Freelance writers have a lot of writing opportunities. One of the biggest resides in the…
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Have you ever thought of becoming a freelance content writer?
Content writing is a very popular way to earn freelance income. It can pay pretty decent money, and it’s also a freelance job a lot of people really enjoy.
Lots of content writers – also called article writers or content creators – create content only for their own business’s website. Many others write content not to publish on their own websites but for other freelancers, entrepreneurs and small businesses to publish on theirs.
Freelance article writers who write for others can have great job satisfaction. Imagine a writing client who says, “Your blog post helped us increase our conversion rate by 10%” or a user who comments on your post: “That was very useful, and I immediately followed your advice.”
I myself am a content creator and, although I’ve written for many online and print publications in the past, I currently only write here on my site World of Freelancers. So in order to get some up-to-date content writer tips, I spoke to a professional freelance content writer who gave me these tips for freelancing as a content writer.
But first, what is content writing?
Content writing is exactly what it sounds like – writing content. This content is typically published on the internet in the form of blog posts – also called articles or simply content.
This is not all that content writers create, though. They also write emails, social media posts, white papers and lots more.
Most content writers are freelancers. Many content writers don’t write for their own websites – they are hired by other freelancers, entrepreneurs or small businesses to create content for them.
Is a freelance content writer different from any other kind of freelance writer? Sort of. While anyone who creates written content is technically a content writer, the freelancers who call themselves content writers usually create content not for themselves but for other online publishers.
1. Develop your own unique content writing style
Putting yourself in another content writer’s shoes and trying to see things from their perspective is understandable, but it’s not a good way to begin freelance content writing.
As you research and write, you will run across a lot of content from writers who have an interesting and admirable writing style. It is okay to be motivated by their style, but don’t copy it. To be a successful freelance content writer, you need to develop your own sort of signature style of writing.
2. Do research
To be the best content writer you can be, you will need fresh content ideas regularly. Do frequent topic research to keep the ideas coming.
Use Evernote, or any other note-taking app for keeping track of all of your thoughts and research. Such apps give you the ability to organize and save everything you do. If you need to move on and do something else for a while, it will be very easy to pick right up where you left off.
3. Do not plagiarize
Whether you are a beginning content writer or you have lots of experience, you should always avoid plagiarism in your content. If detected, it not only interferes with the reader’s experience – it also negatively impacts your professional relationship with the publisher.
Never plagiarize anything. Any publisher who is considering publishing your content is probably using a plagiarism checker to detect content that has been published elsewhere on the internet. So any content that you submit which is plagiarized will not only probably not be published – it will damage your reputation simply because you submitted it.
If you are an agency or a content writer who has other freelance content writers working for you, be sure to use a plagiarism checker before submitting content to publishers.
4. Acknowledge and fix writer’s block
Every writer on earth reaches a point where they just can’t get into the groove of writing and then ends up struggling with writer’s block.
Don’t worry! Writer’s block is temporary.
There are so many ways to get yourself unstuck from this and start writing again.
First, like any problem – admit that you have a problem. You have encountered writer’s block. Admitting there is a problem the first step towards fixing it.
Don’t get stressed out about writer’s block. Remember that writing is a creative endeavor, not a mechanical function. You need to be in a good frame of mind in order to write well.
These tips for getting rid of writer’s block can help you unclog your mind and get back into the writing groove.
Writing prompts can also really help with moving back into the flow of writing, like these prompts to fix writer’s block.
5. Practice self care
Like with any type of job, it is not good to become a workaholic. Be careful with yourself. Work hard but don’t overwork.
Exercise, eat right, get enough sleep and engage in other enjoyable activities so you can have a balanced freelance life. This will not only help you feel better – it will help you think more clearly. You’ll be able to come up with more fresh ideas so that you’ll be the best content writer you can be.
6. Always keep the audience and the platform in mind
Write only for your specific audience and platform. Don’t mix up your writing with different audiences and topics, as it will complicate your content and can make it unclear.
For example, if you’re going to write an article for someone’s blog and they’ve also hired you to write social media posts promoting that article, don’t cut and paste from the blog post into the social media post in order to save time and effort.
Each type of content writing is different. For every piece of content that you create, make it unique – not only to the publisher for whom you are writing it but for the platform on which it is being published.
7. Write attention-getting headlines
Make your target audience the top priority in your content writing, including when composing your headlines.
Be sure to express the main question or the idea that you are trying to answer/clarify in your title. Also try to come up with a headline that is not only appropriate for the target audience but is attention getting as well.
Advanced Marketing Institute has an awesome free headline tool which you can use here. When using this tool, keep testing headlines until you come up with one that scores about 40% or more. WP Beginner has another great free headline writing tool right here.
8. Edit and revise
To be a good content writer, you need to be a merciless editorial director, especially in the event you outsource. It is said that a good content writer invests 75 percent of their energy in revising and editing what they’ve written.
Be sure to edit your first drafts completely before you present them. It will fundamentally reduce the back and forth between you and the publisher, and you can move on quickly to your next task.
Revising may not be any fun, but it is necessary and your efforts will be rewarded.
Fortunately, there are many different online and affordable tools which can help you polish your content. Especially if you are not a native of or fluent in the language you’re writing, you should use an app such as Grammarly to check your spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Also be sure to check your word count to ensure that you’ve written the agreed-upon number of words for your client.
Content writing is a very popular and really enjoyable way to earn money online by freelancing. If you’re good at writing and you enjoy it, you should absolutely get started as a content writer.
Interested in becoming a freelancer? Download my free ebook, How to Shift Your Mindset from 9-5 to Freelancing, here!
Sabina Lohr is a lifelong freelancer turned entrepreneur who created World of Freelancers to help others discover how to work for themselves online and live the freelance lifestyle. She’s always really enjoyed the freedom that freelancing brings, including several years on and off of working online while traveling and living abroad.