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.
While successful content writers seem to have an enviable life -- they work from home, make their own schedules and work as much or as little as they please -- the vast majority have a hard time making a living of it. They lack the skills necessary to succeed. Because no matter how talented they are, writing skill is simply not enough. So, if you want to become successful as a content writer, you need a full toolkit of marketable skills.
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.
You know what? 87% of B2B marketers practice content marketing to produce more qualified leads. And 78% of marketers are preparing to spend more money on content marketing. But according to my experience, the consistently producing quality content brings more traffic to a website. It also improves engagement with targeted audiences. Not least but using images in post increase audience engagement up to 30% more than plain text.
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.
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!
With enough discipline, solid web content writing skills are within anyone’s reach. Having excellent copy on your website is one of the easiest ways to grab the attention of new visitors (and keep them coming back for more — or better yet, sharing your links). Want more content creation tips and tricks? Check out our Web Content Writing 101 post, or shoot us an e-mail with your questions and we’ll get back to you.
You run an accounting firm that specializes in tax preparation, and business was lagging this year. You want to do better next year, so you start a blog on your website and publish posts about some of the common tax-related issues your target customer faces. You write a few posts a week, and eventually those blog posts start to rank in Google and other search engines.
You have to be clear with your copy. If you’re selling yourself as a social media marketer, you can’t simply say, “If you need a social media marketer, I’m your guy (or gal).” You want to actively show your potential clients why they should choose your services (for example, Choose me because I have five years’ worth of experience in improving social media awareness for big brands, like…).
If I were Forest Gump, then writing would be like my Jenny. Always in and out of my life in some form or another, and just when I think she’s gone for good, there she is floating across a field to me as if in a dream. And when she appears, she always affects me in some good way. Writing for me is like a tiger in a cage, pacing constantly looking for a way to get out and do what God put it here on earth to do, kill. I cut my literary teeth on Stephen King, but I don’t see myself writing blood and guts books. Instead I have an idea for a book that has been done many times over. I have a couple of models in 1/18th scale die cast metal, that when I look at them, all I can think of is being three inches tall and being able to drive them. For years I have tried to weave a story around this image, and it shouldn’t be that hard, but other factors are involved. Your words are encouraging and inspirational. I think I will start hacking out something I can call my own work of art, because like they say, which includes you too by the way, to be a writer you must write. So thank you for helping me get started. And if you have time, you could shoot me a gmail, it would be an honor. Thanks again Bryan Fitzpatrick Thompson
Lack of creative license. Though you may think content writing will give you a chance to showcase your creativity and rousing ability with words, in fact, most content writing is seen as a way to sell a product or simply inform a reader of the facts. In a content writer role, you will likely be writing about dry or dull topics, though you may get a chance to also write copy for more engaging projects on occasion. Your employer will dictate the topics you write about, and you will need to learn to be flexible and engaged on even the most obscure or boring subjects, regardless of your personal preference.[4]
Books. Like movies, people often think of books as selling themselves, but savvy marketers don’t sell books just to sell books, they sell books as marketing tools. Michael Port’s sales manual Book Yourself Solid is a great read for entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers, and while I’m sure Port enjoys selling his book, the book is a tool for driving customers to his coaching and speaking services. Although with self-publishing it’s easier than ever to publish a book, there is still the perception that it’s difficult and that only reputable professionals can publish a business book. Publish your own, and even if people don’t read it you can still use it as a form of content marketing every time you’re introduced as “Author of…”
Name recognition is important. Social media puts everything you need within your grasp. Build your audience, meet publishers and talk to industry experts. When your writing is published, the fun has only just begun. The more active you are on social media, the more likely your followers will be to recommend your content. Successful content writers are active, public and friendly.
This book opened my eyes to the opportunity of making money from home from copyrighting. The prospect of creating something original, something of my own, is very exciting. I am going to follow the writer’s advice and try to earn money from my creativity. I wanted to give the book 5 stars but decided to give it 4 because I haven’t yet applied the writer’s advice. On paper, the advice looks good and I hope it will work as good when I put it in practice

Simply master short form copy before you learn long form copy. Long form copy could be a 5-page landing page, or writing the script for a long webinar, or crafting a lengthy direct-mail piece. It often takes years to hone in on your craft and learn how to write really great long form copy. That’s why it’s best to start by learning short form copy, especially when you’re first starting out.
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.
