Jamie is a freelance SEO content writer. She writes for a large publisher in 6 verticals, and freelance work on the side.
What is The Future Of Content Writing? Can You Find Jobs?
When people hear someone's trying to make it as a writer, they tend to jump to the stereotype of the crazy creative. Someone who stays up all night working on a novel, chain-smoking to stay awake. Muttering to themselves as they frantically edit, rewrite, throw away, start again, and finally emerge with the book they birthed, eyes squinting against the sun they haven't seen in weeks.
I mean, that's all well and good. I love a crazy writer as much as anybody else. But what about those of us who enjoy writing - who are good at writing - but aren't quite at that "die for our craft" level?
We just want to write funny little shorts, perhaps, or explain where the root of a word originated from. We want to get paid, every day, to write simple things - for us, the goal is low-risk, low-reward. We don't want to starve for 8 months while we slave over our magnum opus. We want our weekly paycheck - to be a writer, but in a more traditional 9-5 way.
Believe it or not, this exists. If you're intrigued, let me start by saying you're not alone. I spent all of high school hearing that I should be a writer, something I promptly dismissed because I wasn't interested in spending the rest of my life eating Ramen. Of course, "rest of my life" might be a bit of an exaggeration since they'd eventually find my body on a dirty mattress in an abandoned warehouse sometime around 40 anyway.
When I discovered content writing, and that people would pay me to work "normal" hours writing like everyone else, it was a game-changer. So I'm here to give you the deets on what being a content writer is like, for people considering the change.
What Is Content Writing?
Content writing is, as it sounds, writing content. Plenty of websites exist now - for example, a bank might want a writer to explain the different kinds of rates for mortgages. You assume that a banker wrote it, but actually, it was probably a content writer.
Now more than ever, people turn to the internet for answers to their questions. By having an article that provides that answer, sites can drum up internet traffic. Think about how often you type something into Google and end up on a site you never heard of, just because they have the article you want to read?
Some people want specially qualified writers - for example, a bank might want their writer to have a banking background. But there's plenty of jobs where no specific history or background is required.
The biggest key in being good at the job is simply being able to do good internet research. You don't have to know all about mortgages to write about them - you just need to know how to find out. Maybe most importantly, you need to be able to tell a good source from a bad one.
If you can quickly sort through information, determine what's important, and show good common sense regarding your sources, you can be an excellent content writer.
What Is The Future Of Content Writing?
Most people agree that content writing is only going up. It's not going to be the highest paying job you could get, but it's pretty steady and there are lots available. Compared to other freelance jobs where you can spend long periods in a 'drought', that hasn't been my experience as a writer.
Again, the internet has made it so that that the written word is very valuable. How much can you do on the internet, without reading? Sites everywhere need content. and a lot of people aren't comfortable doing their own writing. That's where you come in.
How To Be A Good Content Writer
If you want to do this, there's enough work that you can find an area to specialize in. I'm not saying you won't ever have to write other topics. But what I am saying is that having an area you are known for is going to help you long-term.
You can be a content writer just to pay the bills for a year or two, sure. But if you want to be a writer, and content writing is going to help you get started, set yourself up in the field you want to be in.
Establish yourself as a movie reviewer, or a fashion expert. Someday, you'll have a writing portfolio worth showing off when your ideal job comes along. Better than a random mash of "I just write about anything".
Of course, even a fashion writer might have to spend some time writing about how to lay laminate flooring. That's fine, get your money for the week. Just don't add that to your portfolio, and make sure you keep building relevant articles to support your future credibility.
My other advice is to continue learning how to be good at research. You want to get it so that you can do it fast, without missing anything important. That's a skill - learn it.
And finally, take time to develop a voice. If someone's hiring you to write, you need to make it interesting. If it's going to be a boring and barely legible list of facts, they could do that themselves.
They're paying you to make it GOOD. It's not always appropriate to be funny - a serious article isn't a place for jokes. But you always need an interesting voice and an ability to retell things in a logical order that keeps people's attention.
Where To Find Content Writing Jobs?
Content writing jobs are all over the internet. Avoid freelance sites like Fiverr where you have to bid on each and every job. It might be great for other kinds of work, but it's not very useful as a content writer.
There are so many other resources to use specifically for content writers, where you can start a relationship with websites/businesses that are going to hopefully keep using you. Setting the groundwork with these companies helps in the long run. If this is meant to be a steady job for you, networking matters - and that was something I never felt was happening at those "bid for a job" sites.
Instead, try decent sites like www.problogger.com or LinkedIn. Problogger is great because their job board usually has recurring work - someone hiring who will need 3-5 articles a week for the next 6 months, for example. Collect enough of these jobs and yes, you can actually make a career as a writer.
Be aware that you want to search for content writing jobs - copywriting is something different and you almost always need more than entry-level skills for copywriting.
Most jobs want to hire someone who doesn't need to be taught. Since they don't want to teach you, I'm here. In my continuing articles, I'll explain everything you need to do so that you can impress content sites with your work.
For the next article in this series, please continue to:
Jamie Dixon (author) from Pennsylvania on October 03, 2021:
Thanks for the note, I fixed the formatting to remove the repeat.
The sites I listed are for content writers. You might have luck with Fiverr for what you do, but I maintain my opinion that they are a poor source for content writers. There are sites with no fees and steady work without the constant "bidding".
Since you're not a content writer, I can't speak to what you do. Perhaps for you, it is the best source for the jobs you're trying to find. My experience for content writing jobs was that it wasn't worth it.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 03, 2021:
Good advice, however you have repeated two of the paragraphs:
“Where to Find Content Writing Jobs”
“What’s a Good Content Writing Cost Per Word.”
You also say, “ Don't bother with crappy freelance sites like Fiverr - they pay nothing, it's not worth it..”
I am a freelance writer on Fiverr (not specifically content writing) and I charge 10 cents per word and have as much work as I can handle. So it isn’t accurate to say they pay nothing, (though all freelancing sites do take a percentage commission.) Thanks for sharing.