How to Make Money Content Writing

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 04/03/20 •  9 min read

Freelance writing is STILL the best way to start an online business.

And yes, that counts even in a time of quarantine.

Right now, many businesses are struggling.

But what are people doing WAY more of right now? Scrolling the internet.

The need for content is at an all-time high.

So while things are tough, there is stuff you can do right now to keep your content writing business going. Here’s how to do it.

Watch this video and then keep reading.

Got that? Sweet.

There are a few things to cover first, namely copywriting.

What is Copywriting?

One of the best ways to improve your writing is to study copywriting. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to become a copywriter but you can use a lot of the skills from learning about copy to kick up your writing.

Copywriting is just one of many types of freelance writing. Where copywriting sets itself apart from other types of writing is it’s created with sales in mind.

Great copy is persuasive and emotional. It taps into people’s feelings and gets them to take action, usually buying something.

For many, it’s really more of an art form. So it takes a lot of practice to become really good at copywriting.

If you’re interested in becoming a copywriter and learning more about it, check out this post.

The Difference Between Content Writing and Copywriting

Here’s where things can get confusing.

Content writing is really just sort of an interchangeable term for freelance writing in general. Freelance writing covers all types of writing out there from blogging to writing Tweets.

While copywriting is included in the general world of content writing, it’s important to understand that copywriting is its own special sort of category.

As I said above, the key to copywriting is it’s geared towards selling. So it is more emotional and persuasive.

That’s somewhat different from general content writing like blogging or ghostwriting or writing white papers because these are more educational and informational.

The point of this type of content is to get people to move down the sales funnel. The point of copy is to get people to buy.

Copywriting can cover sales pages, video sales scripts, social media ads, emails, direct mail, and landing pages. Plus, a lot more.

Ok now that we’ve got that mini explainer out of the way, let’s dig into what you’re here for. Making money.

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How to Make Money Content Writing

There are two common ways to make money content writing.

I’ll dig into each of them a little bit here.

Way 1: Your Own Blog

Building a business around your blog is one way you can make money content writing.

It’s what I’ve been doing for years across a couple of sites.

Let’s start with Location Rebel.

My experience building affiliate marketing and niche sites, like Breaking Eighty, have been a huge boost in helping me build an income for writing.

Take a post like this one: How to Become a Freelance Writer.

This is an epic guide that’s over 7,000 words and takes you through all of the basics that you need to know to start freelance writing.

This guide is a key driver of email opt-ins, which gets people into the sales funnel. And, since so many of the people who join Location Rebel Academy want to become freelance writers, it’s a no brainer for them to buy because we have taken that 7k word blog post and expanded into a 40k Freelance Writing Course and Bootcamp for members.

The same goes for this post on How to Start Affiliate Marketing. This is another popular post, it ranks #1 for the search term on Google, and drives a ton of traffic to the site. From there, the same as above holds true, more people get on the email list which leads to more sales.

So while it helps to have a lot of traffic, you can still use affiliate marketing to sell products on your site. The key is understanding some SEO, especially keyword research.

You can check out a video I recently did that walks through how to do keyword research here, or watch it below.

Another way to make money via your own content writing is through ads.

Here’s an example.

Last month I wrote a post on Breaking Eighty that did really well all about underrated golf courses.

What ended up happening, was Google started recommending it to people within their “discover” section on the chrome app. Over the course of a few days it got closed to 15k views.

What did that mean for me?

Breaking Eighty Ad Screenshot

This is how much I made from one post over the course of 3 days.

Well since I run ads on Breaking Eighty, every ad that gets viewed ends up being a tiny amount of money in my pocket.

In this case it worked out to $704.

For literally just creating content. You can see how that has the potential to be really powerful over time…

Way 2: Someone else’s website

As I mentioned earlier there’s a HUGE need for content right now while everyone is quarantined.

Because of this, there are a lot of opportunities to get freelance work.

There’s a link below to download our list of over 100 places you can find freelance writing work – so go check that out.

