20 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL FREELANCE CONTENT WRITER
20 Simple Tips to become a successful Freelance Content Writer
Freelance content writers or freelancers are those individuals who work on their own creating content for businesses and people. They are not employed by any company or organization but work across different publications and organizations at the same time.
Writing is a very gratifying job. It helps to channelize our inner creativity and you get to be your own boss.
Freelance content writing seems easy when we talk about it. After all, what you have to do is write and you get paid handsomely to do the job. But the practical side of it is a lot more difficult.
Today, freelance content writing is in large demand. The digital advancement, new start-ups, and diversification of media channels have raised the demand for good content writers to a large extent. However, you have to work hard if you decide to become a freelance content writer and work on your own conditions.
Who Can Start a career In Freelance Content Writing?
It is an ideal job for people who want a break from their monotonous jobs that require long hours at the office, stay at home individuals and bloggers who love to write. Anyone with adequate writing skills can become a content writer. You don’t need a professional degree to start working although having a degree is appreciated by some consumers and is an added advantage. Ultimately, what matters is that you provide high-quality content that meets the expectations and demands of your clients. Just like any other professional the key to success in a freelance content writing job is lots and lots of hard work and putting in those hours to learn something constructive.
Freelance content writers have the abundant scope in India and innumerable industries to work with. Every business needs content to get their message across. Words are the most important tools for communicating your business objectives effectively. All you need is a will to carve your special place in the online world through your words and your creativity.
Here are 20 Simple Tips to become a successful freelance content writer
The first step to a successful career in freelance content writing is research. You need extensive research to know about the freelance industry and how it works. Scour the net for freelance content writers’ websites and see what they write on and how they write about a particular topic.
Research goes a long way to give you clarity on the features of a freelance content writing business and how to get clients. You will get to read about their journey, about the challenges they faced at the time they started their business.
It is important to know the actual realities of starting a career as a freelance content writing sector. That helps in making an informed decision before embarking on this new and exciting journey.
Choose a suitable Niche
If you think that you can write on various topics and choosing a niche isn’t necessary, think again. If you don’t have an area of expertise, then you will invest all your time in researching a topic that you are supposed to write on. You will lose time and might lose your client as well.
Choose 3 niches that interest you as a content writer. Then research and write on those niches. With practice, you will finally realize which is the niche you love to write the most on. Or maybe, you find that you love writing on two niches the most among the three. Choose those two and start writing on topics in those niches. That is how a successful content writer is made.
Start a Blog
Where do you find all the invaluable advice for effective freelance content writing? On the web, more precisely, on the authors’ website. Today, it has become necessary to start a website of your own to showcase your content writing talent to your prospective clients. A clean well-managed website attracts clients very successfully. Moreover, a blog or your website gives you the exposure needed to make your mark as a content writer.
Check out some of the amazing tutorials on how to create one on Youtube. Use WordPress and a reliable hosting service. If you are a freelance content writer, it becomes mandatory for you to create a website today.
Create your website to showcase your writing skills. Which means, design your website in a way that speaks of your area of specialization.
Writing tools And SEO
Writing for the web is an altogether different ball game. Mere knowledge of good writing isn’t enough. There are a lot of other factors that you need to take into account when you decide to publish your work on the internet.
SEO or search engine optimization should be the number one priority on your list other than of course, writing good quality content.
So what do you do?
Get accustomed to the various content writing tools available on the internet. Remember you need to incorporate relevant keywords in your writing to get noticed. So research about keywords and phrases and how to use them.
Get accustomed to the various writing tools like keyword generators, The Hemingway App, Grammarly, StackEdit, Answer the Public, etc.
Next, pay attention to the formatting of your text. Headings, subheadings, paragraphs and the judicious distribution of these elements play a very important role in your ranking in the search results pages of a search engine.
Write articles that are long enough for SEOs. Search engines favour long-form posts and blogs over short articles. The science behind this is that readers hardly read the entire document. Most online users scan through content on a page to gain information. Long-form posts are far more informative than short articles. As a result, readers, when they gloss through your articles can receive more information from long posts than from short posts. Hence the bounce rate is much lower in the case of long-form posts. It is recommended to write articles more than 1000 words at least. Anything above 2500 is exemplary in terms of the chances of being ranked by search engines.
