I want to be a content writer, How should I start?
How often you find people posting this on social media and especially on those content writing Facebook groups?
And what do they get? Just a bunch of crap!
Which leads to more confusion and ambiguities.
And of course, everybody has their own secret mantras (which they don’t like sharing with everyone) but there’s no such thing as one rule that fits all.
Check out: Learn the Art of Content Writing
WHAT TO DO…WHO TO TURN TO…WHO TO ASK FOR HELP?
So, that leaves us with some pretty tough questions, huh?
In my humble opinion (I am no expert, mind you, but I have sailed in the same boat). You gotta try different things and see what works well for you.
Establishing yourself as a successful content writer indeed takes a shitload of hard work, but there’s absolutely no reason for you to get demotivated, you too, can be SUCCESSFUL.
You just need to be consistent.
Sincere in your efforts.
And put in hard work.
So, if you are still reading the post, chances are you are very much interested in learning how to get started with content writing and how to build a portfolio that helps you landing clients FAST!
but before that…
Who is a Content Writer?
Content writers are individiuals, who do indepth research on a given topic.
They create engaging content around the topic for users to read online. They’re responsible to inform, educate and help their audience making buying decisions, based on their reviews, in a form of articles, blog posts, and other forms of written web material.
So, without any further ado, Let’s break it down for you, shall we?
Write. Write. And Write
Write as much as you can, as far as you can, as long as you can. Practice writing every day. Make a point to jot down something each day. Make it a routine.
Because, its no secret in order to become a successful content writer, you need to be a talented wordsmith.
You need to seduce your readers with your words. As a writer words are all you have to offer, so make the most out of the opportunity.
And this can only be accomplished, if you are a skilled writer, someone who can play with words.
Someone who has the ability to keep the readers hooked.
Someone who can compel readers to read from start till the bottom of the blog post.
So, the best way to get there is to just keep writing and polishing your skill as there’s no other way to achieve that.
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Create a professional bio
A writer with no professional profile? that sounds awkward.
Creating a professional profile is one of the first and most crucial steps to getting started. Some of the pointers that a professional bio should include are the following,
- A clear pitch about yourself that clearly defines what you do.
- A high-quality image
- State those qualities that act as credibility boosters for you.
- Not too formal, personal touch is a key.
Next, You will also have to put together a portfolio of work. Since many buyers will ask you for samples, so, I believe, it’s a great idea to include some of your best writing samples in your portfolio to share.If you are just starting out, create a few short samples of your own.
You can either register a personal domain and hosting, and have a personal blog where you showcase your work, share ideas and portfolio.
You can simply put your samples on free sites such as WordPress or Blogspot (don’t worry, these are completely free sites, and have no strings attached). You can continue using them as long as you want.
Build an impressive writing portfolio
Now comes the toughest part.You need to create a writing portfolio.
Writers with a writing portfolio has greater chances to get hired than those who don’t, that’s why it’s so important to build an impressive writing portfolio.Not only it adds credibility but also gives you an edge over other writers.
To help you getting started, I am compiling several different ways to start building a portfolio (even when you have no writing experience) so without any further ado, lets get started.
Medium is one platform that helps you in creating a portfolio free of cost. It lets you post articles under your name. Since its free, hence anyone can take advantage of it. Just create an account and start publishing your articles using a byline. The perks of publishing to medium is that it’s well known and a professional-looking website.
2. Freelaning websites
The second way that I would recommend would be a slightly tougher but worth your effort and time. So the second tip I have for you is to create portfolio on different freelancing websites.
The famous freelancing websites are Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, Guru.
Creating account on these websites is absolutely free.
But getting orders on these platform might be a tricky part (we shall discuss this part in some other post).
But if you are able to create an impressive Bio and prove yourself a PRO in your field, you are going to attract a lot of clients, who, if satisfied with your services will leave good feedback and rating on our profile. (this will add credibility and helps in creation of portfolio).
So, freelancing platforms like these are a great place to start building a portfolio while also looking for prospective clients.
If you had to ask me for the best tip for creating a portfolio.
I would simply say go get your work published on the most influencial and high quality authority blogs in your niche.
.for eg, if your niche is business, then I would suggest you to go for Forbes, if you are a tech writer, I would say go for TechCrunch.But it’s a hard nut to crack, to achieve this aim, you would have to churn some high quality content with unique and original ideas of your own, rather than copying someone else’s, (how to pitch to a website’s editor is something I shall cover later on in another post)
I talked to couple of people in this regard, (those who got their content published on high authority sites),
according to them, “Taking this route might seem tough (YES, it is tough) but can really give you an edge and credibility, and a necessary BOOST to your writing career. (be patient, no authority website is going to accept your post in first attempt) keep working on polishing your work, improve your writing style.
