Want to become a content writer?
The truth is that starting out as a freelance content writer can be confusing and overwhelming. You have no idea what steps you should take to get your business off the ground (or even where to start).
But becoming a freelance content writer isn’t as hard as you think. All you really need is-
- Services to sell
- The right process/tools
- AND clients
In this blog, you’ll learn everything you need to become a content writer using the exact process I’ve used over the last 5+ years.
Let’s jump in!
What Is A Content Writer?
A content writer specializes in producing relevant, engaging written content for the web.
They are responsible for creating original content that helps businesses grow their online presence. That means that content writing comes in many different forms and is used for many different purposes.
It’s common for content writers to work with other freelancers, such as graphic designers, web developers, SEO experts and more. As a content writer, you must be prepared to work with others to create the best content possible.
What Does A Content Writer Do?
Think of a content writer as a “pen for hire”.
Content writers create content to help expand their client’s presence online.
You exchange your words for money. Successful writers ultimately get a brief of a client’s needs and then write content to meet that brief.
Freelance content writers produce content on a wide range of subjects and are responsible for creating the best possible written content – from blog posts to press releases.
The big secret is that most people don’t like writing (or they suck at it).
That’s why there is such a big demand for quality content writers. Think about it…
Next time you are online, just take a minute to look at all the written content on the web. All of that writing is “content”. The bottom line is that content is in everything – especially when it comes to marketing.
You can become a high-paid, 6-figure content writer. You just need to have the right process.
How To Become A Content Writer (That Earns 6+ Figures)
Ready to learn how to become a content writer?
It’s not as complicated as you might think. These are 5 steps you need to take.
1. Find Your Specialty Niche
The first step to becoming a content writer is to find your niche.
In the beginning, I recommend starting with just one niche. For example, you might choose to be a content writer in the fitness niche. That means you could have clients who are:
- Fitness coaches
- And more
But the most important thing is that they are all in the same general industry.
Why be so specific?
You will write better content if you become a specialist. And it’s difficult to be a specialist in multiple industries.
Now that doesn’t mean you can’t have multiple niches later.
But to start with, just choose one. Answer these 3 questions to help define your niche:
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you know more about than anyone else?
- What industry audience could service really well?
If you are like most people, the answers to the above questions will be related to at least one similar industry.
This is the industry to focus on!
2. Define Your Services & Prices
Now that you know your niche, it’s time to start thinking about your services and prices.
Don’t get overwhelmed here. You just need to answer these 2 questions:
- What kind of content do you offer?
- How much do you charge for that content?
Let’s start with the first question…
What content services do you offer?
There are tons of different content services to choose from:
- Articles and blog posts
- Website content
- White papers
- Lead magnets
- Press releases
- Social media posts
- Product descriptions
- Technical writing
The list goes on and on. But the key to success is focussing on just one or two content services for the niche you chose above.
This means you will create the same types of content for each client and you won’t get overwhelmed. It will also allow you to take on more work and become a better content writer overall.
Specialist content writers get paid more. So become the best content writer for a specific service in your target niche.
How much do you charge?
There are two general pricing models to choose from:
- Pay per word – You charge a certain amount for each word you write
- Pay per project – You charge a certain amount for each project
For example, if you become an article writer, you could charge per article, or you could charge per word. I have successfully charged different clients using both pricing models.
If you’re starting out, I would define the price based on each project. If you have been writing for a while, you will probably earn more by charging per word.
To get an idea of how much you should charge, do a bit of research online. Check out places like Fiverr and see what different levels of sellers charge for your chosen service.
This will help you get an idea of what the “market rate” is based on your skill level. You can always adjust this later, but it’s a good place to start.
Not all content types are created equal.
You should charge more when working on a whitepaper vs. writing an article. Think of pricing in terms of the value that the client gets from your work.
This will stop you from undercharging.
