If you want to write for a living as a digital content writer then authoringÂ web content as a digital marketer is an excellent way to start making money. Content writers generally do not have to spend a lot of time training or honing their craft.
There is a lot of demand for original, high quality web content, and if you have determination, solid writing skills, and the ability to market your services then you may be able to make a full-time career out of writing. However as the business grows, so do the complexities, new entrants to this field will learn that competition as a content writer is very fierce. Content writing can include article writing, designing infographics, daily blogging and copyrighting. Some clients may even want premium services such as publishing directly to WordPress or the CMS, performing editorial, SEO, CopyScape and media customizations. If you know how to complete all of these group activities as a complete packageÂ then it can be very lucrative.
Lucrative as there will be companies that desire a high level of automation. Once they trust you they will be content to let you not only write articles but also set media, publish and perform essential tasks such as setting SEO variables and basic editorial. Complete set and forget services go beyond simply writing content. They attract a premium price point and rightly so.
Where to Start as a Content Writer?
Broadly there are two main ways to generate a living from authoring great content. You can write and produce awesome content for others. Meaning you write for blogs, niche sites and news portals. Or you write for yourself and generate income from ads, text links and the traffic the absorbs your content. A third slant on this is to do both activities if time and resources permit.
So how should you get started in this popular writing income generating niche? Here are six steps that you can take to set yourself up as a freelance web content writer and start finding clients within weeks. These are not the only things that you will have to learn. There are plenty more facets, techniques, tips and tricks that can only come from experience. However these are the basic six steps that you must take as a freelance writer.
Launch Your Website
No freelance writer should be without a website these days. Luckily, it is very easy to set up a professional looking website using the tools that are now available. All you will need are a hosting account and a domain name, and then you can download WordPress and create a website within minutes.
Choose a Domain Name
Choose a domain name that is either your own personal name or the name of your freelance business. You can purchase this name for a year or longer at any number of domain registration services online. It is worth mentioning that although you can set up a free blog on sites like Blogger, it looks far more professional to have your own personal domain name, so this is a small investment to make to create a more positive impression on clients.
SelectÂ a web host from one of the many available, and you will then be able to download WordPress and have a website up and running in no time at all. The great thing about WordPress is that you can download a ready-made template so you donâ€™t have to know anything about web design yourself. Some themes and templatesÂ are free, whereas some you have to pay for. Choose the best WordPress theme thatÂ you can find, upload it, and you are almost ready to go.
Make sure that your website has a home page, an about page, service pages describing your specialist areas, and a contact page so that people can get in touch. Take your time over your content and make sure it really sells you and your services because this is going to be the first thing that clients see before they decide to hire you.
A more advanced addition to your website would be the addition of an online store. Your store can be used to sell content at prices that you determine in advance. Those requiring content may browse the available niches or place orders for custom content. It is important to indicate whether a piece of content is unique and what usage rights carry over on purchase.
Launch a Niche Blog
As soon as your website is up and running, launch a blog to go alongside it. This is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it shows your personality to clients. People like to feel like they know and trust someone before they hire them, and your blog can help to achieve this, especially if you use your blog posts to provide tips and advice.
Secondly, your blog posts can act as samples of your writing, providing an easy way for potential clients to decide whether your style fits their content needs. Finally, a blog is a great way to add new keyword-rich content to your website on a regular basis, which can help you to improve your position in the search engine results pages. Sometimes a well written blog post can simply take off, especially if cross promoted on social media.
Possible structures for this aspect of your online content business may include your functioning blog. Great niches to choose as a content writer include digital marketing, work at home, freelance authors and so on.
Your website could then function as the Ecommerce side of operations, with your blog providing supporting articles and community. There are lots of opportunities and a multitude of directions to choose as the business grows.
Produce Content Samples
Even if you produce some blog posts, it is always a good idea to have some ready-made writing samples to show clients to enable them to see the standard of your writing. It is worth spending some time on these, so think of some really interesting topics on the areas that you want to specialize in, and then write up some high-quality samples that you can use to show off your services for months and years to come.
Supercharge Your Content Ideas
Often when starting out it is common to not know what to write about, or even appreciate what is popular. A good way to discover viral popular content that people are searching for is to use a service like Buzzsumo. In essence if you write about popular niche content particularly in your portfolio then it is more likely to draw a crowd.
Marketing tools like Buzzsumo can really supercharge your content marketing. Consider publishing content samples on social media pages and experimenting with new forms of exposure such as Facebook Instant Articles. Bear in mind that if your content writing portfolio can drive traffic then it can quite likely drive business leads also. Authoring articles that can drive traffic as opposed to producing bland blog fodder is a really good skill to hone over the longer term.
