If you have a creative and engaging writing style, your services could be very much in high demand. You can’t move on the internet nowadays without stumbling over another written article or website post. Companies such as Hubspot are renowned for creating and posting literally hundreds of posts every week using a team of writers.
Most small business owners, as you can imagine, aren’t necessarily the most creative writers. Having this skill onboard to a business is extremely valuable. In this post we’ll walk through the steps on how to become a content writer, how to write for success and how you can work freelance and earn a nice income this year.
What is a Content Writer?
A content writer is, well really as it says. You would write content. The word ‘content’ can cover a wide range of subjects and topics, but as an example you could write blog posts and social media posts for a company.
Maybe a small to medium business wants to write an article about a new product, or want something lighthearted about a summer or winter promotion – or even a company announcement.
Content, as a term, is usually used to describe an engaging article to help connect or help an audience, and often also for the benefits of the search engines and search engine optimisation (a.k.a. SEO).
A company would approach you to write one or multiple articles about their business, products or something related. For example, a garden centre may need someone to write an article about how to mow a lawn to produce perfect stripes.
By doing so they help provide helpful information to visitors on their website, or social media followers, whilst taking the opportunity of promoting lawnmowers, grass food and other tools that would help with the job – and of course encourage you to make a purchase.
Another example would be an estate agent writing an article or post about the 5 best ways to present your house for a quick sale. Now of course, if you’re looking to sell your house in the area, this could be the very thing you need.
When you’ve made the recommended enhancements and touch ups, and need an estate agent to help sell your house, the chances are you’ll go back to the same one who helped give you the information you needed to help sell your house.
Why is content writing and marketing important to businesses?
We have already touched upon this in the previous section, but it’s important because it’s how businesses communicate with their customers, and potential customers.
You’re writing style also speaks volumes for a business. It needs to come across exciting and want to make the reader, well read more. If it doesn’t it’s failing in its job.
As well as keeping customers returning for more, there is always a good case put forward that content helps improve a businesses search engine position.
‘Content is King!’ is often a mantra sung around the SEO marketer’s campfire. When you search the internet for a product, service or just to help answer a question then Google (and other search engines, but as Google is the most popular we’ll use it in this example) will show you results matching your search.
You may think this is random, but it’s carefully crafted. Google hides, of course, the secrets of how websites rank in order (which website is listed first, which is second and so on..) to prevent the information being exploited – but it’s widely recognised a website is given it’s listing by having Expertise, being Authoritive and also Trustworthy – which is being termed as Google E.A.T.
Essentially this means Google’s mission is to show you the ‘best’ results for your search. It’s not easy and Google runs many different calculations to provide the optimum result. It can get this wrong, but it’s rare. It works well.
One way a business can show its expertise in a subject is by writing about it. The more a business can provide useful content to its visitors the more they return. The more they return to the website, and become noticed, the more people will link to them (through other websites, or perhaps recommend them on their social media pages).
All of these additional visitors and links to their website start to give the website Authority in their subject. As this continues, and more and more people talk about, mention and refer to that particular website to help answer to their questions – then trustworthiness is built up.
Content is the driver to all of this. The more engaging and more often a website posts on their blog, relatively speaking, the better their website position is likely to be, more visitors and more revenue. This is why it’s so important to a business.
I use likely as it’s never set in stone – but this is the first thing any good SEO consultant or SEO provider will do.
How can I get started as a content writer?
The good news here is you can get started today, and for free!
There is no cost to start. You may need to promote and market your services of course, but there are ways to do this and just pay a percentage of the money you earn (say around 20%), and not pay anything upfront. I’ll show you how.
To get started though it’s good to have examples. You can even write for free for some local businesses for a week or so to get some examples under your belt, or you can be a little creative and write a pretend article for a fictitious website.
Whether the article is real or not is less as important as your style, but if you have the chance it would always be better to use a portfolio of real content for real business, whether you were paid for the work or not. It just looks better.
With some portfolio examples of your writing style and work, you could either:
Join a Content Writing Marketplace
Fiverr is free to create a profile. When someone comes to Fiverr, searches for a content writer and stumbles across your listing they may decide to purchase an order with you.
The transaction is processed through Fiverr. So, the customer creates an agreement with you based on the work needed and you agree a cost. The customer then pays to Fiverr before you start.
Once you have completed the work and send to the customer (again through the Fiverr portal), the customer accepts the work and Fiverr then pays to you the money it is holding – minus their 20% commission for finding you the work.
Pricing is usually based per word. So, for example if you charge 3p per word, and the customer has ordered a 2,000-word article, the order will be for £60. Fiverr will take their 20% commission of £12 and pay to you £48.
A researched 2,000 article may take you around 3 hours to produce and fine tune. So, at this rate you would be potentially earning around £16 an hour.
Once you have a few clients under your belt, and your work has high reviews and recommendations, you could be charging 6p per word – and would end up with £32 per hour. Not a bad additional freelance income.
Create Your Own Website
You may want to try your hand at creating your own website through WordPress or Wix , or learn how to do this yourself through a ‘How to Start Your Own Business course’ – which has a great video lesson showing you step by step how to build your own website for free!
By doing this although you will have to find your own customers and clients, you can set your own prices and not have to price compete on a marketplace.
It’s not uncommon to see prices of around £2-3,000 for a 30,000 word article series (i.e. 10 x 3,000 word articles).
You really have to establish yourself as a good content writer in the marketplace to command this type of income, but it is possible.
Becoming a content writer for profit is a great way to earn extra money for your writing skills. You can work freelance so can choose your own hours of work, and which clients you take on.
Combining this with our Writing an eBook for profit guide and you really can start seeing a dividend for all those creative writing courses, study and exams.