How to be a web content writer Copify 1

How to be a web content writer

So, you’ve decided you’d like to make a living by writing content for the internet but are wondering exactly how you go about getting hired as a web content writer. Professional content writers are very often self-employed and can make a good living from writing. Some people would even say freelance content writers possess an enviable lifestyle.

Many freelance web content writers work from home and can choose their working hours and opt to write as often as they wish. Of course, if you only choose to write a little every day, you’re unlikely to make a very good living from the role, so it makes sense to try to maintain regular, scheduled hours.

It is also possible to find web content writer jobs in business and industry, these will often be within marketing departments and some of them may require additional IT or content management software skills. You don’t always need a university degree to become a content writer, although it can prove helpful for entry-level roles and is often specified as an essential requirement. You will need to enjoy writing if you plan to work as a web content writer, though, and you’ll be required to adapt your writing style to suit the content requirements of your complete range of clients.

Skills and qualifications you need to become a web content writer

How to be a web content writer Copify 2Contrary to most views, you don’t actually need an undergraduate degree to become a successful web content writer. However, you will need to enjoy writing and be able to evidence skills in writing to styles and formats specified by clients. It’s possible to find entry-level roles within businesses or marketing agencies, or move up to a content writing role from a job as a marketing assistant or similar.

Having a university degree in English, Journalism or Communications can prove helpful for new web content writers looking for their first roles. Although it has to be said that many successful content writers launched their careers on the back of roles in marketing or business, where elements of the job entailed a requirement to illustrate writing ability on a regular basis. As this article from Bamboo Nine points out, “in many cases employers are more considered about writing and grammar skills than they are about education”.

When you start applying for job roles, it’s a good idea to take a portfolio of your written work along to interviews or add links to your web portfolio when you apply to online job roles. CV Library suggests that your portfolio should include some of the best examples of your written work, illustrating your abilities to write in a coherent and creative manner.

How to be a web content writer

It’s entirely possible to be hired as a freelance writer by online agencies, usually following submission of a short sample of writing. Once you start writing online, you will need to be able to master the use of different “voices” for a variety of clients, ranging from formal articles to more accessible blog posts targeting a younger or more digitally savvy market. Persuasive and sales-oriented writing skills are also in demand, as you will discover most online agencies offer opportunities to write product descriptions and sales copy.

How to be a web content writer Copify 4In order to become a good web content writer, it’s important to develop an understanding of the specific audience that’s being targeted with the written content. This way you learn to write the type of content the audience wants to read. For example, if you were contracted to write a financial news piece for a firm of brokers, it would be critical that you wrote financial news aimed at educating the audience about potential stocks and shares worthwhile of investment and you can assume they already have a good knowledge of the economic climate and financial terminology. Simply writing a financial news article about banking legislation would probably not appeal to your target audience.

Working as a web content writer

Great content writers have a solid understanding of grammar and spelling, so, if you have any concerns about your abilities, it’s important to keep practising your writing skills and look up grammatical errors online. Everybody makes mistakes, but professional copywriters will rarely make boobs when preparing copy for clients. Installing a simple add-on like Grammarly can help enormously.

You will find your writing skills develop and perfect over the period of time you work as a web content writer. Take every available opportunity to continue the learning process, as this will help prepare you for greater responsibilities and an enhanced career path.

Once you’ve been taken on as a web content writer, it’s important to ensure all the content you produce is 100% original. Submitting plagiarised content can create problems for clients and affect your career and reputation. You can scan all your content through a free online plagiarism checker to be safe, as it can be quite easy to duplicate the writing of others by accident.

Networking and social media marketing are valuable considerations for web content writers, as your online blog or website can become a valuable marketing tool which can be used to attract clients.

How to be a web content writer Copify 3As a web content writer, you will be writing on a range of topics and some of these could be quite technical or sales-oriented. The role of the SEO content writer has become increasingly popular, as many employers value skills in market research and analytics. Many successful web content writers will need to spend a proportion of their working time conducting keyword research and researching competitor websites and information. If your role does involve marketing and SEO skills, you might want to consider the benefits of registering for an online content writing course with a provider like the Content Marketing Institute, to help hone your writing skills and develop a more successful career path. The Content Marketing University is operated by the Content Marketing Institute and offers a variety of courses geared towards more effective content marketing writing.

