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How to Become a Content Marketing Writer: Freelance Writing of the Future

Your content is the first product your customer buys.

Marketing, conversions, sales… everything starts with writing. Your web content is a greeting. It’s that initial handshake 🤝 with your readers, your subscribers, your customers.

With the number of marketers, solopreneurs, brands, and publishers building websites and making money online today, it’s no surprise that content marketing has ballooned up into an industry set to be worth $412 billion by 2021, after a steady four-year-straight track record of consistent, explosive growth.

This means a huge opportunity has opened up for freelance writers. And it’s called content marketing writer.

So, what does it take to create content that garners the attention you deserve? How do you become a successful content marketing writer, and… what does that even mean? 🤔

how to become a content marketing writer blog

What in the World Wide Web is a Content Writer?

Everything you read online is web content, and anyone who writes web content is a content writer.

Content writers are the high-level writers of the future, and the future is now! Businesses are hiring content writers to write blog posts, scripts, product descriptions, social media captions, online courses, etc. If you don’t write it, someone else will.

Simple, right?

Source: Imgflip

Hold your horses, Buckaroo. 🐎 There’s more to it than that. Content marketing writers aren’t like the other writers out there.

What Makes a Good Content Marketing Writer?

Not just any website will rank on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Content is key. Optimizing your content could lead to a 70% visibility increase!

But what does it mean to optimize your content, and where do you start? 🧐

Start by developing a content strategy. Having a clear strategy has proven to be one of the most important elements of content marketing.

My Profitable Content Marketer Skills Cheat Sheet gives you actionable steps to take – and strategies to develop – to master the realm of content creation and marketing.

3 Crucial Content Strategy Tips

As you develop your content strategy, remember to include these important steps, which are crucial to creating effective content:

  1. Write with authority to build trust and loyalty.
  2. Create relatable and relevant content, regularly.
  3.  Write in a way that engages your audience.

What Skills Do You Need for Content Marketing Writing?

Once your content marketing strategy is in place, you need to understand the value of creating high-quality content.

I love how freelance writer John Espirian puts it:

“Depth and quality matter most. If you’re machine-gunning content out there just to be seen, that’s not enough. The world doesn’t need more crappy content. It needs better content.”

Depth and quality. Better content. Noted. 👌🏻

So, now… how do you write better content?

The Traits of a Content Marketing Writer

Growth-focused content marketing writers – or, as I like to call them, Content Hackers – need certain skills and characteristics to be successful.

Be tactical and strategic. Think in terms of strategy, and look at long-term goals.

Know how to research. Write trustworthy, reliable content, and be prepared to back up your claims.

Be a storyteller. Stories draw people in. Stay relevant, be relatable, and draw on emotions.

Practice your patience. Patience and determination are virtues, especially when it comes to the results of your content.

Be an A+ communicator. This may be the most important characteristic of a content hacker. Be smart about when and how to communicate your message to your audience.

content hacker infographic

Enroll in Content Writing Courses

Continue to improve your skills and educate yourself on the latest and best practices for content writing.

My six-week Content Strategy and Marketing Course is a great place to start, no matter where you are on your content marketing journey. The course takes you through steps to build a content strategy from the ground up, including lessons on how to create high-quality content.

5 Types of Content Writing Jobs

Now that you’ve unleashed the content hacker within – and have earned your black belt in content marketing – the world (wide web) is your oyster. It’s time to decide which path you want to take on your journey to becoming a content marketing ninja. Hiyah! 🥋

Businesses hire writers for many different content writing roles, and it’s up to you to decide which role best fits your personality and skills. Here are five examples of content writing jobs available to you.

Subject Expert Content Writer

A Subject Expert Content Writer is, well, exactly what it sounds like: an expert on their subject. Subject Expert Writers might have a field certificate, and typically have a certain number of years’ worth of experience writing content related to one specific subject. Expert Content Writers are typically harder to find than Generalist Copywriters.

