If you’re a freelancer or more specifically a freelance writer then you probably know that there are tons of Freelancer websites like eLance, oDesk, Freelancer, etc. and also many other sites that pay you for contributing content.
I’ve already featured 10 websites that pay upfront for writing articles and I got so many mails suggesting that they’re mostly for U.S. writers. While it’s true to some extent the real problem is that they’re all quality websites in search of high quality writers. It basically means that you must be very experienced to be part of their network.
So today I’m going to tell you how to kick-start your freelance writing without relying on any of those Freelance websites or agencies or those upfront pay sites.
Content Is King: Start With A Blog
You already know that quality content creators are always in great demand and hence you do have a chance. But you’ve to prove yourself that you can write good stuff and must brand yourself as an expert. How? The answer is – a blog.
Blogs need no introduction and you know that it’s one of the powerful ways to create and share content. So all you need to do is start a blog preferably on self-hosted WordPress with your own custom domain name (.com, .net, .co, etc.).
If you’re a complete newbie and don’t know where to start with then you can contact me anytime.
I’ll help you to start a WordPress blog at almost zero cost with your own .com domain name. Seriously.
Now, I’m going to assume that you want to start a blog or have already started one by now.
So What’s Next? Simple. Showcase Yourself As An Expert!
If you really want to make a living from freelance writing then you’ve to focus on a niche topic. I’ve noticed that most of the freelance writers apply everything that’s writing. That is, they claim that they can write on almost any topic under the sun. While it’s possible that’s not the way it should be.
No one can produce original content on any topic. For that you’ve to follow an industry or a niche very closely so that you can come up with original ideas and can easily brand yourself as an expert.
Don’t think that you can’t do it. Remember – every professional was a newbie. If you’re unable to write regularly or produce original content then you can start with content curation. But there’s one thing – you have to be passionate about what you’re reading and blogging. You won’t stop reading, writing, thinking as long as you’re passionate about your blog. And don’t expect a result overnight as it takes some time to build a brand, credibility, and experience.
But the first step is to get started… and everything else (traffic, revenue, clients, credibility, etc.) will follow.
Here’s Why A Blog And Its Branding Is Essential
If you’re just starting as a freelance writer and you don’t have much experience then no one’s going to hire you. Because content creators are everywhere and it is obviously the top skills on-demand and available on all freelance websites.
So you have to build some credibility by showcasing your talent, expertise and portfolio on your blog. How?
Just continue to contribute quality content regularly until you get noticed.
Initially it’s very likely that your blog may look a bit amateurish especially if your blog is hosted by a free hosting platform (.blogspot.com, .wordpress.com, etc.). Again, you have to take care of your design as well as it tells a lot. If you’ve got a professional web design then your readers tends to think that it’s a quality blog.
No one can find your traffic unless you disclose it. They can only assume your traffic based on some available metrics like Google PageRank, Alexa Traffic Rank, etc. But experienced marketers know that those metrics can be faked so they are not going to underestimate your blog.
But design and content is something different. If you’ve got some very interesting content and have taken care of all design stuff then you’re already done.
How About Competition? No, It’s All About Quality!
Like I mentioned earlier content creators are everywhere and every freelance website is crowded with freelance writers. So do you still have a chance? Yes. Why? Because it’s all about quality.
Most of the content creators available are those who don’t focus on a specific niche. They write on almost any topic. So if you’re confident that you can produce better quality content than them then blogging is the right way to acquire clients, showcase your expertise, build credibility, etc.
“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.” – Bill Gates
Why You Should Focus On Niche Blogging (And Writing)
As I’ve mentioned earlier there are tons of content creators everywhere but not many of them are real experts. If there are experts then it costs a lot of money to hire their services for content creation. So what if you can generate the same quality content at a lower cost? You’re hired!
I don’t know how many times have I tried to hire a content creator from various freelance sites. But nothing worked as they were not niche writers and showed me low quality or irrelevant content when I asked for portfolio.
So if you already have a blog and you’ve already published few high quality content then you have already marketed yourself.
Why Quality Matters A Lot
As you probably know the primary source of traffic is Google for most websites. In 2011 there was a huge update by Google so as to filter out low quality content from search results.
Ever since that update everyone is after quality and not quantity. It applies to content creation as well because webmasters have now realized that it makes a lot more sense to create one quality article a week than publishing mediocre content frequently.
They Say You Need Big Traffic To Make Money And I Say…
Ask any blogger out there “How to make money blogging?” and they say you have to write content regularly and build links for traffic. Okay, it’s true if you want to make money selling advertisement or by reviewing affiliate products.
The perfect example is my sister’s food blog that she started couple of years back. She started on blogger.com as a hobby and as an online diary where she wants to archive all her recipes. She never cared about traffic or SEO or whatever and all she did was contributed content regularly. Now the blog receives over 100,000 page views a month and that’s great as she didn’t spend a dime for promotion. Recently I convinced her to switch to WordPress platform and we noticed a 30% jump in traffic after migration.
So it’s true that you need good traffic to make money blogging – but it applies only if you want to make money selling ads.
Now if you’re a freelance writer… all you need is a blog AND a huge “Hire Me” button so that everyone will see that you’re a freelancer and can get in touch with you effortlessly.
Again, the perfect example is my friend’s lifestyle blog who is a freelance writer. I convinced her to start a blog and helped with design, SEO, and other technical aspects. Voila! She branded herself as an expert in her niche by blogging unique and quality blog posts. And the result? In less than a month or so companies and agencies contacted her via the blog and hired her for content, for event management, for social media jobs, product reviews etc. again with zero promotion.
Once your blog is established (say with quality content, a complete design, etc.) then you’ll get organic traffic from Search Engines, Social Media, etc. and you can make some extra bucks by way of ads, affiliate sales, etc.
That’s not all! There are sponsored reviews and posts. When you showcase yourself as an expert in a niche then agencies and companies will contact you for a review of their product or service. And you can easily make $50+ per sponsored review.
Freelance Writing Can Make A Fortune For You
They’re mostly article writers who write on almost all topic by following some simple research or re-writing content from other websites.
But if you ask the rate card of a niche blogger who’s a freelance writer as well then it costs $50 – $500 (or even more) per article depending upon the topic.
So what it means to you is that you don’t really need a high traffic blog to earn that six-figure income from your home.
If you’re still confused or don’t know where/how to start with then leave your query as a comment below or you can e-mail me as I obsessively read and reply to each and every mail I get.
Happy Blogging, Freelancing, and Monetizing!