you do hit the copywriting industry, you can work on some challenging projects. Projects like writing for business to promote their online presence, engage customers, and encourage the targeted audience to buy the product and services.
Therefore, as a copywriter, your end goal is to create persuasive content that makes the targeted audience to take a given action. These actions, most of the time is to buy the mentioned product or service.
The copywriter creates different types of content for the company. These are ad copies, press releases, white papers, website blogs, and more.
e) B2B Writing
This one’s pretty easy to understand. You are responsible to write the content which a company is going to show to the other company—hence, business to business.
To explain more, B2B companies deal with other businesses, they offer their product and services to other companies. While B2C companies do this with direct customers.
The type of content includes everything related to B2B like white papers, blog posts, ad copy, marketing documents, email campaigns, e-books, or anything else.
One thing worth noticing is that you can be a B2B writer in any of the mentioned writing career. To illustrate, you can be writing a B2B blog. You can be a B2B copywriter and more of the same.
B2B has one more advantage: money. Yup, it’s one of the most lucrative forms of freelance content writing. If that’s not motivating enough, there are many more reasons: you’ll end up working with some big brands and their logos looks cool on the resume.
3. Choosing a Niche for Freelance Content Writing
Let’s say you’ve to buy a pair of oxford shoes and you can buy them from either shop A or shop B. Shop A sells all kinds of shoes whereas shop B only sells oxford shoes.
Where would you prefer to buy your oxford shoes? Shop B, right? Why? Because they only sell oxford shoes. Therefore they own expertise in that particular niche, they have dominance.
Same thing. Therefore choosing a niche is rather easier to build your dominance because of less competition and you would have to care for fewer topics. Also, the earlier you do it, the faster you’ll own your niche.
However, we’re not suggesting to go super specific (more on that later). For a start, just go into the second subcategory. To illustrate:
Health>> Mental Health
Note that some industries are simply more profitable but choosing a niche based on this, won’t be sustainable. You should choose a category/niche about which you either have prior knowledge or you genuinely like.
a) Specific and Smaller Niches
Many times there are specific niches that don’t get much love and people think that they don’t exist. But many hidden gems can be seen on different job broads.
These categories are overlooked by many writers. Hence, the potential is huge.
Some of the specific niche that we see on different job boards are:
Romance writers, Tax and CPA writers, pet writers, golf writers, casino and gambling writers, real estate writers, 3D printing writers, and a lot more.
b) Understand You Niche
Once you enter into a niche, start researching it. Become a detective maybe: Investigate the brands, the blogs, and the freelance writers who are working into your niche.
Once you start having a rough idea, you can find out if the industry is paying or not. A good way is to look if there are some writers already writing about it or not.
4. Who are Your Potential Freelance Writing Clients
As you’ve already chosen your freelance content writing niche, it shouldn’t take much time to figure the avatar of your targeted client.
The targeted client is just like the targeted audience, you want to tap into the right people so that your services can be recognized.
So to sell your freelance writing services, you’d want to draw a rough avatar of your client base. For doing so, figure-out things like:
- Their profession.
- Their demographics (or just who they are in general.)
- Their problems which you can help to solve.
If you want to go further with the avatar thing. HubSpot can help you build an avatar with every specific detail. But don’t stress more on that. Try things mentioned above and you will solve your ideal client mystery.
5. Where to Find Work as a Freelance Content Writer
Upwork and Freelancer? Most certainly not. It might work for some people who started early. But these platforms are too saturated now. Nobody wants to hire a writer who has never written an article before.
Instead, approach a client and lure them by showing your potential. For that to happen, you must make your online presence charming so that when you approach them, they trust in you. Which is crucial by the way.
a) Recognize the Power of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is Facebook but with professional accounts and organic reach. However, people are still not leveraging it to the fullest.
If you still live in the stone age, you might wanna consider coming to LinkedIn. The platform is great for connecting with similar people and once done right, there are tons of freelancing opportunities you can get.
After creating a LinkedIn profile. This is how you get work as a freelance content writer:
- Find a company page that reflects your niche.
