Lots of people think because they can string a sentence together or write comment after comment on Facebook then they have what it takes to become a content writer. This simply isn’t true and whilst being able to put words on the Interest does stand you in good stead it is most definitely not the be all and end all of being a content writer. There is a lot to consider, a lot of managerial issues and a lot of self-motivation needed.
Given a subject a would-be writer is well versed in, sure, they could probably open up their laptop and churn out a relatively well written, well thought out 1000 word piece. No issues, job done. But the second article will be a lot harder. The third one will be even harder than that and doing them consecutively one after the other in a single day will be even harder still. And that’s just on subjects you’re familiar with. When you’re on your 10th article of the day and it’s surrounding a subject you know absolutely nothing about – that’s when you start to struggle and you’ll really know whether you have what it takes to churn out a living writing content.
With all that said, it shouldn’t stop you giving it a go and nobody knows in advance as to whether they’ll cut it as a content writer. So below I’m going to give you some pointers and considerations regarding content writing in general should you decide to take the plunge.
When you first start out, this is the most challenging aspect. Finding a job. Obviously there are a lot of established writers out there and even more who are just giving it a go as they want to make an extra £50 on the side before weekend. These types will come and go, frequently but if you stick it out long enough I guarantee in a relatively short space of time you’ll have enough of a regular client base to never actually need to go off actively seeking new work.
As to where you can find clients, the various webmaster forms around the web are a good place to start. Or you can use the freelance marketplaces such as UpWork, PeoplePerHour or Freelancer. There are also writer-specific services like Textbroker where you can literally guarantee yourself a client within a mere couple of hours. Just make sure you don’t take on too much at once as the goal always need to be to satisfy the client to generate future/regular work – no client ever needs only one article – and you’re not going to land such business if you’re missing deadlines due to taking on too much.
This probably goes without saying but you need somewhere quiet and peaceful to write. Try doing it in busy locations or even with your family around you at home and you’re going to find it a struggle after an article or two. You should also change your locations frequently too. If you’re feeling tired mid-way through your tasks, most of the time simply relocating to a different room is enough to liven you up. Some freelancers work different days in different locations to keep things fresh and speaking from experience it really does help.
Don’t get too hung up on your word per minute ratios. Far too many writers set targets to complete X words in an hour and so on but it just leads to two things. A ton of stress for you and a crappy article for the client. It doesn’t work. Don’t set targets, at all, just know what you need to do and when you need to do it by and do it at a speed which suits you. Let the words flow naturally, don’t think about counts and targets and you’ll find the whole thing a lot less stressful with the added benefit of a beautifully written article at the end of it.
Choosing which subjects to write on is going to depend on your workload. Everyone has favorites that they love writing about (and those they equally hate). How much work you have on is going to determine as to whether or not you can pick and choose. If you need work/money, there will be times you need to take what is on the table, even if it’s not a favourable subject. However, if you’ve built up a significant client list you may be afforded the freedom to pick and choose a bit more.
Lots of writers target specific sectors to work in. For example if you like writing on technology you may target tech blogs etc by asking them if they’d like a monthly post produced. Enough of these and you’ll never have to write on boring/tedious subjects again!
The type of work you carry out will typically dictate your pricing structure. If you’re intending to produce regular, somewhat high quality single articles then you’ll be able to command a better price than churning out batches of 50 articles a time to be used for link building or similar.
All pricing is typically set on either a fixed cost per article or fixed cost per word. You can find writers as cheap as 0.01p per word right through to 10x that amount. The price really depends on your writing quality and it’s obviously going to be hard to compete with poorer countries at the lower end of those price points. But I guess it all depends on your personal situation. If you’re a fast writer even writing at the lower end of the price scale can generate a good income.
Short or Long Form Content
In the past, short, 500 word article were all the rage and you had writers in contention who could literally knock out 50 of them a day with no issue. These days though there is less demand for these quick and easy articles with people favouring substance and quality over total.
Long form content is the preferred choice of most with most articles expecting to come in over 2000 words or more – some even as much as 5000 words but again it primarily depends on your client demands and of course the style you’re comfortable writing in.
With each client you land, the goal has to be to retain them for regular, on going work. This is something all writers should strive to achieve but few do. And it’s rarely about content quality, it’s pretty much always because of issues with delivery. Even if you have days where your work isn’t of the best quality, providing you’re meeting your deadlines you’ll live to fight another day. But miss deadlines and it will surely lead to the end of your relationship with your client.
This industry may well be new to you and you might think the client is being unreasonable by not allowing more time but if they’re even remotely experienced themselves in hiring freelance help it will be an issue they’ve encountered a number of times. Don’t become another writer on a client blacklist.
Are you ready?
If you can get your head around the above you’ll be well on your way to becoming a writer. In truth, the freedom and opportunity that comes with being a freelance writer is so rewarding that it’s worth suffering the occasional horrible subject or the odd condescending client. It comes with the territory. Just relax and enjoy the writing. Don’t treat it as work and don’t stress yourself too much over getting it perfect. A good, natural flowing article will always trump something bland and robotic – but all that comes with experience.