They say content writing is one of the most highly-paid digital marketing services offered in the market today. If that’s the case, why was I offered to write 8 blog articles per month, minimum of 1500 each for SGD 8? That’s about $6 per month. The horror!
You see, one thing I learned in this business is there are things you can’t control (like that client who low-balled me) and there are others that you can. So, let’s focus on the latter, that is, how to strengthen your content writing skills to land premium paying clients.
Tip #1 When you write in English, think in English
Anu nga English nun?
Every time I ask my former students to write essays in class, I hear someone whisper to his/her seatmate, “Anu nga English nun?” (How do you say that in English?)
According to an article from the New York Times, being bilingual makes you smarter. Studies show that bilinguals have an advantage when it comes to profound effects on your brain. These effects include having improved cognitive skills and a shield against dementia.
However, I find that one of the greatest challenges a bilingual experience is in writing. When you write, you switch gears from one language to another, which results in grammar mistakes.
To avoid this from happening, here’s a tip: stop translating in your head. Besides, every language has its own syntax.
I love you. (English)
I – subject
love – verb
you – direct object
Mahal kita. (Filipino)
Mahal – verb
Kita – I and you combined in one word
So, next time you write a blog post for your online portfolio, or for your clients, remember, when you write in English, think in English.
Tip #2 Be consistent with your tenses
SEO friendly titles are usually in the present tense.
However, I find that the safest way to write blog posts is in the past tense.
Imagine calling your best friend and telling her how stupid you are for adding salt instead of sugar on your coffee.
Of course, you’re not gonna call her while you’re doing it. Are you?
You’re gonna tell her after you took a sip and realized you’ve just had the worst coffee ever.
If you choose the other way, ie. writing in the present tense, make sure you’re consistent.
Or else you might confuse your readers. You don’t want to go back and forth, and back and forth, with your story.
Tip # 3 Learn to incorporate basic SEO in your content writing
I’ve been stalking other copywriters in and out of the country. And one thing I noticed, is some of them say content writing ie. blogging is not copywriting. I beg to disagree. But let me share my take on it some other time.
Today, I’d like to tell you why a content writer needs basic SEO skills.
Companies want content that generates traffic to their business. I’m not referring to viral or trending content, though that helps sometimes. But, some companies take SEO very seriously. That’s because they want long term and legit results. Which is why they hire writers who can…
Create valuable content that converts
Basic SEO knowledge will help you achieve that. There are tools out there that can help. One of the best is the Yoast SEO. It is a WordPress plugin which guides you on how to make your content SEO-friendly.
Tip #4 Read, read, and read
This tip is old but gold
If you would ask what copywriting books I’d recommend, sorry but nada.
You see, I have a background in literature, and it was only in 2015 that I started reading about content writing online.
‘Cause it’s my job. (wink)
So, even if I ain’t got books to read, I have online resources that are super reliable.
And I’d like to share them with you. Below are links to their website and Facebook page and/or group.
Here are my top 5
Constant Content is a company which offers professional content writing services. They are among the largest and most established freelance marketplace specializing in SEO-friendly content.
Apply here if you want to join their team of expert freelance writers.
Matthew Woodward is an award-winning SEO specialist.
He was among the pioneers of the digital marketing industry, way before Google was born. From selling newspapers before school to playing video games, and now helping thousands of people scale their online business, Matthew is a perfect example of a modern renaissance man.
I became one of his email subscribers in February of this year. In fact, the amount of free resources I get is overwhelming (not complaining) that I made a separate folder in my inbox just for him. Sooo worth it.
Problogger has been in the business since 2004. It is a blog dedicated to helping bloggers monetize their websites. Their resources range from blogs, podcasts, ebooks, and online courses among others. Plus, they provide job opportunities for freelance content writers. You can click here to see what job openings they have available
Creative Revolt is founded by Jorden Makelle. it is a super cool website offering tips and tricks on how to become a successful freelance content writer. And when I say successful, I mean getting paid $100-$500 per blog post.
Right now she has two online courses
- Killer Cold Emailing – A course for beginner to intermediate level writers which teaches how to choose a profitable niche, set up a website/online portfolio, and pitch content ideas by cold-emailing.
- Fuck Yeah Freelance Blogging – A course which teaches you how to structure SEO-friendly blog posts that land high-paying clients.
Oh, and did you know that Creative Revolt is accepting guest posts?
Aaand, they’ll pay you $100 per blog post. Sweet.
Warning: Do not send your pitch unless you completely read and understood the guidelines.
