Content writing is the production of written copy for the web. This primarily means producing blog posts and articles for websites, but it can also include writing marketing copy, white papers, informational pages, and social media posts.
How Content Writers Work
Most content writers work from home. Some seek out freelance clients on their own, booking content writing gigs one at a time. Others work for content mills or ad firms that send them tasks in bulk to complete on a deadline or make a list of tasks available for all the crowdsourced content writers on the site to claim and complete. Eventually, most content writers branch out and have a variety of different clients, including some combination of mills, agencies, and personal connections.
Sometimes a content writer gets detailed instructions from a client or pre-written copy that needs to be reworked into something the company can be proud of. Other gigs, all the content writer gets is a title and a few keywords, so extensive research is necessary before the writing can begin.
Focus on the Audience
When it comes to successful content writing, the audience is everything. If you aren’t speaking to the intended audience of the site, you’re failing at content writing. The audience also entirely depends on the site- so it could be women looking for medical information, parents buying gifts for a child, scientists seeking out assay protocols, or teenagers looking for the latest celebrity gossip. Each site is different, and a successful content writer either picks a specialty or becomes really good at adapting to a wide range of site types.
Becoming a Successful Content Writer
Success at content writing isn’t about producing pretty prose.Speed, accuracy, and an ability to direct the focus on the readers of the site are much more important than your ability to turn a phrase. Good grammar is essential, as is an ability to research efficiently.
Another thing content writers need to understand is SEO (search engine optimization.) Web writers need to add appropriate keywords and produce unique content that will appear high in search engine rankings. Content that no one can find isn’t worth much, while content writers who can consistently produce articles or posts that appear first in search results can make lots of money from companies trying to attract clients and customers.
How Much Money Do Content Writers Make?
The income potential for content writing depends on the specific specialization and how much effort you put into it. Some content writers make thousands of dollars a month, especially those with private clients and a vast network of agencies they work for. Others do it as a hobby, filling in their income gaps with a few hundred dollars a month from writing product descriptions or blog posts. Having plenty of different clients helps ensure a steady stream of work. Many people who have failed at content writing did so because they focused solely on one site or client and became gigless when that client closed up shop. There are many tales of people who were once successful at Demand Studios, Break Studios, Suite 101, or other sites but who suddenly saw their income drop from over $2000 per month to nothing as those places failed.
As with any gig, content writing works best when you build up your client base over time. The longer you work as a content writer, the more skills you’ll gain and the more connections you’ll make. Former clients will contact you with new gigs, people you know will share your info with others who need content, and people you’ve previously been on writing teams with might recommend you for teams they join at a different site.