Content writers have never been in higher demand, but as many potential writers are realizing, freelance content writing is a tough industry to break into. That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide on how to become a freelance content writer and enjoy the freedom and flexibility that come with working from home.
There are tons of sites that will pay for freelance content writing, but in order to succeed at one of them, you need to know what the job gets like and how to find it. To help you, we’ve also compiled a list of the best freelance websites (so you have an idea of what to look for) and some essential terminology that will get you started in the right direction.
So, are you ready to become a content writer? Let’s get started.
9 steps to becoming a content writer
1. Find a desirable niche.
This is the easy part. Content writers can make money from any topic so long as they can find an audience that is willing to pay for it. The secret is finding a niche that you are passionate about and have knowledge in. You would then be able to come up with topics for your articles or blog posts from experience and motivation!
Although it’s difficult to make money by writing about subjects you don’t enjoy, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you are a skilled writer with a couple of blog posts published at reputable sites, you can start looking for opportunities that are more suitable for your skills and interests.
2. Identify target websites, directories and forums where your niche might be relevant.
A good place to start is by searching the internet for websites dedicated to your niche. For example, if you are a freelance content writer, you could search for sites offering content writing services and then begin sending your articles to those sites. However, be careful not to send all your articles; choose those that are well written with good grammar and spelling. Also, look out for websites that accept quality content as payment because they might be more likely to pay than others.
Another good place to look is in directories and forums where your niche may be of interest. For example, if you are a freelance content writer, you could check out sites that list all the websites that accept articles, but you need to check and see who in your niche already are listed there. If they have a blog or a forum, try and find them and contact them to ask whether they would be interested in reviewing your articles or posting them on their blog.
3. Research some freelance sites or companies that pay for content.
You can find freelance websites that pay by doing a simple search online. If you are familiar with the freelance website you want to apply at, then go directly there, otherwise search for ‘freelance writing websites’ to help your search:
4. Find the right job posting.
There are many different ways to find these jobs so go ahead and try a few of these methods. It could be a forum that pays for articles, an online directory, an article directory site or a freelance website. You will need to get your foot in the door first so start by doing some basic research on the website that pays for content. Here are some methods that will help you find jobs:
- Do a search for the company that you want to work for in online directories and forums. You can also attach their logo on your profile so others know what you are writing for.
- Find the site’s contact details and email them with your qualifications and what you would be looking to write about. There is no harm in asking what they would like to see written on their website, this will show them how much interest there is in their niche.
- Join a couple of online directories that pay for content and write about your niche.
5. Apply for a job, no matter how small it is.
This is the hardest step, but once you’ve made a few contact attempts it will become easier each time you apply. Just be patient and persistent! Always read through job postings carefully to make sure they are what you are looking for. Don’t just apply blindly, ask yourself why you would be good for the job. Also, don’t just apply for one job, apply to at least five to 10.
6. Build your content writing portfolio.
When freelance websites start to take notice of your work, they can hire you on a permanent or temporary basis. Don’t stress if they do not hire you right away, that’s normal but ensure that they liked what they saw and that you’ve gotten enough experience in order to get their attention again later on.
If you have built a good portfolio, they will be more likely to want you back. If you are not yet experienced, then don’t worry about it. There is plenty of time in the future for that!
7. Build your contacts and your reputation.
You need to get other people on board with what you are doing. This will take time as it’s a slow process but it will work if you are patient and persistent! You can do this by contacting sites that have had an article written by you before, saying thank you and letting them know how things went once they’ve placed the order. It’s also helpful to speak at conferences and events as well as posting content on relevant forums.
8. Get paid for your content.
If you have been building your contacts and reputation and doing good work then the payment is not far off! The online world loves to pay for good quality content. The best way to get paid is to get a few freelance websites to pay you, this way you can use one as leverage against the other. Be prepared to wait weeks or months before your first check arrives, tough it’s worth it!
9. Take it from there.
Once you have made a few small or large amounts of money, then it is time to think about working for other websites. There are many different sites out there that pay for good or even great quality content but finding the best ones can be tough and even just getting someone to pay for your content can be an uphill battle at times. What we suggest is to start off on a website that pays you decent money and work up from there.
Some other general tips on becoming a content writer:
- Invest in a good computer and software.
If you can afford it, then it’s a good investment to have your own personal computer and software. This will allow you to write better or faster depending on what kind of writing you do, such as research articles or creative story lines.
- Network on social media to find potential clients.
There are many different social media platforms out there that you can use to connect with people, such as LinkedIn, Facebook groups or blogging forums. You can also use it to advertise yourself and your content writing services.
- Work with a variety of subjects and formats so you can be well-rounded as a writer.
If you are a writer who only writes about one thing, then you are limiting yourself as you have to run the risk of going stale. Ideally, you write about different topics for different platforms so your skills can be shown to the world.
- Learn the ropes
By working for free at first, then make your worth known to clients on the job.
Eventually, if you are good enough, you will get your start.
- Don’t just write for money.
Develop your passion and skills to write well. Work on other ways to earn money, such as freelance writing, workshops, or marketing
- Be willing to take on less than desirable job offers.
In the beginning, it will help you gain valuable experience. However, if you are able to do this then you could be able to handle a more desirable job offer.
- Learn proper spelling, grammar and sentence structure.
This is what is most important to clients. They want to see that you can communicate well, and that you know the rules.
- Create a portfolio website.
This is where people can see your work and contact you if they are interested.
- If you are persistent enough this business can be very lucrative.
Having a customer base results in an additional source of income.
As you can see, there are many steps involved in becoming a freelance content writer. It is hard work, but it is worth it in the end. You have to know what you want to do before taking those first steps.
Can you put up with a lengthy search for clients and customers, or do you want to enjoy the freedom that comes with being self-employed? Will you be happy writing about whatever anyone asks of you, or will you stick to something specific?
Do you want to work at home? IDo you want to work from an office? Remember that whatever steps you take, it is you who will be doing all of the work once you have become a freelance content writer.