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.
Very nice article. I’ve been writing and traveling the world, full-time now, for three years. I can’t think of an easier way to make money than writing. No costly inventory, no expensive website, and little investment needed. When I started all I had was a gmail address, and a small portfolio. I would cold contact 10-15 websites a day offering my services. Three years later I’m farming out the small jobs, and still have repeat business from when I first started. It’s a great way to live.
Some companies may have marketing teams of far more than 18. Here at HubSpot, for example, we have a team of nearly 100. Even so, we stick to a team structure quite similar to the structure an 18-person marketing team might use -- with one modification. Design is broken off of the Content Team, and relegated to a separate team. This might make sense for your organization, too, if you find that:
So, whenever someone asks me what I do, I reply that I’m a content writer. Quite often, they aren’t sure what that means, and for good reason.  It’s not the most descriptive job title in the world, but that’s because content writing has to remain as open and flexible as it can; content writers wear a lot of hats.  Ask 10 different content writers what they do during the day, and you’ll most likely get 10 different answers.  The truth is the job of a content writer is about much more than just churning out articles or blog posts.  Let’s take a moment to break down the job of the content writer, and see if we can develop a more thorough understanding of just what we content writers do – and why you probably need one.
Quick turnarounds. When you write for an employer, on their timeline, you will need to be able to write fast and write well. This is especially true for writers just breaking into content writing. Often, your project will come with an expected words per hour, or article per hour, as well as strict deadlines. You will not have time to labor over every word or turn of phrase. Instead, you will need to produce content fast and at a constant rate.[5]

It can help, but other degrees also have content writing value. For instance, the ability to synthesize and relate complex information is key to content writing, but can also be acquired from studies in education or philosophy. Companies that offer content writing positions tend to find it easier to train someone in a complex topic than to train someone to write, however. For example, as a healthcare professional with mediocre writing skills, you're less likely to be hired as a healthcare content writer than a strong writer with no healthcare background (but who can be trained in healthcare topics).

During the baby boom era, Kellogg’s began selling sugary cereal to children. With this change in business model came sociable animal mascots, lively animated commercials and the back of the cereal box as a form of targeted content marketing. Infographics were born in this era. This represented a new approach to make a brand memorable with the audience.
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.)
There are several copywriting exercises that you can do at home, in your spare time, that will help you learn the skill of copywriting faster. The reason why the expression, “Practice makes perfect” is said so often, is because it’s true. It’s especially true if you keep practicing the same type of copywriting over and over (for example, practicing writing Facebook ads.) 
It's important to do regular reporting -- I recommend monthly -- on each of these metrics so you know where your growth levers lie. Regular reporting also helps you identify negative trends or plateaus early-on so you can address them before they become bigger issues. Most importantly, however, tracking the success of your initiatives makes it easy for you to repeat what works, eliminate what doesn't, and promote the success of your content marketing program so you can justify its expansion, and its seat at the modern marketing table.
There are many firms that offer content marketing services, often paired with SEO or PR. If you’re simply too busy to do it yourself and aren’t ready to manage it in-house, then hiring a firm may be your best option. But if you want to jump in and do your own content marketing the easiest way is to start blogging. It will likely be hard at first, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Following tips from websites like Copyblogger you’ll quickly learn how to craft content for your website or blog that will engage readers and turn them into customers or clients. But while technically good writing and the right headlines can help, it’s not the key to creating great content that is the best form of content marketing.

Hi Neville, I’ve been poking around on your website for the last hour or so… great stuff, and I’ve been doing this (writing copy) for nigh on 25 years. I’d like to republish one of your articles in my weekly copywriting e-letter, the Copywriter’s Roundtable (link above, along with my email). I’ll look around for your contact info, but in case I don’t find it… how can we get in touch?

In any case, humbly submitted, I think your readers might find a lot there to like. Also to note, I’d second your endorsement on all the above. I know some of these guys personally. The AWAI folks, I’ve known since the beginning (in a roundabout way, it’s my personal beginnings as a copywriter that helped inspire the creation of their entire program!).


