The internet has created new opportunities to earn money online. The barriers to entry to starting an online content writing business are really low. But the competition is super fierce and there are plenty of other people out there who are already doing a great job at it.
The good news is that the requirement for great content continues to grow as businesses join the content creation tidal wave. This leaves you with a huge opening to join the bandwagon and get hired to write the content. Also not making money online through content writing doesn’t depend on having clients as well.
You can also make money by creating content for your own online businesses. Take the emergence of content affiliate marketing websites, which are websites that provide you with content on topics that you are interested in. You can talk about products and services you love and refer people to these products. If they buy them you get a commission for doing so. We will dive into that in more detail later in this article.
So if you have a hunger to create content, you can succeed in this world of freelance content writing in multiple ways. Here are 20 way’s you can make money as a freelance content writer.
1. Writing articles and blogs for businesses
One of the best ways to make money as a content writer is to work for a company that requires content writing for its website. With the emergence of content marketing, there is the notion that you must continue to publish content or languish in the graveyard of the search results.
Thankfully there are some amazing freelance platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer which are a marketplace for connecting businesses and writers. These platforms are both great for writers and clients as it works as a platform to both moderate quality and secure payment for the writer.
Getting started on these platforms without any experience can be intimidating but there are a few ways you can get your first client.
You can answer questions on a subject in their forums to show that you understand the area you are writing about. You can also go to work for cheaper than the competition by offering services at rock bottom prices. The best thing is if you get a few clients using this method then word will spread and you won’t have to market yourself as much.
You can expect to be paid either per article or by word on these platforms. They are not always the easiest way to get money for your work but they do have their benefits. Ultimately if you strike up a relationship with a business sometimes you can make agreements external to these platforms for an agreed amount of money.
This is especially true if your writing is producing results for the business. If this is the case they will most likely want to retain you and pay you a larger amount of money.
2. Website content writing
When businesses are looking to either launch or revamp their websites. Typically this will all have to be written again or done for the first time. If you are able to create great content for the companies website then you will have the opportunity to work on this project.
This is a high-paying opportunity as there is nothing better than getting paid to create something that is useful. When writing for a website you should always try to be as accommodating and responsive as possible. What does this work look like:
The home page is the landing page for a website. This is where people come to find everything they need. It needs to be easy to read and understand.
This is a section of the website that provides information about the services they offer and where they are located. They should be very easy to navigate.
This is where you will find the different products that the company offers. It should provide a product overview and features information.
The best way for your client to contact you is on the contact page. This is often where they list their email address and phone number.
News and Events
This is where you can find out when new services are launched, special offers or when there is going to be something fun on their calendar.
This part of the website should be written in a way that it is easily understandable for those who want to contact them for information or to make an appointment.
Building out a portfolio of website content you have is important to continue getting such work. As people will want to see that you can create websites that are easy to navigate and understand. You should also make your portfolio as good looking as possible.
Like blog and article writing you can find this type of work on freelance websites.
3. Marketing Collateral Content Writing
Yes, content writing is everywhere. Including the marketing materials, people create online and offline. In this instance, we will concentrate on the online form. What type of marketing content will businesses need:
Marketing emails are a crucial part of content writing. The company will want you to create templates for different types of emails that they could use. You can be the designer that puts together their marketing emails or you can find templates to use free on the internet.
If the company merely has a marketing email template then you can stand out by adding information of your own that is relevant to them and their business.
Employers will want you to create landing pages for their website. The goals for these pages are to capture people’s email addresses, and/or information that they could provide. You will also need to make sure they are compliant with all e-commerce laws.
Social media Posts
Most companies will want you to start on social media. This is where people share their company’s news or products online. Although this is a very broad field you need some knowledge of the different platforms so that your messages are shared by people who will be interested in what your company has to offer.
If you don’t have the time to do this then it’s important to find someone who does as they could be doing these things day and night. This is where you come in.
Writing white papers as they are usually long-form well-researched content can be quite lucrative. You can charge your clients for creating the content that they want in their paper. I wouldn’t suggest trying these straight up as they are more suitable for well-seasoned writers.
Creating press releases are very similar to white papers but they are usually to announce a new product or company information. People will pay good money for these releases.
An e-book is a manual or guide that is available online. It can also be printed out and distributed for people to read in person if you did not create it to be shared online. This could be a company manual or a product manual. It is very easy for someone to find the information they need in an e-book as it has all been organized for them.
Slide decks & presentation slides
Creating presentations can be quite lucrative as a freelancer because you can use your own ideas and knowledge to craft the slides.
You will also get paid for doing these services because some people do not have the time to do these things themselves. The more clients you have the more money you can make, so it is important that you find reliable clients that want to pay you for your services.
