Does working from home on your own time sound pleasing? Maybe becoming a freelance content writer is the job for you! Check out this beginners guide that will inform you all about how to get started now!
The average American employee is granted 16 days of paid vacation time. Besides weekends, that’s only 4% of your year. Are you tired of working day in and day out just so you can spend 4% of your time how you want to spend it?
Many Americans have made the switch from unfulfilling 9 to 5’s to working the gig economy. It takes some guts and a lot of work, but being in charge of your life again is worth it, right?
If you’re handy with words, able to research niche topics quickly, and want to be your own boss, you might have what it takes to become a freelance content writer! Keep reading to learn how to start freelancing from day one.
Do Your Research
Unlike a lot of careers that you might want to start from scratch, freelance writing does not require you to have a formal education before you can start making money from writing. It does, however, require you to do some research beforehand.
Sure, you can sit down at your computer and start writing– chances are, though, that what comes out won’t necessarily be top notch work. Before you can start writing, you need to learn how to start writing.
Luckily, in the digital ecology we live in today, it’s easy. There are tons and tons of resources out there for new writers.
If you can’t find what you need on the internet, don’t be afraid to reach out to other freelance writers. Most will be happy to share their tips and tricks to help get you started.
Once you’ve found a few writers you admire, pore over their blogs. Buy and read their ebooks.
Take notes on how they’re writing blog posts.
Reaching out to other freelancers can help you determine your pay rates, get added to members-only freelance writing networking groups, and sometimes even land gigs!
If you want to be competitive, it’s also a good idea to do some research on how to write SEO-optimized content. Most clients will want this, so do yourself a favor and read up.
Avoid Content Mills
First of all: what’s a content mill?
Content mills are sites like Upwork, Contena, and iWriter which are designed to connect freelancers with paying clients. The idea behind a content mill is fine, but the execution?
Something you’ll want to avoid.
The problem with content mills is that new writers set their pay rates way too low. That means you have to lower yours to stay competitive. It also means that potential clients have a skewed perception of how valuable your work and time really are.
While it may seem like an easy start, stay away from these platforms. It’s better to get off on the right foot.
Start a Blog
While you’re in the early stages of your writing career and still trying to land clients, it can be difficult to drum up samples to send out. The best way to create a body of work that showcases your style is to create a blog.
You won’t be paid to write on your own blog, of course, but you’ll have fun writing about topics that interest you. That’ll show through your prose, and help you develop your own personal voice that will appeal to potential clients.
The biggest blogging platforms for new writers are WordPress and Blogger. Each has their pros and cons.
Blogger is great for the true beginner. It’s easy as pie to set up– they literally feature a drag-and-drop function for designing your blog. They’ve got widgets you can install, too.
The downside to Blogger is that it’s hosted by Google. That means that if Google pulls the plug on the Blogger service, as it’s certainly done in the past, your blog goes down with it.
WordPress.com is also easy for beginners and might be more stable long-term. If you don’t want to deal with finding your own hosting or dealing with your own web server, WordPress.com might be for you.
The downside is that it’s very limited when it comes to customization. You can only use WordPress.com plugins, and can’t edit any of their themes.
WordPress.org, on the other hand, is a very different beast. While you’ll have to find your own hosting, it’s entirely customizable. You can add third party themes, widgets, anything you want.
It’s not as simple as the other options but certainly offers the most if you have the time and patience to figure it out.
Guest Post as Much as Possible
While ghostwriting as a great way to make money as a freelancer, guest posting is easily the quickest way to get your name out there.
Guest posting is when you pitch an article to a site that accepts submissions. If they accept your article, it goes live, and you’re now a published writer. Do a little happy dance.
The best part is that now you can add your guest post to your portfolio. Freelance writing is all about growing little by little, so taking the time to pitch guest posts is key.
If you’re having a hard time being accepted as a guest poster, you can always post your guest posting skills and services to a freelance writer’s job board site, like SeoClerks. Click for more details and examples of what to include in your service listing!
Stay Ahead of the Curve
As digital marketing changes, so does the content that’s needed. When digital marketing first emerged, email marketing was all the rage. The content was mostly written for email campaigns.
Now, while still in use, email marketing has definitely taken a backseat to social media marketing and content marketing.
In 2018, ebooks are forecasted to remain a big deal in content marketing. As viral videos become bigger and bigger, video script content is becoming more sought after. Some potential clients might even want their masterclasses and webinars ghostwritten.
Make sure to stay ahead of these trends so you know how to market yourself to your potential clients. You want them to see that you’re sharp and that you’re going to be able to provide them with content that converts in the changing landscape of the marketing world.
Becoming a Freelance Content Writer
Now that you’ve read up on the basics of how to start freelance writing, you can go forth and begin your journey toward becoming a full-time freelance content writer with confidence! All it takes is some focus, determination, and that sharp wit of yours to create content for businesses around the world.
Want to learn more about how to get those creative juices flowing? Check out our other life tips articles!