If you’re looking to start your career as a content writer, you might be wondering where to start or what it’s going to take to get there. Luckily, there are plenty of routes you can take, whether you’re pursuing freelancing or full-time employment with an organization. Either way, the following guide will help you get there by talking about the best ways to approach your job search and how to grow in your profession once you do make it into the field of content writing.
If you want to be a content writer, your first step is becoming familiar with what it means to be a content writer. Content writers create articles and other text-based material (such as emails and whitepapers) that’s distributed online. They do so for all kinds of companies, but are commonly employed by marketing or PR firms whose clients want content created specifically for their websites. As such, most content writing jobs fall into two broad categories: freelance or staff. The freelance route allows you to set your own schedule—and potentially make more money than staff positions—but it also usually requires a degree of self-management, since clients will typically come directly to you via an online platform like Upwork. Staff positions almost always have regular hours and paychecks, but they can be more complicated since they often require juggling multiple projects at once.
What Skills Do I Need?
The content writer needs five primary skills. The first is communication: you’ll need to express your thoughts clearly and persuasively. A content writer needs creativity, too: you’ll create dozens of headlines and subheads every day, and each one should be clever and exciting. Content writers must also have good grammar skills so that their writing is free of errors. Finally, content writers need research skills so that they can find facts about topics quickly.
Where Can I Get Work?
First and foremost, you’ll need an online presence. That doesn’t necessarily mean blogging for six hours a day, but it does mean building yourself a portfolio site or adding an author bio to your LinkedIn page that makes it easy for clients to find you. You can even create a single page website like we did for our content writing business. Depending on what type of content writer you are (are you more of an essayist?
Getting Over Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Studies have shown that imposter syndrome can negatively affect one’s self-confidence, motivation, productivity and success. If you think you suffer from imposter syndrome, try having an honest conversation with yourself about your accomplishments thus far.
Editing and Proofreading Tips
A professional writer’s top piece of advice? Proofread, proofread, proofread. Even if you feel confident in your ability to craft compelling copy (which you should), mistakes inevitably happen; there’s only so much you can catch on your own. You don’t want an ill-placed comma or misspelled word on your resume! Or even worse: what if an editor has no idea that an error is not actually a mistake but rather one of your intentionally artistic flourishes? Always have another set of eyes look at your content before it goes live. The importance and value that comes from proofreading cannot be overstated.