The internet has created a wide range of opportunities to find and choose different types of professions. “Content Writing” is one such profession which would not have been this lucrative without web and internet. Every business needs content writers to perform different types of tasks. In the web based business industry “content writers” are used to create original articles to publish in websites. These articles will attract visitors from search engines & other sources. Websites use these visitors to make revenues by selling their products/services. Similarly content writers are hired to create content for brochures, presentations, seminars, marketing materials, sales copies, newsletters and many other goodies. In this article we analyze how content writers can make money by taking online writing jobs through marketplaces, through self made websites, through social media communities & many more.
What is Content Writing
In simple words, the job of a content writer is to develop an original, well researched article about a particular topic in the specified language. The basic skills needed are a passion for writing, good command over the language and its vocabulary, ability to do independent research about the given topic, do analysis from different perspectives and come up with an original conclusion. The skills can vary with different types of jobs. For example:- An entertainment web portal may demand for your skills in making the article spicy rather than analytic skills. On the other hand a financial web portal may put weight on your skills to analyse a company and it’s performance over a period of time. The skills in demand usually vary with nature of topics and business.
Some Examples of “Content Writing” by Journalists and Freelancers
I have added a couple of links below, which are ideal examples of the types of content in demand. I have added only 3 links, just to show you some examples. The actual demand for articles can vary. However the article below will give you a brief idea about the nature of job.
1. Article from LifeHacker :- 5 best document scanners for going paperless
2. Article from TechCrunch:- How VC’s plan for the Future
3. Home Furnishing Article from EHow:- How to Furnish a Small Bedroom
How to take the first step
From my experience, I have seen 3 types of people who make decent income as content writers. Some of them treat it as a full time profession, for some others its part time profession and finally a third category sees it as a hobby which they do it in their free time. You can opt to be in any of these three category but before that lets get to some basics.
What type of a writer you want to become
If we classify writers into 3 categories, then there are the following types.
1) Specialized writers – who are very well versed in a particular subject/industry and they write about their particular field only. This type of writers usually focus on a particular area say finance, technology, education based on their knowledge & expertise. They usually hold deep knowledge in their respective areas and they are capable of bringing authentic articles about their subject.
Such Writers has the followings Pros & Cons
Pros of being a specialized writer are
- They can charge a premium rate for their article, say anywhere between 100 to 500 USD for a single project they work on, depending on the depth of research and time required.
- They usually don’t need to search for work as they will be in high demand. Usually media companies (print & online) will be in hunt for such expert writers. If you are one such expert, its just a matter of networking with some media professionals of your field to get your projects.
- Their wont be much competition for these writers as they specialize in a particular area.
- They gets the opportunity to build a personal brand using their work. Later this “personal brand identity” will help them to leverage it by publishing an e-book, a printed edition etc.
Cons of being a specialized writer are
- You can’t easily enter into this category. You need years of experience in a particular area to develop original,authentic articles. So beginners won’t be able to make it here very soon. As a beginner, you need to focus on improving your knowledge in your chosen area.
- A beginner in “content writing” needs to work towards building his own identity as a “specialized writer” before he can make a decent amount. This takes months of work to build a unique identity as a specialized writer. Once you manage to do this successfully, you can leverage it.
2) General Writers – are more like general journalists who can write about many topics in general. Such writers don’t usually write articles that require deep analysis. They focus on writing general type articles like reviews of a new phone, reviews of a new movie/music, news regarding a start-up, covering news about the technology and business in general etc.
3) Ghost Writers – who write contents for other peoples, websites or businesses without revealing their identity. In this case, the writer won’t get any credit for their article and work. The rights and credit will be owned by the one who gives you the project. All that the writer gets here is payment for his work.
