How to become an online content writer

What is Content Writing?

Becoming an increasingly popular career that is in huge demand across all fields, Content Writing can be simply described as curating engaging, comprehensive and user-friendly content. While there are no specific qualifications or degrees you need for this career, you will be required to have excellent writing and research skills to pursue content writing. People from any academic background can pursue lucrative opportunities in this field, be it freelance, part-time or full-time given that they have a stronghold over the language specified for the content. Moreover, content writing can be for blogs, website content, video content or all kinds of content that can be published on digital platforms.

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Content Writing Platforms

You can choose to apply for assignments on various content writing platforms to receive work. This isn’t the most profitable way to become a freelance content writer, but it can be less stressful and give you more time to focus on writing instead of sales. When you find your own companies for which to write content, you’ll be responsible for finding the client, organizing the contract and payment terms, and doing all the customer service tasks, including delivering the assignment and follow up. Content writing platforms take care of this for you and pay you a portion of what they charge their clients to write the work.

CopyPress

CopyPress pays out writing assignments per word, depending on individual campaigns. As a content writer, you’ll be assigned projects that you can accept or reject. An editor will review your work. Projects are typically blog posts in the 300- to 500-word range. While some reviews on Glassdoor suggest a net-90 payment window and low payment rates, other reviews note high work volume.

Scripted

Scripted has writers bidding on client writing projects, either by pitching themselves as writers or pitching ideas based on a client request. You choose the flat rate for the project and Scripted adds on a nominal fee. There are not editors to review your writing. Instead, it goes directly to the client for feedback. For this reason, it’s important that you’re able to proofread your own assignments well.

Content Writers

ContentWriters assigns flat-rate writing assignments based on your areas of expertise. You could be asked to come up with proposed blog ideas or be offered regular writing assignments for a specific client or campaign. An editor reviews the work and an administrator is typically responsible for taking care of the customer service aspects of the project. Depending on your niche, this could translate into a moderate amount of assignments paid out twice a month through PayPal.

Content Writing Tips for Students

To start a professional career in content writing, you don’t require a formal degree. Your writing and research skills can help you kick-start your career in this field. Here is a stepwise breakdown of how to be a content writer. 

1. Inculcate the Habit of Reading

If the question of how to be a content writer pops up in your mind, then the first thing you should be doing is to make reading books, blogs, and magazines a habit. It is often said that you need to read a hundred pages to write one page of quality content. The importance of reading is visible in the fact that it familiarises you with different styles of writing, improves your vocabulary, provides peace of mind, and helps you build your own writing style. 

2. Work on Your Writing & Research Skills

Reading undoubtedly helps you improve your writing ability but until you don’t put your learning to the task, you will find it hard to get started. It is advisable to practice writing on a daily basis. Initially, you can read a blog or a text from a book and try to rewrite it. Later, you can look for ways to make it more engaging and informative. Even though you will develop your own writing style with practice but you can explore different writing styles also. 

Thus, to be a successful content writer, you need to have the aptitude for research. The information should be broad-based and should cover the details thoroughly. Moreover, you must also improve your research skills which will get better as you work across different topics and test yourself on how good you are at researching things on the internet.

3. Take Up Different Assignments

To be a content writer, you don’t necessarily have to pursue a full-time job. You can work as a freelancer and explore assignments across various genres, from education and entertainment to technology and travel. Taking up these diverse projects, you will be constantly brushing up your writing and research skills as well as building a strong resume for yourself.

4. Create a Strong Portfolio

Another important tip for emerging content writers is to work consistently on improving their resumes or portfolio. You must always keep a check on where your content is getting published, save the blog or website links, retain good professional contacts with your previous employers and create a strong social media presence. You can also start your own blog using free blog websites like WordPress or Medium, where you can write about the topics that interest you and thus have a good portfolio link to add to your resume.

5. Learn SEO and Digital Marketing

Content Writing is a popular domain to explore in the digital era but if you are looking forward to growing professionally in this field, it’s better to learn more skills associated with it, especially Content Marketing. Many content writers often explore careers in social media, academic publishing, digital marketing and the like because once you have extensive experience in writing, it’s better to master some other skills and conquer your chosen industry. So, you can take up digital marketing courses as well as SEO courses available online and learn these skills on your own as these two will not only help you broaden your career sphere but also complement your content writing skills!

Also read: BA English Literature

Part three: finding work

There are a few ways you can do this:Now that you have the skills and portfolio to back them up, it’s time to start looking for paid work.