5. Neil Patel
Of course, my list will not be complete without this guy right here.
Try to type Neil Patel’s name on Google. You will be surprised at how many companies he founded and co-founded. He is The Greatest Showman.
His most recent invention is Ubersuggest, a free SEO keyword tool.
You heard it right, FREE.
With Ubersuggest, all you have to do is type a domain or keyword and it analyzes the search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty, and cost per click (CFC).
Scroll down and you will find keyword ideas and page titles using the same keyword you entered. SEO tools are expensive. So if you are just starting out, having free keyword tools is a huge help.
For moms, check out Suzi of Start a Mom Blog
Her Youtube videos are super helpful.
And, her blogs are super in-depth.
Lot’s of “super” in this post, yeah.
Because it’s super.
Tip #5 Write powerful headlines
To keep readers glued to the screen is one thing, writing powerful headlines to get them to click is another.
Good news. There’s a FREE tool that can help us write creative content titles.
Introducing the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
Just type your headline and click the orange Analyze Now button.
Your headline will undergo three steps.
Step 1: Identifies what type of headline it is: Lists, How to’s, or Questions
Step 2: Check the word balance. According to CoSchedule, headlines must have
and at least 1 power
Step 3: Analyzes your headline for engagement and optimization. Coschedule tells you if your headline is easy to digest and scannable
Give it a whirl.
Having really good headlines add personality to your content, too.
Tip #6 Write readable content
Study shows that it takes less than 60 seconds for someone to stay on a web page before he explores the internet to get information. Thus, the first 10 to 30 seconds is crucial, which is why it’s important to not only catch the readers attention but make it last. This is where readability comes in.
So, how do you make your content “readable”?
1. Use subheadings. The main title uses H1 while the subtopics use H2, H3, and H4.
2. Use easy to read font styles. Some of the most common are Roboto, Times New Roman, Arial, and Open Sans.
3. There must be a balance between text and the number of images used. Before publishing, click preview so you can see how your content would look like once it goes live, especially if it is 1000 words or more.
4. Eliminate distractions. Do not put too much call-to-action (CTA) buttons.
5. Avoid long paragraphs by breaking the text. Use numbered lists, bullet points, and bold texts.
Tip #7 Know your target audience
When a client gives you a content writing assignment, one of the things you need to consider is the audience.
Who am I talking to?
Is it b2b or b2c?
Knowing your audience adds clarity and focus.
So, how do you know your audience?
By creating a buyer persona.
Are you talking to businesses who would be interested in your content writing services?
Or an aspiring content writer who needs tips on how to get started?
Do not publish topics you want. Publish topics your target audience want (and need).
Tip #8 Stalk your competitors
Do you know Matthew Woodward?
He is an SEO specialist.
According to him, the easiest way to increase traffic to your website is to “steal” your competitors’ keywords.
I know, it doesn’t sound right.
But he has a point.
However, stealing your competitors SEO strategy doesn’t mean you’re stealing content as well.
For example, Company A is selling fragrances. So they have a blog entitled How to Start a Perfume Collection (about 800 words long) using the focus keyword luxury perfumes.
On the other hand, you will use the same keyword, luxury perfumes, that is. This time, with a more comprehensive and researched- based blog post, about 1000 to 1500 words long, with subtopics such as the difference between Eau de perfum and Eau de toilette, ingredients, pricing, and where to buy to start the collection.
Same focus keyword, different content.
Which do you think will rank higher?
Tip #9 Give simplified and accurate answers
Quick question? Why do we “Google” everything?
Quick answer? Because we need answers.
And not just answers that came out of nowhere.
and realistic answers.
So if this is something you can provide, clients will come after you (in a good way)
Tip #10 Your readers must take action
Remember tip number 6 where I mentioned call-to-action (CTA) buttons?
What are they?
Call-To-Action is a digital marketing term which refers to words or phrases used for the target audience to take immediate action.
Youtube content creators tell you to
- Like the video
- Hit the notifications bell
- Read the description details
- and follow their social media platforms
Blogs do the same thing but done strategically.
Like the one you’re reading right now. Here, you will find
- CTA buttons before and after the blog post to share this on Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn
- Internal and external links in pink font color
- Widgets which leads to my other blog posts once clicked
- Images, which will redirect you to Pinterest
- A statement at the end to comment below
To wrap up, I just want to say that. being the best content writer in town doesn’t just involve drowning yourself with too much information. The key is to apply what you learned, and analyze what works and what doesn’t.
Which tip do you think is the best? What else did I miss? Drop your comments below.