I got my first writing gig on Upwork, helping a guy rewrite some content for his ecolodge website. The pay was only about 5 bucks each, but after I’d helped him with a few pages and blog posts he asked me to help him respond to his customer reviews on TripAdvisor for $125. I’ve gotten a few more clients since then, and not one of them has come from my website; it’s all either been through Upwork (mostly small-time) or from talking to friends and family (much more profitable).
Step 3: Brainstorm, then create your content marketing plan. Planning and creating new content isn’t just about mapping and metrics. Brainstorming and asset planning can be one of the most challenging and important parts of content creation. To catch inspiration when it strikes, you need a receptive environment, and team-wide willingness to try new things. An editorial calendar is not only where you keep track of, coordinate, and share your upcoming content, it is a strategic tool that helps your team execute integrated programs that include your content. Keeping an editorial calendar ensures that you’re releasing your content at the best possible moment, and that your whole team is aligned around the release dates. 

Before you even start to write content, you need to know what you’re writing about — and you can kill two birds with one stone if you combine search engine optimization with your editorial calendar planning. New York Times Bestselling author and top marketer Neil Patel calls keyword research “the most important part of digital marketing” and “how we keep our ears to the ground,” and for good reason.
"Ideation" is a marketing industry buzzword that describes the creative process of finding a subject, title and angle to write about; and ideation begins with analytics. Most ideation is done in a team setting, but freelance writers are usually on their own. Which is why it's helpful to know how professional marketing teams generate ideas. Before doing that, successful content writers need to: 
I just wanted to say thanks so much to Sonia and the whole Copyblogger team for throwing my little blog on this list with so many folks I’ve looked up to for so long. James over at MWP gave me my very first guest posting gig and a lot of inspiration before and since. Carol Tice’s timely articles gave me what I needed to believe I really could make a living doing this stuff. Peter Bowerman got me started on the freelance writing idea years ago, and continues to provide tremendous value with his blog too. And no list like this would be complete without a huge mention of the granddaddy of writing blogs, Copyblogger! I’ve learned so much here, and it’s only just begun!
Check your local college or university for a technical writing certificate program. Look at the faculty of the program to confirm you are being taught by professionals in the field or working content writers who are familiar with the demands of the writing industry. Certificate programs can be beneficial for writers who are new to content writing or technical writing.[6]
I won't pull any punches: I started, and it took a while to stop. That is to say you're about to dive into a pretty in-depth post (that's a nice way of saying "long") about content marketing, one which you may want to bookmark to read later. But I think it covers most of the aspects of content marketing that modern inbound marketers need to consider, beyond the basics of simply writing content optimized for the web.
I personally prefer things simple, so I think of content marketing technology solutions in terms of "need it" or "nice to have." Nice-to-have technologies are things like competitive intelligence tools, market research tools, or software that clues you in to real-time trends. Experiment with these on a rolling basis -- most will offer a free trial so you can validate it. But first, make sure you're set up with the core technologies every content marketing team needs.
It’s that, for most of us, the idea of selling something is already unnerving. Who wants to come across as a slimy salesperson? Plus, with writing, there’s a delay between copy being created and the other person reading it. You’re vulnerable without the luxury of self-correcting based on that person’s body language. You have to release your words into the ether and hope that someone receives it and acts upon it.
Ricardo specializes in content marketing for real estate professionals, and he’s got lots of resources for using blogs, social media, and content to create effective marketing for that market. I love this example of a content marketer working within a well-defined niche. (If you’re a writer struggling to stand out, think about the niche you could be serving.)

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Sell a good night’s sleep, not the mattress”? Think about all of the mattress commercials and advertisements you’ve seen before. Do they lead with coil count or insulation padding details? Nah. They sell you on how comfortable the mattress is, how well you’ll sleep on it, and how much more productive and enjoyable your days will be when you are well-rested. They want you to positively frame their product, envision yourself using it, and negate any potential concerns you may have.

To explain how content marketing works, we first have to agree on a definition. Unfortunately, I might've sent myself on a fool's errand -- I went through dozens of different iterations of a content marketing definition (including the somewhat flippant "content marketing is using content for marketing") and found none of them totally satisfactory. But I hate to let perfection get in the way of progress, so let's just get something down on paper so we have a basis for discussion:


