Content Writer Job: 8 Things You Need To Know
Are you new to the world of content writing? Are you still exploring your options, wondering if you are up to the task or if this career choice is even worth the try?
If the answer is yes, and you are still struggling to build a portfolio, set competitive rates, or find a content writer job - this article is for you. Keep on reading to dive into the depths of the freelance content writing profession. We have the answers to all your questions.
Professional Advice for Content Writer Enthusiasts
Whether you are looking for a stable content writer job or you are willing to savor the freelancer life, some advice from the heart of the industry could only push you forward.
In any case, our first pro tip is to start writing website content, blog posts, and social media copy as a contractor. That’s at least until you get a hold of the best practices in the field, find the best content writing and SEO tools, and build a remarkable portfolio.
There are many advantages to becoming a freelance content writer, so here is everything you need to know before you get on with it:
1. Work from Anywhere, Anytime
Remote work is no longer a taboo topic and is kind of “the new normal”. Content writing is a full-on digital job that can be done anywhere and anytime, as long as all deadlines are met. When you think about it, there is not a single reason to get stuck in a corporate office for a content writer job.
There are many coworking spaces and freelancer-friendly cafes that will gladly welcome you and your laptop when you need a change of scenery and you are tired of working from home. And if you are traveling but have to catch up on your projects, you can even work from your hotel room, or as long as there is Wi-Fi available even from the pool or the beach.
This is a great opportunity for those who seek remote work that pays off well. Having full control over your working environment surely increases productivity and places your well-being first.
2. All The Time in The World - Don't Waste It
A content writer's work is usually based on deadlines, without a 9-5 restriction. With that in mind, you need to figure out how much time it takes you to finish a content writing task. As well as what volume of work you can handle for a certain period (a day, a week or a month). That way, you could plan your working span wisely and avoid taking on new projects that will overload you and burn you out.
The freedom of making your own schedule and the flexibility to choose your projects allows you to have control over your working hours and your days off. This is amazing because you get to have the work-life balance that best corresponds with your desired lifestyle and emotional comfort needs. Of course, you need to take your content writer job seriously and not waste the time you have.
3. Skills & Knowledge
To excel at a content writer job you need to have certain skills and relevant knowledge of the industry’s best practices. But how do you get the expertise and mastery? Let’s get into it.
For the knowledge part, our advice is to concentrate on learning about SEO (search engine optimization), keywords, readability scales, article structures, headline structures, writing styles, title formatting, as well as text and image attributes.
In addition, some of the skills every content writing professional should have are:
Strong writing skills
Basic technical knowledge
Ability to meet deadlines
Building these essential content writer skills starts with a dedication to educating yourself. You can learn and get better by taking courses, attending webinars and conferences, networking with digital experts, and reading books and other viable resources.
But having skills and an understanding on theory is not enough. You need practice and experience to become the best version of your professional self. In time, as your experience grows, you will see how confident and competent you will become when it comes to content writing. And you will have all the practical knowledge to back that confidence.
4. Relevant Rate
Many people who have taken on the content writer job do not know how much to charge. Nor how to set up a realistic writing rate.
> How to set up a content writing rate?
Some content writers overcharge, making promises that do not match their level of competence and experience. Others are quite good at what they do but they literally make less than minimum wage. And then there is the smallest tiniest percentage of content writers that charge what their time and expertise are worth for the market they operate in.
Here are a few tips on how to establish a rate that is not too high to scare prospects away, but not too low to belittle your hard work and dedication:
Research the local market and learn how much other content writers in the client’s area (country) are charging on average
Each country has a different standard of life, minimum wage, and currency, so you need to make sure your rates correspond with the local market and the service demand
Pay attention to how much time it takes you to complete a project on average, and base your word-count rate on that number
Consider how much you are paying for coworking, content writing software subscriptions, and other work-related expenses, and try to add a small extra fee (+$2 or $5) to the rate that will cover these costs in the long run
> How to charge your customers?
There are two ways to charge your content writing clients:
By the hour
Per number of words
Typically, most content writers prefer to charge per word, per project. This is also the preference of most clients because they don’t need to micromanage your working hours. Instead, they pay you for the job well done without ever questioning how much time you spent on the text.
With that in mind, figure out how much time it takes you to write 500 or 1000 words so that you can present clients with a good rate that does not leave you working the whole day for the bare minimum payment.
You may meet some professionals who charge by the hour, but they usually have 8+ years of expertise and lots of recommendations. In general, clients do not like to work with small freelancers and pay them by the hour. It is hard to manage an hourly workflow and they have to make sure you are not ripping them off by claiming to have worked more hours than you actually did.
> When is it OK to work for free as a content writer?
Nobody likes to work gratis. But sometimes to build a portfolio or keep a content writer job, you have to make free test articles or take on projects during a trial period. If you ask around, you might notice most content writers have started with “pro-bono” work just to have the experience.
That is a great way to establish yourself as a beginner content writer and build a portfolio worth sharing. If you have the time and motivation, you can contribute to almost any website or blog you want.
In addition, we have to mention that some digital experts like to do long-term free work for NPOs, charity and environmental organizations. It looks great on their resume, improves their reputation and actually allows them to make a difference in the world by using their writing talents.