As the role of the internet becomes increasingly more prominent in everyone’s daily life, the importance of the role of web content is enhanced. Brands recognise that great web content is a valuable commodity and there is increasing demand for web content writers. As your writing career develops, you will receive more opportunities to write web content targeted to different audiences and sectors.

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Becoming a professional writer – what you need to know

If you Google ‘becoming a professional writer’, there are almost 12 million results, and on the first few pages, most of the results are about writing a fiction book. So, if you’re searching for how to get started with freelance writing, you could be forgiven for being confused.

However, some of the advice that applies to becoming a fiction author also applies to choosing freelance writing as a career:

1. You are running a business

becoming a professional writer what you need to know Copify 2Whether you’re working on the next NYT bestseller or on becoming a freelance blogger, you’re still running a business and you have to deal with everything that comes with it.

You absolutely can work in your pyjamas all day if you want to, and you can set your own hours to a great extent. If you write better by getting up at 5am, jumping into an ice bath to start your day, dictating your work for the next four hours solid and then having the rest of the day off, then great. Do it, if it works for you. But you do have to take what you do just as seriously as you would if you worked for someone else.

There are lots of advantages in working for yourself. Yes, you totally can take the afternoon off on a weekday, go and see the latest Star Wars and then idle an hour away in a coffee shop (guilty as charged!). If you want a holiday, or need a doctor’s appointment, or you need to be at home to let in workmen, you don’t have to ask anyone permission. You don’t have to wait on anyone else to tell you if you can do that. It’s totally down to you – as long as you’ve met your deadlines, finished everything you need to do for that day, and you’re not keeping clients waiting.

Want to know what else is down to you? Everything. Sorting the accounts is on your to-do list, marketing your business, dealing with sometimes difficult clients, sorting out the legalities of your business, including paying tax, chasing invoices, and the admin that goes with running a business – all down to you.

And if you’re not making money, that’s on you, too.

2. You need to be professional

All the things you’d do in a ‘normal’ job where you work for someone else, like dressing appropriately, turning up on time, being polite, respecting other people’s points of view and their time, meeting deadlines, etc, are things you’ll still need to do when you run your own freelancing business.

If you miss deadlines without good reason, turn up late to client meetings, and produce sloppy work, you will not have clients for long, and certainly not repeat clients.

Professional writers don’t wait to be inspired. They write as if it’s a job because it is! You wouldn’t go to your employer and say ‘Oh, I can’t weld that today. I’ve got welder’s block,’ or ‘I’m not feeling it today, boss. I’ve got plumber’s block.’ And if you want a professional writing career, you can’t do that either. Write anyway. Fix it later. That’s what editing is for.

3. Your ‘to-do’ list will never end, and that’s okay

becoming a professional writer what you need to know Copify 3If you can’t live with the idea that you’ll never get to the end of your ‘to-do’ list and be finished, don’t start running a business of any kind. And that certainly goes for a freelance writing business.

There’s always something to do, from the actual writing to marketing, speaking to clients, editing, sending pitches, learning new skills and growing your business.

That might sound daunting, but that’s one of the advantages of this profession. Every day is different. There’s always something new to learn and more ways to develop as a writer.

4. Always be learning

If you only ever write sales emails for widget manufacturers in Bognor for the rest of your life, you’ll get bored, and quite possibly go crazy!

There’s a whole world out there of different types of writing and different ways to do things to improve your marketing, streamline your sales funnels and build your business.

Check out what we’ve said about the best copywriter training courses to help you develop and learn. And one of the best things you can do is follow other successful freelance writers and learn from them. Here’s our list of the top ten copywriting experts to follow.

Never, never stop learning. Your competitors won’t.