There are a few ways you can do this:

Agencies

Signing up to an online agency like Copify is an easy way to begin, as the writing jobs are offered on a freelance basis with none of the hard work of finding your own clients. You’ll be able to write for a wide range of clients on different topics, allowing you to discover your strengths and give you more of an idea of what area you’d like to specialise in.

In-house writing

If you’d like to be an online content writer with a more regular 9-5 job, consider becoming an in-house writer for a company. Finding these jobs will take on a more traditional form and include preparing CVs and cover letters and attending in-person interviews. When working for a specific company, you’ll be responsible for making sure all their online content is in line with their brand, which could include looking at their blog, e-mail newsletters, and social media posts.

Freelancing

Freelancing takes a lot more work than the other options listed, but it has the potential to be the most rewarding. It can be difficult at the beginning, so it’s best to team freelancing with other sources of income until you build up your pool of clients. To get your first paid freelancing jobs, it’s best to search on job boards, but once you become more experienced clients will begin to find you and your online presence themselves.

Hopefully you’re no longer wondering how to become an online content writer and are ready to take your first steps on what is sure to be an exciting journey. Good luck!

How do content writers spend their time?

I can’t tell you about a “day in the life of”, because I do several things at once. Freelance-wise: I’m a translator and a content writer. But I’m also a blogger (a passion project – unbillable), and I run a b2b content marketing agency.

Next Steps

This was a long article, and you may be wondering where to go from here.

Here’s a summary of the steps I outlined above for quick reference:

  • Learn how to write for the web (and how it’s different from academic writing).
  • Make a website and start publishing articles there.
  • Use networking, job boards, and direct outreach to find your first client.
  • Once you have your first client, it’s all about building from there.
  • Learn the business side of freelancing (and talk with an accountant if you’re confused).

Finally, if you’re looking for further step-by-step guidance, then I recommend checking out this freelance writing course from my friends Kristin and Alex. It walks you through the entire process of becoming a freelance writer, from finding your first client to growing your freelance business.

No matter what route you take, remember to be patient and persistent. I wish you all the best with your freelance writing endeavors, and I believe in you!

Image Credits: featured

Don’t Choose Random Topics

You might think that a website content writer will sit down and pick a topic out of a hat. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Each topic is chosen with a clear goal in mind.

Whether it’s to get more organic search traffic to a website, with SEO writing to get backlinks that improve SEO rankings, to generate leads for a company’s products or services, to promote a company’s products or services, or to drive traffic to a company’s landing page.

It can also be about increasing leads for a business, establishing a new brand name, making people aware of the brand, or selling a product.

It can also be about getting people to sign up for a mailing list or download a free eBook.

You get the point. Each topic is chosen with a specific goal in mind.

It’s important to be aware of this because it’ll help you write more effectively.

Have and Keep Goals

Keep SMART goals in mind when planning which assignments to accept and which to reject. SMART goals mean that the objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

When writing, it can be easy to get lost in the words and lose sight of the overall context of the business. This is another good reason to measure the time it takes you to write certain types of content.

Your goal should usually be to increase the number of words per hour.

Dictation can be a great way to achieve this, as can an AI writing assistant like Sudowrite (which I’m using to write this article!).

Keep reviewing your goals throughout your freelance writing career.

How to start content writing on Fiverr

If you’re a freelance writer looking for how to start content writing on Fiverr, this guide is for you. Fiverr is a great platform for freelancers who want to sell their services. However, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd and get noticed by potential clients.

Here are some tips on how to start content writing on Fiverr:

1. Define your niche-

The first step is to define your niche. What are you passionate about? What do you know how to write about? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start to focus on writing for that particular market.

2. Write great gig descriptions-

When you create your gig listings, make sure to write great descriptions that will grab the attention of potential clients. Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions to ensure that your gigs show up in search results.

3. Offer samples of your work-

Samples are a great way to show potential clients what you can do. Be sure to showcase the best work in your gig listing and include a link to your portfolio.

4. Use attractive visuals-

Make sure to use attractive visuals in your gig listings, such as images, infographics, or videos. This will help you to stand out from the competition and get noticed by potential clients.

5. Offer discounts for new clients-

New clients are always looking for a great deal. You can attract them by offering discounts on your services. Just be sure to deliver quality work so that they come back for more.

6. Promote your gigs-

The final step is to promote your gigs. Share them on social media, guest post on other blogs, and even reach out to potential clients directly. The more you promote your gigs, the more likely you are to get noticed and land work.

2. Ahrefs Blog

Ahrefs is a link building tool and it has a very actionable, easy-to-apply and educational blog about SEO and link building.

What Is Freelance Writing?

