Getting into freelance writing Copify

What you need to know about getting into freelance writing

If you’re thinking of getting into freelance writing but are just a little worried about how you take that first step, then take some time to read our useful guide for newbie freelancers.

Working as a freelance writer can be a rewarding job for anybody who enjoys crafting content and it’s a flexible work option, as you get to choose where and when you work. Of course, it’s important you possess enough self-motivation and discipline to keep you writing and earning on a regular basis, as working from home can prove difficult if you’re easily distracted.

Pros of freelance writing

Some of the positive aspects of freelance writing include:

  • Determine your own workload
  • Choose where and when you will work
  • Flexibility of work and the range of available jobs
  • You are your own boss
  • It’s an ideal career for stay-at-home mothers or people who find it difficult to leave the home
  • A good way to build a career within a specialist lifestyle area or hobby

Launching your freelance career can be disheartening at first when pitch rejections are commonplace and work can be difficult to find. It’s important that you persevere and keep searching for the right opportunities to grow your career. Finding a stream of regular work on content writing websites is one way to ensure a steady income and build your writing expertise while working on applications for more lucrative assignments.

Freelancing is the fastest growing sector of the self-employed workforce. According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 2 million freelancers in 2016, which shows a rise of 43% from numbers for 2008. Up to 39% (790,000) of the total number of freelancers recorded in 2016 work in the associate, technical and professional sector, which includes writers.

Cons of freelance writing

Getting into freelance writing Copify Some of the disadvantages of freelance writing include:

  • Making money on a regular basis can be difficult
  • Some clients will have an expectation that freelancers can provide unpaid work
  • You need to develop a variety of business skills, including finance and business management
  • Self-motivation can be difficult when you work from home
  • Jobs may come along at inopportune moments, such as weekends or evenings

It’s unlikely that freelance writing will provide sufficient regular income in the early days of your business, and you may need to take on a part-time job or source some other form of income. Keeping up levels of motivation while pitching for writing jobs can also be difficult if you experience a steady stream of rejections.

Getting into freelance writing

Before you start looking around for freelance writing jobs, take time to sketch out a career plan and identify the areas in which you wish to develop your writing career. If you hope to work in the arena of newspapers and magazines, you will need to send regular pitches to editors.

Corporate content writers need to develop business contacts within the industry, while advertising copywriting requires a good deal of SEO knowledge and the ability to create persuasive copy. When you have worked out the areas in which you hope to write, you can structure the development of your writing pathway accordingly.

Getting into freelance writing Copify

Although being a graduate can provide a boost for freelance writing careers, it’s not always essential to have a degree. But you will need to create a portfolio of work to showcase your talents to prospective clients. Creating your portfolio can take time and substantial effort, as it should be reflective of a range of writing skills and highlight your best pieces of work.

One way of getting into freelance writing and building up a diverse work portfolio is to sign up with some of the freelancing websites, such as PeopleperHour, Elance or Copify. Working on sites such as these can provide a great introduction to a freelance writing career and help you decide whether or not it’s really for you.

Once you have built your portfolio and acquired experience within the field of freelance writing, you can start firing off journalism pitches or applications to organisations for corporate opportunities. Marketing your skills on social media is another way to source clients, alongside publishing a selection of your work on LinkedIn.

Following or connecting with businesses and organisations where you’d like to write can be a way of networking and building business contacts. You could also build links with businesses and other writers by offering to provide guest posts for blogs. If you decide to go ahead and provide guest posts, try running a Twitter search with the keyword “guest post” to identify websites and blogs within your fields of interest that are accepting guest posts.

Getting into freelance writing Copify

There are numerous ways in which you can grow your freelance writing career, so it’s important to find the right solutions that work best for you. Organising or scheduling your daily activities can help provide a structure to your day and ensure you get on with some of the tasks you might find more difficult.

Creating a daily organisation planner helps you track your time efficiently and provides a routine for the day. Some of the daily or weekly tasks you might want to include in your planner are:

  • Regular, scheduled hours of writing at times to suit your lifestyle. If you’re a night owl and work best when most people are asleep, then build this time into your planner and plan relaxation periods during the day.
  • Identify and build a client base by scheduling regular periods of time for pitching to editors, emailing or calling local business organisations, or applying for available jobs on freelancing websites.
  • Financial tasks such as invoicing, chasing payments and updating income and expenditure accounts should be scheduled on a regular basis as it’s important to know exactly where you stand with your business finances.
  • Maintaining a professional business website helps attract new customers and provides a platform for your portfolio of work. Once you have created your website, you should schedule regular periods of time for blogging and customer contact to ensure a regular stream of work is maintained.

Getting into freelance writing may be the best career decision you ever make. It is an enjoyable work option which can grow in a number of directions. Once you are an established writer, you may wish to take on your own employees or it could even give you the flexibility to travel and work from different locations anywhere in the world, just so long as there is an internet connection.

Good luck with your writing career and don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more freelance writing tips!


Main image credit: Tran Mau Tri Tam
Image credits: pixabay.comDan Counsell, Ilya Ilyukhin

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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.

Main image credit: Startup Stock Photos
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