One of the things that keeps me up at night (besides my six kids and my compulsive habit of reading political news) is the idea that there are possibly millions of mismatches between people and their preferred choices of employment. On many occasions I have visited Walmart late at night and observed that the man or woman working at the checkout seems to be weary, not eager to be there. Often I notice a look in someone’s eyes that seems to say, “I hate working the night shift at Walmart, but I’ve got to pay the bills.”
As much as I appreciate that there are people willing to work the night shift at Walmart, which allows me to stop in there and grab what I need when most stores are closed, I often wish I could sit down with some of these folks and show them what I’m going to describe here.
It is mainly for people in situations similar to what I just described – people who need some extra money, but who don’t want to be committed to a regular schedule away from their families – that I’m writing this post. However, working on a flexible schedule as a content writer can easily be a made into a career if you’re so inclined.
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What’s Required to Become a Content Writer
Fluency in English
For the opportunities I’ll describe below, a working knowledge of English is important. Although I’ve seen exceptions, most people I’ve observed who don’t speak English as their first language have difficulties becoming successful being content writers for English language websites. That’s not to say that there aren’t lots of opportunities to write content articles in a different language, but my experience is that, because English is the common language used throughout the world and because it’s the forum where I spend most of my time
Developing Your Writing Skills
You don’t have to be on track for receiving a Pulitzer prize to be a content writer. However, you should be able to spell, have a good vocabulary, and be able to develop a style of writing that is appealing to a target audience, whoever it is intended will consume what you write.
One great thing about writing skills is that it’s never too late to develop them. If you’re not a great writer yet, you can take a class such as the Writing With Flair: How To Become An Exceptional Writer Udemy course.
An important trait I’ve seen demonstrated by people who become good writers, similar to people who develop other worthwhile skills that might not come naturally, is a commitment to overcome fears about being less than perfect. Becoming a good writer involves a lot of iteration: writing, editing, publishing, getting feedback, and repeating that process over and over.
Willingness to Learn About Various Topics
In order to keep your paid writing schedule as filled up as you’d like with a stream of writing assignments, it’s very useful to be willing to learn about new things. You may be writing about food or travel one day and explaining an alternative remedy for a sickness the next. There are millions of niche sites out there looking for people to contribute articles, stories, and how-to’s that they’re willing to pay for. If you’re willing to open your mind and assertively digest new information well enough that you can write about it, your possibilities to write an make money expand significantly.
Technical and Legal Writing Skills in High Demand
People with technical or legal writing skills are highly sought after. If you have a propensity towards technical topics such as software coding, engineering subjects, legal explanations or any of the other less “fluffy”, more serious, deeper topics, you will qualify yourself to receive much higher payouts than if you stick only with the lighter stuff.
While I led the online lead generation efforts for a company called eFileCabinet, we paid $50 per article for technically-inclined content, including having our writers explain things like how to stay compliant with government regulations using a document management system. We even started the writers out with an outline and a list of resources they could read to learn about the topics quickly. Their job was simply to assimilate the information into a coherent article that would attract potential customers to the company.
While doing marketing for another software company, I met a person who charged $200 per article. We were eager to get him on retainer to write for our marketing team. He had developed the skill of being able to read about something and produce a coherent review of what he’d learned, normally a 1,000-2,000-word, thoroughly finished article in a matter of 3-4 hours.
It may take you some practice to get to the level of this uniquely qualified contractor, but that route is certainly an attractive opportunity that would allow you to make in the neighborhood of $50/hour.
Write For Extra Income or Make Content Writing Into a Career
To be clear, although working from home as a freelance content writer is a great way to earn extra income, many people become good enough at it and enjoy it enough to make a full-time career doing freelance writing.
Some Examples of Available Opportunities
Travel – Travelista.club
Do you enjoy travelling or writing about places you’ve been? If so, you can make $30 per article published on Travelista.club. Articles submitted for publishing can be about places you’ve visited, or they can describe the area around where you live.
No experience is necessary to write for Travelista.club. They have a standard requirement that the articles you submit must be at least 1000 words in length.
Learn more about this opportunity here: https://travelista.club/write-for-us/
Horses – Horse Network
Maybe you love horses and enjoy spending your time talking about riding, training, boarding, and other aspects of interacting with horses. Horse Network’s “write for us” profile says they are especially interested in articles about “horse health, interviews, profiles and human interest stories”. They pay $50 per article, which they expect to be between 500 and 750 words.
Web Design and Software Development – Layout by Flywheel
If you already have experience or you’d like to learn and write about web design and software development, Layout by Flywheel has a program that pays $50 per approved article. They provide you with a list of article topics and titles for which they need content written. It’s convenient to have this kind of structure to guide what you’ll write about next.
Check out the Write for us! page on GetFlywheel.com to learn more about their program.
Software Development – Semaphore Continuous Integration
This is another opportunity for technically minded people. Semaphore is a company whose founders I’ve met. They employ a lead generation similar to ones I’ve operated before, which involves publishing lots and lots of useful technical articles to attract people to their software product.
Semaphore’s standards for content quality and depth are high, but their payouts for published articles to Semaphore will net you between $100 and $300.
The details of how to become a contributor to Semaphore can be found on their author recruiting page.
How to Find Other Content Writing Opportunities
The Semaphore opportunity described above is one that I knew about from being acquainted with the company in one of my previous roles. The rest I found using simple Google searches.
If you search Google for “write for us” (use the quotes to make your search more accurate) along with the niche you’re most interested in writing about.
So, if I wanted to write articles about mental health, I’d do this search: “write for us” mental health. If you try a few different searches and browse through the result, you can see that there are tons of opportunities for you to learn and develop your writing skills while on the clock.
This thing beats the heck out of standing on your feet at a checkout stand, even if they do provide you with ergonomic mats.
Becoming a Full-Time Content Writer
If you want to make content writing your full-time job, you should be able to see from these examples what it will take. If you need $200/day to replace your current income, you’d need to plan on setting up a situation where you have 4 articles published each day that payout $50. If you like variety, you can change up your schedule and do some lighter writing that likely pays less and mix it into a schedule that includes articles that may take more effort, but payout $100+. Essentially, you need to organize your writing pipeline so that you have articles you’re working on and submitting every day. Chances are you’ll find a few niches you’re happy with I know of writers that hone their skills, organize their work days, and crank out articles such that they make $400/day, which is over $100k per year based on a 5-day work schedule.
Some Things To Remember About This Content Writing Gig
It May Require Some Patience
You may need to be patient with this new method for earning money working from home writing content. Some of the people I know have had a to learn what their clients want in terms of writing style, quality, and perspective. This is especially
Adding SEO and Marketing to Your Qualifications
Most content websites are looking for more content because they want exposure from search engines and other sources of web traffic, including social media. If you have learned how to write your articles optimized for attracting traffic from search engines (search engine optimization or SEO), and if you build up a social following, your contributions will be worth much more to those you’re writing for. I highly recommend you develop those skills (SEO and social media marketing), you’ll be able to exact much higher pay rates for your articles since they are provide much higher value to those who are paying you to write for them.
Give It A Try
If you feel working from home as a content writer is something that could grow on you, or if you’re already thrilled at the opportunity to write, jump in! Set a goal to find a website seeking writers that matches your interested, sign up for their program, and submit a goal to submit an article within the next seven days.
Oh, and we’d love to hear from you how it goes. Feel free to leave us a comment or send us your experience and feedback.