How Content Writers can get new projects & make money
1) Branding yourself through a website – In any case, you get the best payment when you establish yourself as a brand/authority and markets yourself among targeted customers. For a content writer, an ideal way of building a brand is through his/her own website. Start a website, give it a unique design, start populating the website with original articles about your area of expertise. This will help you to brand yourself as an authentic, premium status content writer. Once you establish yourself, you can charge premium rates for your projects. I will show two example cases of successful branding by 2 content writers. Micky Stuivenberg is one such premium content writer from Australia with 20+ years of experience. She has a well established website through which she markets herself. Micky charges an hourly rate of 100 USD per hour which is pretty fair.Heather Griffiths is another premium content writer from United Kingdom. She also markets herself through website & charges a premium rate. You can explore her website to know more details about her areas of work.
Note:- This kind of branding is ideal for “specialized writers” who have years of experience about a subject. However other writers can also opt this method with long term goal & focus in mind. The earlier you start, the earlier you reap benefits.
2) Using Marketplaces to get new projects – Freelance marketplaces are great places to get new projects. You can start your own service provider account in freelance marketplace websites like Elance, ODesk etc. I have written a detailed article about the topic, which you can read here:- Marketplaces for Content Writers to Make Money.
3) Contact Blog owners & website owners – Blog owners & website owners are big purchasers of content. These guys are always in need of quality content, either to publish in their website or to do Search Engine Optimization activities. If you can contact blog owners & website owners directly, you will definitely get projects. You can contact a website owner through the contact form available in his/her blog. If there is no contact form, try looking for a contact e-mail in About Us page, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. What matters is contacting the website/blog owner and asking for content writing projects.Be ready to show your portfolio & be professional.
4) Using communities in Social Media – There are lots of communities for “content writers” in social medias like Facebook. I will show a couple of examples here. Facebook has an active page named “Content Writers Needed” which is maintained by a Slogan marketplace company – SloganWar. They publish works/projects in their page’s news feed for which you can apply. Similarly there are groups of content writers in Facebook where business owners/individuals post requirements. Similarly there are communities/groups in LinkedIn in which you can join & participate to get new projects.
5) Start your own websites/blogs – Content writers are used by websites to produce content. Website owners use the content produced by writers to publish in their websites. These published articles will drive traffic to the websites & they will make money by selling advertisement. Website owners usually make money in 3 ways – 1) Advertisement using Online Ad networks 2) Affiliate Marketing 3) Selling a product(s) directly in the website. My point here is, why not content writers can start his/her own website & make money using these methods ? It’s not very easy though! If you have a long term goal of earning a life through content creation, you can definitely consider starting a website/blog and make money out of it. If you don’t have any idea about starting a website or a blog, I have a detailed article which may be of help for you:- How to Start a Website/Blog & Make Money – The Ultimate Guide.
6) E-mail/Call Web Design Companies & SEO Companies – The biggest takers of “content writers” are web design agencies, SEO/Online Marketing companies, Digital media companies & Print solutions providers. These companies are always in need of high quality content for their clients. If you can contact the right persons/managers in these companies & make a relationship with them, you will get more projects. Usually these companies don’t employ full time professionals for content writing jobs. They outsource it to their part time professionals (who all are freelancers). To get more projects from companies, try e-mailing them with your bio & portfolio. You can also contact companies directly via phone to talk to the responsible manager.
7) Jobs Board for Blogging Partners – There are different job boards which publishes long term writing opportunities. You can find opportunity to become blogging partner in such job boards. A blogging partner usually gets a revenue share of the total income generated. In some cases, blogging partners are paid one time for each article. Problogger Board– is one such jobs board where you can find lots of writing jobs.
8) Applying to Content Creation Companies – is another great option which can ensure continuous & long term projects. Content CrossRoads is one such content creation company. As a writer you can apply for jobs with them. There are many similar content creation companies all over the world & you can find them using Google searches. If you are interested in content companies located in a particular country only, filter your search results by adding country name to the query words.
9) Ad Revenue Sharing Websites – is a great option to make income part time. ShoutMeLoud is one such a blog which allows revenue sharing for its guest authors. There are a hundreds+ other websites which offers revenue sharing programs. All you need to do is find one by one.