The easiest way to get started is to apply to write content for a content writing service or freelance job board. Content writing services create business relationships with companies that need content and provide writers to write that content. Freelance job boards are sites that allow writers to make individual profiles and vie for jobs posted directly by the client.
If you’ve ever slogged your way through reading a piece of marketing and only finished reading because you had to, then you’ve experienced bad content marketing. When I speak to companies about content marketing I tell them that content is good if they genuinely want to read it. Content is great if they’re willing to pay to read it. If you want to see great examples of content, just look at what you’ve paid to read, watch, or listen to lately. If you watched The Lego Movie this year, you saw one of the greatest examples of content marketing to date. Oh, you thought they made that movie in order to sell movie tickets? Think again. That was a 100 minute toy commercial, and rather than using a DVR to skip it you paid good money to watch it. Is it any coincidence that Lego recently leapfrogged Mattel, the creators of Barbie, to become the largest toy company in the world? You may not have the budget to make a feature film to promote your company, but you can still give potential customers valuable information.
Don’t think for a second that a boring or technical topic gets you off the hook either  — IKEA assembly instructions have nothing to do with gay dating (usually) but we used a visual to help the reader make the connection. Push yourself to add a little creative fiction to your website content writing and see how much more fun it is to read (and write!)
Ah-ha! This explains the freaky peak in traffic today. 🙂 So cool to be listed against some really great writers and copywriters. Ben Settle is a regular read of mine, and I’ve been blown away with what Carol Tice is doing for her readers and members. The only pain is there are some here I didn’t know about and I’m dying to check them all out out now but it’s nearly bed time for me!
The short answer is that she found me and cold emailed me. The long answer is that she was Googling for copywriting tips and stumbled across an article I wrote a few years ago with a list of copywriting resources. (This makes me cringe a bit to share, since it’s so old, but here’s the blog post: http://skillcrush.com/2014/09/18/write-better-copy/) The interesting thing here is that when she read the article, she looked at the author name and recognized me from Instagram, where she already followed my account all about vegan food (http://instagram.com/randlebrowning). Since she’s launching a vegan health supplements company, she thought I’d be a great fit to write copy for her…and I am! It has been a really fun first project to work on.
Your social media manager should also invest in growing your presence on social networks so that the content you share reaches an ever-growing audience. Consider the amplification of a piece of content shared on a Facebook page with 100,000 fans, versus 1,000 fans. The fans' networks work to help your content spread -- so the larger their networks, the better your content's distribution. 
Step 3: Brainstorm, then create your content marketing plan. Planning and creating new content isn’t just about mapping and metrics. Brainstorming and asset planning can be one of the most challenging and important parts of content creation. To catch inspiration when it strikes, you need a receptive environment, and team-wide willingness to try new things. An editorial calendar is not only where you keep track of, coordinate, and share your upcoming content, it is a strategic tool that helps your team execute integrated programs that include your content. Keeping an editorial calendar ensures that you’re releasing your content at the best possible moment, and that your whole team is aligned around the release dates. 

We all have opinions on what types of content go viral: a soundless social video, a data-backed explainer, a perfectly timed newsjack. But no matter the format, it ultimately comes down to emotion. Does the story make you feel enraged, inspired, understood? With everything you create you have to ask: If this scrolled by on my newsfeed, would I care? If the answer is no, it’s not worth it. Your online content habits are your own best judge.
What do you want readers to do with the content you create? If your only answer is, “Well, read it, I guess,” you need to go back to the drawing board. Before you even start writing, you need to know what your call to action will be, and you need to make it compelling enough that readers can’t help but click. That’s how you connect content writing to marketing goals and prove ROI.

In some cases, the guidance or existing copy that a content writer receives from his or her client is, in a word, awful. Many are the days that I’ve sat down to look at a wall of ill-formatted, poorly spelled, stream-of-consciousness rough copy, and begin the arduous task of editing and polishing it. It’s the intellectual equivalent of cleaning up someone else’s bedroom: you just don’t want to know what goes on in there to cause such a mess. Still, we do it, and we smile, because in the end making you look and sound good is what our jobs are all about.


Take it from someone who writes for a living: Just start writing. Your first idea is probably not going to be a winner, and that’s why you should get it out of the way as soon as possible. Write out all of the ideas you have for your copy, no matter how silly– you may be surprised at what gems come out of a brainstorming session where you don’t edit or criticize your creativity.
This certification is designed to build your writing logic and learning the fundamentals of writing for the web. The lessons can be taken by anyone irrespective of their experience level. In the lectures, you will get to know how to describe your business in an exciting and engaging manner. By the end of the end of the classes, you will be equipped with the in-demand skills required for thriving in the industry.
Your social media manager should also invest in growing your presence on social networks so that the content you share reaches an ever-growing audience. Consider the amplification of a piece of content shared on a Facebook page with 100,000 fans, versus 1,000 fans. The fans' networks work to help your content spread -- so the larger their networks, the better your content's distribution. 

Content marketing also provides additional benefits in that it supports other digital marketing channels. It provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines. In fact, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.


Theory #1: The mere act of publishing content on a regular basis does a lot of the "distribution" work for you -- if you consider search engines a distribution channel. (Which I do, considering how often people use them to find content.) If you create content on a regular basis that's informed by keyword research and optimized for search, Google takes care of the rest of your content distribution plan.
Check your local college or university for a technical writing certificate program. Look at the faculty of the program to confirm you are being taught by professionals in the field or working content writers who are familiar with the demands of the writing industry. Certificate programs can be beneficial for writers who are new to content writing or technical writing.[6]
Ricardo specializes in content marketing for real estate professionals, and he’s got lots of resources for using blogs, social media, and content to create effective marketing for that market. I love this example of a content marketer working within a well-defined niche. (If you’re a writer struggling to stand out, think about the niche you could be serving.)
Ideally, you’ll have somebody to edit your writing. If you’re responsible for writing and editing your web content, don’t do both in the same day. When the writing is still fresh, your mind will automatically make up the gaps in your copy and your editing will be subpar. Instead, put it away and come back to it another day — or at least several hours later.
Customize your resume and cover letter. If you decide to go a more traditional route and apply for a permanent content writing position at a writing based agency or organization, you will need to customize your resume and cover letter to fit the position. This will show your employer that you noted the skills outlined in the job posting and that you can fulfill the expectations of the position.
Notice how the second sentence is somehow less exciting (even though it contains a killer lion?) That;s because the active voice emphasizes the action with “the lion attacked.” In the passive voice, the village is the subject. The agent (the lion that performed the action) is only mentioned afterwards using the prepositional phrase “by the lion.” It’s almost an afterthought.
It then started off as working in a full-time job as a Technical Author, in the UK (this was 1997). I then went freelance in 1999 , and found a forte in designing Word templates and documents for clients. They also adopted all my processes and procedures in place of their own – great start, right? BUt that was then, back in the steady world of freelancing and commuting. Now though, with the Internet-shift, it’s even better; but, the challenges – though different – still exist.
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