The current pandemic situation has forced us to think differently, work differently and approach our life differently. However, if we are to look on the upside, today we have more time than before to revisit hobbies. One such hobby that I decided to put to good use during this time is content writing.
Back in college, I used to write regularly and had worked with many clients making a decent monthly income. However, with the starting of my full time career, the time I had for writing reduced and eventually I stopped it altogether.
When I started I faced quite a few hurdles and there were many things which I learned the hard way. So, today I am going to start a blog series – “Things I should have known” to help beginners in the content writing and freelancing business to understand a few things before they start hunting their first clients.
I hope many of you budding writers out there will benefit from my experience. So, sit back, fasten your seat-belt, because here comes your weekly dose of high octane knowledge!!
In today’s topic, I am going to talk about the 4 things I should have known before I starting content writing. These insights will help you in understanding what lies ahead.
But first, let us know exactly what content writing is all about.
Content Writing – What exactly is it?
As we are becoming more and more tech savvy, the internet is our answer to everything. We get everything we want in the click of a button and the millions of websites out there are working 24/7 to provide us information, entertainment, services, products and what not.
So, how does the internet interact with us? Yes, you’re right. It is through content. The internet is full of content. Some of it is outstanding; while some of it is not so outstanding. Quite a lot of it is spam while a good chunk is plagiarized. But, the bottomline is that the internet is nothing but an ocean of content.
Now, as a content writer, you’re going to be responsible for creating content. Creating content is an art and like all arts, this needs a lot of work. You need patience and creativity to come up with content that is read, enjoyed and shared by people.
If done right, you can be an influencer in the deep rooted world of the internet. However, if you rush into it and work solely to make money, you might just end up writing for small websites.
With more emphasis being given to digital channels for conducting business due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, the content writing business is fast growing and becoming a lucrative career option.
So, here I present you the 4 things you must know before you start a career in content writing.
A. It takes time to create content
As I already said, I stumbled upon content writing during my college days. I was primarily looking for something that could help me in making some money. That is when I read about content writing for the first time and decided to give it a shot.
However, what I did not realize was the fact that creating content is not as easy as we think. It takes time and patience to create good quality articles. Right at the start, I struggled with quality and it took me a lot of time to create even small articles.
My social life in college was hampered and I missed out on a lot of fun. Even my studies were affected and there was a time when I was in a lot of stress. So, my first advice to anyone who is thinking about becoming a serious content writer is – please understand that this is going to take time.
You must be ready to commit yourself to content writing if you want to make it big. At the start, the pay will be small and the workload will be high. It is very important to understand all this before diving in as otherwise you can end up frustrated and stressed like I was.
You can read out content on how to create amazing (or I should say “kick-ass”) content to understand how to create engaging and well-researched content.
B. Content writing is more than “just” writing
Another important thing to note is that content creation is not merely writing articles. Many people (including me) enter this field thinking that we have a command over English so writing content would be a cake walk.
Even though command over a certain language (mostly English) is the foremost requirement, there is a lot more to the picture.
First of all, the way you write has to be adjusted to the type of audience. You cannot market a product if the content sounds like a lecture rather than a sales pitch.
Similarly, academic writing needs to be professional and proper referencing is needed.
Second, Plagiarism is a big NO. I didn’t have any idea about plagiarism at the start. Even though I did not exactly copy paste anything, some of the content I wrote from other sites would come as plagiarized because I ended up writing more or less the same words.
In a nutshell, you need to understand what type of writing style you’re good at as well as ensure you write original content.
The basic skills of English will come in handy but in order to be a successful content creator, you need to be able to connect with the audience with your style of writing.
Common writing styles and their meanings
To provide some background, here are examples of types of writing:
- Conversational – This is the type of blog where you’re writing as if you’re talking to your readers. An example of such writing type would be this very article. Here, I am trying to talk to you, connect to you (hopefully) and ensure that what I write does not sound like a lecture to you (I am really sorry if it does, I promise I’ll be better).
- Promotional – This is typically the content people create to market products. This can include product descriptions (e-commerce websites typically require such content), product reviews, promotional emails etc., which can be used to urge people to buy a product / subscribe to a service.
- Educational / Academic – There are many people from the field of education who are not so much into writing their content. For such people, writers who have the ability to write in a professional tone, have fantastic attention to detail and can reference data points properly are great assets.
C. Know the content writing job sources
Well, when I first read about content writing, I jumped right into the first site I saw. The first ever site I chose was Freelancer.
However, it was a mistake because this website has over 10 million users. The competition here is fierce and getting a gig is very tough. I struggled for about a couple of months before I stumbled upon WorknHire and that is when I got my first long term client.
With time, I got to know about the power of LinkedIn and Facebook in connecting clients to writers. My highest paying gigs came from these sites and I really feel that I should have known about it from the start in order to get a better start to my writing career.
There are many other sources from where you can get writing jobs. But, my personal favorite is LinkedIn. Once you’ve got the hang of the things, you can easily connect with potential clients and make good money using LinkedIn.
I will elaborate this point further in another article where I will talk in detail about the various sources of work and how you can approach them.
D. Know your niche
At the start, any work is good work. Usually new freelance writers take up writing gigs on any topic. However, I consider it a wrong step.
In the early days, there was a time when I used to write about fashion. I was not particularly interested in the niche and that is why there came a time when I actually got bored of the work and nearly decided to quit.
It took me some time to realize my love for technology writing and everything to do with it. It took me even more time to find clients who would offer work in those topics.
However, once I started getting writing work in the chosen field, I enjoyed it even more. I won’t say that I have not worked outside that niche ever but technology and content marketing are some topics which have always piqued my interest.
At the beginning you might not have too many choices, but my suggestion will be to identify the niche that you’re interested in. This way, you will learn about something you already like and will also be able to provide better quality content.
Now that I have told you these 4 things, I hope that these will help you in planning ahead before you take the plunge. I wish you a successful writing career ahead.
To summarize, the 4 most important things to know before you start a content writing career are –
- It will take time to create good quality content
- Content writing is not “just” writing. It also includes marketing, SEO, etc. to name a few
- Research about the various content writing job sources. You can check a few here.
- Know your niche!!
Furthermore, I welcome your suggestions to improve this content even further so that the readers can benefit as much as possible.
The editorial & admin team of Write it Right, helping to produce good quality, engaging and awesome content for the readers.