Every business needs well crafted copy and journalists know how to write craft copy that engages interest. Google rewards sites for readable content that keeps people on the site (like a circle in a spiral and a wheel within a wheel).
So, when you‘re not writing a Walkley* winner, how do you make a name as a website content writer?
HAVE YOUR OWN SITE*
No surprises, given my bias, that I mention this ﬁrst. A site is important, not just because you're always there, searchable and contactable. Your site is your sandpit. where you can practice what it means to be a content provider, craft your value proposition, know your home page from your about page, select search terms for pages and posts, and answer the most pressing questions people who want your services will be asking.
You can also measure how regular content writing extends your reach. Write personal content that comes from the heart or is useful and relevant to your niche. Share to LinkedIn and other social platforms and measure response (keep a spreadsheet or content planner to record likes, shares, retweets).
KNOW YOUR NICHE:
The more you know about the niche you're serving, understanding their issues, their pain points and where they hang out - the greater your value as a content writer. For example, if you know that marketing managers of green energy companies are rabid tweeters, ﬁnd their hashtags, read between the tweets and reach out via twitter in a curious and friendly way.
KNOW YOUR VALUE
Content has immense value for businesses. It establishes them as the expert, grows trust and extends their reach. Knowing how to use your writing talent to create this value can help you find a broad range of clients and in turn, a predictable income.
Your value is in delivering an essential service. It's an essential role that requires investment. Your skills are a commodity, but in a competitive field, you need to close the sale. Confidence in the value you can provide and a robust mindset is possibly your most essential tool.
SHOW YOUR VALUE
When you're asked to provide samples of your work, you may not be able to show those ghosted blogs about PCMs in MHRV**. Your published byline pieces and your own blog content will provide proof of your style and expertise. Potential clients will read for voice, for how quickly you get to the point, end for how you demonstrate a problem solved.
Build a case study around each piece, explaining the issue you‘re addressing, how it's been solved, what the reader should do next. It‘s a different way of writing to one you may be accustomed to - reporting facts.
If in doubt, or if you‘re struggling with the word, download our blog writing cheat sheet.
Learn how to write for SEO. It's not a matter of squeezing in as many keywords into a sentence you write for a Sydney plumber about her Sydney based plumbing business that plumbs plumbing problems in Sydney. Google rewards readable copy that keeps the user on the page and extends the time before they return back to search results. Journalists already know how to write readable copy. Develop this by adding the ability to adeptly write for keyword phrases and search terms. Demonstrate your understanding of your clients' clients and how they will be searching and your value has skyrocketed.
There are numerous courses, but the best I've come across is Kate Toon's 'Recipe for SEO Success'. You can start with her free offers (she has a vast world of freebies, from podcasts to blogs and a few free short courses in between) to see if these are enough for you, or take the full 8 week course which runs a few times/year.
SHOW THE LOVE
Testimonials are essential. Ask your clients for a few sentences about the problem you solved for them and how easy it was to work with you. If they can provide a photo, or if they're happy for you to use one from their social profiles, all the better.
A video testimonial is even more valuable. Clients seeing that people have taken time to talk on camera about your value is immensely powerful. Write prompts for clients to follow, in their own words, to make it as easy as possible.
Social proof is a great lubricant for the next job and the next...
*journosgetonline can help you with this step!
** Phase Change Materials in Mechanical Ventilated Heat Recovery systems