Generalist Copywriter

A Generalist Copywriter is someone who can write pretty much anything, and typically writes copy that doesn’t require a lot of expertise or research. I guess we can call Generalist Copywriters the experts of general subjects! Generalist Copywriters are easier to find since their area of expertise is… every area.

SEO Content Specialist

An SEO Content Specialist creates content that is optimized for the web. SEO Content Specialists will research keywords and phrases, and can naturally integrate these target words into their content. SEO Content Specialists are master strategists, always keeping SERP rankings in mind, and coming up with the best ways for content to be found by organic searches.

Social Media Content Creator

A Social Media Content Creator is also exactly what it sounds like! These writers are hired by companies who need someone to write in a way that will connect with their social audience. That is, everyone on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram… you get it. Social Media Content Creators research hashtags and current trends, and usually write with a casual, relatable tone, often using humor in their content.

Technical Writer

Technical Writers are a branch of Subject Experts. They’re usually writing about – you guessed it! – technical content, and have the unique ability to take complex ideas and concepts and make them easy to understand. Technical Writers think in terms of steps, and often write guides, FAQs, how-tos, etc. Technical Writers are super detail-oriented and methodical.

Obviously, each of these roles is unique, but there are similarities and overlaps. Whichever role you pursue, keep in mind that you will most likely need to train yourself – at least a little! – in a few different areas of content writing. After all, the more skills and knowledge you possess, the more you can offer!

Next Steps: Build Your Content Writing Portfolio

Alright, Content Hacker, it’s your time to shine. 🌟

You’ve learned:

  1. How to define a Content Marketing Writer
  2. What makes a good Content Marketing Writer
  3. The skills a successful Content Marketing Writer needs to have
  4. There are tons of content writing jobs out there

So, where do you go from here? 😳

Your next step is to build a rockstar writing portfolio. Let’s take a quick look at five ways to make that happen.

Showcase Your Best Writing Samples

Don’t showcase your favorite pieces. Showcase your best pieces. What are 3-5 of your top-performing pieces of content? Your strongest samples are the samples you want to include in your portfolio, whether they’re your favorites or not.

Be Diverse, but Relevant

You’ll want to show off your vast skill set, but make sure the samples you’re sharing are relevant to the position you’re applying for. Are you applying for a Technical Writing role? Share three how-tos, guides, or instructional pieces, and two SEO-optimized or general copywriting pieces. This mixes up your portfolio but also points to a specialist area.

Have Your Stats Ready

Be ready to answer questions about the work in your portfolio. How many likes, shares, or comments did it receive? And in what amount of time? Can you prove an increase in ROI that directly relates to your content? Has your article been shared or mentioned by any major sites or influencers? Have accurate and current figures worked out ahead of time, so you’re ready to – once again – show off your skills and prove your worth as a writer.

Don’t Share Your Non-Disclosures

If you signed an NDA before completing a certain project, you do not have permission to add that piece to your portfolio. Leave it out entirely – forget it, move on, and choose another piece. Or, if it’s a piece you’re proud of that performed really well (and your portfolio desperately needs another sample), consider rewriting the piece for a fake company.

Presentation Matters

When you share your portfolio with a potential client, keep in mind that content writing is a profession. Therefore, your presentation needs to be professional. Don’t just hand in a pile of papers and hope for the best. Invest in a presentation book – get an actual portfolio for your portfolio – and keep your pieces organized with plastic inserts. And if you’re keeping your portfolio online, remember that design matters. Writing is a creative pursuit, so get creative with your portfolio template, but don’t go crazy. Keep it simple, minimalistic, and professional. Content marketing is a serious business!

It’s Time to Get Working!

If you want to become a Content Marketing Writer, it’s in your power to do so. You’ve come this far already, now it’s time to take the next steps! Take these tips to heart, implement these strategies, and get to writing.

You are the freelance writer of the future!

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