8 Ways to Take Your Content Writing Business to the Next Level

You know you’re a good content writer.

You exceed deadlines.

You’ve “got” content writing down pat.

8 Ways to Take Your Content Writing Business to the Next Level

So, why are you struggling on how to find clients?

I’ve been content writing for years now, and in this time, I have turned my little writer website into a content writing business.

And, it didn’t take long to do it.

You need more than knowing how to write compelling copy to have a successful business content writing.

Sure, having proper grammar and knowing how to use your words to sell goes a long way in landing clients and generating work.

But, don’t you want to live comfortably from your content writing alone?

You can. By taking your freelance writing career to the next level, you can ensure that your business will pay the bills and more. And, don’t think that freelance writing isn’t profitable.

Nicole Dieker publishes her income reports over on TheWriteLife. She recently earned $6,000 in a month from her freelance writing.

Bamidele Onibalusi, a Nigerian freelance writer, is highly profitable making at least $5,000 a month from his business.

If you want to start earning some serious money from freelance writing, check out my course Write Your Way to Your First $1k. I give you my blueprint for a successful freelance writing biz in 7 weeks or less.

And my content writing business is on the cusp of reaching the next level.

Not only do I have plenty of clients to build my client base, but I’m pitching less, writing less frequently, and making more money.

The freelance writing jobs I have pay my bills and more.

So, I thought I’d share eight actionable tips to kick your content writing business up a notch. Because, who doesn’t want to make more money doing what they love?

1. Identify Your Specialties as a Content Writer

I’ve talked about finding a particular writing niche or two when you decide to guest post on other people’s blogs.

This helps build your credibility and authority as a content writer. The same goes for your business.

When you decide what your specialties are, you’ll have an easier time finding clients that fit your requirements.

Businesses will either come to you because they’ve seen your expert niche content, or your pitch will stand out amongst the other generalist writers.

Writing will also become easier for you. You’ll know where the good sources and statistics are and developing your ideas will be a cinch.

You’ll also learn a ton more about your writing niche – making you an even better expert.

And, when you have a specialty, your rates will go up.

Clients will want to work with you more if you have expert knowledge in a specific industry, topic or product.

So, how can you find your specialty as as content writer?

Use Your Past Work History

Were you an event planner before you made the switch? Or, are you in the financial world and doing freelance writing on the side?

Whatever the case is, your knowledge and work history can play a role in growing your content writing business.

Use your past work history to land writing gigs in that niche.

It will be easy to “sell” yourself as an expert in event planning or financial advising when you have the experience to back it up.

Write About Different Types of Content Ideas

If you became a content writer because you hated your job, then writing about what you did at your job wouldn’t be very appealing now would it?

So, if you want to get away from your past, the best thing to do for finding what you excel at is to write about many different content topics.

Writing about different content ideas not only helps you discover what topics you like to write about, but it also helps improve your writing.

Excel At Content Topics You Like to Write About

When you find out you enjoy writing about a particular topic or two, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about your specialty or specialties.

What are the emerging trends?

What is the latest research?

Is there any breaking news related to your specialty?

Knowing the latest information about your writing niche will come in handy for client work and they will see how passionately you are about writing in your chosen niche.

2. Grow Your Blog to Grow Your Client Base

Are you a content writer without a blog? Shame on you.

Nah, I’m only kidding – but really I’m not.

Having a consistent blog should be part of your business plan as a content writer or blogger.

Not only can a blog help you grow your client base, but it also helps build your credibility as a content writer who’s knowledgeable about writing for an online audience.

Need some help growing your blog? Try these tips:

  • Promote your latest blog post on social media. Try to post on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I find these specific social media platforms to be traffic generating leads.
  • Prove yourself on your blog. Be truthful, informative and have shareable content.
  • Update your blog consistently. Here are some fabulous freelance writers that keep their blogs up-to-date: Lorraine Reguly, Ashley Gainer,  and Gina Horkey.
  • Create Pin-worthy images. I recently started doing this in March, and I’ve seen my traffic jump from 50 people a day to well over a 100 people a day from Pinterest.

