Have you been told that you’re a great writer? Have you ever considered going into the craft professionally? You might think of writers as people who sit behind typewriters, conjuring up riveting plots and getting paid big bucks. Or perhaps your mental picture is of a reporter working late nights at a newspaper office.
While novelists and journalists can make good money writing, we’re talking about content writing—the type of writing that makes the internet go round. While there are many ways to make extra cash online (affiliate marketing or taking surveys for cash, for example), content writing is the low-hanging fruit for those who know how to write.
In today’s post, we’ll share with you ten ways you can start making money as a content writer. But first, let’s talk a little more about the role and potential earnings of content writing.
What Is a Content Writer?
Content writers typically craft digital content for the Web. For example, the post you are reading right now was created by a content writer. But content isn’t only about articles and blog posts. Content writers work with many types of formats, including:
- Social media posts
- Web pages
- Blog Posts
- Product descriptions and labels
- Landing pages
- Sales scripts
- Press releases
- White papers
- Video Scripts
- Instruction manuals
Generally speaking, all the words you read on your device were written somewhere, at some time, by a content writer. So, if you have a knack for writing, it’s easy to see how breaking into this field might be easier than you think.
How Much Can I Make as a Content Writer?
According to Payscale, the typical pay range for content writers is between $32,000 and $73,000 annually, with the average earnings hovering around $48,000. However, since there are so many different types of content, it’s almost impossible to determine how much you, as an individual, might make.
For example, you might work as a content writer for an organization and secure an hourly wage plus benefits, or you might choose freelance writing and set your own prices. However, it’s safe to say that if you genuinely enjoy writing and want to make money online, the sky’s the limit.
How Can I Get Started as a Content Writer?
As discussed above, there are many different ways to create content for cash. However, you’ll need to do a little legwork to get started. Luckily, we’ve got ten suggestions to help you make money as a content writer.
Work at a content mill
Content mills don’t actually call themselves content mills. This term is slang for companies that employ freelance writers to churn out as much content as possible for their clients. General, there is a low barrier for entry, and the pay is pretty dismal.
However, there are some advantages to starting your writing career at a content mill. First, this type of site can help you get your foot in the door and explore what you are capable of. And although the pay is low, you can think of it as getting paid to learn. Additionally, reputable content mills pay on time each week, so they offer a way to make a little money writing as you learn the ropes. For more information, check out Writer Access, Zerys, or Textbroker.com.
Join Freelancing Platforms
This tip is similar to working for a content mill, except the pay is generally a little more substantial. In essence, it’s the next step up. If you’re working for peanuts and ready to start making a little more money, Freelance job boards like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr are great places to start.
You’ll be competing with many other writers, so you’ll want to apply for a lot of writing projects to increase your odds of landing one. Be sure to fill out your profile thoroughly on these sites to make it easy for clients to find you.
Try Your Hand at Copywriting
Copywriting is similar to content writing, except that the content you write is typically intended to persuade or promote. One could say it’s a branch of marketing, since this type of content writing is done with the idea of getting the reader or audience to take action, such as clicking a link, making a purchase, donating to a cause, signing up for a newsletter, etc.
One of the most successful copywriters on the Web is Peter Bowerman, who wrote The Well-Fed Writer. He also has a website and newsletter chock full of free resources for those who are curious about copywriting.
Search Job Boards
The Web is full of content. Someone has to write all those words, so why shouldn’t it be you? Many Website owners create a lot of their own content, but others don’t have time and often use classified ads to hire freelance writers.
Look on job boards like Flexjobs, ProBlogger, or even Craigslist to score one of these writing positions. Of course, you’ll want to be sure to put together a portfolio of your work beforehand to impress your potential clients with your skills.
Write Social Media Content
Social Media has become more and more critical to a company’s success, and nearly all major organizations have a social media presence. However, it can be challenging to keep up with all those posts, tweets, and stories, especially when a company is expected to have an account with more than one platform.
That’s why many organizations hire writers to help with social media content. In this position, you would be writing posts, stories, and tweets to keep potential customers engaged with frequent interaction. If social media is your thing, this fast-paced writing job might be ideal.
Write Guest Posts
You probably have a few websites or blogs you regularly visit that are related to your personal interests. If you have a great idea for a story and feel you can match the quality of the writing on the site, why not pitch the owner a guest post? Of course, they might say no, but there’s also a chance you’ll get a yes.
If you do pitch a guest post, make sure you communicate your expectations about compensation from the beginning, so you actually get paid. Alternatively, if you’ve not done much writing for the Web, you could write guest posts as a freebie in exchange for permission to use them in your portfolio.
Make Money as a Technical Writer
Technical writers are always in high demand. This role involves tasks such as writing directions for installation, instruction manuals, case studies, pitch decks, white papers, and more.
If you know how to take complex ideas and break them into easy to understand language, this could be a lucrative gig for you. One of the best ways to break into technical content writing is to take some free technical writing courses on Google Developer. Then, when you’re ready, you can check out Google Career and perform a search for technical writing jobs.
Self-Publish Your Own Book
Nobody ever said you need to write for someone else. If you have a good idea for a story or topic, you can try your hand at self-publishing. Amazon makes the process very easy, and you can sell either digital or print copies of your book.
You might want to choose a genre that has not been overdone, and you’ll need to do a lot of promotion. However, in the end, there’s nothing that beats the feeling of being a published author.
Become a Ghostwriter
When people have an excellent idea for a book but no talent for writing, they turn to ghostwriters. This type of content writing involves determining what your client wants and writing their content for them.
Ghostwriting can be very lucrative if you price it correctly. The primary downside to ghostwriting is that you do all the work, and someone else gets all the credit. However, if you can stomach it, ghostwriting can be fairly lucrative.
Start Your Own Content Writing Business
Rather than enroll at an agency or join a writing platform, you could begin your own content writing business. If you have a particular writing niche, start reaching out to those in your industry who might be interested in your writing services.
You’ll probably want to have a website where you advertise your content services, and you will need a portfolio of some of your best work to show to clients. Of course, as an independent content writer, you’ll need to do all your own pitching, invoicing, and budgeting, but if you have your mind set on entrepreneurship, this option might make the most sense for you.