At some point in the career, thought about changing the career comes to the mind of many individuals. Well, work flexibility is one of the prominent reasons considered for an undertaking career transition. Hence content writing is one career that presents you with a great opportunity to build a rewarding career where you can assist companies in creating engaging content for the digital world and will offer unparalleled benefits some of which are mentioned below:
- Boosts creativity: To keep a visitor hooked to your article, you have to exhibit creativity which is an indispensable skill for the content writer. Hence, this challenge of keeping the audience engaged by incorporating interesting facts and figures and the style which tempts the reader to read the whole article will surely result in the rise in the enhancement of creative writing skills.
- Improve your linguistic abilities: The more you write in a particular language, the more proficient you become. The main aim of content writing is to express the information in simple vocabulary so that a wide range of audiences can understand the write-up.
- Up-gradation of research skills: Researching is the preliminary step to generate content on various topics. Before writing, a person goes through numerous articles on the web looking for relevant information. Researching efficiently will result in discovering new trends thus adding more value to the article related to a particular niche. Ultimately, the more you research the better content you deliver. This skill gradually increases over the passage of time.
Furthermore, the demand for content high-quality content is on the rise so it’s the right time to get started in this domain and reap rich monetary dividends.
Let us understand the meaning of content before shifting the focus towards the process of becoming a content writer.
Content: The definition.
‘Content’ has become a buzzword these days. It is defined as the information that helps in persuading, motivating, convincing, informing, and entertaining the readers/viewers/etc. Value is an attribute that defines good quality content.
Content writing is all about providing solutions to various problems faced by a particular audience. Assisting them will help you gain trust which is instrumental for your brand.
Here are the steps required to become a content writer:
Content writers are either generalists or specialists.
Generalists tend to write content on a variety of topics. They may write about healthy lifestyle habits in the first week and in the second week they might be writing articles for a cycling blog. Hence, they cover a diverse range of domains.
Specialists, on the contrary, concentrate on a single topic which is their ‘niche’. They write articles for websites and blogs that deal with their area of expertise.
In the content writing domain, a NICHE is a specific area, topic, or sector which a person specializes in writing about.
Having a niche is highly beneficial as it is a great way to make money by writing about a topic you are passionate about and attract an audience. Let us take a look at the steps involved in the process of determining your ideal writing niche.
Step 1: Figure out the area of expertise
Firstly, start by asking yourself a question: What the domain or area you have above-average knowledge or experience about? You can derive the answer by relating to your current job or profession or maybe the previous one. Whatsoever your writing topic maybe, there will be a market for it.
|Suppose, you are employed as a gym trainer then you would possess ample knowledge about healthy lifestyle and bodybuilding.|
Step 2: Figure out what you love to write about
After determining your writing domain, the next step is to consider the specific topic in that particular field to write about.
|Let us understand this with our previous example. You were a fitness trainer who has switched to freelance writing and is passionate about bodybuilding. So you’ll only be focused on different aspects of building muscles rather than Fitness as a whole.|
Step 3: Research the market & the opportunities
Browse on the internet for the blogs, websites, and businesses that might pay you for writing in your particular niche so as to make sure there is actually work available in your particular area of specialization/passion.
If you are unable to find out an ample number of opportunities regarding your subject and getting paid for it then you need to broaden your niche to appeal to a wider market.
Step 4: Identify the overlapping areas
To get more opportunities a freelance writer can expand their niche to be more general and cater to general topics in the industry along with the specific ones. Don’t be limited to your niche alone. You can devote your time to write related topics on general fitness (as per the example) alongside your niche.
|The domain of expertise+ Specific topic within that domain+ Potential opportunity in the market=|
Your writing niche
These are one of the most profitable writing niches:
- Technical writing: This type of writing deals with the topics related to technology such as software development in various computer languages. As these topics require an in-depth knowledge of the technical aspects which should be written in a simple way for a common person to understand, therefore, the remuneration is among the highest in the industry. Topics include web development, Artificial intelligence, supply chain, and many more.
- SEO writing: Digital marketing has provided with another profitable niche to freelance writers in recent years. Writers in this category focus on SEO and work in tandem with the marketing team to create a wide variety of content that includes landing pages, sales pages, and blogs for the client’s target audience.
- Financial writing: This is an industry where you will be paid well for the high-quality content generated. There are plethora of topics covered in this niche including personal finance, credit/debit cards, Insurance plans, and taxes.
- Ghostwriting: If you want to create content for others without having your name attached to the final article, this domain is the most suited for you. This industry tempts writers who want to stay anonymous with lucrative opportunities of high premiums. These kinds of pf projects include lots of pages and hours of work.
- Building a portfolio
After finalizing your niche, the next step is to attain credibility before you actually start earning money.