5. Finding Initial Paying Clients
Another big challenge for inexperienced content and copywriters is finding their first clients. This is probably the most difficult thing to achieve because the field is flooded with content writing talent. And without those initial customers, you cannot take off in this career.
Check out these tips to help you get your first freelancing gig:
> Local Facebook groups
Search local Facebook groups for freelancers. Mixed groups for all kinds of freelancing services are better because you actually have a chance of finding serious paying clients and actually landing the job.
Avoid international Facebook groups for content writing services with more than 20K members. The competition there is absolutely ferocious. Every post is flooded with comments from people who are basically working for pennies and the clients get hundreds of private messages per post.
> Freelance websites
Alternatively, you can sign up for freelance hiring websites like Freelancer, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and Fiverr. These platforms are built to help content writers and other kinds of creative freelancers find single projects and contractor jobs.
The perks of using these websites are they allow you to display your portfolio and protect you from scammers, ensuring you get the money for the projects you landed. All invoicing, payments and communication is done through the platforms which make everything seamless and easier for the content writer.
However, there are a few cons to freelance websites, too. They are not means for a constant and stable income. Sometimes there would be work to do, other times not. You have no guarantee that a client is going to choose you to do a certain content writer job. Also, the competition is fierce. There are many other freelancers with more impressive portfolios than yours, hundreds of reviews, and finished jobs, as well as content creators who charge less to nothing.
> Word of mouth
Few things beat the power of personal recommendation. That’s why you have to be open and vocal about becoming a content writer. Tell your friends, boast about it on social media, and ask your acquaintances with businesses if they need this kind of service. Since your name is new to the writing field, you ought to be your own promoter and try to push your services and get people talking about you.
6. Acquiring New Customers
Feel free to use the same channels we mentioned in the previous point to acquire new clients. Find which method works better for you in the long term and stick to it. You can also try cold calls and sending tailored emails to the businesses that you have an interest in working with.
Moreover, ask your existing clients to leave you positive reviews on Google and social media. As well as recommend you to their friends and partners with businesses. That will boost your reputation as a valuable talent in the content writing field.
You can even think of an incentive for those who recommend you - discounts, referral rewards, or free content. As a result, you would have no trouble finding and keeping new customers.
7. Building a Portfolio
One of the biggest challenges for new content writers is building a portfolio. Without a portfolio it would be extremely hard to get new clients and get them to choose you over all the other content writers with more experience.
We already mentioned a few ways to create content for your portfolio (contribution programs, free work, paid projects). Now we have to talk about assembling these projects and actually “making” a portfolio. There are a few ways to present your work - portfolio website, presentation, list, and resume.
Presentations are professional and informative and can help you stand out, especially if you design them to be bold and eye-catching. Listing the projects with relevant links to them is also an option, it is quite basic but straight-to-the-point and you can do the list on Excel or Google Sheets. Alternatively, you can also add your top-tier articles and texts to your resume.
And even though any of these solutions would work, overall, creating a portfolio website is the best way to allure new clients and flaunt your projects and expertise. That is because everything about you, your professional journey, and your content writing projects are all in one place, with easy access from anywhere, anytime with a simple click.
You can add the website link to your business cards, in your CV, on your social media, or directly send it to potential clients who want to see some of your previous work.
8. Content Writing Software
Utilizing the right tools will make you a promising content writer. Professional software cannot replace creative writers (yet). But it can help them do everything even better.
With the proper tools, you can write better texts, improve their readability, avoid grammar and semantic errors, ensure authenticity, stop plagiarism, optimize your content for search engines and so much more. In fact, every experienced content creator uses software to deliver high-quality results.
Here are some of the essential must-have content writing tools VEEL Content recommends:
Grammarly - Autocorrect any grammar and semantic errors and improve the readability and writing style of your written content (Paid version)
Hemingway App - Easy-to-use software that allows you to vastly improve text readability. Any score from 1 to 5 means your content is readable. (Free)
TitleCase - Converts texts and headings into different case styles. (Free)
Wordtune - AI tool, perfect for creating catchy social media copy, rewriting texts, and paraphrasing. (Paid version)
Copyscape - The best plagiarism tool on the market, allows you to check the content originality and authenticity before publishing. (Paid version)
Yoast SEO - The best WordPress plugin for SEO content optimization with live comments on what to improve. If your site is built on another platform you can sill use this tool but you have to manually check your texts here. (Free version)
Of course, there are many alternatives to these software solutions. You are free to do your research to find the content writing tools that best fit your expectations, writing patterns, and work practices. You can benefit the most from tools that perform grammar and semantic checks, readability checks, plagiarism checks, and SEO content quality checks.
Opportunities for freelance content writers at VEEL Content
Our digital content agency is growing and we are continuously looking for writing talent. If you are looking for a long-term content writer job, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram (@veelcontent), where we usually post when new permanent positions are available.
If you can deliver top-notch articles on the topics of digital marketing, social media, design, branding, content management, and copywriting, we would like to invite you to contribute to our website. We will publish your work without taking credit for it. Needless to say, we will gladly link it to you and display your name on the blog post you write for us, so you can freely showcase it in your portfolio. Get in touch today by clicking the "CONTACT US" button at the top of the page.