Hoping to quit your day job and become a content writer? It’s a job currently in demand since everything is online nowadays.
But how do you get started? There are a lot of technical skills to master and tools to invest in. Learning how to become a content writer isn’t as easy as some might assume.
Fortunately, we’ve broken down the steps right here for you. Continue reading our guide below to discover how you can start a new career as a freelance content writer in no time:
Study the Basics
The first step is to master the basics. Learn what defines SEO content, how Google’s algorithm updates work, and how to build authoritative backlinks. You need to learn the ins and outs of on-page and off-page SEO and how SEO affects web design.
More importantly, you’ll need to stay updated with the changing requirements for a content writer. What worked before might not work today.
For example, a few years back and keyword stuffing was still a relevant tactic, but doing it now might get you penalized. It doesn’t prioritize a better user experience (UX) and appears as an obvious method of tricking Google’s site crawlers.
You’ll want to start with free sources, such as Moz, Ahrefs, and Neil Patel. Read their blogs and binge their tutorial videos on YouTube. This will give you a good base understanding of SEO and content writing.
Taking an apprenticeship from someone who already works in the industry is another good idea. You might not get to work directly under clients, but you’ll still see how an expert does the job.
Learning the basics is the first part, but you’ll need to take one step further.
Online Classes and Certificates
If you want to look like a professional SEO writer, you’ll want to have a degree in a related field. Degrees in marketing, technical writing, IT, or computer science are all good choices.
All these courses further cement your knowledge and skills in the field. They signify you can get complex writing tasks done, and the work you do won’t get in the way of a site’s design.
This doesn’t mean you have to go back to college. You can also take online classes for certificates in content writing and SEO. There are a bunch of options available, like Udemy and Skillshare.
Getting these certificates will prove to employers and clients that you know what you’re doing. You have the knowledge and skillset to get the job done. It also looks more impressive on your resume and indicates you won’t back down on training or a difficult task.
Even if you work for freelance sites like Upwork, take the time needed to accomplish their in-house tests and certification programs. The more certificates you have in your name, the more appealing your application appears.
Learning how to become a writer also requires using the right tools. Relying solely on MS Word or Google Docs isn’t going to cut it. You’ll need tools to improve the quality of your work.
For starters, you’ll want tools like Grammarly, Hemingway, and ProWritingAid to help clean up your work. These tools will hunt down grammar and punctuation issues. They can also help simplify or streamline your sentences to make them easier to read.
Plagiarism is another thing to work against. You’ll need to pay for Copyscape or PaperRater. This ensures clients you didn’t plagiarize someone else’s work.
Do you get distracted easily? You might want a distraction-free writing tool like Omm Writer, FocusWriter, or Calmly Writer. These remove access to things like your desktop and apps, ensuring you stay focused on the current writing task.
If you do SEO along with content writing, you’ll want tools for keyword research. This includes software like SEMRush or Ahrefs, along with Google Keyword Planner.
Many content writers don’t solely focus on the writing aspect. Others have to work on the graphics as well. To get this job done, you’ll need tools like Canva, Adobe Photoshop, and an infographic maker.
Learn Other Skills
Always keep in mind that there are thousands of other content writers out there. If you want to stand out, you need to make yourself even more valuable than the competition. You can achieve this by mastering related skills.
Start with SEO and its myriad of tactics. Local SEO, global SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. You might even want to study how blackhat SEO works to avoid doing those tactics by mistake.
By mastering other skills, you’ll become an invaluable asset to your clients. They’ll want you over any other content writer applying for the same position.
Web of Resources
Do you know where to go when you need a link proving a statistic you mentioned? Do you where to go when you, for example, mention in a blog how Facebook has millions of users?
Always have a long list of resources. These are the sites you can link to whenever it’s important to prove a statement. Don’t simply tell people things on the blogs or pages you write; make sure you have the resources to prove them.
Doing so will increase your content’s credibility.
If you can build a blog (which we’ll discuss below), do your best to put up guest posts on credible sites that see thousands or millions of daily visitors. Clients might want to tap into your resource of places where you can negotiate guest blogging opportunities for them.
Build a Blog
If you want to become a content writer, have your own blog! No one is going to take you seriously until you have a successful blog. Keep it updated, market it, and do your best to increase traffic and visibility.
