How can you earn money through content writing jobs? What is content writing, anyway? In simple terms, a content writer creates or edits copy or text to inform readers on a topic or to promote and market a company, product or service. In order to be an effective content writer, your work must be relevant and accurate. And you need to deliver your message in a dynamic style, so that your readers will be compelled to stay with your segment throughout. Some secrets for successful content writing:
- Remember — less is more – assume your 21st century reader is a ‘non-reader’, with the attention span of a four-year-old. He’s the product of texting, video games, 3-D movies, and high-speed Internet service.
- Use the ‘economy of scale’ theory – never use 100 words when you could pack your message in 50 words… or less!
- Place your punch up front and on end.
- Tell them, then tell them again what you told them, but in different words.
- Check and re-check your content for accuracy.
Where, you may ask, do I find topics for content writing? What and who will pay me to content write? For starters, let’s look at a few venues that provide a myriad of opportunities for content writers.
Journal Abstracts – Every thesis or scholarly paper written in the field of academia includes a summary, or abstract of the paper’s main focus. Applying for a grant or writing a book proposal often requires submitting an abstract. A content writer’s skill in ferreting out a paper’s salient points is an art in itself, and a highly marketable one.
“How To” Technical Manuals – How many times have you begun to hyper-ventilate at the sight of an assembly schematic for a backyard grill, or your grandson’s latest radio-controlled gizmo, or that new workstation you just purchased on-line? It takes a special type of concrete-sequential mind-set to write user-friendly how-to manuals and assembly directions.
Press Releases – Corporations and organizations use press releases to draw attention to their products and services, to broaden their customer base, and to diffuse negative publicity. Do you really believe that those sensitive, politically-correct, carefully word-smithed press releases are written by the celebrities, politicians, and CEO’s who publicly deliver them???!!! I don’t think so! Savvy, expert publicists, attorneys, and content writers are well paid to draft these public statements.
Ghost Writing – High-powered, busy executives in every industry and organization, public and private, have neither the time, nor the skills, nor the inclination to flush out and fashion their ideas into concrete, powerful text. Here’s where you, the content writer, enter to save the day.
The client provides the idea and you, the content writer, do the leg work, the research, the outline, the rough draft, adding, of course, your own unique ‘ghostly’ style to your client’s substance. Wouldn’t you pay for such service?
This type of writing has taken off, fueled by the “word-hungry” web. Ghost writing needs abound for blogs, articles, e-books, web pages, and e-mail campaigns. You could be the one to satisfy some of this burgeoning demand for words.
White Papers – Wikipedia says that… “A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that often addresses issues and how to solve them. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. They are often used in politics and business, scientific and technical subjects….” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_paper).
White papers are commonly seen in government. Their purpose is usually informational, rather than promotional; they provide an in-depth analysis of a trend, process, or product.
Again, professionals who are highly knowledgeable in their field, but do not have the ability to express themselves dynamically and coherently in writing, need you, the content writer, to become their ‘voice’ – to empower them to deliver their content in an authentic, convincing, authoritative stance.
Speeches & Conference Presentations — In any big city, on any given day, if you walk into a major hotel or enter an elevator, you’re bound to bump into a group of suited individuals all carrying overloaded ‘goodie bags’ and wearing lanyards, nametags, smile buttons, etc., advertising their conference membership. And all these attendees are participating in conferences, presentations, seminars, speeches many of which could have been written by you, the content writer!
Grants–One of the best kept secrets is the billions (yes, I said billions!)of dollars in grant moneys that go unclaimed each year because either a) people are totally unaware of their existence; b) those who need this money haven’t the slightest idea as to how to access it; c) possible recipients do not have the research and writing skills to delve into these resources.
What about offering your services to seek out, research, write and apply for grants with the understanding that you only reap a percentage of what is awarded? This win-win proposition offers both the would-be recipient as well as you, the potentially successful grant writer great incentives to pursue these opportunities. Another great avenue for content writing!
I know! I know! Your head is spinning like a whirling dervish! Enough!, you say. I’m overwhelmed! Don’t lose heart. Just focus on what you do best, what appeals to you, and where your expertise lies, and… go for it!