3. Start a Newsletter

freelance writing

Okay, if you’re a brand spanking new content writer, then I understand why you wouldn’t have a newsletter sign-up form on your site.

But, if you’ve been a content writer for over a year and you still don’t have an email subscription form on your writer website, then I’m here to ask you, what are you waiting for?

Email marketing is a huge business and it is a big factor in growing your content writing business. I mean, not that many people stop using email. Once you have an email account, you tend to keep it.

Well, it’s true for me. I still have my email account that I made over 15 years ago!

So, besides it being a great marketing tool, having a newsletter is great for:

  • Creating loyal readers of your blog. You can tell your email subscribers about your latest blog post or give them special privileges that your blog readers don’t have.
  • Having potential customers. Once you have people signed up to your email list, they can become a customer – should you one day write an eBook or teach an eCourse.
  • Networking. If your newsletter is made up of mostly content writers, you now have a huge resource of potential leads, referrals, gigs, guest posters, etc..

So, once you decide to create an email list, how do you ensure people will actually sign up to your newsletter?

No one is going to sign up to your email list if you offer nothing. S

ure, you can offer them an email of when your next blog post is published, but you won’t get many people signing up.

People LOVE free stuff. So, why not package something valuable and offer it as an incentive when people sign up?

Here are my posts about email marketing for bloggers:

Email Marketing Strategy for Bloggers

6 Effective Nurturing Tactics to Grow Your List

4. Create a Digital Product

Now, up until this point, I’ve been giving you actionable advice to help you either get more readers or better clients.

Now, I’m telling you how you can monetize your writer website.

What’s great about being a content writer is how easy it is for us to write!

Businesses today are using eBooks as a lead generating tool, so why can’t you?

Take your writing career to the next level by becoming a successful author. An eBook or course is a perfect product for a freelance writer.

It will probably take some time as there are lulls to every content writing business. The key to writing a guide or course, though, is knowing your target audience.

Are they only content writers?

Or, are they bloggers, work-at-home moms, solopreneurs, or just people interested in being a freelance writer?

Once you figure out who you want to target, you can narrow down what you want to write about.

As long as it’s useful, honest and provides unique information, people will want to purchase it and learn from you.

One of my students is a nurse and medical writer, but she sells her resume service and printables for other nurses.

5. Don’t Just Be a Content Writer

Have you noticed when you visit other content writers’ websites they are not only a writer?

For example, I’m a content writer, blogging coach, and copywriter.

Businesses today need the whole package – content, marketing and blog management.

So, why not be the person that can do everything? You’ll be able to offer service packages and earn a higher rate.

You’ll also find you won’t need many writing freelance writing jobs because you will have different streams of income and not have to rely on only writing to provide you money.

This means less writing for you and more time to devote to growing your content writing business.

Take a look at some other online services you can offer as a content writer:

Editor

Wouldn’t you like an editor for your blog posts and client work? I’m often lucky enough to have an extra pair of eyes go through my content before I publish it or send it off, but many people don’t have that luxury.

Sure, there are proofreading and grammar-checking applications, but they rarely pick up awkwardness in your writing style or lack of flow in your concept.

Many business are run by solopreneurs. Wouldn’t it be a great idea if you can also edit their content or their website?

There are many types of editing services you can offer as a freelance writer:

  1. Basic editing. This involves proofreading for spelling mistakes, punctuation, basic facts and basic syntax. This type of editing is usually the last step before publication. Some business might just need a once over before it’s approved to go live.
  2. Heavy editing. Most business would need this type of editing service. Heavy editing checks for content flow, irregularities in your wording, transition flow and other content related issues. Because this is more involved than proofreading, you can charge more for this service.
  3. Developmental editing. The most “intrusive” of edits is the developmental edit. This type of editing deletes, moves, adds, or re-writes sentences or entire paragraphs. Businesses may hire cheaper freelance writers and will then hire an editor to spruce up the writing, making it more conversational and engaging.

Web Designer

If you’ve been a freelance writer for a while now, I’m sure you’re starting to familiarize yourself with WordPress themes and plugins.

While you may have a fast learning curve in figuring out how to create something like a testimonial widget, other solopreneurs and businesses may not be as quick to pick this up.

