Freelance writers have been around for many years. However, the Internet has created an entirely new niche for freelance writers – that or article writers or web content writers. Some people make a full-time living from this type of freelance writing, while many thousands more earn extra money or make a regular, part-time living from this writing niche.
Article or web content writers may write one article at a time, or they may write groups of 5, 10, or even more articles on a similar topic at one time. Most article writers and web content writers will sell their work to one of the many content sites on the Internet or to a company that brokers articles for their own customers. Some writers may sell articles to customers directly though.
The easiest way to get started in the article writing or web content writing business is probably to sign up with a content site like Associated Content, Helium or Hub Pages. These sites allow you to begin making money immediately, sometimes even earning upfront payments, while honing your skills and developing a portfolio of published articles.
Once you have developed a portfolio and some experience, you may look into companies like Demand Studios4, which acts as a broker for clients who are looking for articles. This type of arrangement may allow you to increase your earnings with definite payment for each article you are assigned.
Many web content and article writers find no need for marketing. As long as you are writing for sites like Associated Content or Hub Pages, or for services like Demand Studios, the work will essentially come to you. Writers who are satisfied in this niche do not need to worry about marketing.
Writers who wish to expand into the larger freelance world will need to engage in some marketing though. Writers who would like to contract directly with businesses to provide article writing or web content writing will need to market themselves as a writing professional.
Setting up your own website is obviously a first step in marketing yourself as a web content or article writer. A professional-looking, search-engine-optimized website is essential for prospective business customers to find you. Your website is also a great place to display your resume, portfolio, and other information about the types of services you provide.
Business cards, a letterhead and envelopes can be an important part of your marketing efforts. Business cards can be handed out whenever you meet a potential client. Letterheads and envelopes with your name and contact information printed on them can help to present a professional image during any written correspondence you have with a potential client.
Some article writers and web content writers utilize pay-per-click advertising to advertise their services online. This can be an effective way to get targeted traffic to your website. However, this option can also become expensive quickly.
Joining the local Chamber of Commerce, along with other local civic groups, can introduce you to many local business people. These informal contacts can be great leads to profitable new clients. Introducing yourself to local business owners and explaining what services you offer can also be an inexpensive, yet powerful, approach to marketing your new writing business.
Writing is arguably among the lower-risk businesses. However, like any business, there are places where caution is in order.
Not being paid for an article or a series of articles is probably one of the greater business risks for a freelance writer. This should not be a problem when working with established content sites; however, this could be a very real problem when working with other clients. A signed contract should prevent much of the concern with not being paid. Requiring a deposit or progress payments on large projects can also limit a writer’s exposure to the risk of not being paid by a dishonest client.
Insurance is also an option for a writer, as with any business. Insurance can help safeguard against liabilities assumed while driving for business, against property damage or loss due to theft, and against business risks like libel. Talking to a qualified insurance representative is the best way to evaluate what, if any, insurance you should purchase as a writer.
Article writing or web content writing is a fun and easy way to break into the freelance writing field. Content sites make it easy to begin earning a few dollars for your writing, and allow you to practice your writing skills.
This business is ideally suited to those who are looking to work part-time, and appreciate a very flexible schedule. It is possible to make a full-time living as an article writer or web content writer though for those who choose to put the effort and work into the business.
Randy Duermyer. Freelance Writer – Home Business Ideas – Becoming a Freelance Writer. About.com Home Business. Date accessed: 09 September 2010.
Matthew Bandyk. Best Small Business to Start: Freelance Web Writer – US News and World Report. US News and World Report Money. Date accessed: 09 September 2010.