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How to Become an Effective Freelance Writer

Updated on October 16, 2017
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Ephantus, fondly known as Ephy, is a seasoned freelance writer with a passion for alternative cures and natural medicine.

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Working as a freelance writer comes with many benefits including the ability to build an income generating venture doing something you love, flexible working hours and working from the comfort of your home. However, to work and succeed as a freelance writer, you need to do much more than sitting at your breakfast bar with a cup of steaming coffee and tapping at your computer. Here is how to become a freelance writer:

Decide the type of freelance writing you intend to do

Freelance writing is a wide field and you need to find out which area of the industry you are going to specialize in. Writing opportunities include:

Content writing

Writers in this field produce content aimed at imparting valuable, entertaining and relevant information to their readers. The content helps to attract and retain a specific audience.

Copywriting

Copywriters produce content to prompt a specific response from the audience such as opting-in to a mailing list or buying. Writing opportunities in this niche include landing pages, email marketing and sales pages.

Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting involves creating content such as an e-book. While the writer produces the content, the work is published under the name of the client who had requested for it.

Blogger

Bloggers generate income by writing on their own sites and selling goods or services to the audience using their site or selling access to the audience through an affiliate or adverting offers.

Journalism

Freelance journalists write information about current events or news. Here, you can write for magazines and newspapers.

Set reasonable expectation, income and timelines

Building a career as a successful freelance writer is great but not for the faint-hearted. In addition, building a decent income does not happen overnight. To succeed, you need to know that you will take time to gain the experience needed in this field and find reliable customers.

One of the cardinal mistakes that beginners make when getting into the writing industry is to assume that they will always enjoy sitting at their desk, lazing around and writing when they feel like. No matter how much you love writing, there are many times when you will have to work on strict deadlines and conduct intensive research into specific topics. In such moments, freelance writing will start to feel like your regular day job, however, if you do not put in long hours and the necessary effort, you may never succeed in this field. Keep in mind that freelancing is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Launch your portfolio

To succeed in this industry, you must have a credible writing portfolio. In the beginning, you may have to write for various websites and publications without making much money in order to get your foot in the door. While you may not like it, this is the easiest way to gain exposure, traffic and build a reputation. Alternatively, you can publish your work on your own site or other crowd-sourced platforms for exposure

Identify your audience

Identifying your ideal clients is one of the critical aspects of learning how to become a freelance writer. While you can start off by accepting work from a range of clients, with time, you will realize that not all customers equal. To succeed in the freelancing world, you need to identify your ideal customers and target them with your marketing efforts.

Create networks

Building a credible network to enable you get a constant stream of traffic is hard work. You can begin by using your existing network which consists of friends and family members. In addition, remember to use social media. Social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great marketing channels and are highly effective in putting business before a wide range of clients. Here, you have to make sure that people do not forget you. Whenever you make valuable connections, keep in touch and stay accessible.

Learn how to sell

Learning how to sell is a critical technique of learning how to become a freelance writer. When it comes to this industry, the ability to write and the ability to sell yourself are two different skills but you need them both. While you may be a great writer, you need to pay your bills and the only way you can do this is by selling yourself as an authoritative and reputable writer. In the new digital era, the ability to sell content is critical since the writing industry has become highly competitive. If you are not able to sell your content, you will not thrive.


Ultimately, if you intend to succeed in the world of freelance writing, you have to master the above skills. These skills are not necessarily learned in any college, however, you can consider getting a mentor or a coach especially when you are starting out. The good news is that if you are determined and work hard, you can turn your passion into a well-paying venture.

© 2017 Ephantus

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