If you are a good writer, you have may have heard of all the ways you can make money as a wordsmith. Or, maybe you haven't. Did you know that if you have good writing skills, you could be making a living as a content writer?
A content writer is someone who creates written work that are to be published to the masses, usually for profit, but not always. I have a more extensive definition of a content writer and how content writing is a big deal.
Let's look at how you can get into the lucrative business of being a content writer. You can also check out this great article by Humanities 360 which tells you Which Avenue of Writing is the most Lucrative.
How To Start Making Money Writing From Home
“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” —Robert Benchley
Here are the 7 examples of making money writing from home:
- Sell articles: Writing articles and selling the rights to people who want and need content. Make A Living Writing came up with this handy list of 10+ Best Websites To Sell Your Articles On.
- Creating articles and putting them in a pool: You can give access to clients who want to go through themselves and pick whatever articles they want. You can charge a recurring fee or by the article.
- Create newsletters: Online or offline, good newsletters with a high readership are ripe for people who want to pay to advertise in them.
- Affiliate websites: Pick items you've purchased, OR (better yet) do research on the hottest selling items online. Write articles about them and put them on a blog. Create affiliate links to the products. Amazon is a very good example of affiliate links. If anyone buys, you get a commission.
- Ghostwriting: You write an article or a blog post and charge someone else for it. They can claim authorship of the article. This article called The Ghostwriting Business by Priceonomics focuses on novels and autobiographies, but the same can apply to high-profile bloggers, journalists and more.
- Think outside the box: Compose poetry for weddings, write scripts for commercials or videos, write ebooks and sell online, write a blog and sell ad space – the sky is the limit.
- Flip a website: Create a website, fill it with useful content, drive traffic to it and sell it. Depending on the website, you can sell them as high as tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, there is an entire website dedicated to flipping websites WebsiteFlipping.com.
A couple other things you can do is using Google Adsense and writing articles to market your writing abilities.
With Google Adsense, you need a website or blog. Install some code into your blog and the ads will automatically appear. Put great content on it and drive traffic to it. You can earn money with either impressions or clicks. Impressions are when someone opens the page and potentially looks at the ad; clicks are when someone actually clicks on the ad. You make more money when they click on the ad. You need a substantial amount of traffic to make a full-time income, but, it is good for some extra money if you have a site with a lot of traffic going to it.
Next, if you want to advertise yourself as a content writer, you can submit to article directories. Check out this list of top 50 article directories by traffic done by VRE (Virtual Real Estate) Toolbar. You write about your area of expertise. At the bottom of the page, you fill in an Author resource box. This contains your name and a link to your site. People can contact you. These articles can be picked up and syndicated all over the internet, especially if they are very good.
Cyberspace is a goldmine for a content writer and the possibilities are absolutely endless.
Some enterprising people create teams of content writers, look for buyers and create content for them. It is easy to find inexpensive writers, but not as easy to find great creators of written content.
The internet is saturated with mediocre writing. Please do not feel that “OK” writing will cut it. It won't. Not anymore. But I know that if you have read this far, you are a great content writer. Still, it pays (literally) to become a better writer.
How Do Content Writers Become the Best? Find Out
Not long ago, people would write or spin mediocre content and stuff it with keywords in order to get a higher ranking in the search engines, namely, Google. Google has since undergone several sophisticated algorithm changes, making it nearly impossible to rank at the top five with mediocre content.
What does that mean for you?
As a content writer, it is all the more important that you write well. Every piece of written content you produce is a representation of how good (or not) or a content writer you are.
Your writing needs to be compelling, well-written, and shareable. Most importantly, your post has keep people reading. In the information age, people have a terribly short attention span. Hold their attention, keep it and you will be writing your own checks. Which is probably the best thing you could write. There are some choice examples in Robert Beadle's article, “How to Write Persuasive, Compelling Website Copy That Sells, Without Appearing to be Selling.”
Are you are writer and you don't have a blog? Ahem! You are missing the boat! Get a blog and get it now!
Every post you write should epic. So the first element you should invest into your writing is time. Take the time to really go over that work with a fine tooth comb.
Here are some other tips I can recommend so that you can write like a pro.
- Writers start as readers: Did you know that 99% of millionaires have college degrees? That the very educated are also wealthy in many different ways? It is because reading enriches your mind. Reading opens you up to new ideas, new styles of writing and connects you to others who have the same interests.
