Ultimate Guide: How to Earn more as a Freelance Writer

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earn more as a freelance writer

It is the goal of every freelance writer to make more money online. However, this can be a mirage if you don’t know how to do it.

A Brief background of my writing career

I started freelance writing online on Freelancer.com and the first article I wrote back then was $0.5 for 500 words.  It was very low, but I was just starting out and I was eager to write and see dollars in my account.

As my writing skill improves, I placed my bids on more good paying writing jobs then, like $1.3 to $1.5 and I got some of them.  The highest I made on 500 words on the site was around $5-$10 before I diverted to e-books, reports, and market research writings.

Now, last year – 2015, I discovered that I could earn more as a freelance writer and I drastically reduced my activity on freelancer.com to the barest minimum and started looking for writing jobs elsewhere.  That was when I discovered that it is possible to earn more as a freelance writer outside the content mills (Freelancer.com, fiverr.com and the rest of them).

A research carried out by Ryan Mccready on how much freelance writers actually make revealed that the majority of freelance writers make around $0.17 a word as seen in the image below:

earn more as a freelance writer

If you multiply that rate by 500 words you will have $85.  Are you making $85 per 500 words?.  The truth is, majority of freelance writers make the bottom pay rate of .01, which amounts to $5 per 500 words.

The truth is, the writers who are making $2.06 per word are not more knowledgeable than you.

The day I earned $150 for a 1,000-word article was the day I determined to build my freelance writing business outside the content mills.  It was a liberating experience for me and it launched me into another level in my writing career.

In this article, I will be sharing with you what I did to get to that level and what you can do to earn more as a freelance writer.

1.   Improve your writing skill

One thing that is sure is, you cannot expect to earn more as a Freelance Writer with the way you’ve been writing on content mills. Nah! It wouldn’t work. The companies and individuals who pay a high rate for articles demand excellent, high quality and long-form articles with up to date research, statistics, quotes and other things that can increase the return on investment on the article.

Every marketer or business owner wants to make a profit from the article you write.  It is like this:

earn more as a freelance writer

Source: Contently.com

Therefore, the articles you write for clients that pay high rate is totally different from the one you have been writing for your clients on content mills websites.

This kind of articles require good research before you write.  You need facts. You need to make it actionable, interesting and shareable.  Each article you write should deliver value to the reader, only then will they take a desirable action. That is when the business owner can get a good return on investment.

The first thing I did and still doing is to read lots of popular blogs on content marketing.  I read a lot of them and studied how they write.  Then, I started writing on one of my websites.  I did this for about six months.  However, it may not take you this long to get it,  you can take a shorter route which is, to take writing courses designed specifically for that. It will really shorten the learning curve for you.

I learned how to write different forms of articles such as:

  • Listicles
  • Personal stories
  • Opinion pieces
  • How-to-Guides
  • Feature announcements
  • Link roundups
  • Interview based posts
  • Presentations

In Content marketing, there is something we call the buying cycle.  It is the circle a customer goes through before purchasing a product or service.The buying stages are awareness, consideration, preference, purchase and, repurchase.

Now, each of these circle requires a different type of content to help the business owner convert the visitors to buyers.  For example Listicles are good for driving traffic to websites. How-to-guides can be used to nurture customers who has purchased a product or service etc.

If you want to earn more money as a freelance writer, you must know how to write the different types of articles listed above and many more.

2.   Get a website

If you plan to earn more as a freelance writer, you need a platform to showcase your writing samples. This is where you need to create a website. The first WordPress website I had was done by a website developer. I discovered that it is very easy to create a website, so I searched for how to create a WordPress blog on Google, read a lot of content on it and practiced it.  It is damn easy!  I created my first writing website alwaysontopbiz.com and my content marketing website by myself.

You need to first of all get a domain name.  You can buy one from Godaddy, Namecheap or Bluehost.  I use Godaddy. Before you purchase a new domain, look for coupons.  It will help you to reduce the cost of the domain.  Search for recent coupons for the month. For example, “GoDaddy coupons in July”.  The search will return different websites where you can get a coupon as shown below:

 

earn more as a freelance writer

You can get as high as 93% off your domain name. So head off to Godaddy.com and type in your preferred domain name. Fill the form and apply the coupon code, you can choose to pay for two years to have a good time to concentrate on your business.

When you are done, head over to HostGator and buy a baby plan.  You can also search for coupon codes for Hostgator on Google.com, apply and use it to reduce the cost.  At the end of the day, you may not spend up to $50 for two years hosting and domain name.

You see, it is not that expensive.  The next thing you need is a content management system (cms). WordPress is a good one.  I love it because it does not require any programming skills and there is a lot of plugins to achieve whatever I want to do on the site. You can install WordPress right from your Hostgator account.

If you want to operate on zero budget, go for WordPress.com or Blogger.com. They are free. All you need is a platform to showcase your writing samples or portfolio to your prospective clients.