5. Rejection and criticism are part of a freelancing life

becoming a professional writer what you need to know CopifyYou won’t win every pitch you send. You’ll have days where you feel like you can’t win anything! Sometimes potential clients will write back and tell you how much they didn’t like your pitch and exactly why. And I’m not going to lie. That can utterly suck.

It’s hard to get a ‘no’ when you really wanted that job. It’s especially hard when that ‘no’ comes with a criticism of what you did wrong.

Not only that, but you have to be prepared for edits when you send off a piece of work. Sometimes (occasionally!) your work with go through with no changes at all, and other times you’ll wonder if the editor cut their finger and bled all over your page when there’s more red pen than actual copy.

There’s no getting away from these aspects of freelancer life, but you do need to be prepared for them and find your own way to deal with them. Take your time when you get criticism. Don’t fire off an angry reply. Think about what’s been said and see what’s justified and what you can learn. In general, editors don’t say things to upset you. They correct things because they know the edits will improve the piece. Take what they say that’s valuable, keep learning and implementing, and you will be a better writer for it.

6. You have to get used to marketing

As soon as the word ‘marketing’ is mentioned, some people get an automatic image of a sleazy salesperson pushing rubbish that nobody wants and bullying people into buying it.

Drop that image out of your mind right now, because marketing – proper, ethical marketing – isn’t like that at all. Plus, you do need to do it if you want to eat and pay bills. Nobody will come and find you and give you jobs and money – you have to go out and get them.

You have to market yourself consistently and regularly to keep bringing in the work, and you should keep marketing even when you’re really busy so that you don’t suddenly run out of clients and have nothing new coming in.

So much has been written about marketing that we couldn’t possibly cover it all here, but when you’re talking to new clients, bear this in mind: You’re not trying to bully them into something they don’t need. You’re offering them an incredibly valuable skill that will help them develop their business, and it is worth money. What you can do is worth paying for, so don’t sell yourself short. Keep in mind that you are helping your clients and talk about what’s in it for them. And if you struggle with the dreaded imposter syndrome, here’s an article from CopyBlogger to hopefully knock that on the head, once and for all.

If you’re just starting off with marketing and wondering how to get your first clients, here’s a great article from Brent Galloway of Digital Freelancer covering just that.

We’re not saying all this to put you off. Freelancing is great fun. It’s satisfying, it’s creative, you have so much freedom in how you manage your time and what sort of clients you work for, but it is work. We don’t spend all day swanning about in our fluffy dressing gowns and slippers while staring vacantly at Netflix. What does a copywriter do? We write, we market, we keep learning and growing.

 

Main image credit: bruce mars
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How to get a freelance writing job in 3 steps

The world of freelance writing can be a daunting one and to start out can be confusing. You often have no idea what steps you should take, how you should be spending your time or if you’re even doing the right thing. Well, here’s some great news, it doesn’t need to be this way! Finding a freelance writing job is easy when you are equipped with the know-how to do so.

What is freelance writing?

The job of a freelance writer does what it says on the tin: you are writing for a living. You exchange your time or words for money, regardless of the niche you specialise in. You provide writing services to a client based on needs, which will typically be published on a job description, or you’ll work them out in advance in a brief agreed with the client. You are not a typical ’employee’, rather you are an equal partner to your client and will most likely be self-employed.

How to get a freelance writing job: checklist

how to get a freelance writing job copify 3

First things first, you need to have a few things in place before you can get a freelance writing job.

1. Computer: This is simply so you have somewhere to do and save your work.

2. Internet connection: The chances are that if you are reading this, then you’ve got access to the internet. If you’re on the go, consider obtaining a “dongle” for portable internet connection.

3. Email address: Don’t use the email address that you made when you were thirteen years old. The chances are it’s embarrassing, but it’s also unprofessional. Create a new one that showcases your professionalism – usually just your name or your trading name is fine but you might also like to pay to have it linked to your domain.

4. Writing software: You can write on Google Docs, Microsoft Office, or any other online writing platforms available. Just ensure you have something to complete your work on.