Now, write down you’re chosen-
- Price per service
You have already formed the base of your new freelance content writing business. But before we move on, there is something we need to discuss first…
When To Increase Your Prices (And By How Much)
This is where most content writers get it wrong.
They set their price, get a few clients and continue to charge the same amount for years without ever increasing it.
Don’t get caught in this trap.
The truth is that if you want to become a 6-figure content writer you need to eventually charge premium prices for your content writing. Thankfully there is a simple way to know when to increase prices.
As soon as you have maximum work – Increase your prices.
Because you now have enough work that you need to start charging more. You might be thinking – “If I increase my prices won’t my current clients leave?”
Yes, some of them will and that’s good. If you continually keep your prices low for your clients, you will never really make enough money to thrive. You need to ensure that you are getting paid what you’re worth.
How much should you increase your prices by?
Whenever you do a price increase, I recommend increasing them by 30% to 50%. I know that sounds high, but it’s not.
Think about it…
If you increase your prices by 50% and half your clients leave, you still make the same amount of money while doing half the work. And you have created the capacity to do more work and ultimately make more money.
It really is that simple.
Follow this rule and even as a beginner content writer, you can reach 6+ figures within a year or two!
3. Create A Content Writing Portfolio
By now you have the bones of becoming a content writer.
But if you really want to succeed, you must have a world-class portfolio.
What does a portfolio do?
This is your chance to show off your very best work and prove that you are the best content writer prospective clients could hire.
Think about it…
Would you hire someone to do a job if you have no proof that they could actually do it?
Here are some tips for creating an amazing content writing portfolio:
- Have at least 3 pieces of work that you can send to clients
- Collect testimonials (ideally videos) from previous clients
- Create 2 case studies that display your work
Either create a website on Wix or Squarespace to display your portfolio or take advantage of a tool like Contra.
Every potential client will want to see your portfolio, so there is no excuse not to have one. What if you don’t have any previous clients to show work from?
Simple – Create some content.
If you are just starting out, contact some friends or family and offer to write content for them in exchange for-
- A video testimonial
- Permission to use that content in your portfolio
- Permission to write a case study on the content you created
All you need is 3 people to take you up on that offer. If you don’t want to work for free, try offering a discount. But make sure that you have a real portfolio that you can use.
Don’t have friends or family to help?
Offer to write content for a local business or post in a Facebook group with the same offer. Think outside the box and get creative.
Writing samples are a must.
4. Brand Yourself As A Content Writer
When it comes to branding yourself as a content writer, it’s important to think about what makes you unique.
What do you bring to the table that other writers don’t? How can you set yourself apart from the competition?
Your specialized service and chosen niche are excellent places to start.
Another way to brand yourself as a content writer is by developing a strong personal brand. This involves creating a recognizable logo, tagline, and overall look and feel that represents who you are as a writer.
Use free tools like:
- Coolers – choose your brand colors
- Hatchful – create a free logo
- Wordmark – find a brand font
- Canva – the easiest (best) design tool
You don’t need a pro to design a great brand!
You may also want to set up a website or blog to share your thoughts on writing, marketing, and other topics of interest. You should also choose just one social media site to post regularly and display your work.
This will make you look professional.
Don’t go over the top here. If you are unsure what social media site to use, I recommend LinkedIn.
It has the tools you need to help brand yourself properly.
The bottom line is that if you want to stand out as a content writer, you need to think outside the box and find ways to set yourself apart from the competition.
Branding yourself uniquely and memorably will make it easier for potential clients to find you and hire you for their next project.
5. Choose Your Content Writer Tools
As a content writer, there are specific tools and resources that you’ll need to be successful.
The good news is that there are plenty of great options and many are free or low-cost.
Here are a few essential content writer tools that you should consider:
- Google Drive – This is a great way to create and store your documents online. Plus, it’s easy to share with clients and collaborators.
- Google Workspace – Consider getting a personalized email on a personalized domain to make you look more professional.
- Grammarly – You’re writing content so your grammar needs to be perfect. There isn’t a better tool than Grammarly.