3.  Guest post on top authority websites

When I became confident enough of my writing skill, I started applying for guest-posts on authority websites, so I could get my name out there.  I became a contributor on top business websites because I love writing in that niche. The website includes business2community.com, incomediary.com, ducttatapemarketing.com. womenonbusiness.com  etc.  Below are some of the links to my content on those websites mentioned above.

http://ducttapemarketingconsultant.com/content-creation-tools/

http://www.business2community.com/seo/smart-creative-tips-small-business-local-seo-01567004

http://www.business2community.com/video-marketing/use-webinars-quickly-turn-readers-subscribers-customers-01517984

http://www.incomediary.com/engaging-content

http://www.business2community.com/seo/7-free-tools-finding-profitable-long-tail-keywords-niche-01518433

As you guest post on top article websites, it will help you to prospect for bigger clients.  When prospective clients see your links on popular websites, it will increase their trust level in your ability to write well.

4.   Search for premium clients

earn more as a freelance writer

Now, you are ready to begin your search for clients who will be able to afford your fees.  Here, you want to avoid informational websites as much as possible.  They include websites that are primarily set up to provide information for their customers. In order words, they are a business to customers (b2c) businesses.  They don’t really offer much.  The list you can get from there is around $10-30 for a 500-word post.

However, if you are looking for earn more as a freelance writer, go for top paying clients. These are  business to business owners (b2b). Those are the kind of businesses that sells products and valuable services.  They are in business to make money and they have budgets for content creation.

In the 2016 content marketing institute research, conducted by content marketing institute and Marketingprofs, it was discovered that b2b businesses allocates about 28% of their budgets on content marketing as shown in the image below:

earn more as a freelance writer

These are the kind of businesses that can pay high rates.  But the question is, how do you access them?

I discussed this in detail in my writing course. But let me share one of the ways you can get them here.

The first thing you do is to look for where they congregate.  Most of these businesses have a presence on Linkedin. So, all you need to do is search for them using these criteria:

i.          they must have a marketing department
ii          have a content marketer or manager
iii.        have a blog that is active

Then, you look for their groups on Linkedin and send a personal cold pitch/email to them. If they need your services, you will see their response. If there is no response, you continue to prospect to other businesses.

5.   Have a good payment system

Most employers do not want problems with payment processors. It will augur well for you to find a payment processor that will allow you to send an invoice and receive payments.  I use Payoneer for this purpose.  They allow you to send an invoice to employers and they collect the payment to deposit in your account.

Therefore, to earn more as a freelance writer demands a lot of work, but once you are in it, you will start to enjoy the benefits.  All you need to do is to update your skill by learning how to write better, get a website, guest post on top authority websites, search for top paying clients and have a good payment system in place to receive your earnings.

If you have a question, type it in the comment below and I will find time to respond.

All the best!

 

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Tope

Brilliant. The write up is very insightful especially when you mentioned about writing a guest post on top authority sites and getting premium clients. Truth be said, most freelance writers are unaware of this opportunity. I will incorporate these strategies to my skill set.
Thanks for sharing!

Temitope
http://www.joyfulsms.com

Fortune E

Wow, to be candid, I found it irrelevant to read this, but I think I deserve the dirtiest slap. I thought I’m on the right track, but it has now dawned on me that I’m yet to locate the right track. Thanks for the post Ma’am, I learnt something tangible concerning writing guest posts, and will take action ASAP.

lugard

It’s been a longtime madam, you’re just a rare gem though I’m into writing but I think I will have to consider it but my major issue is the website…thanks alot

Samson

Thanks so much for this great post. You’ve been a blessing to all; even right from Nairaland where you imparted into many lives.

Aminu

Hi Asaolu,
Indeed you are a pathfinder. I must confess that your tread on Nairaland helped to activate the writer in me. And ever since, I’ve been paying my bills through writing. Although, I’ve never worked on freelancer.com and the rest, which supports your hypothesis that there are other ways writers can render their services. Thanks for this article. You’ve just given me another reason to do more.

Tope

Hi
Thank you very much for sharing this enlightening piece. I have learned a lot from this. By the way, could you please list those popular blogs on content marketing that could help our business. I look forward to receiving your feedback.

Regards,

Topsquino

Hephzibah Asaolu Hephzibah Asaolu

Hi Tope, I learned a great deal of content marketing from Quicksprout.com and Copyblogger.com. You can get a free course on content marketing from Quicksprout. Most of what I know in content marketing today is from the website.

Lanre

Wow! This is a gold mine. I’ve been going back and forth about freelance writing for a while now. I have tried to sign up on some freelance writing websites but all to no avail. Then I miraculously stumbled on your post on Nairaland today. Thanks for this ma’am.
I run a ‘baby’ blog and I have been unable to grow it past the infancy stage for over 8 months now.
Please can you just sign me up officially as your protege? I would love to learn the nittygritty of blogging and freelance writing at your feet ma’am.

Thanks a bunch.

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