Filipinos are known for our superb writing capabilities. With English being taught as early as pre-school, we are well-versed at speaking, reading, and writing the language. It’s one of the reasons why we are among the top destinations for clients and companies all across the globe looking for off-shore talent.
Content writing is a popular freelancing job among Pinoys along with virtual assistance, ESL teaching, voice and chat support, digital marketing, and other outsourced jobs. There are thousands of freelance content writers out there making a decent buck from writing all sorts of content for clients.
And since you’re reading this article, I’m pretty sure you’re interested in becoming one.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to become a content writer even if you have zero experience.
What Does a Content Writer Do?
A content writer creates content in the form of articles and blog posts, product descriptions, website copy, email newsletters, how-to guides, white papers, and more.
To become a content writer, you need to know how to research and write about certain topics and come up with a highly readable piece of content that is ideally both informative and engaging to read.
What Do You Need to Become a Content Writer?
- Ability to write clearly
- Read and comprehend information and present it in a better or different angle
- Can organize your thoughts and use the written word to explain concepts and ideas
- For tools and equipment, a content writer just needs a basic computer, internet connection, and basic know-how of writing apps like Google Docs or Microsoft Word
Where to Get Content Writing Jobs
Based on personal experience, you’ll find it fairly easy to score clients looking for someone to write content for their website if you’re able to present a solid pitch along with a winning profile.
The second option is to leverage your network of friends, relatives, and FB Groups to “ask around” and see if they know someone looking for content writing services.
With the right approach and consistent reach-out, you can end up with a content writing gig that’s right up your alley. LinkedIn is also another avenue that you might want to check out. There are several guides available out there that teaches how to use LinkedIn for getting clients for your freelance business.
What Topics Can I Write About?
My personal recommendation is to pick a niche that you have expertise on, passionate about, or at least have decent knowledge of.
Not only will it make writing more natural and easier for you (especially if you’re just starting out), but it will make the job so much more tolerable in the long run when the eventual “burn-out” rears its ugly head.
And trust me, it happens. You’ll probably have 2-3 niche topics you like to begin with. As you get more experience and get a feel of the job, you’ll naturally want to explore other areas and topics of interest. Don’t be afraid to branch out.
Some of the most common topics that content writers write about:
- Personal Finance
- Kids and Babies
- Product Reviews
..and so much more. Basically every niche or area of interest that has an audience can be considered a potential topic to write about for any content writer.
Best Free Content Writing Tools To Make Your Job Easier
The following is a "starter pack" of apps to help you manage your workflow better as a freelance content writer. All these are free, so there's really no reason to not check them out.
- Google Docs
- WMS Extension
How to Become a Content Writer
The following are some of the steps that I personally took to establish myself as a content writer. As you'll learn in a bit, it's fairly easy to get into content writing.
These will help any aspiring content writer to quickly get writing gigs and build up experience.
Build a Portfolio
Think of a portfolio as your showcase room for displaying your work. It's a neat way of showing clients what you're capable of and if what you do matches their needs.
Anytime you pitch for a job, clients will almost always ask for samples anyway, so having something ready to show them makes things more convenient and gives off a professional vibe.
There are plenty of free online services for showing your portfolio if you want a more polished approach (versus simply sending them a link to a Google Drive/Dropbox folder of your work).
Even building a simple and free website could be a good idea especially if you have a lot of samples to show.
Quickly Build "Experience"
When I jumped into freelancing full time, I took a contributor job for a now-defunct Android-niche site.
I still had zero paying clients then, so I figured maybe my experience as a part time content writer almost a decade ago no longer holds its worth.
I needed to "freshen up" my experience so I could pitch better to clients.
So what I did was look for contributor positions at websites that feature topics I like.
During that time, I was keen on writing about tech so I ended up writing for free for a website about Android stuff mostly.
And while that looks like a losing position to be in, in reality, I was just spending an hour a day to write 1-2 news articles about stuff that interested me (each was just 350-500 words long).
In turn, I learned WordPress for free which I was able to make use of when I got hired as paid writer for another tech site (they needed someone with WordPress experience).
When I remember that moment, I can't help but recall a particular Steve Jobs' quote about "connecting the dots".
Create A Solid Profile
Build a strong online presence so that when potential clients try to check you out, they'll see that you're legit. A strong online presence is having a great profile on platforms like LinkedIn, UpWork, and other similar marketplaces.
If you did what I did (contributor work), include links to your published articles on your profile. Aside from the plus points you get for proving your work is good enough to be published, it will help give your potential client an idea of your writing style and quality of work.
Think of your online profile as some sort of personal billboard that helps you market your content writing business. It’s almost a must these days to have a LinkedIn account because clients all across the globe use it for hiring talent. If you have a solid LinkedIn portfolio, you’re giving yourself the advantage of “pre-promoting” yourself to clients.
Register on Online Job Marketplaces
The next step is to try to look for actual writing jobs. Here's a quick list of websites you can check out:
- We Work Remotely
- Design Crowd
- VA Networking
Make a personal blog
A blog mainly accomplishes 2 things in the initial phase of being a content writer:
1. It serves as a platform for showing published work, helping you build credibility as a writer.
2. The body of work you have in your blog will serve as your portfolio that you can easily show to clients.
The goal is not to earn money from the blog. Right now, it's a platform for showing your work. Later on, if you get more serious about running a blog, then you just need to make the necessary tweaks and add more content.
Tips for Becoming a Better Content Writer
There's no doubt that a lot of people can write, but the key to becoming a good content writer is your ability to write well. That includes being able to absorb what you’ve read and then conceptualizing your learning and thoughts into clear writing that fits your article’s goal.
And while most would think that writing In general is an “artistic” endeavor, I personally view content writing as more of a puzzle building activity. I get facts and data about a subject, check out what’s already out there and look for ways to improve upon it (or present it in a fresh/different perspective), build a decent outline around it, then start plugging in the words to fill out that outline.
I work on different parts of the article at various times and days, depending on what I feel like completing first. It’s quite rare for me to be able to finish an article in one sitting.
In fact, much of my time and effort goes into the research part of it, rather than actually writing the article.
A content writer’s goal (at least in my opinion) is to take an assigned topic, cover all key points and supporting elements, then present it in a clear and engaging manner. And this applies to all topics I write. Whether I’m writing about “The Best Life Insurance for Seniors” or “How to be more productive”, I want the reader to clearly understand what they read and hopefully learn a thing or two from it.
Writing in "active" voice gives your writing more energy. Done right, it will let you use fewer words (concise) and be more engaging. Unless your job actually requires that you present it in a very business-like format, strive to write in active form.
Try to include data, stats, and/or studies in your writing. Backing up your article with related information and/or proof makes it more compelling and believable.
Read a lot
Exposing yourself to the works of others lets you soak up a lot of useful stuff: current events, expanding your vocabulary, information about your interests, style of writing, perspective, and more. Reading is an essential part of becoming a good writer.
Have some type of note taking system (useful for referencing)
You'll come across a ton of useful stuff as you read. Things that you can use later in your own writing. Whether its stats, a cool quote, trivia, or anything that you think is worth referencing later, having a simple setup of collecting and storing them will be helpful in your work.