There are several significant advantages of getting into the “writing business.”
• It’s in demand
• You can learn about the market(s)
• You can find partners; first, writing is in demand.
There are far more marketers looking for high-quality content for their websites than writers are providing it. Sure, it’s easy to find writers on sites like Elance or oDesk, but if you’ve ever tried doing this yourself, you’ve probably experienced the lack of quality that many of those writers offer.
Some of them aren’t native English speakers, others have a poor work ethic – but the fact is if you provide high-quality content. You’re conscientious about the work you’re doing; you will immediately distance yourself from 95% of your “competition.”
Next, learn about the markets. I refer to this in the plural because you can learn a lot about internet marketing itself and any markets you write about. If you provide high-quality content and do so reliably, you will often be able to work with some successful – and maybe even well-known – marketers. They will usually have you write on topics they’re involved in, and you can learn a lot by watching how they do things.
Believe me, the first time you write an ebook or report for someone and they take something they paid you $250 for and turn it into a $5,000 payday, it’s going to open your eyes to the potential that’s out there. Along those same lines, you can often leverage these working relationships into further partnerships.
Successful marketers understand that writing is often a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Suppose you work with a marketer by writing for them, and later you graduate to creating and marketing your own products. In that case, that marketer is much more likely to partner up with you as an affiliate or JV (joint venture) partner because they know your work quality.
There are various types of writing that marketers are generally looking for. You can offer any or all of the following types of content:
• Blog posts
• Autoresponder emails
• Spinning, Some of these are more specialized than others.
Copywriting, for example, will require you to have a specific skill set that not all writers will have. On the other hand, virtually any writer can generally handle articles and blog posts (provided they are comfortable with the topic, of course).
These different skill levels will also bear how much you can reasonably charge for your work. Article writers considered “highly paid” may charge $25 to $50 per article, somewhere around 500 words. Highly-paid copywriters, on the other hand, may earn $10,000 and up for a single sales letter, as well as a percentage of the sales in some cases.
If you’re just starting with your writing business, you’re probably not going to be able to command those kinds of rates until you’ve proven yourself, but it’s something you can aspire to. Most writers who can command top-dollar for their work started at entry-level rates, just like anyone else.
When you’re first starting, articles and blog posts are typically the most accessible work to find. There are many places where you can market yourself as an article writer (which we’ll cover in the next section). There is a virtually never-ending supply of marketers and website owners looking for good content.
Reports and ebooks are also popular types of content for many writers. These types of content are popular among internet marketers, and they are often looking for writers who can create them. Reports and ebooks may be written to be sold, given away as bonuses for other products, or even given away as an incentive to get people to join email lists or other lead generation methods.
Many marketers are constantly looking for new products or giveaways they can offer their customers, so as a writer, there is plenty of demand from your point of view. Writing reports and ebooks can be an excellent way to graduate into more significant types of content and more extensive projects with your existing clients, so don’t be afraid to offer your article clients larger projects. We’ve already mentioned copywriting, and it tends to be one of the higher-paying forms of content but to get paid well, you need to have a proven track record.
The first few sales letters you write may not generate the same kind of revenue, but if those sales letters convert well and you can build a bit of a portfolio of successful sales pages, it won’t take long before you can start charging more. Autoresponder emails are another form of copywriting, in some ways, but they will vary depending on the ultimate purpose.
Many marketers don’t understand how to write effective emails or know enough about a particular niche to write them well. By offering this type of content, you can often land some fairly profitable clients. Generally, marketers who are building niche email lists are working in more than one market. You may be able to get quite a bit of work by connecting with those marketers who need emails written for them.
Spinning is an unusual form of content and not one that all writers are comfortable offering. Article spinning is a bit of a controversial topic in the internet marketing world. Some people swear by it, while others feel it is a “black hat” technique that they would never use. Spinning is the process of taking a base or seed article and rewriting it with multiple versions of each sentence or even word replacements, using a particular format for those alternatives.