Bonus Tip: Read the blog’s content everyday you want to be published on in order to get the knack of their style, vocabulary and tone. Also, don’t forget to read the submission guideline of a particular website. (implementing this tip will increase your chances to get published, its no rocket science but require a little common sense).
Struggling with writing engaging content? here are the 5 Tips to Write Killer Content
Pick a niche
Another crucial thing is to pick a niche, (or multiple niches you find yourself comfortable writing on).
How to pick a niche and which niche should you go for?
This can be a little challenging at start especially when you are desperate to earn some $$$. You would even be willing to accept literally any job that comes your way.
No matter how tempting or rewarding the idea may seem to you but I would recommend you to move beyond that phase once you have little experience and regular clients. I encourage you to find a niche(s) that you:
- Are passionate about and enjoy writing on
- Have an above average understanding of
Establishing yourself as an authority in a particular discipline or niche will help you landing more genuine clients that you can charge more for your services.
Worried how to start contenting writing when English isn’t your first language? Check out, 7 Tips to Write Well When Englisn isn’t Your Native Language
Finding Writing Jobs
Many writers are blessed with great writing skills yet they don’t know how to market themselves.
There are a few places I would recommend you to check out for your job search:
My personal experience with Social media
Now social media could be a great place to getting started with your writing career.
All you have to do is join relevant groups and networks. Get connected with your prospect buyers, digital marketers, freelancers and bloggers.
Try to use social media to use to your advantage, to showcase your skills rather than wasting time scrolling newsfeed, arguing, picking up on a debate or an argument.
When I started off as a freelance writer, I used to share informative posts, content writing and marketing tips.
It got me so many clients.
Instead of offering my services, I let the buyer see the quality of my work.
Also, the fact that I was regularly sharing tip was a proof that I knew a thing or two about writing.
So, that worked as a live portfolio in my case.
Pitch a client
There’s nothing as nerve-wracking as approaching your prospect and offering your services.
And NO, its not at all exciting!
Now, here’s the advice, develop a system or template that you can use every time you want to pitch a client.
Here is an example of a system:
- Start by researching: Find out anything and everything about your prospect. Check out their websites, read a blog article or two, so that you have a better understanding of what their business is all about. This will help great deal in pitching.
- Write a Proposal. Now this is going to be your first impression and interaction with the client, so don’t be afraid to show some personality, willingness and concern to solve some of their problems, you can even point out how you can write better copies for their websites to convert more.
- Anticipate questions ahead of time. Guess the questions or concerns a client might have, and even go one step ahead and answer them in advance.
- Follow up. If you don’t get a reply instantly, be patient, and wait for sometime, after a month passed, you can approach them again, and follow up. There are several things that can go wrong, for e.g, your prospect is a busy person and probably forgot to respond to your email, or most probably have missed reading it, a follow up will work as a reminder, and also you will get to know if there was something wrong with your pitch.
Here’s an example for you…
Hi (Client Name),
This is just a follow up to see if you are interested in the proposal (the project) I sent you last week.
Let me know your availability, let’s get in touch if you’d like to discuss the project in more detail or have any further questions.
Once you’ve successfully pitched your first client that’s when the real work starts.
You need to keep your clients happy, for them to keep coming to you and recommend you to other people too.
It’s also important to keep polishing your writing skills. Whenever you get time, instead of scrolling your facebook newsfeed, check useful resources such as copyblogger in order to improve your writing skills.
Word of Mouth
Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
You would be surprised to find out how many clients you would end up landing just by recommendations.
But for that you need to win some clients first, and win their trust, too.
Any client who is happy with your work is liekly going to recommend you to other clients.
And how can you win the confidence of clients?
- By providing high quality work.
- Meeting deadlines on time.
- Showing genuine interest in their projects.
- By showing you have exceptional Communication skills
- You are easy to be reached
Somtimes getting noticed is all it takes to get you started as a content writer.
Get active on leading writing and social media groups and networks.
Offer different perspective, share your 2 cents on different subjects.
Even getting into a little controversary can do you good in terms of marketing.
As they say, any form of marketing (good or bad) is better than no marketing at all.
You would be surprised to know, there are many influencers and big brands adopting controversial and aggressive marketing tactics just to get their brand noticed, or to get some early exposure to their emerging brands.
But be careful, not to be too controversial (the effect can be reversed, too).
Its crucial to network with people who share your niche and passion.
And its equally important to stay in touch with those who are domainating the field.
When you interact with likeminded people, you learn many new things and tactics that helped them built their businesses.
Also offer support to them in any way you can, not ony this will build your relations with them.
And the will support you too when you need it the most.
Following the above tips will definitely help you getting started with your content writing career even with no portfolio.
Now its your turn to share your tips, I would love to hear from you!
I would love to know which of the above tips you have used and worked for you, or feel free to add to the list!
Write on! 😉