Get our List of 100+ Places to Get Freelance Writing Jobs.

The fact of the matter is, there are tons of industries that are desperate for freelance content writers right now. Some of these include:

That’s a shortlist but by no means the only opportunities out there.

It also pays to be proactive.

Reach out to current clients and past clients and see if they need more work. Maybe you can find an angle around the situation we’re all in that you can pitch and offer a quick turnaround.

Let’s face it, everyone is being impacted by this right now, so there are plenty of ways to talk about how your particular niche or industry is feeling it during this time.

Also, keep doing your marketing.

Now might be a great time to bang out a few guest posts for sites that are great for name recognition that can help you land some bigger clients down the road.

Remember, even though it sucks right now, quarantine isn’t going to last forever, so anything you do right now to help improve your business can put you in a great position down the road.

How Do You Prepare? Practice

So those are the two ways you make money content writing. Obviously there’s a lot more that goes into each of those. And if you want to dig into it, check out some of the other posts I’ve linked to in this post.

But regardless of which way you go, there are a couple of things you need to know how to do. This is the stuff you should be practicing RIGHT NOW.

Practice Your Writing

You’ve got free time?

Spend it writing.

The best way to become a better writer is by practicing writing. You just have to do it.

So, set aside time to write every day. Make a goal and give yourself a time limit or a word count. Right now, at this stage, it’s ok to write a bunch of crappy stuff, you’re just working on building a habit. 

But as you continue on, you’re going to find your writing is going to get better. And you’re going to become faster too, which can really help you get more done in your freelance writing career.

Learn How to Write Killer Headlines

Remember when I said copywriting is important for writers even if they don’t “do copy?”

Here’s where those skills come into play.

One of the best things you can learn how to do is write better headlines. A great headline is the difference between a ton of clicks and crickets. So, as you practice your writing, don’t skimp on this part.

Watch this video to learn more.

Try this exercise: for every blog post you write, brainstorm 10 headlines for it. The more you do it, the better your headlines are going to become over time.

Know Your Audience

This is a big one.

Far too often, freelance writers don’t spend any time thinking about the people they want to write for. That leaves them tossing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks.

Instead, be targeted. If you’ve got a freelance writing niche, this is a great first step. You can understand who you want to write for and where to find them.

From there, make a big list and start sending out letters of introduction. Remember, it’s a numbers game, especially at the start, so set aside time every day, or a few days a week to blast these out.

If you’ve been freelancing for a while, and you’re struggling to get more clients, not sending enough of these might be one of the mistakes your making.

Ready to Start Right Now?

There are plenty of places I could direct you for this. but if you want to learn exactly how to both land content writing jobs and make money content writing on your own site there’s one thing you can do right now.

Grab our freelance writing jobs list.

You’re going to get a huge list of over 100 places to find freelance writing work plus, tips on how to improve your pitches. Also, you’re going to get our 6 day course that walks you through the basics of getting going as a freelance writer.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

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3 comments on "How to Make Money Content Writing"

  1. Shawn says:

    Not sure I’d say that freelance writing is a way to make extra money right now. It takes time to make money as a freelance writer. The market is competitive and it takes a lot of consistency to get yourself and your name out there.

    1. Sean Ogle says:

      Totally get what you’re saying, and it can definitely take time to establish yourself. That said, it’s a numbers game. If you know how to approach potential clients, and you devote time to doing it, I think the average person can have their first client in less than a month. It’s just all about knowing how to properly pitch and build relationships.

      1. Shawn says:

        I can definitely back your reply. Thanks for taking the time to state this!

  2. Trish Groves says:

    Sean’s right! – I launched a freelance writing business (with a side order of web design) earlier this month, and I’ve completed my first assignment already, with others lined up. The ‘secret’ ingredient was to build a website (one of Sean’s steps) and a Facebook Page. It’s not fancy, but I’m getting queries every week! Follow Sean’s plan, and you’ll get there. 🙂

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