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.
I notice that you have Ben Settle on the list here. I enjoyed your radio show with him not too long ago, and I have used the templates he provided from one of his guest posts here. But I can also say that Ben as good a copywriter as Ben is -especially his email writing expertise- he’s just as effective at teaching HOW to write emails that sell. I recommend his monthly print newsletter called Email Players.
Get familiar with the content writer pay scale. Many content writers starting out in their careers are not sure how much they should be paid per word. Most publications pay by word, or by hour, with a certain word count expectation. On average, content writers should be paid no less than $0.02 per a word, but may not reach more than $1 a word. Salaried positions are different, as you will be paid a yearly rate for a certain amount of work. It can be difficult to get a salaried position fresh out of graduation or when you're just starting out. Most content writers will start out working per word, or per hour.[12]
I guess I’ve never had a real gig yet… I’ve written website content for clients many, many times. I’ve also had gigs writing SEO content. But I’ve never really truly had a copywriting gig yet. Thanks for this article. To be honest, I’ve only buzzed through it quickly just now (#MeWantsTShirt), but it actually looks really good and I plan to re-read it carefully, following all the helpful links (especially the ones on the copywriting resources… I really want to be good, no… GOODER, at the art of written persuasion), and bookmarking it. (By the way, offering a paid service to rewrite websites is brilliant. I’ve offered to review and improve websites from a CRO perspective… but I never thought of offering a “better copy” only approach. Nice!
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.

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:
Content marketing is a quickly growing field. With that growth comes opportunities for entrepreneurial-minded writers. If you're curious about getting started in content marketing, we've put together a guide that should tell you if you are cut out for the job -- and if you need content writers for your next project. Find out as we discuss content marketing 101.
Read Joe Pulizzi's excellent book Epic Content Marketing. I started reading it after I wrote this post and it confirmed and expanded what I already knew about content marketing, with much more detail than I could ever go into here. Something Pulizzi emphasizes which I originally left out was the importance of focusing on producing mobile-friendly content, since smartphones are becoming the dominant way in which most of our customers access content. Also read Michael Hyatt's Platform, mentioned above. Frequent websites like those of Content Marketing Institute, Ragan, Copyblogger, Michael Hyatt, and Gary Vaynerchuk and sign up for their email newsletters. It won't take you long to become not just familiar with content marketing, but an expert.
Now, you’ll have a much easier time crafting copy that their target audience will resonate with. If you do your research right, you’ll end up having a much easier and faster time writing copy that works for them. Plus, with all that research, you’ll write copy that could potentially solve your prospect’s problems, and you’ll create copy they’ll be genuinely impressed with.
With a marketing team size of around 18, your content marketing team will be staffed with all the same roles -- bloggers, long-form content creators, SEO specialists, designers -- just multiplied. Aim to have three bloggers on staff, and two employees for each of the other roles. It's wise to have one of those bloggers have expertise in editing, too, so there's someone dedicated to maintaining content quality as output increases.
And to think I was trying to make my first $10,000 by this summer. Reality check. I just finished reading your suggested books by Halbert & Sugarman in 3 days. No long story here but on my blog this month, I will be thanking you and noting Sugarman’s advice. Just get ’em to read the first line of your copy. I am AWAI trained & needed to see what else was out there in the universe. I will follow you on facebook…….
Thank you Neville!! Your writing is very inspiring, humerus and educational. I recently took a leap of faith and quit my job so I can work from home. I have been following your posts for the last two days and finally got the courage to write something. I was looking into other types of work from home opportunities which led me to scams or purchasing starter packages. Now I’m 100% sure of what I would like to do. You will be seeing more of this Future Freelance Copywriter.
Traditional marketers have long used content to disseminate information about a brand and build a brand's reputation. Taking advantage of technological advances in transportation and communication, business owners started to apply content marketing techniques in the late 19th century. They also attempted to build connections with their customers. For example:

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Now, you’ll have a much easier time crafting copy that their target audience will resonate with. If you do your research right, you’ll end up having a much easier and faster time writing copy that works for them. Plus, with all that research, you’ll write copy that could potentially solve your prospect’s problems, and you’ll create copy they’ll be genuinely impressed with.
Part of transitioning to a media publishing mindset requires a change in structure and process to create content at the speed of culture. The old model you see on shows like Mad Men is too slow and cumbersome. By the time an idea becomes an ad, it is out of date. Marketers are increasingly co-locating insights, creative, production, legal approval, and placement to increase interaction and speed in producing and distributing content. Marketing content production is transforming from an advertising agency model to a newsroom model.[23]
"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: 
Hi Neville, I’ve been poking around on your website for the last hour or so… great stuff, and I’ve been doing this (writing copy) for nigh on 25 years. I’d like to republish one of your articles in my weekly copywriting e-letter, the Copywriter’s Roundtable (link above, along with my email). I’ll look around for your contact info, but in case I don’t find it… how can we get in touch?
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