So, why not be their web designer or blog designer?

If you become familiar with a theme, like the Genesis theme framework, you can virtually help any business using the WordPress platform.

Virtual Assistant

If organizing and planning is your thing, why not become a virtual assistant for someone?

You might notice a client of yours struggling to keep up with email communication.

When you find opportunities where clients are struggling, this is a good time to ask them if you can help.

While a VA can do a variety of tasks, typically a business might have you take over:

  • Checking emails and handling the inbox
  • Manage the content schedule or other schedules
  • Going through old blog posts and making sure they are up-to-date
  • Managing their subscription list

If you have time to help another business, becoming a VA can prove to be a perfect fit for you – it also can be profitable.

There are many more services you can do such as being a freelance writing coach, social media manager or blog manager.

6. Don’t Ignore Your Writer Website

Treat your writer website like a business card; only have the most important information on your site.

When you do, potential content clients can quickly assess if you are the right person for the “job.”

So, make sure your home page has the following information:

  • A head shot of you
  • Your name and who you are
  • What you can do for businesses
  • Links to other pages on your site
  • A “call to action”

I’ve talked about it before, but your About page isn’t all about you; it’s about telling prospective clients why you’re the one to hire.

So, don’t mention your love of cats and how your cat growing up prompted you to be a writer. Instead, mention how compelling your content is and how it can generate business for the client.

Lastly, don’t forget about your Contact page. Provide more information then what the default template gives you.

Your social media profiles, a phone number and something personal or unique helps show prospects that you’re a real person who you will get back to them.

7. Increase Your Rate With Every New Client

Who says you have to stay at the same rate for every client? Each writing task is unique and the more clients you take on, the more valuable your time is.

Gone are the days where you could spend three hours on social media.

Each hour is a billable hour, so it only makes sense to increase your rates as you land new clients.

How much you increase is up to you. I started making $.10/word and increased easily to $.15/word. Now, less than a year later, I can command up to $.25/word.

Pretty soon, you can drop your lower paying clients and keep your higher ones, but don’t be too quick to drop some clients.

Sometimes, the lower paying ones are the most consistent in giving you content and the easiest to write for.

But, as a content writer with your own business, you have the luxury to set your rates and pick which clients you want to work with.

So, look at your rates and know that you are worth it. When a business approaches you, give them a rate that will make you blush.

Go ahead, do it – when you do, you’ll take your career up a notch.

8. Hire Sub-Contractors

It’s a great feeling when you’re faced with a “good” problem – having too many writing clients then you can handle.

As a content writer, you know there will always be highs and lows to having consistent work, so you never want to pass up new gigs.

But, now you’re faced with a hard dilemma – keep writing for your existing clients and run the risk of  having them let you go – or land a few more clients, but work like a dog to complete your new writing projects.

Well, if don’t want to pass up new writing opportunities, a great way to scale your business, make more money, free up some time and add to your client base is to sub-contract your freelance writing.

You’re not hiring them as an employee; you’re subbing out part or all of a client’s work to this person.

You are still responsible for client communication, collecting payment and looking over the work before passing it on to the client.

That’s why it’s important to have a network of other content writers you can call upon.

If you know a writer that would like some extra cash and you trust them to produce the same caliber of writing as you do, then why not hire them to write for you?

It’s a win-win situation for both of you. You can keep on accepting client work and your sub-contractors will have consistent work.

So,  how do you make sure they represent your voice and style of writing?

The best thing you can do is find writers that have a similar writing style as you do. You can also infuse your writing style to the finished project before you pass it on to the client.

Ultimately, you have to give it a stamp of approval before you hand it over to your client. I recently had the opportunity to hire a sub-contractor for some writing projects and I couldn’t be happier.

Although you will be spending time managing your sub-contractors and editing their pieces, you will ultimately have more time to spend on your current client base or even on yourself.

 You’re On Your Way Growing Your Content Writing Business

You know you want to move up in your content writing business.

Whether it’s increasing your rates, selling an eBook or hiring sub-contractors, taking your writing business to the next level is on your agenda.

