Advances in modern technology have affected the way we work today. In the UK, more of us work from home than ever before, with many large corporations such as BT hiring a percentage of their employees specifically for remote working. The life of a freelance writer has always involved a degree of working independently. Even more so in this day and age, when you’re more likely to be writing content for a website or online publication than you are to be writing for a traditional print magazine.
Would I Make a Good Writer?
Think about your skills; if you’re good at spelling, communicate well in writing and spent most of your school break-times scribbling stories furiously in a corner rather than playing with the other children, chances are, writing is the perfect career for you! Nowadays you don’t even have to be a perfect speller, thanks to spell-check, but it definitely helps to have an eye for detail and a firm grasp of English. You don’t necessarily need to have studied writing or English at university, but you do need to have the following attributes:
- Good time management skills as you’ll often be working to tight deadlines
- Excellent communication skills; whilst you might be working alone most of the time, you need to communicate with your clients and keep them in the loop when working on projects for them
- Computer skills; you need to be able to use the internet and office software such as Microsoft Word. It’s also handy to know how to draw up an invoice, although there’s software available which can help you with this.
- A passion to write! Often under-rated, a writer’s passion is what helps make those days writing about less interesting topics bearable. Working in SEO Copywriting, expect to tackle some less than exciting subjects that you may struggle with, as well as some that really get your creative juices flowing! Your love of writing is what will help you to progress in your career.
How to Get Started
As a freelance writer, your most valuable asset (besides your netbook and never-ending supply of coffee) is your portfolio or book. This should include a variety of work for different clients on different topics; think of it as advertising your skills. So try to include articles, blog posts, press releases, website content and anything else that you have written. If you’re starting out, you might be wondering exactly what you’re supposed to include in your portfolio! Pick a few topics that interest you, whether its film, fashion or marine biology that inspires you and write some articles! These can be used as a starting point when applying for work. Above all, have confidence e in your work; remember, if you didn’t have some kind of writing skill, you wouldn’t have the urge to pursue this as a career!
Use the Internet
There are so many websites out there offering work for freelancers. Whilst you’ll find SEO copywriting jobs listed for ridiculously small amounts of pay on some sites, others have a better mix of work available. You may have to get your foot in the door by writing for content mills at a low rate of pay, or taking on work that doesn’t pay well through one of the freelance websites, just to gain some experience and pad out your portfolio in the early days and weeks. Often, clients on freelance websites ask you to bid for work and they will simply hire the lowest bidder, but don’t be discouraged. Simply be selective about what you apply for. Work out how much you would like to earn an hour (estimate writing around 1000 words an hour) and then knock a few pounds off to find your starting rate. Refuse to apply for anything underneath your starting rate once you have written your first few articles; value your work and your time and others soon will too!
It can be hard to get started in SEO copywriting or any kind of content writing work, but by developing an online presence, a solid portfolio of work and being selective about what writing work you take on to begin with, you’ll soon find yourself applying for and working with copywriting agencies across the UK (and further afield) and thoroughly enjoying your new job!
Featured image: Royalty free stock by sxc.hu – source
Article by Ian Arnison-Philips
Ian Arnison-Phillips is a freelance writer who specialises in offering advice on how SEO copywriting can help you improve your visibility online. If you wish to increase your online presence, ensure that you incorporate the skills of a copywriter into your business.