Are you trying to figure out how to become a content writer?
Content writing is a fantastic way to work for yourself and make money at home!
Content writers are basically freelance writers that create written content for various industries.
And when it comes to what content writers write, that can vary from blog posts to product descriptions to newsletters!
One thing I will say before we get started is that it’s important you don’t spread yourself too thin in the beginning.
You may think there is more money to be made in offering numerous writing services, but you will find more success in focusing on a handful of services and a niche.
Over time, as you build your content writing career, you can branch out a bit and combine different types of writing into a package deal.
But, for now, let’s get into what it takes to become a content writer and different types of content writing.
How to Become a Content Writer: The Skills
So what do you need to become a content writer?
Well, obviously, you need to know how to write!
But other skills will help you become successful and make money at home:
- Knowing how to write in different styles to match the client’s needs. Do they need something formal that adheres to AP-style formatting? Does their brand have a more casual voice?
- An understanding of different audiences. Learn to adapt your writing to suit the targeted audience you’re writing for.
- Good research skills ensure the content you are writing is informative and accurate.
- An understanding of SEO and social media if you write online business content.
Other helpful skills include typing fast (of which I would recommend taking some typing lessons like Key Hero) and having a good handle on spelling and grammar (but that’s what Grammarly is for, right?).
You will need time to learn each of these skills to become a content writer. But don’t despair! You can learn on the job!
Go ahead and sign up for Medium, a free writing platform where you can practice SEO writing, writing for different audiences, and researching your topics.
How to Become a Content Writer: Getting Started
Now that you know what skills you need to become a content writer, let’s look at how you can get started!
First of all, you need to make your presence known. You should start by creating a writing portfolio to attract clients and showcase your skills. You can include written work you have published or spec (example) pieces.
You can start a blog and guest post to build your portfolio. Here’s my post about building a portfolio from scratch!
Your writing samples should expertly show how credible you are in your niche topic.
For example, if you want to be a content writer that writes about sales technology since you were in sales at your last job, then research topics that you would see on technology sites that talk about sales:
- Sales forecasting and analytics software
- CRM software and its role in managing customer relationships
- Marketing automation tools
- Sales enablement technology
- Virtual and augmented reality technology
These are the best social platforms for writers since businesses are also on these platforms.
Down the road, you might want to try Instagram or Tik Tok as a growing number of brands are using those platforms for brand building.
Regardless of your choice, these platforms will help you network with other writers and potential clients in your niche.
The goal is to get on a brand’s radar. You do this by following them and engaging with them on the platform. Reply to their LinkedIn post and be genuine.
Once you are ready to start picking up content writing jobs, reach out to your contacts, look through job boards, or check out sites that hire content writers.
You can also pitch to potential freelance writing clients by emailing your services. Make sure your offer “solves” a problem for the client and is relevant to their business.
What I mean by this is to think about why a business needs a writer in the first place. List those out and craft a compelling pitch, and solves those issues!
Starting takes time and patience.
You likely won’t land big clients overnight, but the more you hustle, the more you will succeed as a content writer!
Types of Content Writers
Here are some different types of content writers to give you an idea of how a content writer can make money at home. Some services are industry-specific, whereas you can adapt them to various niches!
Copywriters create content for marketing materials to draw in customers using persuasive language. Brochures, landing pages, and newsletters are examples of copywriting projects you might do.
But how can a content writer also be a copywriter?
There is a slight nuance to these two services, and often, you can blend or merge the two.
For example, I was recently hired to do copywriting for a company’s blog. They wanted the skills of an expert copywriter to create engaging, insightful and converting blog posts to bring in leads.
I often use copywriting formulas in these types of blog posts as a way to bring my copywriting service to my blog writing.
Copywriters earn around $59,084 per year.
2. Technical Writer
When it comes to technical writing, this type of content writing job involves manuals and procedural documentation. These documents are used either for customers or employees. Technical writing can also involve business proposals and progress reports.
Amanda Layman Low shares how she broke into technical writing even though she didn’t know much about this writing service.
“Despite what I thought was a complete lack of technical knowledge, I landed a contract job writing eLearning course material that teaches sales representatives how to sell software.”
She went on to say that the first project was challenging. But she persevered and learned technical jargon; over time, this type of writing became second nature.
So, any new writer can become a technical writer even if they aren’t well-versed in technology!
You could potentially make up to $69,365 each year as a technical writer.
3. Medical Writer
Medical writers are content writers that create documentation for the medical field. Medical writing can include pharmaceutical documentation, educational material, and marketing material.