Specialized software, called a “spinner” takes this “spun” article and outputs one or more unique versions. The degree of uniqueness will be determined by how effectively the article is rewritten, and this is where a lot of marketers fail when using spun content. If you don’t use enough replacements or you’re not careful about the words you choose, you can wind up with a variation that isn’t different enough from the original or, worse, doesn’t make sense. If you offer an article spinning as a service, you can make a pretty good profit per article – provided you’re working with someone who understands the value you offer.
It’s not unheard of for people to pay $200 or more for a high-quality spun article. Even if it takes you four hours to create that single article, you can still earn a pretty good hourly wage this way.
Writing For Others – Where To Sell Your Writing
There are several venues where you can sell your writing, some more profitable than others.
The first one that you should always consider is your existing clients. If you’re just starting, this one may not work immediately, but once you’ve got a few jobs under your belt, you should have a list of clients that you can go back to whenever you have time available to write.
Along those lines, always make sure you capture your customers’ information – at least their name and email address – so you can contact them in the future. The fact is, they’ll thank you for it – it’s a win/win situation for both of you. You’ll have a list of people with whom you’ve already worked and understand what they’re looking for, and your customers will have a writer who they know they can trust to deliver high-quality content on time.
Before looking for new clients, always get in touch with your existing clients to see if they have any work for you.
Another way your existing clients can help you generate more business is through referrals. You should always ask your clients for referrals, even if it’s just a matter of letting them know that you’re available if they know anyone who is looking for writing.
Marketers who need writing and don’t have a trustworthy writer will often turn to their friends and acquaintances in the internet marketing world for recommendations. If your clients are happy with your work, they will usually recommend you to those people. You can even offer referral bonuses to snowball your referrals. If you pay a “finder’s fee” or provide a certain amount of free writing for every referral an existing customer sends you, this can help push the process along. If you are looking for new customers, whether because you’re just starting out or because your existing clients aren’t looking for any new content at the moment, there are several effective places to turn.
One of the best places to find new clients is through forums. There are many different internet marketing forums, and many of them have sections where you can offer your services.
For example, if you’ve been involved in internet marketing for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with the Warrior Forum. There is a sub-forum on the Warriors for Hire site, where you can post an ad for your services. Or you could offer a special price on your writing services through the Warrior Special Offers section. This is just one example; however – many other forums have similar units available to you.
There are a couple of caveats to forum marketing, however. First, you need to take part in the forum and get to be known. If you rarely post or you join and immediately post an ad for your services, it’s unlikely that you’re going to find many clients. People prefer to work with other people that whom they’re familiar.
Even if you’ve never met them in person, you can get to “know” people through a forum. Post regularly and interact with other people to become known. The additional benefit you’ll get from taking part periodically is that people will see the quality of your writing from the posts you make on the forum. This can act as a sort of live portfolio of your work.
The second thing to be careful of when marketing on forums is choosing a platform that has a “cheap is better” mindset. Frankly, the Warrior Forum suffers from this problem in many ways. The WSO section has trained members of that forum to expect to pay rock-bottom prices for precious products. This can translate into other areas of the platform as well, such as Warriors For Hire.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t find high-paying clients on these forums; it’s just a warning. You might get a better ROI by being active on other forums instead.
Another effective way to find new clients is through freelance websites like Elance.com and oDesk.com. These sites serve as a “middleman” connecting freelancers and people looking to hire those freelancers. They provide a certain amount of security for both parties by moderating the jobs and acting as a sort of escrow service for the payments.
The drawback, of course, is that they charge a fee for doing so. That fee is taken out of the service provider’s payment (that’s you), so you’re essentially paying them to find new clients for you.
The most effective way to use these sites is to find new clients, and then once you have a bit of a working relationship with them you can move to work together directly. You might even offer a slightly lower rate since you don’t have to pay the fee to the freelance sites.
For example, if you’re paying them a 10% fee on every job you do, you could offer your client a 5% discount for working together directly and still wind up making more money. Just be careful if you choose to pursue this option. Some freelance sites (such as Fiverr.com, for example) have rules about moving offsite for future projects. You want to be sure that you’re not breaking any rules by discussing this with your clients.
Another exciting way to sell your writing is by creating PLR, or Private Label Rights offers. Private Label Rights mean that the buyers have the right to use the content virtually any way they like. They can edit it however they wish, put their own name on it, and generally treat it just like the content they had written themselves.
