Luckily, there are some great strategies you can use to get started. It’s all about getting the right experience and certifications, working on your online presence, and finding your clients. Here’s how.
Write as much as you can--and get certified
Nothing’s going to prove to your clients that you’re great at writing as much as experience in that field. In any career in general, experience is important, but when it comes to something like writing, this is even more the case. With so many writers out there, claiming that they’ve mastered SEO and can get their clients high ROI, the best way to prove it is with experience. You might be thinking, “But how do I get experience in the first place if I need it to get a job?”
One great option is working for free. Even though this isn’t ideal in the long-term, writing about something you’re passionate about --whether that’s travel or beauty tips--can quickly build up your portfolio. You can find a startup on Angel.co and contact them, offering to write for free in exchange for adding it to your résumé and getting writing credits. Additionally, think about volunteering as a writer for your favorite local organization. Volunteers are always necessary to make newsletters more interesting and content better so that donors are more likely to give money for good causes.
It’s also smart to get certified. Enough writing credits, along with a certification in specialized tech writing or mastery of SEO or social media, will make you stand out. And there are plenty of resources that are free; HubSpot, for example, offers free writing and online marketing certifications. Considering that 72 percent of marketers worldwide said that relevant content creation was the most effective SEO strategy, having as much knowledge as you can of both writing and online marketing will make a huge difference in getting clients.
Set up a great website
Once you’ve built up a great writing portfolio and worked hard on your certifications, it makes sense to create a website. After all, you need a place where your clients can find you and learn about what a great writer you are. Take a look at what other content writers are doing, and decide what you want your niche writing specialty to be; someone who writes for nonprofits is going to have a different look than someone who writes for cryptocurrency startups. If you’re not sure where to get started, see what your competitors are doing.
In addition to having a minimalist look and a main page that shows what you do, your site should include an “about me” page where you can talk about your certifications, experience, and education. Additionally, show off your writing with a portfolio, and a blog. Having a blog will up your SEO, so write about subjects related to your work. For example, you can write about SEO tips for writers; that way, a client looking for writers who specialize in SEO is more likely to run into your page and check out your information.
Most importantly, don’t forget to make your site mobile-friendly. Four out of five consumers use their smartphone to shop, and this number is only going to grow over time. Read up on how to optimize your site for mobile, and think about going mobile-first to up your SEO.
Find your customers
Finally, you need to get the word out about your new business. Eventually, you’ll have enough clients that they’ll start recommending you to others; but in the beginning, you need to find creative ways to find them. Social media is a huge part of this. Create social media profiles on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and engage constantly with clients. Use the right hashtags, make your Instagram account one for business, and create a social media calendar so that you’re posting at the most effective times.
Additionally, don’t forget about creating a LinkedIn profile for yourself and your business! LinkedIn has over 500 million members , so make connections there, too.