How to Become a Content Writer

How to Become a Content Writer

Have you ever wondered how to become a content writer, but didn’t know where to start? We’re here to help kick-start your new career!

The amount of web content published by businesses is higher than ever, meaning high-quality content writing is in demand. In this post, we’ll take you through how to launch a career as a freelance content writer. We’ll discuss:

  1. What is content writing?
  2. What does a content writer do?
  3. What’s the difference between a content writer and a copywriter?
  4. How to become a content writer.

Keep reading to learn more about this exciting career path!

What Is Content Writing?

Content writers are professionals who produce informative written content for their clients on almost any topic imaginable. Since almost every retail or service industry produces written material of some kind, many content writers primarily focus their services on writing for businesses. However, sales aren’t the only objective when it comes to producing written content – writers can produce content for a variety of purposes, such as to build brand awareness and help businesses build a relationship with their customers. Content writers create content in the following forms:

  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Website content
  • Social media posts
  • Emails
  • Press releases

These are just a few examples of the types of materials that content writers produce – check out this list of 32 content types!

What Does a Content Writer Do?

The daily tasks and responsibilities of a content writer depend on the type of content they produce and the specific client they’re writing for. Generally, however, most content writers:

  • Conduct research: For most pieces, content writers need to perform outside research on topics and find reliable sources (e.g., statistics and studies) to back up their claims.
  • Incorporate SEO techniques: Content writers often incorporate certain SEO elements into their writing to help clients boost their rankings on search engine results pages (e.g., incorporating keywords and internal/external links).
  • Follow a style guide: Content writers are typically tasked with following a style guide for things like spelling, grammar, and punctuation (e.g., AP or Chicago style).
  • Create content: Of course, the most significant part of content writing is creating the actual content to the client’s specifications.
  • Proofread and edit: Some content writers, especially freelance writers, are responsible for proofreading and editing their own content prior to publication.

Depending on the client and project, content writers may also need to collaborate with other teams within an organization, such as the marketing department.

What’s the Difference Between a Content Writer and a Copywriter?

While there can be some overlap between content writing and copywriting, there are some key differences.

Copywriters typically focus solely on creating persuasive marketing copy for businesses. The goal of marketing copy is to encourage the reader to take action, such as sign up for a newsletter or purchase a product. Copywriters incorporate consumer psychology and SEO elements into their writing to meet this objective.

Content writers, on the other hand, produce content designed to inform, educate, entertain, or inspire their audience. The objectives and topics of content writing can be somewhat broader, as the primary goal is not always sales or conversions.

How to Become a Content Writer

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a content writer, start by taking the following steps:

  1. Learn more about content writing as a career.
  2. Build the relevant skill set.
  3. Consider your niche.
  4. Gain experience.
  5. Reach out to potential clients.

Learn More About Content Writing as a Career

If content writing sounds like the job for you, begin by learning all you can about what it involves and what content writers do on a daily basis. Search social media networking sites, such as LinkedIn, for prominent content writers to follow. Many successful content writers repost job opportunities or offer advice for new freelancers on their pages. You can also reach out to your network (virtually or in person) to find out if any content writers are interested in speaking with you about their roles or acting as your freelance mentor.

Build the Relevant Skill Set

Once you’ve learned all you can about content writing, work on developing the essential skills needed to become a content writer. Besides being a good writer, you’ll need to be organized, time efficient, and collaborative.

Consider your previous related experience and build on the knowledge and capabilities you already have. For example, if you have a teaching background, think back on the writing skills you developed during that time and how they could be applied to your career as a content writer. You can also look for professional development opportunities, such as webinars or online courses, to fill in any remaining gaps in your skill set.

Consider Your Niche

Some writers decide to concentrate primarily on writing about a particular specialization or topic, such as technology or medicine. Focusing your content writing business on a specific niche can help position you as an authority in that industry, which can attract more clients and lead to higher-paying jobs. When deciding on a niche, consider your previous experience, soft skills, and what you’re most passionate about – since you’ll be spending so much time researching the subject, you should enjoy it! Some examples of popular content writing niches are business, entertainment, healthcare, education, and personal finance.

Gain Experience

When you’re just starting out as a content writer, it’s important to gain experience wherever you can to build up your writing portfolio. Consider reaching out to nonprofit or charity organizations and volunteering your writing services. Not only are you helping your community, you’re also gaining valuable writing experience. You can also contact companies or individuals you’re interested in working with and volunteer to guest post on their business blogs. To get even more practice in writing, you can even start your own blog on the topic of your choice and promote it among your LinkedIn or Instagram networks.

Reach Out to Potential Clients

Becoming a content writer involves a substantial amount of networking with potential clients, especially at the start of your career. As you build your portfolio, use it to build a profile and apply for projects on online freelance marketplaces. You can also cold email potential clients—which, while intimidating, is a time-honored method of sourcing new clients. To increase your response rate, personalize the cold emails as much as possible.

Becoming a Freelance Writer

If you want to learn more about what it takes to be a successful freelance writer, check out our comprehensive Becoming A Freelance Writer course. It covers everything you need to know about how to launch your freelance business, including how to find clients and develop a portfolio. Not convinced? Claim your free trial and see for yourself!

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