Since most content writing jobs pay a flat rate versus by the hour, wasted time means earning less money overall. Ideally, you want to complete the highest number of projects possible without sacrificing quality. If you cringe at the thought of generating loads of content on a tight schedule, then becoming a freelance content writer may not be your cup of tea.
You can get content writing jobs a few different ways. It’s best to reach out to companies directly or to apply for freelance content writing positions that are advertised on websites like Indeed.com. Applying to posted calls for freelance writers can be a good way to know which companies are looking for new writers. However, companies that post these ads end up with hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants, which can make it difficult for new content writers to obtain their first clients.
It’s that, for most of us, the idea of selling something is already unnerving. Who wants to come across as a slimy salesperson? Plus, with writing, there’s a delay between copy being created and the other person reading it. You’re vulnerable without the luxury of self-correcting based on that person’s body language. You have to release your words into the ether and hope that someone receives it and acts upon it.
Books. Like movies, people often think of books as selling themselves, but savvy marketers don’t sell books just to sell books, they sell books as marketing tools. Michael Port’s sales manual Book Yourself Solid is a great read for entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers, and while I’m sure Port enjoys selling his book, the book is a tool for driving customers to his coaching and speaking services. Although with self-publishing it’s easier than ever to publish a book, there is still the perception that it’s difficult and that only reputable professionals can publish a business book. Publish your own, and even if people don’t read it you can still use it as a form of content marketing every time you’re introduced as “Author of…”
Quick turnarounds. When you write for an employer, on their timeline, you will need to be able to write fast and write well. This is especially true for writers just breaking into content writing. Often, your project will come with an expected words per hour, or article per hour, as well as strict deadlines. You will not have time to labor over every word or turn of phrase. Instead, you will need to produce content fast and at a constant rate.
With the pace of social media and the frequency of blogging, not to mention that many of your content assets will be used across multiple campaigns and teams, a lightweight project management tool is critical. I recommend using a free software called Trello, which helps you organize your content, set deadlines, attach files, and collaborate with multiple teammates. Another great tool for keeping content projects organized from planning to publishing is Zerys -- a content marketing tool with a built-in marketplace of professional writers.
Go back and read the content marketing definition one more time, but this time remove the relevant and valuable. That’s the difference between content marketing and the other informational garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.” Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable (can you say spam?). That’s what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment of thousands of marketing messages per person per day.
You may also want to consider doing an internship at a publication you hope to work for full time in the future to make connections with editors and other writers at the publication. Many of these internships will likely not be paid, at least not at first. Be prepared to receive compensation in the form of connections and contacts. But be wary of being taken advantage of as free labor. If you feel uncomfortable working for free, try to find internships that pay.
Marketing copywriters prepare creative and persuasive copy to urge consumers to purchase a client's goods or services. Copy is used in several media vehicles, including television, print and radio. Prospective marketing copywriters should seek a bachelor's degree in communications, English, journalism, advertising or marketing. In addition, examples of previous writing or completion of an internship program can be beneficial. Marketing copywriters should also be knowledgeable about their employer's industry, services and/or product line.