This is a highly specialized field, so medical writers have to have scientific knowledge and regulations.
That’s why if you are a nurse or work in the medical field, this is the perfect writing niche for you!
One thing to remember is even though you are dealing with medical terms, if the audience for your client is “regular people,” then your writing needs to be in plain English.
Michelle Guillemard is a medical health writer who provides a table of medical terms and how to change them to make it easy for readers.
Medical writers make $102,603 on average per year.
Ghostwriting is a catch-all phrase for various types of content writing, but basically, you write the content, and the client posts it under their name. This type of writing can include anything in this list!
I typically don’t take on ghostwriting clients as I want to grow my brand as a writer and show prospects who are my past clients. This can help me raise my rates.
But I know that ghostwriting pays well, and you can charge your normal byline rate double or triple. So, you usually charge $350 for 1,000 words, but for ghostwriting, you can charge up to $1,050 for that project.
According to ZipRecruiter, ghostwriters make around $51,450 per year.
5. Fiction Writer
Fiction writing can include novels, flash fiction, short fiction, and novels. If you have a good imagination, you can become a fiction writer and sell your own stories or ghostwrite for other authors.
This would make it on the list for content writing if you teach fiction writing. So, if you started on Medium, you could create stories on your profile and then share how you write your fiction stories.
That type of content is typically content writing since it’s informational.
Many content writers do something and then teach that something (ahem…like me!).
Fiction writers make around $64,349 per year.
6. Email Writer
Email writers use persuasive language to prompt the reader to do something, whether it’s to click a link, buy a product, or pay for the client’s services. Unlike longer forms of content, emails are short, so each word has to be punchy to grab the reader’s attention. This falls under copywriting, but you can be a content writer by writing ABOUT email on a blog.
So, you would write for ConvertKit’s blog or Mailerlite’s blog about email like:
- 30 Fitness Landing Page Ideas that Ramp Up Sales
- How to Write an Effective Email Welcome Series
- How this Creator Created One Landing Page and Made $1 Million
The average income for an email writer per year is $62,984.
7. Social Media Writer
Nowadays, businesses realize that simply having a blog isn’t enough to connect with customers, so they turn to social media to market their products/services.
You can make money at home as a content writer by producing creative social media content such as posts and quizzes and helping companies reply to comments and reach potential customers.
I often create social media blog posts for many of my digital marketing clients since that falls under marketing.
Some of the posts I’ve written:
- 10 Best Social Media Contest Tools (Tried & Tested)
- The FOMO Strategy: How 3 Brands Used Micro Influencers to Get Overly Sponsored
- Repurposing Social Media Content (Examples for 6 Different Platforms)
Social media writers can make around $44,500 per year.
8. Brand Journalist
Traditional news media has been steadily declining as digital technology has increased. Because of this, people with jobs in newsrooms or newspapers have significantly decreased, going from 75,000 to under 30,000. This is a drop of more than 50%!
This means there’s an “in” for you in the content writing world. Businesses often seek writers formally trained in media writing and wickedly good storytellers.
As a brand journalist, you provide unbiased and truthful information about a product or service to add authenticity to a business. This type of writing is clear and concise and shares stories and anecdotes with researched facts about the product/service.
An example of brand journalists is when a brand has a news section on its website. Coca-Cola has a media site that shares insightful news about its brand.
On ZipRecruiter, the average yearly income of a brand journalist is $50,765.
9. Blog/Website Writer
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a business without a blog. Blogs help businesses establish themselves as authorities, and they will pay a content writer to create blog posts, landing pages, and other website content.
And this type of writing service is recurring, making it the perfect reason to be a freelance writer!
You’ll not starve and can make a consistent income every month of the year!
If you need help with blog writing, check out my writing course, Freelance Blogging in a Weekend!
Blog writers can earn around $75,255 per year.
When it comes to scriptwriting, I don’t mean writing movies! Although you can make money writing scripts for film, you can also create scripts for business video content used on social media, websites, and YouTube.
This might also lean into transcription writing, which is also a lucrative service to offer.
If you want to get into professional screenwriting (like for TV), it might be a more complicated way to get paid for your writing. Instead, why not offer scriptwriting for Youtube videos or podcasts? These are specific services that many entrepreneurs, business owners, and bloggers need.
Jevin Lortie was able to land a scriptwriting gig just from a Twitter chat!
I recently struck up a Twitter conversation with one of my favorite YouTube personalities. I casually said that I’d be happy to help in any way I could with their channel, and mentioned my writing skills. They said they’d be interested in having me write a script for them.
So, if you need money now, why not do scriptwriting the simple way!