- Develop a system: If you write for a living, eventually you will figure out little hacks that are unique to you. From how you put together a piece to where you like to write, developing a system streamlines the process. This helps because you don't waste valuable time and energy figuring out how to get things done; you just sit down and do them.
- Be clear and concise: Yes, we heard this a lot in English class, but it is so true. You can reference this section of the Writer's Handbook from the University of Wisconsin. When you are writing, stick to the subject. Unless your readership are rocket scientists, Harvard scholars or novelists, don't clutter your writing with flowery language or dictionary-level vocabulary. Cut it down like an overgrown bush.
- Build a connection with your readers: If you know your target audience, this should be much easier. Oh, you don't have a target audience? Then sit and think about who you want as a client. Then, think about sitting with this person in a room. How would you talk to them? What would you be doing? What experiences do you share? Connect, connect, connect.
- Spell correctly and write grammar like a boss: If your English teacher would faint at the sight of your grammar and spelling, then it is time to clean it up. Shoot for 100% accuracy. This is a given. You aren't texting, you are writing.
- Consider the forum: If you are writing on a blog, it is different from writing a technical manual which is also different from writing a status update. Also, you may have more than one target audience you are writing for, especially if you are writing for a client's target audience. Example? You would wouldn't write, “Then I totally said whatev and blew that chick off. What u think?” in a newsletter for senior citizens. They would think you had a stroke and you were very rude about it. You don't want that. This goes back to connecting with your audience. You also want to make sure you do not alienate them.
The Right Way to Being Hired As A Content Writer
If you are looking for work there are several things you can do. But, before you do anything, you will need samples of your work. The more the merrier. At least ten quality blog posts or articles of 500 words is a good start. If you say you are a writer, but you don't have any samples… well it doesn't look too good.
Once you got your blog posts or articles ready, you can start driving traffic to your blog or profile. Be sure that you make it clear you are looking to be hired. Social media is a good place to start, especially if you have gotten good feedback about your work.
There are faster ways. You can reference oDesk, Elance or Fiverr. They all have places where you can advertise yourself as a blogger or content producer. You can pick up work here pretty quickly, especially if you start out by pricing competitively and raising your prices AFTER getting good ratings under your belt.
As you write, keep building up your own private stash of blog posts and articles that you take credit for. Eventually, people will want to contact you and get to know you. There will be a lot of tire kickers. There will always be tire kickers. You will be ready for them when they are ready to get real and hire you as a writer.
The single most important bit of advice that I have to give as an author is to FOLLOW your instinct. I have heard horror stories from other content producers on how they knew this particular client was shady or stressed them out, yet they ignored their instinct because the offer was too good to resist. They were left unpaid, or worse.
There are also other times where writers have followed their instincts and guess what? They were spared a potential catastrophe. The client didn't measure up to who they said they were, or for whatever reason they did not feel right. If you get this feeling about someone, and it intensifies the more you deal with them, WALK AWAY. There are plenty of honest, paying clients out there. Don't waste your time with people who are questionable.
Pretty Cool Place To Pick Up Jobs
*connect and be found as a content writer on Elance
Hiring a content writer.
If you are doing something right, you will get to the point when you will need some help. As nice as it is to think that you can hire someone, give them the work and have it returned to you a couple days later perfectly done, that is not how it works.
Particularly if you have a small budget.
How do you find someone to hire?
Basically, you go to the same places that you looked for work in the first place: Craigslist, Elance, Fiverr, oDesk.
When you get someone you are interested in, ask them to write you a sample in your niche. This is important. Actually, before you even do THAT look at their ad they placed when looking for work. You wouldn't believe how many people advertise themselves are writers who have ads that look like they fell asleep on the keyboard. Big red flag.
Next, give them smaller assignments. You don't want to give them big, important assignments straightaway.
And finally, keep looking for writers, even if you have found one you life. The writing business is very transient – people get bigger jobs, personal issues arise, all kinds of things can happen to keep someone from writing for you.
Whatever your strengths are in the written word, you can find a niche and find good-paying work. The key is to build your database of written work that you can claim credit for, to continue to improve your writing, and continue to market yourself. As your value goes up, increase your pricing. There are plenty of places for you to find work as a content writer. Getting creative can net you some side income, passive income or recurring income. Continue to up your game, and you could find yourself being very well paid even as a pure content writer.
Questions? Comments? Leave your mark below.