Let’s take a step back. I’ve been talking about freelance writing for around a dozen paragraphs, but I’ve yet to explain what it is.

It may seem obvious: you write things, and people pay you for them. That’s true, but the details are a bit more nuanced.

It’s can be difficult to define freelance writing because it’s such a vast, diverse field. It can range from writing one article per month for a small blog to penning dozens of articles per week for an agency hired by a Fortune 500 company (and everything in between).

When I talk about freelance writing, however, I’m specifically talking about:

Online work

While you can still make good money writing for print magazines, I’m going to focus on online work. All of my freelance experience is in this area, and online writing tends to be easier to get into than freelance print work.

Nonfiction

There are publications that will pay you for your fiction submissions, but most of the money is still in writing nonfiction (such as this article).

Writing for business purposes

Companies pay freelance writers because they want writing that serves their business goals. This could be directly (such as writing sales copy for a product) or indirectly (writing an article that gets people to visit a website).

But regardless of the specific goals, we’re going to focus on writing for businesses. And don’t worry if you never took “Business Writing” or didn’t study business in college. That doesn’t matter.

6. You Gotta Hustle

Becoming a freelance writer online means you gotta

Becoming a freelance writer online means you gotta hustle for work.

But, this doesn’t mean you ALWAYS have to hustle. The goal is for clients to come to you.

But, when you’re new, businesses or magazines don’t’ know you even exist.

So, you have to market your services and get your name out there.

How do you do this? There are many ways, but to start try these two ways:

  • Get on social media – This isn’t for socializing; it’s for networking. Sign up for Twitter and LinkedIn and start connecting or following other writers and businesses you want to write for.
  • Guest post – Guest posting is not only a way to build your portfolio. It’s also a way to get your name out there. For every guest post, you write and is published you receive an author bio with links back to your writer website, portfolio, or social media profiles.

When I first started, I only had a Pinterest account and Facebook page. But, I knew I had to be more social so I signed up for a Twitter and LinkedIn account and started networking my butt off.

Later, I started an Instagram account and have landed clients on this platform too!

But I can tell you from personal experience, that Twitter and LinkedIn have landed me the most work from social media.

What does a content writer do?

A content writer’s goal is to get audiences to tak

A content writer’s goal is to get audiences to take a chance on a specific product by creating purpose and value around the product or brand. They are crucial in turning curious visitors into loyal customers by pushing out first-rate content. Oftentimes, the best outcome is to have search engines rank your content as among the top results when an internet user searches for a keyword.

In essence, content writers create, manage, and distribute content and ensure that this content is optimized for search engines in order to drive traffic to the site. Most importantly, a content writer must identify a customer’s problem and resolve it with a solution.

Why You Need to Think Like a Business

It took me a long time to get into the right mindset about running a six-figure freelance writing business. I paid a bunch of my hard-earned freelancer dollars to an excellent business coach who helped me get out of my head and take action.

This is what you need to do, too — except you don’t have to pay me anything (except maybe your eternal gratitude when you become a successful writer).

One of the biggest keys to success in growing your business is to stop thinking of yourself as ‘just’ a blogger and instead as a small business owner.

When you think like a business, you start to run your shit like a business. And that means getting a focus, attracting the right clients in that area, and getting them to pay you real dollars (not $.03 a word) for the content you create.

In reality, becoming a paid freelance writer is not rocket science. It just takes focus and consistency

Once you start making money from freelance writing, it helps you shift your mindset.

The me who was making $.05 a word and the me who makes $1+ a word are in two very different mental places. A big part of that hinged on building the confidence that I could be a writer and make real money.

To do that, I had to bust out of my shell, get focused, and start marketing myself as a serious business owner.

To make it in this business, you need to do the same.

3. Practice Writing

Now, you don’t have to be the best writer to

Now, you don’t have to be the best writer to be a successful one. But, learning how to become a freelance content writer, you do need to know how to write sentences and get your thoughts across!

What if English isn’t your first language?

There are many freelance writers who don’t have English as their primary language and they are making a living freelance writing.

So, it is possible but it might just mean you have to work a little harder showing prospects you are more than capable of writing for them.

If, though, you are a fairly good writer, work on improving your writing.

Practice adding sensory details, eliminating filler words, and honing your craft. You can do this by starting your own blog.

Make sure to know the difference between blogging and content writing.

Not only will this help you become a better writer, but it will also help you market your freelance writing business. I have landed many clients from my blog and I know my blog only makes me more credible as a professional writer.

Reading is also a great way to improve your vocabulary and world knowledge.

I try to read blogs in my niche and when I can, I actually pick up a real book or two to read on my downtime!

How to become a content writer with no experience?