This is basically the structure on which you plan to build your business as a successful content writer. You don’t need a vast repertoire of vocabulary to become a great freelance writer. Search engines and their algorithms don’t even appreciate words that are too difficult to understand. You only have to be able to put forth your thought in a clear precise manner. You have to be able to think and write in a way that attracts readers to your work. Refine and sharpen your writing. Get rid of unnecessary fluffy words that do not contribute to the main idea of your writing. The most important rule: Please write every day. The more you write, the more you hone your skills. All the above points apply to your writing even if you are not writing in English and you are a writer in your regional language.
Build a winning portfolio
Now that we have the rules of writing out of the way, you need to build a winning portfolio to captivate your readers and clients alike and showcase your skills as a content writer. Create at least 5-6 articles on your niche initially before you start applying to jobs everywhere. If you can’t support your claims of being a writer with samples, no one will be willing to hire you. On the other hand, reinforcing your skills through writing samples lends credibility to your writing. If you already have a website by the time you start writing, post your work there. Otherwise, you can always create an account on Medium, Quora, and many more, and post your work. They are great online platforms to get you noticed if your writing is good.
Now that you have a considerable amount of work to bolster your resume, start applying to jobs. Don’t hesitate and pitch everywhere consistently. You never know which platform can reap you the benefits so you have to make use of all of them. Create accounts on Linkedin, Fiverr, Upwork, and other freelance sites. Cold pitching might seem like knocking on the door of a stranger. But a lot of times, this is what gets the work done. In fact, a lot of very successful freelance writers have landed their first writing assignments through cold pitching. It works sometimes and it doesn’t at times. Be proactive in writing an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short description of yourself and the work you do in a succinct appealing way to your prospective clients. It is being able to sell the idea of what you do with absolute clarity and brevity.
Once you start writing and have a body of work supporting your skills start rigorous searching on different job boards for freelance work. In the beginning, the money might be lean but it is still something. It will help in building a reputation and will get the cash coming even if it is less. Trust me, getting paid for writing is a big incentive for you to continue writing.
Start With Ample time in Hand
We are all very well aware of the importance of time when writing. Make sure you start your project with ample time in hand. You don’t have control over your situations. Sometimes you might encounter a problem on the day you have decided to write and stumble upon a problem that needs your time. It is always advisable to start early to make the maximum of your time and to prevent unnecessary stress.
Invest in a good SEO tool
When you have an up and running website, you require a good SEO suit that will help you to run your website smoothly. Moreover, SEO tools can help you optimize your writing and website page for ranking. When your website or particular topic gets ranked on the webpage you cannot imagine the reach and exposure it would give you. There are a number of good SEO packages available like Yoast, SEOPresser, Rank Math, All in One Seo Pack, etc. Do your research and find out what’s best for you and choose accordingly.
Know your audience
Before you pick your niche you have to know what are the favourite topics people are interested in. When you have finally picked a niche, you have to carry out extensive research on who your audience is going to be. If you are writing on making money staying at home, then your target group will include stay-at-home moms, homemakers, retired professionals. On the other hand, if you are writing on real estates then your niche audience will be business magnates, construction barons, investors in real estate, etc. Your niche audience will also decide the way you write your content. You can find your audience in social media, b2b channels, and niche websites and community forums where people gather for discussion on their similar topics of interest. You can glean information about your audience from such sites.
Principles of writing good content
If you want to make a mark for yourself you have to abide by the principles of good SEO writing. Write in the active voice as much as possible, proofread your work, make sure that the length of your words and sentences are optimized for SEO readability. You have to engage your readers through your content. Readability in its essence is to keep your content easy to comprehend. That invariably means the use of proper structure, correct grammar, gaining customers’ trust, turning leads to conversions.
Make sure your content answers a question, addresses a grievance without them explicitly saying so. Always make it a point to write about something readers genuinely want to know about. Create an attractive catchline. Start your writing with a quote, an incident that has a human element and then elaborates on that point. Compel the readers to ask for more. A startling piece of statistics can be a good way to draw the reader in.
View your work with the required objectivity. Criticisms are not welcomed at times. Remember, you have to analyze your own work objectively to optimize it for getting noticed. Holding on to a false sense of pride will gain you nothing. Be confident. But don’t disregard constructive criticisms. Try to work on criticisms if any and continue practising the good qualities.
