I still remember the feeling of waking up each day hunting for content writer jobs because I didn’t want to finish my college degree.
Going on Indeed.com for literally months on end and applying to all the “content writer” jobs and getting no word back. In this post, I’m going to give you the advice I wish I heard when I started my career writing 3 years ago.
I still remember the job posts for content writing jobs saying you need 5 years of content writing experience for an entry level position.
I’m not going to BS you with some list and leave you hanging. I’m going to give you the real advice you need to hear to start making money with content writing.
I’ve saved the best for last, so check out these 5 best jobs for content writers.
1. Staff content writer
The staff content writer role is probably the job you are looking for. Staff content writers are basically writers that are full-time employees of a company. They handle most of the content needs a company has.
If you can land this job, this can be a launchpad for your writing career. These kinds of jobs were the type I was applying for and I never heard back.
The problem with these types of roles and other company roles is that you need to network to get in. I learned the hard way that you need to know someone to get into most roles at a company.
The chances of you finding a job post, applying, getting an interview and getting a job is slim to none. This includes people who are actually qualified also.
When you apply for this kind of job, you only see your end. You apply, follow-up and you still likely won’t get a response. This is because job boards like Indeed.com are built for the employer not you.
You’re far better off emailing the company, getting an intro and trying to apply that way in comparison to being a random applicant.
I would recommend connecting with content manager and marketing managers on LinkedIn and getting a warm intro instead of just applying and hoping for the best.
If they are able to recognize your name, your chances of getting employed are much higher.
Once you actually get this position, it’s honestly a great job. You will receive a salary and do a lot of content writing work.
While you’re doing this job, network as much as possible. You will meet a ton of people in the industry and some of them can be your future employers.
Content writers can also become copywriters. This requires a different skillset, but it’s not impossible to learn.
When you are content writing, you are basically just writing content to inform your audience.
In contrast, copywriting is writing where you are converting your audience to buy a product or take a similar action.
Copywriter salaries will vary greatly based on the skill of the copywriter. If you have worked with clients or another job before, you are likely more skilled and can demand a higher wage.
For the first year or so of my writing career, I focused mainly on content writing. It was easy for me because it’s basically researching on Google and writing content around a topic.
A client asked me if I did copywriting and I said yes.
If an opportunity comes around, never say no. The worst that can happen is they say you’re not a fit.
I started researching how to writing email copywriting because that’s what my client wanted. After a few hours, I figured out how to write subject lines and the body of the text. (Pro tip: there are a ton of templates online for copywriting). Anyways, I did it and the client liked it.
Copywriting is a lot more demanding than content writing because your employer will expect results. The good thing is you can demand higher rates for your work.
To find a copywriting job, I would still recommend networking and follow the same steps as the content writer route.
When you’re starting out, copywriting can be very frustrating because you don’t know what you’re doing. Once you have established yourself as a competent copywriter, work will find you and you can charge premium prices.
3. Content marketing manager
Content marketing manager is one of the best jobs for content writers. As a content marketing manager, you will play a more supervisory role in directing content for your employer.
Instead of focusing on writing the content (you will likely need to write some content), content marketing managers work more on content strategy and making sure deadlines and objectives are being met.
Content marketing managers will create the editorial calendar, achieve business targets through content marketing and do a lot of editing and proofreading.
To be a content marketing manager, you will need experience as a content writer. It’s basically the supervisor counterpart to being a content writer.
Many companies will hire internally for this role. For example, if a content writer has been with a company for a long time, they are likely very qualified to becoming a content marketing manager.
Unless you have previous experience being a content marketing manager at another company, the chances of you landing this role is extremely small.
Factors like networking and experience play a huge part in this role. Even if you did get hired, your performance will be subpar unless you’ve done this type of work before.
For writers that want to stay employed at a company over the long-term, this role is a great role to aim for. The benefits of this job are often very good and you can keep it for a while if your performance is good.
4. Freelance writer ($10k-$150k)
If you want to really test your ability to market yourself and write, become a freelance writer. All 3 roles before this one are vastly different than freelance writing because your income is dependent on your ability to find work.
When I dropped out of college, I started my freelance writing career after I couldn’t find any writing or transcription jobs (I’m extremely thankful I didn’t).
