How To Become A Freelance Content Writer (Skills And FAQs)
Updated 25 March 2023
Content writing can be a rewarding career for individuals with excellent writing and creative skills. These writers plan, write and edit online content, typically for digital marketing and commercial areas of businesses. If becoming a freelance content writer interests you, understanding what this role entails can help you decide if this is the right career path for you. In this article, we define who these writers are, explain how to become a freelance content writer, outline their skills, describe their work environment and provide answers to two frequently asked questions (FAQs).
What Is A Freelance Content Writer?
Freelance content writers develop media for blogs, websites, white papers, articles, product descriptions and social media platforms. By writing engaging and informative articles, they help companies showcase their products and services. These writers understand the purpose of each type of content and create excellent visual information for their readers. Their responsibilities include the following:
Researching industry-related topics to create original and engaging content
Determining keywords and using search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices to increase traffic to the company's website
Submitting work to editors for input and approval
Ensuring brand consistency across all formats
Proofreading blogs and content before publication
Identifying customer requirements and gaps to recommend new topics
Updating website content
How To Become A Freelance Content Writer?
Learn how to become a freelance content writer by using the following steps:
1. Complete your education
While there is no mandatory qualification to become a freelance content writer, many companies prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in English or communication. Additionally, having a master's degree in one of these fields may increase your chances of securing high-paying jobs. If you want to specialise in a niche, completing courses relevant to that subject area can help you excel. For instance, to become a marketing content writer, pursue your bachelor's and master's degrees in marketing or a related topic.
2. Determine your niche
Before starting your career, identify your strengths and interests to explore topics about which to write. As many employers prefer hiring freelancers with knowledge in specific areas, determining your speciality can help you build a professional reputation and find work faster. You may also discover your niche by first taking assignments on different subjects. For instance, start by writing about finance, marketing or technology. If you find marketing especially interesting, consider pursuing it as your speciality. As you continue writing about the subject, you gain expertise and improve your skills.
3. Ensure you have the appropriate tools
To become a content writer, you require a laptop or desktop computer with a writing program and photo-editing, grammar-checking and task management software. Use a business email address to improve your professionalism. To collaborate with clients in various locations, create a video conferencing account. Finally, set up accounts with a bank and an online payment service to receive money for your assignments.
4. Build a portfolio
Develop a portfolio to show clients that you have the skills and potential to complete their content writing projects. Include a broad collection of topics that showcase your strengths to help employers decide whether your writing style and format match their requirements. If you are not sure what to write about, list your passion, areas of interest or specialisation. Additionally, include your contact details so employers can easily reach you for a job.
5. Earn professional experience
You can begin your career by writing content for your college magazine, family members or neighbourhood. This helps you improve your skills and gain relevant experience. To showcase your work, create a blog, website or social media profile.
6. Market your services
As a freelance content writer, marketing your services is the key to finding new projects. Use online and offline techniques, such as word-of-mouth publicity, referrals and brochures, to promote your work. In addition, utilising social media and maintaining a website can help you attract potential clients and grow your business.
7. Improve your writing skills
Even if you are a talented writer, you can find ways to develop your abilities. Focus on reading extensively to learn sentence construction, parallelism and vocabulary. Read topics relevant to the niche in which you want to work. Write constantly and read your content aloud because the more you practise, the more likely you are to improve your writing abilities.
8. Find freelancing jobs
You may find freelance opportunities on job boards that update their listings daily. Apply for assignments offering decent pay and interesting work. You can also connect with potential employers on business networking sites and social media. Pitch articles to magazines and online journals, and approach companies with your ideas. Before applying for any job, research the organisation to understand the type of content they may request. Customise each application and include writing samples.
Skills Of A Freelance Content Writer
Here are some essential skills of a freelance content writer:
Working in this role requires the use of strong writing skills to express ideas and convert thoughts into words. Knowledge of sentence structure, formal and informal styles and correct grammar usage is desirable for this role. Using words and phrases relevant to the topic and industry produces compelling content, resulting in more website traffic. Additionally, excellent writing abilities can help candidates get a job with a higher salary.
Freelance content writers utilise marketing skills to promote their services on different platforms. Knowledge of the freelance industry is essential to determine effective techniques. These professionals follow market trends to create content that resonates with their target audience.
Having a basic knowledge of SEO helps writers reach a broader audience and increase website traffic. Freelancers use their SEO expertise to insert the necessary keywords and links into their content. They also maintain the quality of the text following best practices.
Freelance content writers work on a contractual basis, according to the client's requirements. They may work for a few hours, extra hours or even on weekends to complete an assignment before the due date. Clients prefer flexible freelancers because deadlines differ between articles and may change. To manage unpredictable workloads, writers shift between projects and seek new clients.
Clients may ask freelancers to write about a topic with which they are not familiar. In these situations, writers research a subject thoroughly before creating content. Research skills include gathering information from different sources, reviewing the findings and deciding how to incorporate the material into the assignment.
Work Environment Of A Freelance Content Writer
Freelance content writers typically do not have fixed office hours because they work according to their schedule and client requirements. Some professionals work in the morning, while others work at night after completing other employment obligations. Their typical day usually involves sitting in front of a computer and searching for information relevant to their topic. Though most freelancers have home offices, some go to cafes or rent business cubicles. They generally prefer writing in a quiet place, as their job involves critical thinking and creativity.
FAQs About Freelance Content Writers
Here are some FAQs regarding freelance content writers:
Can I become a freelance content writer in different niches?
Yes, becoming a writer in different niches is possible. Research the areas that interest you and create writing samples for each one. You can upload them in separate categories on your website. When you apply for jobs in these specialities, include a link to your writing sample in your application and cover letter.
Can I become a freelance content writer without experience?
Yes, you can become a writer without experience by improving your knowledge of punctuation and grammar. Aim to practice your skills and take courses teaching effective language and content creation guidelines. You can also consider offering volunteer services to develop your portfolio and build your resume to help qualify for entry-level positions.
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