5. A portfolio: When you trying to get a freelance writing job, it’s important to have some experience at hand as this is often required to prove you can actually write. You can create a portfolio in the form of an online document with links to your best work, or use an online portfolio template. Alternatively, make use of a free WordPress blog to upload your best samples and to practice your writing as you progress.

6. A PayPal account: Freelance writing jobs are often paid via PayPal, and it doesn’t cost a penny to create an account.

7. A desire to write: You shouldn’t do a job you don’t enjoy. So make sure you actually enjoy writing before you attempt to get a freelance writing job.

8. A decent dictionary and thesaurus: The way you produce content might be new but the foundations of great writing remain the same. Online dictionaries are fine, just choose a reputable one like Oxford Dictionaries, and a tool like Grammarly can help you pick up on any typos and grammatical errors.

Next comes the effort. You need to search for work, but fortunately, there are plenty of platforms that offer you opportunities to find work.

How to get a freelance writing job: where to look

1. Search freelance writing job boards

These are often mid-range paid jobs with established clients, and as long as you are a good writer, then you’ve got a fair chance of finding a freelance writing job. Different freelance writing job boards include:

ProBlogger

All Freelance Writers

FreelanceWritingGigs.com

Blogging Pro

You can even sign up for alerts on jobs in your favourite writing niches. This means the type of writing jobs you enjoy will come to your inbox so you can check them out from there.

2. Opt into content sites

how to get a freelance writing job copify 2Content sites like Copify are a perfect training ground for those who are just starting out and attempting to get a freelance writing job for the first time. You can gain lots of experience, and get paid for it due to the sheer volume of jobs available. And of course, you can take on as little or as much as you wish.

You can often find that work is categorised on these websites into topics and niches such as “Travel”, “Beauty”, “Health” and so on, which gives you the opportunity to gain experience in your favourite areas so that you aren’t too out of your depth.

Some of the best content sites available include:

Freelancer

Copify

UpWork

Guru

People Per Hour

3. Try the classic cold call

People are often too scared to cold call due to the fear of rejection, or they simply can’t be bothered. However, this is one smart way to get a freelance writing job and build up a client relationship. There are thousands upon thousands of businesses on the internet who need your freelance writing skills, they just don’t know it yet.

Firstly, choose your writing niche and work with that. Some people think that when you choose a specific writing niche that you are locking yourself off from other writing opportunities. That is a misconception, you are actually making yourself more desirable, especially when that’s the niche you will be targeting.

how to get a freelance writing job copify 4

Dive deeply into your chosen niches and find all of the options of companies that will need writing in some form, then simply write an email pitch to them, showcasing your skills and offering your services with a handful of examples of the kinds of topics you could write on. Not everyone will want you to write for them, and not everyone will even open the email. But when you put enough work into your research, then eventually a client who needs you will respond.

Once you’ve negotiated a rate and proved your skills, you are on the road to having your own personal client and gaining a recurring freelance writing job. If all goes well, then you’ve got yourself a reference for future potential clients. The key to this strategy is not to give up. It’s the freelance writers that are persistent and work hard that get a freelance writing job quicker and are better paid than others.

4. Search for guest post opportunities

As we know, in order to get a freelance writing job we need experience and some form of a portfolio behind us to prove our abilities. Guest posting is the perfect way to achieve that. You may think that writing for free is a waste of your time, but it certainly is not! Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you’ve made a new connection in the writing world and raised your profile that little bit more.

It’s also possible that if the person you are writing for enjoys your work, they may offer you a paid writing opportunity in the future. It’s a lot easier to find guest post opportunities than you may have thought. Google can save the day! You can do a simple Google search, “niche + write for us” and see what opportunities arise.

Now that you have gained a better insight on how to get a freelance writing job, your success will be based on one main condition: your perseverance. It’s a competitive world and the work of a freelance writer can be hard to find, so you need to remain determined to succeed in a world of budding freelance writers.