Your premium content portfolio is an opportunity to showcase your very best written work which should be priced accordingly. Clients will gain a firm idea of the quality and standard of writing to expect when placing an order with you.
Sign Up to PayPal
To keep your payment options open and ensure you win as many projects as possible, make sure that you open a PayPal account. PayPal is the most popular online payment method available. It allows you to send a money request or invoices directly to your clients, who do not even need their own accounts in order to pay you as they can simply enter their credit card details to make a payment.
The beauty of PayPal is that it also allows you to work with people in other countries with much greater ease. Content writing is a job where you could potentially find yourself writing for clients all over the world, but this is only possible when you have a suitable payment solution in place.
Write a Free Report
Before you start to contact clients, create your own free report to be handed out as a free download or as an email attachment. This should be on something related to web content, such as a guide to the importance of original content for websites or a quick guide on how companies can improve their SEO.
The simple fact is that SEO and online marketing are still very new concepts for a lot of companies, so if you can explain some of the important issues to them in a helpful report at the same time as selling your services, they may be more likely to hire you to write their content for them.
Additionally a free report can be used as a free incentive giveaway when building your newsletter list. A newsletter is a great way to build an engaged list of clients and interested parties. You can broadcast to this list and generate further income and sales from the leads. A free report is a great way to get them on your list in the first place.
When building a newsletter to serve your customers and interested parties the following companies provide awesome services at different price points.
A newsletter is a great way to drive repeat business, offer deals and discount codes and ensure your new content always has an audience. As your freelancing business evolves be prepared to research email automations, broadcasts and list segmenting to maximize conversions and, uptake and email engagement.
Start Contacting Potential Clients
Once you have everything in place, it is time to start contacting potential clients. You could contact clients by email, or you may want to call them on the phone and pitch your services to them directly. Alternatively, you may want to reach out to them via social networks or market your services by writing guest posts for popular blogs in your clientsâ€™ industries.
It may take a while before you start finding clients, so to speed things up you could always visit freelance bidding sites such as Upwork or reply to classified advertisements for content writing jobs while you are busy contacting clients directly. Keep on marketing your services, and you will soon find that the work starts to come in and you will be one step closer to becoming a full-time freelance content writers.
As the content portfolio grows the manner in which you sell content will become more advanced. You may need a store for authors and purchasers. Consider ways to scale such as bringing on extra authors to write for you. Be certain to vet their quality so that your writing and production standards are not compromised.
This aspect of the business is for those content writers who are interested in scaling their business. In reality it is a form of content arbitrage, where the profit is the difference between your authoring costs and the price of the content at sale. Example content marketplaces where you can examine this type of business include ConstantContent and Godot Media.
LifeÂ as a Freelance Content Writer
That is all there is to it if you want to become a full-time freelance content writer. There are few other jobs that can provide you with the same level of freedom that content writing can. As long as you have access to a computer and the Internet you can work from wherever you want to.
Be inspired by the success of others. While it doesn’t happen to everyone it is possible with hard work. At the top end blogger and entrepreneur Ryan Deiss has DigitalMarketer and travel blogger Matt Kepnes has Nomadic Matt. These guys originally chose to write blog content for themselves but then found that with success all sorts of revenue opportunities present themselves. A lot more content marketers and freelancers have had success in the middle ground.
Thinking of using WordPress as your primary authoring platform? Then be sure to check out our recentÂ feature on WordPress page builders. These content power houses dramatically simplify the process of building great looking, engaging content fast.
There are of course other complexities on the road to success as with any online business. You will need to drive traffic to your website and blog for starters. Other aspects to consider with a content authoring business include understanding basic SEO principles to acquire organic traffic. Configuring WordPress for optimal traffic and audience engagement. Plus learning to monetize your blog with incremental revenue from ads, sponsorships and affiliate marketing.
You may wish to explore purchasing paid traffic in the very beginning. For example using platforms such as Facebook Ads, Adwords and Bing Adcenter to drive leads and prospects. Paid traffic is far quicker than SEO to generate orders. However a poorly executed campaign can lose money on non converting traffic. All of these other multi facets of the content writing business have a learning curve and are time consuming when working alone.
However many of these vital business skills will come with time, attention and perseverance. As aÂ content writer start preparing the above steps and you could find yourself working as a freelance content writer in as little as a few weeks from now.