- Open up the ‘people’ option to see the list of employees working in that company.
- Now look for HR or marketing people from that list.
- Once you find these people, the best is to introduce yourself first.
- And then ask further if they have any projects.
However, LinkedIn doesn’t offer free accounts to send DMs. So rather, use the connect option and send a note with that—introducing yourself.
Do the same with as many people as you want. Considering these people belongs to your niche.
b) Create a Freelance Content Writer Website
New freelancers think that buying their domain names and launching their website is way too fancy. But think about it: if you aren’t going to take yourself seriously, why do you expect so from a client?
Therefore creating a nice little website that has your work clipped on—goes way too far. The key purpose of this website is: a client checks your samples, he likes your work and he decides to work with you.
However, keep it all simple. Remember about the priority of the website. The moment a client visits your website, he should be faced with your work and testimonials. Making the website more than that would make the client confuse.
c) Create a Portfolio for Free
Not ready to invest in a website?
Well, that’s fine, because as we already said—the goal is to keep the website simple. So rather than buying a domain name, you can also create a portfolio for free.
Many platforms let you create an online portfolio where you can clip your writing samples. These platforms are free to use but might have one or two restrictions.
Nevertheless, they are more than enough to get started with your free portfolio. Here are some of the best websites:
Have no idea about creating a portfolio? this will help:
d) Contact Digital Agencies
Digital agencies also work with freelance content creators. The biggest advantage here is, you don’t have to find the client by yourself. The agency work as a bridging gap.
Once you start working with these agencies, they will take a cut—of course. But it’s still a deal worth trading.
Anyway, these are few names where you might want to shoot some cold emails:
However, do a small research and find out the local agencies near you and try to connect with them. It’s generally easier to get to work with local businesses.
6. Market yourself as a Freelance Content Writer
Didn’t see that coming hun? Well, We are not suggesting to go all Kim Kardashian. But if you’re going to work online only, it makes sense to look good online.
Self-promotion and marketing don’t have to be complicated, you just have to maintain your persona. Create a persona that is a fitting freelancer to work with, and be consistent when you do that.
That’s all. Everything else is secondary. So LinkedIn is a pretty easy platform to build your personal brand. Here are some more things to consider:
- Make your profile look clean and professional.
- Start posting on regular basis.
- Post things related to your niche.
- Remember that your audience is your client and not your fellow writers.
By just doing so, you are saying to your clients: “Look, I know what I’m talking about”. Since people will start trusting you, they will start approaching you for their projects. And now, you have created personal branding for yourself. Congrats on that!
7. How much are you going to Charge?
Let’s say all those advice worked. Well, of course, they worked. Because it was authentic and because you did some handwork there. Good going! Anyway, the last question remains—how much should you charge?
Being a new freelance content writer, you’re going to undercharge for sure. Because of two reasons:
- There are no industry standards.
- You have no prior knowledge.
But that’s completely fine. Because we have got a list which will help you to set the rates:
- Set a minimum amount and try not to break it.
- Continue to master your skills so that you get more confident while quoting the rates.
- In most cases, you might be undercharging.
- Maybe stop working with clients who don’t trust your work.
8. Some useful resources
This was a perfect guide to get you started as a freelance content writer. However, we don’t want you become just a mediocre freelance writer.
We want you to become the best or at least someone who earns decent. For that, we are putting some actionable guides that will further help you with freelancing and improving your craft as a content writer.
Here are some of the best material you should consider:
- Freelancing for Beginners – Guide and Resources
- How to Become a Successful Writer – Do Just This
- How to Overcome Writer’s Block – 7 Proven Methods
- How to Get Your First Freelancing Client – 5 Genuine Ways
Wow! You read it all. You should give yourself a pat!
Because that was a lot of information, to be honest. However, it also means that now you know most of the stuff. Stuff on how to become a freelance content writer.
Read the steps and advice as many times as you need to, but remember to take action also—we always say that.
If you do that—you’re a freelance content writer my friend!