I started to cold email clients and do work for free to build up my portfolio. Once I had 5-10 pieces of work I can show clients, I started to pitch clients to land some work. I eventually did and got my first payment as a freelance writer.
This showed me I can market myself as a writer and land jobs with clients. Also, since I didn’t work for them, I can work remotely and set my own rate.
Although this sounds good, let me tell you what really happened:
- I had some clients bail on me after I did work for them
- I had several months where I made under $800
- I had a lot of random issues come up that made it more difficult to work
All that being said, I would do it again if I had the chance. Why? The benefits far outweigh the cons. When you’re starting off as a freelance writer, you will likely run into all of these issues.
As you get better you will be able to recognize these issues and avoid them.
Here’s what my income has looked like freelance writing for the first 3 years of my career:
- Year 1: $10,000
- Year 2 (last year): $29,000
- Year 3 (this year): $52,000 (projected). I earned over $13,000 so far in 2021. At this rate, I will reach $52,000. I will likely get much more, but I want to give a conservative estimate.
If I keep improving at any rate, I will cross the $100,000 mark within the next 2 years easily.
Why? My rates are increasing and I have a ton of referrals from previous work I’ve done.
The first few years of freelance writing are very tough, but I’d rather have that than the same income at a job.
If you want to learn more about how freelance writing works, check out my explanation here.
5. Blog owner ($0-$1,000,000)
Being a blog owner is the one of the best jobs for content writers. Blog ownership means you have a blog of your own where you can make money directly from your writing.
Instead of receiving a salary, blog owners can monetize their content to make incredible earnings.
Although I’m very content with my income as a freelance writer, freelance writing can often be a feast or famine experience for writers.
Unless you have a strong base of clients that you do monthly work for, your income can fluctuate greatly.
Let me give you an example. In January, I made just over $900. At the time of writing this blog (April), I’ve made over $6,000 this month alone.
Part of it was I got a new great tool that helps me find emails for potential clients, but I was still working a lot of hours to make ends meet.
This is why I started my own blog. Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme, it’s a business that builds very slowly and can be extremely rewarding. Check out some of these income reports from 4 different bloggers:
How does blogging work?
Blogging is not what you think it is. If you think that it’s waking up and writing about what you ate for breakfast, you are mistaken.
To put it simply, blogging is writing about topics for a specific audience and monetizing it. For example, this blog post is targeted towards writers like myself. If I can provide value with good content, I can build an audience and monetize later.
For new bloggers (like myself), it takes 8 to 9 months for content to rank on Google. When it does, you can get thousands of visitors to your site.
Once you start building up your traffic, you can make money from your traffic in several ways.
How to make money with blogging?
You can make money with blogging in the following ways:
Ads: You can set up ads on your site with Google AdSense or other ad networks. They will pay you a certain amount for every thousand visitors you can get. Experienced bloggers can make thousands of dollars each month with ads alone.
Affiliate marketing: When you write a blog post, you can add links to affiliate products and you can get a cut of each sale made. For example, if I linked a job for content writers to this post, I can make some money with affiliate links.
Info products: Info products are products you create for your audience. This can be ebooks, guides, courses, etc. For example, I can launch an ebook for freelance writers showing how they can earn their first $1,000 with freelance writing. This can be the most lucrative opportunity to make money with freelance writing.
Sponsorships: Companies often offer bloggers money to sponsor them on their blog with a post. Some bloggers can build long lasting sponsorships with companies worth tens of thousands of dollars. To get sponsorships, you need to really serve a core audience and companies in that space will start reaching out to you.
If you can build a blog over a number of years, you can likely start generating well over 6 figures. The hard part is working on it for the first few years without seeing a lot of revenue. Here are some examples of bloggers making over $1 million per year from their blog.
This sums up the best jobs for content writers today. Writing can be an amazing career if you are able to do both marketing and writing well.
It doesn’t matter if you are JK Rowling or Shakespeare, if you don’t market yourself well, you will likely earn low wages for your writing.
The pursuit of improving your career should never end. Even if you have a steady job, always network and keep looking for opportunities to better yourself and advance your career.
To learn more about you can make money blogging, check out this blog here.