Again all of these pieces of content can be done internally within businesses but most businesses recognise the benefit of using an expert content writer. This will all be centred on your unique expertise and how you can best use it to help the business.
4. Online course content
E-learning has become a very sought after method of learning new skills. It is estimated that annually people spend more than $300 billion on e-learning.
Have you got a form of knowledge you can turn into an online course? Well combine your love for writing and create an online course on a topic you are knowledgeable in.
Note that creating an online course is quite the effort with zero guarantees of any revenue success. It is probably the highest effort and highest risk of failure in the suggested methods of making money content writing.
With that risk comes the flip side. If you do create a course that becomes relatively successful. Chances are you will make a considerable amount of revenue on an ongoing basis.
The first place to start here is figuring out exactly you could teach. You can do this by taking a look at some of the things you have been doing in your life. If you have had experience with something such as starting a business, working with spreadsheets, business accounting. You can turn all of this into a course. It will have to be online and hosted on a website for users to access.
Once you’ve decided what your course would be about then you need to create it. Platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare and Teachable are all great places to create courses.
You want to make sure that you have some very knowledgeable people on your side when creating your course. You will want people who can back you up and add credibility to the course.
5. Monetised Content Sites
A very popular way of making money online is creating content sites and monetising them. The beauty of this is that you don’t need any clients to make money. This method is all up to you and all dependent on the effort you put into it.
The premise of this model is around choosing a nice or category that has the ability to monetise either through affiliate marketing or display ads. There are four things you need to be able to do to achieve success in this path.
How to select a niche that has the ability to rank within Google search.
Selecting the write niche to write is so important for many factors. It needs to be something you are knowledgeable in. It also has to be something people are searching for on Google.
A good understanding of SEO content writing and a solid content strategy.
This is where you need to understand what good search engine optimisation looks like. A great way to do this is to read some content on the subject. Otherwise, you can also get very confused and make mistakes that will not look good for your business in the long run.
Monetising your content site
A website with little or no income is not worth anything. So it’s important that you find a way to monetise your content site so that it gets established and profitable as quickly as possible. This can be through affiliate programs or display ads.
Persistence and patience.
Content sites take some time to get established and profitable. So be patient, persistent and hard-working. You will reap the rewards of your efforts if you keep pushing forward with your content site.
This is truly a method of finding economic freedom and it is very common for content sites to make in excess of $10k a month in revenue. With that said there are way more that flounder due to not adhering to point number 4. The most important part.
5. Writing and publishing an E-book
Similar to writing courses in that you need to have a specialized knowledge and you need to have a plan. Ebooks can also be great for getting some exposure to your content writing skills and expertise.
They can help you build an audience that can lead to other work opportunities such as freelance writing, book writing or even speaking opportunities. They can also put more money in your pocket on a consistent basis if they are successful.
If you do decide to go ahead with an E-book then here’s how you would go about it:
- Content is a very important part of making an E-book successful.
You need to make sure your content is not only of the highest quality but also that it is engaging and entertaining. Your target customer will not have the time to read a book that they won’t want to finish. Therefore, it needs to be written in such a way that it grabs their attention and keeps them reading until the end.
- The second important part of E-book writing is designing the book itself. You need to make sure your book looks good on all devices and is designed with the latest trends in mind.
- The last part of creating your book is about marketing it. You are an expert and a guru in some specialized area so you should be able to sell yourself. It will take time to start making a living off of e-books but if you continuously put effort into promoting them then you will eventually get there.
6. Writing on Medium
The sixth way I would like to share is writing on Medium. This could work out as a good option for you due to the fact that it is a relatively new platform that allows you to connect more with people.
The platform has over 20 million users and they are constantly publishing amazing content. The one thing I would advise against is going into this model blindly because you need to have some higher level of knowledge in at least one of the fields because many of their articles will be focused around just that field.
How you make money on Medium is by being a top writer which is calculated on your level of engagement and the amount of readers you have. You also make money by becoming a trusted author.
And for that in order to be a trusted author you need to consistently produce articles that people enjoy reading, sharing and interacting with. The more interaction your article gets the more likely people will want to engage with it and thus share it with their own followers on social media which will eventually increase your page views and consequently your level of engagement.
Publishing on Medium is very easy as it is a simple signup and start publishing process.
7. Creating a Substack newsletter
A Substack newsletter is a good way to make some extra money online because it requires very little work on your part. That’s right instead of you creating the content, the subscribers do all of that for you.
So what are Substack newsletters? They are newsletters that are created by a group of people with similar interests or knowledge. The idea behind them is that these groups come together and invest in creating an amazing newsletter which can be used to generate money from the contributions made to each issue.
There are many ways to go about doing this. The main decisions that you have to make are where you will host the newsletter, how often it will be published and how much traffic you need to start making money on the newsletter.