- Frase – If you need to write SEO optimized blog posts or website content, Frase is the best. Check out our complete Frase review to learn more.
There are tons of tools you can use to help you get the job done.
Make sure you choose the tools you need to streamline your writing process and deliver the best results for clients.
Top 3 Strategies To Get Your First Content Writing Client
By now, you should have gone through the above 5 steps and have everything in place to get your freelance writing business off the ground.
The next step?
Get some clients. Below are the ONLY 3 client-getting strategies that you need to land great jobs. I have used these for over 5+ years as we travel as full-time digital nomads and have never needed anything else.
Let’s jump in!
Strategy 1: Premium Job Boards
Content writing job boards are the most underrated and easiest places to land good freelance writing gigs.
There are tons of job boards out there. But there are only 3 really good ones that I would recommend using:
- All Freelance Writing
- Blogging Pro
I have used all of them at different stages and landed some great clients. If you really focus on using these job boards properly, you can easily get to 6 figures from these alone.
ProBlogger – My personal favorite
ProBlogger is the place to be if you’re looking for high-paying content writing jobs.
ProBlogger is a job board dedicated to helping bloggers find high-quality freelance writing opportunities. It’s one of the largest and most popular job boards out there and it’s home to some of the best writing jobs in the industry. I have found my highest-paying clients on ProBlogger!
While most of ProBlogger’s jobs are primarily focused on article and blog content writers, there are different jobs from time to time.
If you want to increase your chances of landing a high-paying content writing gig, then ProBlogger is the place to start.
All Freelance Writing – Good broad range of content writing jobs
All Freelance Writing is a job board that connects talented freelance writers with businesses and individuals who need quality content.
It’s one of the largest and most popular content writing job boards out there, and it’s home to some of the best clients I have worked with.
If you’re looking for high-quality content writing jobs, All Freelance Writing is the place to be.
BloggingPro – A variety of different clients
BloggingPro is another great job board that primarily features blogging jobs but does feature a range of content writing jobs.
Jobs are updated regularly and it’s easy to find good paying clients offering remote work. You’ll also find a range of jobs looking for freelance writers to part-time and even full-time writers.
BloggingPro good job board worth checking out regularly!
Strategy 2: Reach Out To Content & Marketing Agencies
Reaching out to agencies is a great way to land content writing jobs.
Agencies are always looking for talented writers to help them produce high-quality content. And they’re usually willing to pay decent money for it.
Check out this posting I found from an agency below:
Not bad right?
Here are a few tips for reaching out to agencies:
- Find agencies that match your skills and interest
- Research the agency and find out what type of content they produce
- Compose a well-written email that introduces yourself and explains why you’d be a good fit for the agency
- Follow up with the agency if you don’t hear back within a week
- Be patient and persistent – it may take a few tries before you land a job with an agency
The biggest benefit of agencies is that they do bring consistent work. That’s what makes them ideal.
But agencies will want to see a strong portfolio and solid writing samples. More often than not, you will be hired to write for their clients. They need to know you can deliver the quality their clients expect.
It can be difficult to land a job with an agency, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Agencies are always looking for talented writers, so if you reach out to them, you may be able to score a content writing gig.
Note: The marketing agency world is pretty tight.
Owners of agencies talk to each other. If you do a good job, you’ll find it pretty easy to get referrals to other agencies and clients.
Strategy 3: Do Cold Outreach
Cold outreach is when you reach out to businesses and individuals by email to offer your writing services.
It can be a little bit daunting, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Here are a few tips for doing cold outreach:
- Do your research and find businesses that regularly post content
- Personalize each email or message that you send
- Explain why you’d be a good fit for the business or individual
- Include a link to your portfolio or website
- Follow up if you don’t hear back within a week
- Be persistent – it may take a few tries before you land a job
- Don’t get discouraged – even if you don’t land a job right away, you’ll still be making valuable connections
Find your target business and get their email address and name using hunter.io.