The key word here is “valuable.” It’s what changes this definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing. You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it. So was VW’s 2014 “Game Day” commercial, which has been viewed on YouTube almost 18 million times as of the writing of this post, an ad, or content marketing? The answer is it’s both, depending on how it’s received by each individual who is exposed to it. The same will apply to any piece of content marketing you create, depending on whether the recipient received value from it or not. Of course the goal is to provide as much value from your content marketing to as much of your target audience as possible. At this point, despite this definition and explanation, you’re probably still wondering what exactly content marketing is. We can get more clarity by considering a few examples.
The errors I have mentioned are largely due to writing too quickly and not proofing and editing well. I have been there and done that. The problem with writing online (blogging, websites, forums, etc) is that hasty writing produces errors that last forever. I can’t stress enough that printing out your copy and reading it out loud is always a good use of your time.
Reorganize: This isn’t just an efficient way to pump out new content—it’s also a smart way to reach members of your audience who like to consume content in different ways. Some people you’re marketing to may like ebooks, while others prefer infographics, and still others learn best from slide decks. Slicing and dicing allows you to reach more people with less effort.
You have to be clear with your copy. If you’re selling yourself as a social media marketer, you can’t simply say, “If you need a social media marketer, I’m your guy (or gal).” You want to actively show your potential clients why they should choose your services (for example, Choose me because I have five years’ worth of experience in improving social media awareness for big brands, like…).
Practice article writing. Learn how to write a newspaper article and how to write a wikiHow article. As a professional content writer, you may find a position that focuses on journalistic article style writing, or more educational how to writing. Study the form, structure, voice, and tone of each type of article so you are familiar with both types.
Dan Lok has been viewed more than 1.7+ billion times across social media for his expertise on how to achieve financial confidence. And is the author of over a dozen international bestselling books. Dan Lok is the founder of The Dan Lok Organization (which includes over two dozen companies) and is a venture capitalist currently evaluating acquisitions in markets such as education, new media, and software. Dan Lok trains as hard in the Dojo as he negotiates in the boardroom. And thus has earned himself the name; The Asian Dragon.
Unlike other forms of online marketing, content marketing relies on anticipating and meeting an existing customer need for information, as opposed to creating demand for a new need. As James O'Brien of Contently wrote on Mashable, "The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story."[3] Content marketing requires continuous delivery of large amounts of content, preferably within a content marketing strategy.[4]

Those scenarios might have sounded like a lot of work to you, especially when considered alongside marketing programs that provide more immediate gratification -- like list purchasing, PPC, or trade show marketing that deliver names and email addresses in mere minutes. Often, content marketing is used when businesses realize those programs are either ineffective, too expensive, not scalable, or all of the above. Here's what I mean, using the "infographic generator" example above for demonstrations.
The content writer doesn’t just write 500 words on how great your hat shop is and call it a day; a good content writer will ensure that in addition to content being fresh, it’s also optimized for the specific keywords that are going to increase your search ranking, bringing more visitors to your site.  We understand the value of a great headline, appropriate keyword density, and keep up with current SEO best practices to ensure that the methods we’re using are the most effective.  If you’ve been seeing your search ranking sinking, a good content writer can dig you out of the hole of SEO silence.
Let's say you're using PPC as your primary means of generating leads for your business. You need more leads, and decide to bid on the term "infographic generator" for $2 a click. At the end of your month-long campaign, you generated 1,000 leads and spent $10,000. Not bad. But what about next month? You have to spend $10,000 again. And again. And again. That is, if you want the leads to keep coming. In other words, when you turn the faucet of money off, leads stop coming out. The same concept applies with list purchasing, tradeshow marketing -- anything where you don't own the property from which leads are generated. Now let's contrast that experience against, say, blogging.
You write a blog post about your infographic generator, and included a link to the tool in the post so people can try it for themselves. Let's say the visitor-to-lead conversion rate is the same on this blog post as it was in your PPC campaign -- 2%. That means if 100 people read that blog post in your first month, you'd get two leads from it. But your work is done now. And over time, that one blog post you wrote years ago will continue to generate leads over, and over, and over, every single month. And not just that blog post -- every blog post you write will do the same.
Your specific needs might vary -- for instance, perhaps you need subject matter expertise in your writers, or coding experience from your long-form content creators. Or perhaps your titles differ, and your "content creators" are actually "content strategists", or your "social media manager" is really a "specialist." Make edits as you see fit, but these frameworks should be helpful in getting you started if this is your first time hiring for any of these positions.