The disadvantage of PLR from a buyer’s perspective is actually one of its most substantial advantages from the seller’s (yours): Multiple people can buy the rights to the same content. From the buyer’s perspective, this means that other people can use the same content – sell it, use it as web content, give it away, etc.
This creates a certain amount of competition compared to having exclusive rights to the content. But from your perspective, as the seller, you can sell the same content many times over. This means you can charge less for it and still wind up making more money.
For example, let’s say you’ve written ten 500-word articles. If you were to sell those to a single client and charge them $20 per article (4 cents per word), you would earn $200. If you took those same ten articles and sold them as a PLR bundle charging only $10 for the entire pack ($1 per article), you would only need to sell 20 copies to make the same amount of money.
It is highly likely that you could find more than 20 buyers if the articles were on a popular topic and the quality is good. In fact, you might sell 100 copies or more, generating much more revenue with precisely the same amount of work.
There is another benefit to selling PLR content. However – you get your writing in front of a lot more people, some of whom might be looking for exclusive content as well. If they see your PLR articles are well-written, it’s pretty likely that they would be interested in working with you for exclusive projects as well. Think of selling PLR as a “front end” offer, with your writing services as the back end “upsell.”
The big question on many writers’ minds, especially when they’re just getting started, is how much to charge for their work. This is a tough thing for many people to decide.
After all, they want to earn as much as possible, and they may feel that their work is worth a lot. But until they’ve had a chance to prove themselves, buyers may not want to pay high-end rates.
Typically, the best way to charge for your writing is on a per-word basis. You could charge 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, or more per word:
• 1 cent per word = $5 per 500-word article
• 2 cents per word = $10 per 500-word article
• 5 cents per word = $25 per 500-word article
The same calculations would be used for more extended types of content.
For example, a 2,500-word report would cost $125 at 5 cents per word. There are a couple of things you’ll need to consider when setting your prices. The first is what sort of competition do you have? One of the forums I frequent has a “Writers for Hire” section where most writers charge 1 cent per word. If you were to post an offer there at 5 cents per word, chances are you wouldn’t get many takers.
The other thing to consider is whether or not people are familiar with your skills and the quality of your work. If not, you may need to start at a lower price to get some experience and prove yourself to your potential clients.
A good strategy, in this case, is to make an “introductory” offer at a lower price than you usually charge and make that clear in the offer itself. Let people know that it’s a special offer and any future work will be at your regular rates. You’ll most likely get some buyers who only sign up because of the discount, but you’ll also probably get some buyers who continue to work with you at your regular rates once they’ve seen the quality of your work.
This type of offer can be an excellent way to get some more clients into your “funnel” whenever you feel the need to find new ones. As your writing business expands, you’ll soon discover that you can only work with a maximum number of people at any given time.
Ideally, you want to have a few more regular clients than you can handle all at once. By doing this, you can often keep your writing schedule filled without finding new business.
Writing For Others – Specializing
The last strategy we’ll discuss in this report is specializing in a specific niche or certain topics. If you are an expert in a particular market, you might want to consider writing exclusively for that market – especially if it’s a profitable one.
1. It’s easier to write about topics you’re familiar with
2. You can charge more because you’re an expert
If you pick a topic you know well, it can make the writing process much faster since you won’t need to do as much research. And the quality of your writing will generally be a lot better than if you’re writing about topics that you’re only superficially familiar with, from doing some basic research. And because your writing will generally be much higher quality, you can charge more for it. Your customers will be getting accurate expert content, so they will often be happy to pay you the higher prices.
Even with all the automation tools out there for building websites and populating them with content, there will always be a market for high-quality writing. If you enjoy writing and can provide that high-quality to your clients, you’ll have a virtually never-ending market for your skills. And getting started is the hardest part.
Once you’ve got a bit of experience under your belt and have some happy clients, you can leverage that into a full-time writing business if that’s your ultimate goal.
Remember – the internet revolves around content. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon, so if you can help other marketers by providing the content they need, your services will be in demand for a long time to come.
This concludes this five-part series on providing writing services for other marketers.
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