You can then either manually gather all of the information or you can automate as much as possible using tools such as Zapier. There will be some work up front but all of that work should be more than compensated for if your newsletter takes off.
8. Video scripts
If written content is booming take a look at the advent of video content. Of course these videos need to be scripted first. So why not charge someone to create a compelling script for them. This could be as simple as 2 or 3 paragraphs.
You just have to find the right person who may need your services. This could be a company that is looking to make their own videos or it could be a website in need of some good video content for their website. Even if you do not want to write the script, you can also be the producer or director of the video that is being produced by another company.
How much money can you make being a content writer?
Not exactly the answer you were looking for right?
Well it is true. Income varies from one content writer to another depending on several factors like the number of hours you work, the niche you write for (for instance, parenting websites pay more than fashion industry websites), the quality and skill of your writing and so on.
On average though, a content writer makes somewhere between $1-2 per 150 words. That translates to around $0.7-1 per 1000 words you write.
Let’s try to do an example:
Suppose John uses content writing to boost his income and he manages to write 2000 words every week. Since he does this full-time, he’s working 40 hours per week and earns about $1 per 150 words. Sounds good, right?
Well, not so fast. He has just calculated his income based on the number of words he writes and not on the time it takes him to write those 2000 words.
The average human can write 2000 words in around 10-15 minutes. So John’s earnings will be reduced by half because he writes 2000 words in 20 minutes, versus 10-15 minutes.
Now John is quite happy with his income and decides to quit his day job, but is that rational?
Well… not really! And as we said before, income varies from one content writer to another depending on several factors like the niche of the website you write for and so on.
So, let’s see what happens to John if the same scenario is repeated with a different writer: Let’s say Jeanne and that she earns $2 per 1000 words.
Let’s simplify things a bit: John earns about $1 per 150 words and Jeanne earns about $2 per 1000 words. Every week, John will earn about 10 times more than Jeanne.
But is John’s income more than 10 times higher than Jeanne’s?
Well, yes and no.
John can write 2000 words in around 15 minutes, which translates to $0.9 per hour, while Jeanne can do the same thing in 12 minutes = $1.5 per hour. Which means John earns $0.6 less than Jeanne per hour.
So here’s a simple rule: the more productive you are, the more you earn. Your productivity depends on how long it takes you to write your work, and not on how many words you write.
A method to get started in content writing
There are a few bits of information you really need to know before starting your own venture. Here is a list of what you need to know about content writing.
Step 1: Know the basics
Understanding how content is written will help you as well as any other potential employees do their job better and efficiently. You’ll understand where articles can be disagreed upon, or perhaps an opinion was stated without properly being communicated, or maybe the article just didn’t make sense in general.
Step 2: Don’t get stuck in a rut
The internet is a huge place. It has so much to offer and just as much to learn. Make the most out of your skills and your position by expanding your horizons and finding new opportunities where you can contribute and add value.
Step 3: Use the proper tools for the job
Before writing, it is in your best interest to research how you’re going to accomplish that goal. You need to know what tools and methods will help you reach your goal the fastest and in the best way possible.
Step 4: Use a schedule
This should go without saying, but when it comes to making money, time is money. Using a schedule that you stick to will help you be much more efficient than having to scramble at the last minute for something that needs to be done.
Step 5: Be creative
Writing is one of those things where there are no real boundaries or rules. Yes, there are certain requirements that need to be met, but there is nothing keeping you from adding a little flair into the mix to make the article more interesting.
Step 6: Don’t do it alone
Having a team of people working together will ensure that all of your bases are covered when it comes to content writing. You’ll have someone who is good at research and fact checking, while having someone else who will draft and proofread the articles. Having a team of people working together will ensure that all of your bases are covered.
Step 7: Know your target audience
There are two key reasons why this is important. First of all, knowing who your audience is will allow you to formulate content that they will be interested in seeing and reading. Second, knowing your target audience will allow you to get in front of them more easily as they reach out for similar content online.
Step 8: Do your research
Preferably by the time that you’re ready to start writing, you should have found a good amount of information and facts regarding the topic in question. This is important because it will allow you to write more efficiently as you know what is available and what is missing from the article.
Step 9: Build relationships with other workers online
As great as your writing skills might be, chances are that if you’re just starting then your audience isn’t going to be too large right away. Getting on the radar of the right people will definitely get you ahead of the competition and more knowledgeable about how your articles are viewed online.
If you’re just getting started check out our content writing guide. Beginners look into content writing and how you can set yourself up for success.
If you’re looking to get into freelance writing the above methods are a great way to get started. So start typing and get out there. You will only be as successful as the effort you place on finding work and doing work. If you need help getting started write us a message via our Contact Us page.
Best of luck!