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.

The errors I have mentioned are largely due to writing too quickly and not proofing and editing well. I have been there and done that. The problem with writing online (blogging, websites, forums, etc) is that hasty writing produces errors that last forever. I can’t stress enough that printing out your copy and reading it out loud is always a good use of your time.
Ask a ‘yes’ question – This is a little trick many copywriters use and is something many bloggers use too. Open your blog post with a question that has a ‘yes’ answer. This immediately makes your post more engaging and conversational. Secondly, when a person answers ‘yes’ to your question, this means they want to learn more about the topic, and they are more likely to read your post.
In 1933, Procter & Gamble started to broadcast a radio serial drama sponsored by their Oxydol soap powder. The owners wanted to build brand loyalty by aiming to adult women. They could intermix their marketing messages into the serial drama. The term soap opera was born in this year, and they marked a precedent for native ads. Engagement with the audience was a key element with the creation of this content.
Simply master short form copy before you learn long form copy. Long form copy could be a 5-page landing page, or writing the script for a long webinar, or crafting a lengthy direct-mail piece. It often takes years to hone in on your craft and learn how to write really great long form copy. That’s why it’s best to start by learning short form copy, especially when you’re first starting out.
When writing calls to action, put yourself in the reader’s shoes: what would it take for a company you’ve never heard of to convince you to do something, even something as simple as sharing the article with a friend? Now, connect it to your goals: how can you craft a CTA and content specific to your company’s marketing and sales KPIs that actually persuades readers to take action?
Visual content plays a big role in the success of a content marketing strategy. We've found that The Adobe Creative Suite will set content marketers up with everything they need to lay out ebooks, design infographics, create social images, etc. The team will find themselves in InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat pretty frequently. For a free alternative, try Canva. This lightweight software makes it easy for designers of all levels to create quality visual content -- things like presentations, cover photos, ads etc. 
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.
Copywriting is designed to sell. Copywriting is closing in print. This type of writing can convert a prospect into a customer. Like I said, it’s more about street smarts, modern thinking, and the skill of simplifying and shortening the key message. That’s why your copywriting clients won’t care if you have a degree in English or journalism. They’ll only care that you possess the raw talent to sell in print. Your clients only care that your writing can sell. Can your writing produce results? That’s what matters.
When writing calls to action, put yourself in the reader’s shoes: what would it take for a company you’ve never heard of to convince you to do something, even something as simple as sharing the article with a friend? Now, connect it to your goals: how can you craft a CTA and content specific to your company’s marketing and sales KPIs that actually persuades readers to take action?
This platform provides you with a list of classes on the various aspects of professional writing skills. Divided into three difficulty levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced, there are courses for varying kinds of requirements. Explore the different aspects of this skill, working on social media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn along with the accompanying examples in the programs. Upon the completion of your chosen training, you will have projects to showcase your newly acquired skills and the knowledge to implement them at your workplaces. Additionally, the lectures help you to understand how to turn your skills into successful sales.
As you complete each content writing gig, or as you gain more experience in a permanent position, add each article or piece of writing to an online portfolio. This will then help you network for other writing projects and positions in the future. With enough clips and contacts, you may then be able to freelance and work for yourself as a content writer.[14]
You create a few sample infographics and share them on social media so people see what the tool is capable of doing, and between that and the traffic coming from organic search, you start to get a few hundred people using it every month. A few of them like it so much they provide their name and email address so they can continue using it. Now that you have their contact information, you're able to identify some people that would be a good customer fit and keep in touch with them, nurturing them into customers.
The personal finance site Mint.com used content marketing, specifically their personal finance blog MintLife, to build an audience for a product they planned to sell. According to entrepreneur Sachin Rekhi, Mint.com concentrated on building the audience for MintLife "independent of the eventual Mint.com product."[18] Content on the blog included how-to guides on paying for college, saving for a house, and getting out of debt. Other popular content included in-depth interviews and a series of financial disasters called "Trainwreck Tuesdays." The popularity of the site surged as did demand for the product. "Mint grew quickly enough to sell to Intuit for $170 million after three years in business. By 2013, the tool reached 10 million users, many of whom trusted Mint to handle their sensitive banking information because of the blog’s smart, helpful content."[19]
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