A portfolio is the first thing that a prospective client would want to see. This is the stage where the majority of the people give up due to the fact that persons are writing without any monetary returns. However, this step is indispensable in your journey towards becoming a content writer.
Being a new content writer, a portfolio is one of the ways to build trust.
For building a portfolio you can make use of the following websites:
- Journo portfolio
Things to include in your writing portfolio
- 10-20 sample writings: A few writing samples must be included in your portfolio to exhibit the writing talent and your technical know-how to the potential clients.
- Biography: A brief description about yourself should be provided.
- Social media links: Being a freelance writer, highlight your online presence with the help of links to your profiles on various social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. This is helpful in building authority, credibility and provides a sense of confidence to potential customers.
- Recommendations: A number of reviews and recommendations are included in the portfolio of successful writers. Moreover, these reviews also aid the prospective client to trust you for the project.
- Build a blog
Creating a blog enables a content writer to build authority which in turn attracts new clients that will also pay you well. Use your blog as a tool to exhibit your writing capabilities and expertise.
These days, it’s easy to build a blog via plenty of online resources available on the internet. For beginners, you can start with a FREE blog on WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Medium, and Blogger.
Steps to create a blog:
- Pick a suitable niche and a name: As discussed earlier, the niche is a particular target market that you want to cater to. Make sure that the topic you choose has an ample number of people searching for the topics related to your niche on the internet.
For naming your blog you can choose any name (even your own name).
- Selecting the blogging platform: There are various blogging sites to choose from but for the serious bloggers WordPress.org is highly recommended.
- The domain name and hosting: A domain name is simply the name of your blog/website. It is the address of your blog on the internet. There are a host of domain name providers like GoDaddy, Hostgator to choose from.
Choosing web hosting is a crucial step for your blog as it acts as a foundation for an effective blog. You can choose to purchase web hosting from different platforms.
- Design and maintenance: Nowadays, the knowledge of web designing is not required to formulate the design and the blog layout as platforms like WordPress come with various inbuilt free themes that have diverse templates and color schemes to choose from. You can personalize the theme according to your taste.
- Install the must-have and other plug-ins: Give your blog an extra edge by installing plugins such as Google analytics, Elementor, Yoast SEO, etc.
- Research, write and share: Read on your subject, start writing, sharing, and engaging with your followers on your blog.
- Acquire better research skills
Without proper research, a content writer who attempts to write articles is termed as lazy. For better ideas, structure, and insightful write-ups research is the key. These days the internet has provided us with a great deal of information on diverse topics that can be accessed easily to enhance our knowledge and to be a better writer. It is advisable to read a lot of articles based on your topic before starting with the writing part.
Tips to become a better researcher:
- Gain a thorough knowledge of the context i.e. the purpose of your writing, target audience, format, and expertise level.
- When researching for the content online, look for the following components of the trustworthy content.
- Simplicity: The content written must be easy to understand so that you can understand the facts and the information correctly and deliver value to your audience as well.
- Depth: In addition to the simplicity, the content sources should possess adequate depth for the coverage of the topic. The depth may vary with the type of topic.
- Breadth: is defined as the ability of the writer to associate the topic discussed with other relatable topics. It includes storytelling(Use of examples), references, and the usage of analogies.
- Relevance: Reading relevant articles will help you enormously to update your knowledge before creating effective content. If you are unable to find a sufficient amount of relevant content online, it is better to change the writing topic.
- Insight: Are you able to think of simple ideas but with a new perspective by reading the content form a particular website or a blog? If yes, then you are bestowed with a fresh insight into the chosen topic.
- Visit the best sources by checking the domain authority. Use tools like Moz, Buzzsumo, Hubspot, etc. to get the best content as these sources have research teams to produce quality content that has been verified many times before being posted.
- Stick to the top search results on Google to find relevant and quality content.
- Join a content writing course
To gain the required knowledge of the technical aspects involved in writing effective content and to delve deeper into this lucrative domain, you should consider joining a content writing course from a well-known provider. Nowadays, there numerous content writing online courses offered by various institutes that can be availed by a person irrespective of the geographical location.
There are a few things to do before choosing the content writing course:
- Go through the course content by visiting the websites of different institutes and look for the various skills that will be taught. An ideal content writing course imparts various kinds of skills ranging from language, website making, keyword planning to the technical ones such as SEO and keyword research.
- Check the course charges and the duration.
- Look for the tools and the facilities provided to the learners
- Check for the facilities provided after the completion of the course i.e. the live projects for practical exposure and the internships to practice the skills gained during the course. Also, read about the job and freelancing opportunities after the successful completion of the course.
- Write and share
Make sure to make your posts public to build confidence, build a sound portfolio, and gain visibility.