With these eight simple ways, you’re on your way to solidifying your writing as a full-fledged business. So, what are you waiting for?

Tell me, what are you doing to push your freelance writing business into the next level?

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Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

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32 Comments

Great post Elna, I am worried competition is very strong in the market so taking freelance career to next level isn’t going to be easy.Reply to Amna
Hi! There really is no competition out there! You have a service and businesses need that service!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, This has been extremely helpful and I wanted to follow up on your point “don’t just be writer” because this is something I’ve struggled with. I want to develop a brand to write about my passions: minimalism, zero waste and mindful living, but I find the marketing (to get it off the ground) overwhelming. I end up in a loop, wasting time I could spend gaining bread-and-butter income by cold-emailing or pitching to clients. I end up with no brand and fewer clients. I’m truly passionate about these areas listed above and would much rather build my career as a writer around this brand, I am just not just where to start. Do you recommend any blogs on your site that discusses this balance between being a writer and developing a brand? Thanks again for an incredible helpful blog and for your time in advance if you find a moment to reply to this with any links or advice.Reply to Ella
Hi Ella, Trying to be a writer and build your blog is difficult. But the one thing that has helped me (well two) is Pinterest. Pinterest helped take this blog off the ground and my other blog, Twins Mommy. The other part is networking and collaborating. Get to know others in your niche, feature them on your blog posts and ask them to share your content. Here are two posts that might help: https://elnacain.com/blog/new-blog-already-4/ https://elnacain.com/blog/maximize-time-freelance-writer/Reply to Elna
Very good article, I took notes. I’m really enjoying your blog, its giving me great ideas for mine since I’m new at freelancingReply to tina
Hello, Elina, Thanks for reminding me to about Freelancer Job, Two months before I have signed up in freelance as a Web developer and Seo expert but the problem was that other Job seekers want me to give them freelance projects. After seeing your Blog now I am very Excited to do Freelance Job.Can you help me? how can I get freelance projects? thanks for sharing this post waiting for your valuable replyReply to Meer
Hi Elna, Thanks for this amazing post. The place of diversifying one’s writing portfolio can’t be overemphasized when it comes to making more money as a freelance writer. I started my journey as a freelance writer and overtime, I began to expand into coaching, blog consulting for companies and so many other ways to make money online. The opportunities that abound in writing are endless if one can master how to take a sharp bend and introduce a new business idea.Reply to Emenike
Good read. It gathers everything for those who wants to become a Freelance Writer, and the other ways to have different streams of income and no need to rely only on writing for money. And I agree with you that If you are good at organizing and planning then why not become a Virtual Assistant and earn a really decent amount every month by helping busy entrepreneurs and professionals.Reply to Anupam
These are wonderful tips – so in depth! Thanks for all the time you put into this.Reply to Carrie
Hey Carrie! Thanks so much. Glad you liked the post. There are so many ways to go get your biz to the next level! It’s awesome. Good luck.Reply to Elna
These are 8 awesome tips to help any serious online marketer get to the next level Elna! Especially when you start talking about sub contracting and and providing various much needed services! You’ll really shared some serious pearls of wisdom here! And thanks for sharing several excellent resources as well!I can’t wait to check them out!Reply to Mark
Great post, Elna! You mention having a blog, and I’m curious how this blog has helped you land clients. Do a lot of your clients find you through these blog posts?Reply to Alicia
I don’t think clients are finding me via my blog only because of my dot ca URL (it doesn’t have high SEO ranking value). They are, however, viewing my blog and I feel when they see an active blog it helps them in the decision making process. I also had a talk with some local prospects who saw my blog and loved my images and my writing style, so I think it helps land clients that way (for me at least). Do you find your blog helping you land clients? ElnaReply to Elna
I’m feeling that the benefit of my blog on my writer website is mostly SEO based, and I have landed clients that way. I’m wondering if I should post more often and start a monthly newsletter. Honestly, though, I think I’d rather focus on client work, so I’m not sure yet.Reply to Alicia