Scriptwriters make about $78,450 per year.
11. eBook Writer
Writing eBooks is different than writing fiction. eBooks are typical works of non-fiction that provide practical and useful information. Many businesses will use free eBooks to build their email lists; most of the time, this type of content is ghostwritten.
This is a highly lucrative writing niche idea, which means you only need to write a few books a year to make a comfortable living.
As an eBook writer, you can earn $72,649 per year.
12. Advertisement Writer
Advertising writing involves creating short, compelling, memorable ads targeted to a specific audience. For instance, the language you use to target children will differ from that you would use to target working professionals. Types of ads you would be responsible for writing might be:
- Facebook Ads
- Pinterest Ads
- Instagram Ads
- Google Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
Ad writers make approximately $51,036 annually.
13. Press Release Writer
Press releases are statements released by businesses to news media outlets or other sites to announce a change, new product, etc. This is a more formal type of content writing and provides as much information as possible without being too lengthy.
The type of topics you would write about as a press release writer vary. For example, here’s a press release from Toyota Motor North America, sharing their news on offering a new program.
Here are other topics for press release writing.
- Changing directions in a company
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Product launches
- New hires
According to ZipRecruiter, press release writers earn $66,910 per year.
14. Legal Writer
If you’re wondering how to become a content writer in the legal industry, you will need some solid knowledge of legal jargon and probably have worked in a law office or as an attorney. But similar to medical writing, a legal writer must be able to transform legal jargon into simple English.
As a legal writer, you can write for justice departments (lawyers, judges, etc.) by creating documents with an authoritative and formal tone.
Legal writers earn approximately $87,301 per year.
15. Business Writer
Businesses require a lot of documentation and will hire content writers to produce annual reports, summaries, proposals, and other forms of content that relate to a company’s business and financial workings.
They may also want you to write business topics on their blog. One of my first freelance writing gigs was for an HR company.
I had to write business blog posts about the hiring process. It was a fun gig that paid well!
As a business writer, you could earn around $65,247 per year.
16. Academic Writer
An academic writer can encompass a variety of written content such as textbooks, publications, and editorials. However, you can also get involved with helping students write essays.
Just be careful with the last service! You don’t want to write the essays for students! Instead, you can provide research services, editing, and proofreading services. For some parts of the essay, you can rewrite paragraphs for better reading.
On average, academic writers earn $42,515 annually.
17. Resume and Cover Letter Writer
You can become a content writer by creating resumes and cover letters for job seekers. In a competitive job market, resumes and cover letters must be carefully crafted to match the job. They must also highlight the applicant’s relevant skills and experience.
One of my Writeto1k students provided resumes for nurses! How cool is that? You can write resumes for anyone in any industry as a resume writer!
You can make about $42,745 per year as a resume and cover letter content writer.
18. Case Study Writer
Case studies are marketing strategies businesses use to expand their customer base and influence others to buy what they sell.
They usually include success stories from customers who have used their products or services, explaining how these helped to solve the customer’s problem.
As an example, Jasper AI publishes case studies on companies using their AI writing tool and what the outcome was.
On ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a case study writer is $58,189 per year.
19. White Paper Writer
White papers are a more sophisticated form of content that is long, informative, and written to promote a product or service. Like a case study, it presents a problem that can be solved using client interviews with a particular product/service, but it’s not as anecdotal.
Whitepaper writers earn around $64,349 per year.
20. Grant Writer
Grant writers are those who create content for commercial organizations and non-profits looking to seek funding from the government or other outside entities. This type of content has to be highly informative as well as compelling.
As a grant writer, you could earn $50,584 per year.
21. Product Description Writer
Every time you visit an online store, you’ll notice detailed descriptions of the products. These don’t write themselves! Businesses will hire content writers to create short descriptions highlighting the product’s features and benefits.
You might find many writing jobs on Fiverr and Upwork, but I wouldn’t use those freelance marketplaces for writing services.
Why? Because you can make much more money writing product descriptions when you cold pitch or use job boards like Contena.
According to ZipRecruiter, product description writers make, on average, $43,765 per year.
Are You Ready to Write Content & Make Money?
If you are wondering how to become a content writer, this guide will get you started!
I was once a beginner, too, and I’ll tell you that you must be consistent and patient.
I spent my early days browsing job board after job board, applying to every job I could. Eventually, I started getting work, and the rest is history!
And once you land that first client as a content writer, you’ll be amazed at how confident and motivated you will feel!
Now, it’s your turn.
I want to know: Are you nervous about becoming a content writer? What’s holding you back? Share with me in the comments!