Few tips for publishing your articles:
- Share the post across your social media platforms i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Add the article link to your portfolio and LinkedIn profile.
- Evaluate the multiple blogging platforms and choose the best suited for you.
- Share other writers’ content and in turn, they will reciprocate the favor. Sharing is a two-way street after all.
- Get rid of distractions
These days, there are many distractions that hinder our progress especially in the tasks that involve a high degree of concentration. Never write and edit the articles simultaneously because you lose momentum while carrying out both of the activities together.
Tips to increase your writing pace
- Write in the morning when your brain is fresh and alert.
- Don’t go back for editing the typos, formats, and rectifying the grammatical errors.
- Keep a notepad to write down the editing tasks or any distractions you want to deal with later.
- Write for 45 minutes and take a break for the next 15 minutes.
- Listen to instrumental music to keep you focused while working.
- Disable all the notifications of your laptop as well as your mobile phone before starting to write.
- Edit carefully
Editing is as important as writing for becoming a successful content writer. A poorly edited write-up with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes can prove detrimental to the chances of retaining the client.
Successful writers spend the majority of time in proofreading and editing their work, Hence, don not skip proofreading before submitting your draft to eliminate the errors.
Steps to develop editing skills:
- Read the document loudly. This is an effective way to identify the mistakes and the usage of inappropriate words.
- Begin reading the text from the end.
- Create an editing checklist and eliminate each type of error one by one. For instance, begin by correcting spelling mistakes first and then focus on grammatical errors and so on.
- Use online editing tools such as Grammarly.
- Join internship programs
After completing your content writing program, the technique and skills you learn alone will not make you an industry-ready content writer. For exposing yourself top the content writing industry you ought to grab an internship opportunity to avail the following benefits:
- To sharpen your skills as a writer: In the course, you have acquired the basic skill set required for content writing, but what about sharpening those skills? It will only happen through an internship where a person can apply the concepts learned during the course on real-life projects and polish researching, writing, SEO, Web development, and editing skills.
- Becoming industry ready: While interning, you will work on the various practical projects. Thus, getting acquainted with the requirements and the demands of the content writing domain. After applying the concepts and getting invaluable inputs from your mentor, you will be confident enough to write continent as a professional content writer and apply for a job or start freelancing.
- Establish connections: It is imperative to be connected to the experts in the industry to grab work-related projects and opportunities in the future, this task seems difficult to do on your own. Hence, through an internship, you will be able to make connections and grow in the field of content writing.
- A recruitment tool: Employers offer internship roles to gauge the potential of the students whether they are fit to become a part of their team professionally. So, after you prove your mettle in an internship, there will be no dearth of job opportunities.
- Build your network
By developing your contacts with other likeminded people in your domain, you open doors to more work opportunities, create an ecosystem for sharing ideas, enhancing your visibility, and earn more money. Whether you want to be a freelancer or want to grab a job as a content writer, networking is the key.
Employ these tactics to create and expand your network:
- Join groups and communities and forums on social media: There is no shortage of groups on social networking sites such as Facebook for content writers. Join them to view the requirements that people post for content related work. Keep an eye on the posts and send them your proposal (or pitch). There are various forums on the internet that you can be a part of such as writer café, Freelance writers den to name a few. You can discover the peers in your niche.
- Participate in Webinars: Experts from the content writing industry regularly hold webinars to discuss the topics and issues related to this industry. I also attended a webinar focusing on the mistakes that freelance content writers make. During the webinar, I had the privilege to listen to the views of expert writers and ask questions. Also, participate in workshops to have extensive knowledge about the latest trends and buzz in the industry, and to increase your relevance is this domain.
- Set up your LinkedIn profile: You ignore this platform then you are missing out on the golden opportunity to get in touch with other writers and from your prospective clients.
The first thing you should do is to create a well detailed LinkedIn profile.
Next, optimize your profile and place keywords in your title and your description because LinkedIn also acts as a search engine where companies are looking for people with certain skill sets, make sure you show up. Don’t overuse the keywords though.
- Apply for job openings in firms
Keep checking the various job portals for the vacancies for full-time content writers. Companies may first hire you as a freelancer then on the basis of your work you can become their full-time employee but as a freelancer.
Digital marketing and advertising agencies are often looking for writers hence, contact the right person in these agencies and pitch your services.
Hence, like other good things, becoming a content writer takes time. Therefore, enjoy the learning curve.
Avid readers become better writers.
More learning will result in better understanding.
Write more for a better flow.
At last, you can start working for others as a content writer until you reach a glass ceiling. After that, you can choose the path of freelancing and setting the price for each word you write.
Describe your journey as a content writer in the comments section.