Well your site does have high ranking power so you’re in a unique position from other freelance writers. I don’t have the ‘POWER’ yet or if I will. Like I mentioned I’m a dot ca and Google doesn’t give much clout on non dot com sites. So, I have a feeling I will change it to my name and a dot com this summer or this year. I personally like to blog. It’s helped me write faster, better and conditioned me to be on a schedule. I also like promoting my blog as it opened the doors for me to learn about social media and how to optimize my posts for social media shares. This helps me with my clients in creating social media optimized posts for them. I also like having a newsletter and having a network of freelance writers. Who knows, I may monetize my blog or sell an eBook. ElnaReply to Elna
Elna, these are great tips — especially the one about creating PINTERESTING images. πŸ™‚ StumbleUpon is pretty amazing, too. I had 1500 people to my blog the day I submitted my post about Writing and Freelancing Resources to it. Good luck with your freebook, whatever it ends up being! And we’ll have to make plans to get together again… maybe next week?Reply to Lorraine
Hey Chica! Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked my post about kicking your business up a couple of notches! Yes, Pinterest is awesome for bloggers, don’t you think? And StumbleUpon! Love both these social media platforms. Good to know that you had a lot of people coming to your site too! Can’t wait to see ya again at are usual hangout next week! ElnaReply to Elna
Elna, you never disappoint! Thanks for this post. I’m focusing on #2 and #6 right now, and I will be moving on down the list this month. And as an aside, I would like to thank you and Gina and other freelance writers who have been so generous with sharing information with newbies like me. I’m off to get my website/blog in shape. Have a wonderful weekend!Reply to Annette
Hey Annette, Thanks for letting me know you misspelled my name. I fixed it for you. I’m glad you are scaling up your business gal! I’m working on the list too! I really want to monetize my blog, so hopefully that will come to fruition soon! And then I can start my eBook! Diversifying here I come πŸ™‚ ElnaReply to Elna
Yes – that was embarrassing! I don’t know what I was thinking about at that moment, but thanks for correcting my error. I wish you the best with monetization and your eBook! AnnetteReply to Annette
Fab, fab, FAB post, Elna! Bookmarked this one to share with any and all freelance writers who cross my path. Major big time congrats on setting your fee at 25 cents/word! I’m sure you’re even more than that. πŸ™‚ SO happy you mentioned “Developmental Editing”. When I opened the doors to my copy editing biz, I had NO idea I’d be doing more developmental editing than anything else. I honestly thought there would be more of a call for standard editing and proofreading. Nope! Approximately every other project I work on is a total re-write … and I love it! Looking forward to reading more from you. You’ve done an awesome job on your newsletter. πŸ™‚Reply to Melanie
Thanks Melanie! Yes, I find that I do more developmental editing than any other type of editing for my clients. I don’t mind it at all since it’s more money and it’s easy to do. Expanding your editing services to include developmental editing is a great way to take your business up a notch! Thanks for signing up to my newsletter and glad you liked it! I will definitely bookmark your site! ElnaReply to Elna
Start a mailing list…like yesterday. Ha! I second that Elna. Lots of sound advice here, even if you’re not a freelancer!Reply to Whitney
Hi Whitney, Thanks! I know, when you blog just for the fun of it you may not see the value an email list could provide. But, if you eventually want to monetize your blog or just get to know your audience better, it’s a good idea. ElnaReply to Elna
Thanks so much for this! I’ve really been wanting to look for more information about becoming a freelance writer, and this post plus the links to the older posts you included have been so helpful! Definitely pinning this so I can use it as a reference.Reply to Tiffany
Hey Tiffany! Feel free to stay on my blog as I’m going to tackle brand new freelance writers or those interested in freelance writing in my next blog series coming in May! Thanks for stopping by!Reply to Elna
I really need to get on developing a newsletter as well as a good media kit. Both are on my to-do list! I also want to look into writing an eBook for some of the recipes I’ve posted on my website. These are some really awesome tips that I’ll surely be pinning! Thanks for sharing!Reply to Jessica
Hey Jessica! I’m glad you were able to use my tips for your blog! A newsletter is a must for any blog so good to know you’re going to start one soon. I hear you about writing an eBook; I feel the same way. I also have that on my to-do list. Thanks for stopping by! ElnaReply to Elna