For someone who has no experience, it is common to

For someone who has no experience, it is common to wonder, where to start. Luckily, nowadays, there are accessible resources to learn how to write professionally and earn a living.

Identify your niche

Do you want to stand out from other writers? To do so, choose a niche and focus on it. For example, if your main topic is marketing, you should write about it as soon as possible. It will help you to stay up-to-date with trends and become an expert in your field.

You can start with any topic you are passionate about. But if you are in doubt, here is our overview of the best-paying freelance writing niches. You can also focus on specific content types, such as writing case studies, blog posts, or whitepapers.

Joining writer communities is another great way to dive into the writer’s market and make connections. It can help you explore job opportunities, meet like-minded people to exchange experience, and grow as a professional. Keep your eyes open for opportunities that match your interests. It will make content writing truly exciting!

Maximize online presence

Once you have your area of expertise, it’s time to

Once you have your area of expertise, it’s time to publish your work. It is easier than may seem at first glance. You can start with popular platforms, such as Medium and LinkedIn, to increase your exposure to potential employers.

Medium is an open platform where undiscovered voices can share their writing on any topic. On LinkedIn, you may build an audience, display your work and connect with industry experts.

When you post your writing, people can see what you do, how well you do it, and what are your areas of expertise. Starting a blog is another way to establish yourself as an expert. Remember to write at least one article per week and actively share it to keep in touch with your audience.

Your blog is more than a place to showcase your work, it is also a way to market yourself as a writer and rank higher on Google searches for keywords related to your niche.

Build a portfolio

A strong portfolio is another ticket to getting paid gigs.

This portfolio may include articles, social media captions, and so on — anything that demonstrates how well you can create copy and content. An additional tip: most employers seek content writers who don’t just write well, but can also create compelling stories, so that their business is seen as a solution provider and not just a business.

Starting a career as a content writer creates many further opportunities. Within this career progression, you could become an editor, or work in a more specific field such as user experience (UX) as a UX writer, SEO content writer, or even a copywriter.

How to build your freelance writing portfolioHere are some tips to build a portfolio and get your freelance writing career started.

ContentGrip Ramil M. Del Rosario

Start pitching

Once you are done with the training and building a portfolio, it’s time to look for assignments. Start with making a list of websites that may be potentially interested in a topic you cover. Contact the editor and pitch your idea, explaining why the audience would be interested.

Don’t worry if you don’t earn a fortune straight away. Focus on building connections and receiving positive reviews. If clients are happy with your work, they are likely to come back and recommend you to others. With time, you will decide on what rates are reasonable.

Guest posting on blogs and websites with an established audience is another way to get exposure and build trust with potential clients. Popular bloggers often do not have enough time to write posts regularly or look for fresh ideas. For a beginner, this is a chance to show your skills and learn from someone more experienced.

Freelance writing jobs: 12 sites to get startedThere is a veritable smorgasbord of places to find freelance writing jobs. We’ve rounded them up below to help you scour for gigs on an ongoing basis.

ContentGrip Stella Estee Samantha

What are the different types of content writers?

The main type of content writers include the following:

  • Web content writer: As the name suggests, these writers produce content for the internet. This content could be anything from writing product descriptions and blogs to services. Essentially, the job involves the writer researching the subject and writing an article or a blog post for the client. The writer is also required to infuse keywords so that the traffic is directed to the client’s webpage.  

  • Technical writer: A technical writer will write on specific technical, medical or financial subjects and write in a manner that is comprehensive for the reader. Clients require manuals, guides, articles and other content. In these cases, writers should be well versed in the subject matter with the relevant qualifications. 

  • Mass media content writers: Newspaper writers, or correspondents, write about current events for both offline and digital media. These writers are expected to be unbiased and ethical in their reporting. They can also review books or movies and pen their thoughts on a particular topic.

  • Ghostwriters: Ghostwriters are writers who write blogs, website pages, ebooks and other content under a fictitious name or on behalf of someone who pays to write for them. 

Related: 5 Lucrative Benefits of Outsourcing Your Content Creation

Protecting yourself from defaulting clients

Once you get any job, you should insist on a written purchase order with the payment details, payment schedule, delivery dates, cause of termination and confidentiality, so that if any payment-related issue crops up, you are well covered. This rarely happens, but you should have peace of mind knowing that you have something in writing. 

If you are offered low-paying jobs or if the client is known for defaulting on payment, then it is better to refuse those jobs. You will also lose time and energy running after your payment — time which could’ve otherwise been used to find new writing assignments. 

Related: 6 Different Types of Creative Content Writers Should Know

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