Even if it’s only a personal blog unrelated to your career as a content writer, having your own one showcases you can put your skills to good use. It’s not all only training and workshops. It’s also about the practical application of the skills and knowledge you have.
It’s even better if you sell something on your blog. Use something like Shopify or WooCommerce to turn your blog into an online shop. Your resume will look quite impressive if you can show clients how you not only manage and write for a personal blog but can also run a successful shop.
Do you need to build a blog site from scratch? No, you don’t! You can start with something simple like WordPress, SquareSpace, or Wix and then build it up from there.
Establish Your Portfolio
Got the skills, training, certificates, and a blog to make your resume pretty and impressive? Great, but now you have to spend some time working on your portfolio. Clients won’t hire you until they see you’ve worked for other people and businesses.
Why would they hire you if you can’t prove you’ve done the job before? Experience is a major factor to consider when hiring a content writer, after all.
There are a few ways to get off the ground. The first method is to launch a successful blog yourself and then to approach local businesses for bigger opportunities. They might need content, and you can write it for them.
Done writing content for local businesses? Make sure they let you showcase your work to future clients. This will significantly boost your portfolio.
Make sure to do the same once you start gaining clients from around the country or the world. Any time a potential client digs into your history, they should see all the content you’ve written in previous jobs.
Online Freelance Work
Can’t find enough opportunities to write for local businesses? The next step is to try working as an online freelance writer. The good news is there are a lot of resources to get started.
You can start with Upwork. This is a site that allows clients to post jobs and for freelancers to scout jobs. Remember that you’re not the only one applying for a job; there are others, so your proposal has to be the best.
Not interested in spending hours applying for work among dozens of job postings? Do you want clients to come to you instead? If this sounds more appealing to you and you know you have a decent enough portfolio to convince clients, build a profile on Fiverr.
Don’t forget to include information on your blog site! Let visitors know you offer freelance work for anyone interested in hiring you. This will ensure you get job offers even when you’re not actively hunting one down.
Work With an IT Crew
Another good method of finding work and building your career as a content writer is to work with a reliable IT crew. They could focus on web design, development, or IT support. Regardless of their focus, they could use a content writer to further cement their relationship with their clients.
Start with a quick “IT support near me” search. Again, you’ll want to prioritize local businesses. Working with a local IT crew means you’ll write for local business websites.
Professional IT agencies focus a lot on web design, backing up information, network security, and establishing a secure database for online businesses. With your addition to the crew, you can now provide SEO and content services to the same client.
Does this mean you have to cement yourself as one of their employees? No, you don’t have to! You can simply be the content writer they can call on whenever they have a client who wants content work done.
This does mean you might not always have a job whenever they do. However, it’s a good way to build a local portfolio and to get familiar with their clients.
One big step in learning how to become a content writer is mastering how to market. You are the product. Your services should be the focus of your marketing efforts.
Get started by joining social media platforms. Join groups so you can build a network, allowing yourself to market your skills.
Once you have a bigger budget, start investing in paid ads. Run a PPC campaign and entice people to check out your site. Get people to follow your blog and listen to your advice or check out your portfolio.
Are you always on Facebook or Instagram? Invest in social media ads and if you can, contact a few influencers. They can cost a lot, but it’s a good way to instantly reach out to thousands of potential clients.
Don’t forget that LinkedIn is more than a social media platform. It also counts as a secondary CV. Most clients will check out your LinkedIn profile after going through your initial application and resume.
Take advantage of the benefits of having a LinkedIn profile. It’s where people can find links to your previous work and all the contact options to get a hold of you. It’s also where you can post links to your personal blog or site.
Keeping an active LinkedIn profile shows you’re serious about marketing your work.
Now You Know How to Become a Content Writer
Learning how to become a content writer takes a lot of work. It’s not a career that you can jump into overnight. It takes a lot of work to build up your portfolio and establish your name as a reliable brand.
Gain certificates, study, build your portfolio, and work with others. These steps and more will help you become a popular content writer capable of earning enough to make this a stable career.
Did you learn from this guide? If you’re looking for more business or SEO tips and tricks, we’ve got more in store for you. Feel free to go over more of our posts right here to discover all the guides you need!