People from all walks of life, young and old, dream of becoming writers. Perhaps it’s the appeal of working independently in a creative field that attracts so many aspiring writers. One kind of writer that the world sorely needs is the “web content writer”. Let’s look at what these writers do, how to become a web content writer, and what you can expect from your new job.
How to Become a Web Content Writer in Five Steps
1. Understand What You’re Getting Into
Before we can talk about the skills and job market for web content writers, we have to talk about what this job is and isn’t. If you’re trying to break into writing because you want to satisfy your creative urges, don’t get your hopes up. While a web content writer can certainly express themselves and use their creativity, you’re not writing the next great American novel.
Web content generally involves product pages, service descriptions, blog posts, and perhaps some snippets here and there. Go to one of your favorite websites and just pay attention to the copy. Where is it, and how does it read? Those could be your words.
In order for you to get to that point, you’re going to need to have your skills sharp and your hustle ready because the writing world has high expectations. If you’re sure you want to know how to become a web content writer, that this is right for you, then read on.
2. Own the Language
What does it mean to own the language? It means that you have full command and control of the English language. Although we all have our own style of writing and our own unique voice, we have to be able to make our words fit the parameters that clients choose. If you can only output in one tone or style, then the language owns you and you’re not ready for content writing.
Grammar, spelling, and punctuation need to be sterling. We cannot stress this enough. Sure, there are programs like Grammarly that can help you catch errors, and Word has spell check, but you really shouldn’t be making mistakes in the first place. If you keep turning in work with basic errors, clients will think you don’t care about your writing (or them) and off-load you quickly.
One of the most important skills for a web content writer is to be able to output a high volume of quality content in as little time as possible. You get paid by the word, so you want to output as many words as you can in a day. Brushing up on your touch typing skills is a good investment.
3. Write and Publish
No one is going to want to hire a writer without any samples. There are a few things you can do to build up a portfolio. Above all, you need to write and publish work. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
With the self-publishing approach, you create your own website (buy a real domain, by the way) and publish your own content there. Since anyone can do this at any time, it doesn’t really carry the same weight as it would if your pieces were bought by someone else and published on their site. However, it’s good to have a place where you can put your own projects and get your name out there.
Create a website using your name or your business name and post pieces up there that you would like people to see. Be careful not to go too wild with diversity. Clients need to know what you do best, not everything you can do. Will you be a white paper expert or a short story machine? Whatever you specialize in, make it clear.
You’ll then need to spend time promoting your site and getting the word out. Use social media for this effect. If it goes well, you may have clients come knocking and plenty of work to do.
Publish on a Platform
Medium is a great platform for independent writers to publish their work. Their content also more closely resembles web content, so it’s a good fit for an aspiring web content writer. You can even earn money when your article is read.
Platforms like these invert the problems of making your own site. Instead of putting in the work to create your own site and promote it, you don’t have to worry about any of that. However, instead of people reading only about you, they’re reading articles by thousands of people on the platform. It’s harder to stand out when you’re on a platform.
Still, platforms can be a good way to put some of your work out there. You can link to published articles on your resume. Besides, there’s no rule that says you can’t do both!
4. Look for Work
Once you’ve produced some samples to show and you feel confident in your writing abilities, it’s time to step it up. Many writing jobs are found via word of mouth, so you need to go where the mouths go. Check out forums and websites like Reddit to find leads.
Don’t expect your first jobs to pay a fortune. As you become more established and reliable, you’ll be able to charge more for your work. There’s also a lot of competition at the entry level for content writers, which means lots of people offer ridiculously low rates. Price yourself above the herd slightly but understand that you have to accept modest pay rates for your first year or two until you have a reputation and lots of samples to back you up.
Another option is to sign on with a company like SteadyContent. We do the hard work of finding work for you, and you do the writing. It’s a great way to supplement other income, and you might find yourself working full-time for us once you get used to the style guidelines and the workflow.
5. Move Up the Ladder
After establishing yourself and perfecting your work methods, you’re ready to aim for those big-fish clients. While you don’t need to abandon your existing jobs, you should raise your rate and stick to it. If you decide that $0.02 a word is too low and you want $0.05 now, understand that plenty of clients will try to lowball you or get you to drop your rate.
Stay firm. If they’re not willing to pay you what you genuinely believe you’re worth, then they’re not the right client for you. As you get clients at your new rate, you can talk to your current ones about giving you a raise or you can drop them entirely if you didn’t like them much to begin with. By gradually moving up, you avoid suddenly having your business fall apart.
Congratulations! You’ve made it! In reality, figuring out how to become a web content writer isn’t that difficult. Like many other freelance jobs, the key is to simply get good and do the work. You’ll need to put in effort, but it pays off quickly.
Need Web Content or Want More Work?
If you’re looking for some content for your website, or you’re looking for a place where you can get some more work as a web content writer, look no further than SteadyContent. We’re a leading provider of high-quality web content thanks to our team of talented writers.
Visit Steadycontent today to see what we can write for you, and apply for a position if you’d be interested in writing with us.