Make sure to learn about the different writing audio and visual editing applications that can come in handy when you are writing your topic. Your writing coupled with multimedia can be a great booster for the traffic of your website.. Website Speed plauys a major role in deciding whether your website is worth visiting. Optimize your page to appear fast when clicked. Keep your images below 30 KB. There are tools like Compressnow, that helps in reducing the size of an image without compromising on its quality. Use such tools to optimize web pages that consist of varied elements of media. Use designing tools that make your work easier. Canva, ChartGo, Creatly, Gliffy, Stencil, Snappa, are some tools to get your design work done.
Meeting deadlines and time management
When you are working as a freelance content writer, it is important to manage time and tasks to optimize your work. That is, to be able to put in those hours of hard work that you would have if you were under the regime in an office. Invest in digital time management tools and applications and maintain a daily schedule. Jot down the memo the previous day. Break a large amount of work into smaller bits A write-up of 4000 words might seem daunting. But if you break that up in chunks of 1000 words and take a break for 15-20 minutes. Then get back to writing some more words again. You will notice that the work gets done faster without it overwhelming you.
Deadlines are a great thing to worry for a content writer. That part is true. You start getting clients and then you realize you don’t have the time to finish the work in the time given. Aside from prioritizing which of the projects need your immediate attention, choose your work wisely. Make sure your client roster doesn’t intimidate you. If you stop enjoying the work you do, then there is no point in working freelance.
Scour Social Media
When you are just starting out, you need to market your qualities and get people to recognize your work. Merely building a website and sitting on that won’t come to use. Sign up to the various social media channels for networking. Go to Facebook, join similar groups of content writers, start connecting with content writers from different genres as well as content writers from a complementary niche.
Look for openings for guest content writer. It gives you recognition as well as helps you in creating more work for your portfolio. When you guest post, you will backlinks to your website and your social media channels. That goes a long way in getting you the visibility you require when you are a novice in the field. Search Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter. See what are the topics that are trending. See what kind of interactions take place and what the focus group is. You can cull so much from social media that can help you set up a super successful content writing career.
Read and Study
This has to be on one of the topmost points in the list of any content writer. The study, read, attend seminars related to your niche, go through video presentations on SlideShare. Also, a certification can help you with the required contacts and communication with people from related fields. Make sure that you sign up on websites that write on topics of your niche or related niches. Join similar groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and share your articles for review there. All of this might be able to give you an idea of how you are writing.
- Update your content regularly
Make sure that you update the content that you’ve posted consistently. Every day we get newer information regarding various subjects. If something new comes up in your niche make sure to incorporate that details in your previous content to make it more relevant. It builds trust among your consumers, provides value and has immense benefits for SEO. SEOs crawl your websites to scan your websites. Keywords that display new information updates are preferred by SEOs and help in the overall ranking of your website. Provide details of new research and facts.
Get testimonials from clients
Clients will always give you good ratings and reviews for a competent content writer. These ratings can come to great help while acquiring new leads and turning them into conversions. Testimonials from previous clients boost up your credibility. It makes others believe in the quality of your content. Make sure to get testimonials from clients in writing and quotes. Ask them to provide a short bio about them for authenticity and take a headshot. Provide incentives if required. Display the testimonials on your homepage or a separate testimonials page on your website with short client information.
- Be organized
You have to be organized to attend to your writing with a single-minded focus. A haphazard work desk, a disorganized array of materials on your desk will only lead to bigger problems and you won’t be able to work to the best of your capacity. Some steps that you can take to organize your work are
- Create short post-it notes and display them where you can see what you’ve written. That always helps. Use highlighters for important points. Use different colours to emphasize the order of importance of the various things that you need to do. Outline all the pertinent details.
- Arrange your client information in neat files
- Write down the topics you need to write on in your diary. Set a reminder for the things you need to do like research, jotting down data and figures, etc.
- Keep your work desk clean and in a systematic way. A clutter-free desk boosts morale and helps in creating engaging content.
Create impressive CTAs and mix it up at times.
The key to good freelance content writing is the ability to improve and innovate on your work. Don’t use the same phrases and catch lines for your call to action. It becomes monotonous and readers already expect what you are going to say. Mix up your wordings and your writing style. Dazzle the reader with something they haven’t expected. That way you will give them an incentive to come back, again and again, tom your website.
A great freelance content writer needs to be punctual, sincere, true to their words and organized. The most important trait of any writer is their fervour and enthusiasm for writing. If you are impassioned about writing something do it diligently. That is the mantra for success in this field.