 

Main image credit: Tim Gouw
Image credits: BurstPixabaybruce mars

 

 

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How to be a successful freelance copywriter Copify 4

How to be a successful freelance copywriter

Being a freelance copywriter is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding jobs around. You have the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects and can often do so from any location you please.

However, there’s a reason that successful copywriters get to enjoy such perks, and it’s because they have put in plenty of work to get to that stage.

But don’t worry, if you’re wondering how to be a successful freelance writer, then there is loads of support around you. There’s also plenty of work available if you’re willing to go after it. To help get you started, here’s your guide on forging a career in this exciting industry.

Decide on a niche

How to be a successful freelance copywriter Copify 3The fact of the matter is that there are tonnes of copywriters around claiming they can write about anything and everything. If you don’t focus down on a certain niche, then you will find it incredibly hard to build a reputation and target specific clients.

However, if you are able to define a few key topics that you are great at, then you can double down and focus on building a reputation within that niche. You can target customers exactly within that niche and all of the work you do is directly relatable to your next customers.

This means you can build a targeted portfolio much faster than if you were trying to appeal to the masses. The best part of all? There are plenty of companies that need content from every niche, so you can genuinely specialise in an area that you are most passionate about.

Be willing to put in the work

Even the most successful freelance copywriters know one simple truth, which is that you are only “lucky” so long as you keep putting the work in.

When you tell others what you do, they will likely always say how lucky your life is and how lucky you are to have a well-paying job for great clients. However, there is nothing lucky about it.

It all comes down to actually putting in the hours and being there to reap the rewards. Clients aren’t going to seek you out. Instead, you need to go after them.

That means that, even if you get 50 rejections in a row from potential clients, you need to keep going. You need to realise that the 51st proposal might be the one that says “yes” rather than “no”.

Be tactful in your pricing

How to be a successful freelance copywriter Copify 2The ultimate aim of being a successful freelance copywriter is to build up a close set of high-paying clients. If you are writing for a large number of clients every single day, then the quality of your work will suffer.

But getting to that point means knowing how to accurately price your work. You don’t want to go in with rates that are simply too high, but you also don’t want to sell yourself short as you’ll build up the wrong sort of clients.

Ideally, you should approach new clients with an offer to work for a lower starting rate, perhaps half your normal rate. Though this may not be very much to you in the short term, it will reap the returns once you prove your worth and they are happy to keep you on for your standard rates.

Once you do get those lower paying jobs, make it clear they are just half your normal rates, and then put your all into them anyway. This approach will allow you to blow your clients away, and they will be happy to pay the proper amount soon.

Over time, once the demand for your services increases, feel free to increase your rates and make it clear to your clients that you only have so many hours to work. You will find that people are happy to pay you more as long as you are putting in the hours for them and producing top quality pieces each and every time.

Keep on learning

Copywriting is just like any industry, there are those that get ahead and those that fall behind. The ones that fall behind are those that don’t put the effort in to keep up with changing trends.

You should be willing to keep up to date not just with your niche, but also with the market for copywriting as well. If there are new marketplaces that come about that allow you to find clients, then get involved and build your presence.

There are always new opportunities available, and you should be active in your community. Twitter is a particularly good platform for you to engage with and learn from others in your position.

Better yet, you should be following and building relationships with those who are more successful than you and who can help you progress to the next step in your career. See our blog post on the copywriting experts you need to follow.

Finally … give back

How to be a successful freelance copywriter CopifyKnowing how to be a successful writer is a skill all unto itself. As mentioned throughout, there are plenty of platforms available to help you grow and develop. You can even take this quiz on how to reveal your chances of success as a freelance writer!

Once you do find success in any shape and form, it is good to share this with others and help them improve as well.

Giving back is not just beneficial for others, but it is great for you as you start to build your own circle of influencers and open up more avenues you don’t yet know are available. You also get the chance to repeat and hone the skills you have developed.

If you are looking to build up your experience and prove your abilities as a copywriter, then Copify might be a great place to start. You can create an account today and start taking on new and interesting orders across a number of different industries.

 

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Image credits: Leah Kelleypixabay.com, lalesh aldarwish

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