Now simply reach out to the business and let them know about your services.
Don’t be too pushy or try to be witty. Just be yourself and explain what you do, why you want to work with them and how the business will benefit.
Keep it simple.
Make sure that you have a couple of follow-up emails prepared. People are busy and won’t always respond to the first one. I generally follow up within 5-7 days after sending the initial email.
Cold outreach can be a great way to score content writing gigs. But it does take a bit of effort. You need to put in the time to find businesses and individuals who need content and then reach out to them.
But if you’re persistent, you may be able to land yourself a content writing gig through cold outreach.
What Makes A Great Content Writer?
Now you have everything you need to become a content writer and land your first few clients. Not so hard, right?
But if you want to become a great content writer, there are certain skills you must have.
While I could write a whole blog post detailing each of these, I have broken it down into the 4 most crucial skills you should have.
Engaging & Creative Writing Skills
The first and most important skill for any content writer is the ability to write engaging and creative content.
This means being able to capture the attention of your target audience and hold it until they have finished reading your piece.
It also means writing in a way that is interesting and unique. There are a lot of writers out there who can produce well-written content, but not all of them can do it in an engaging and creative way.
This is what separates the best from the rest.
To become a great content writer, you need to focus on honing your writing skills. Practice writing regularly and develop your unique writing style and voice.
It’s a skill that will serve you forever.
Excellent SEO Skills & Knowledge
The second essential content writing skill is SEO (search engine optimization).
This is especially true if you are writing blog posts or articles that the client wants to rank in the Google search results. You don’t need to be an SEO expert, but you must know the basics concerning content.
Clients will expect it.
This means using the right keywords and other elements to help your content rank higher in the search results. Some clients will even give you target keywords in the brief they set. I recommend taking advantage of tools like Frase.io that make writing SEO content a breeze.
Of course, SEO doesn’t apply to every kind of content writing job. But for most content writers, there will be SEO involved.
Get good at it now.
Adapt To The Each Client’s Style
Every great content writer must adapt to each client’s style.
Every client is different, and each one will have their own specific way they want their content to be written.
As a content writer, it is your job to be able to adjust your writing style to fit the needs of each client. This might mean switching from a more formal tone to a more casual tone, or vice versa. It could also mean being able to write in different voices and styles depending on the project.
If you want to become a content writer, make sure you are flexible and able to adjust your writing style to fit the needs of each client.
Why Now Is The Best Time To Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Career
There’s never been a better time to become a content writer.
With so many businesses and individuals needing high-quality content, there’s plenty of work to go around. And the best part?
It’s also never been easier to get high-paying freelance writing jobs. Don’t get sucked into overcrowded marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork.
Get your own clients and get paid more!
Becoming a content writer is not only a great way to earn money, but it can also provide a flexible lifestyle to work online.
Wrapping It Up
There you have it!
Everything you need to know about how to become a content writer that earns 6 figures (or more) per year.
Go through each of the five steps to properly set up your content writing business. After that?
Focus on finding the right clients.
I recommend starting with the job boards because this is the easiest way to find high-paying clients. If the opportunity comes to sign with an agency, this is a great way to improve your skills while getting consistent work.
Becoming a content writer isn’t as hard as you think.
If you are passionate about writing great content – you are already halfway there!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I start being a content writer?
If you want to start being a content writer, the first steps are to decide the niche you want to focus on and choose the services you want to offer. You then need to create a brand and portfolio to show potential clients. Don’t forget to have the processes and tools to write great content!
What qualifications do I need to be a content writer?
There are no formal qualifications needed to become a content writer. But strong writing skills are essential and you must have the ability to deliver quality content consistently. You should also have a good understanding of SEO and how to write for the web.
How much money does a content writer make?
Content writers can earn a decent income, especially if they can land high-paying clients. How much you make will depend on your skills and writing experience. Beginner content writers typically make $30k to $50k per year. Experienced content writers can comfortably make over 6-figures per year.