I became a freelance SEO writer in 2007 after being downsized out of my cushy, 9-to-5 job as a district manager for a recruiting firm. I tried to find another position that paid as well, but after months of searching and no viable options materializing (I needed to earn a comparable salary to pay my bills), I turned back to what I knew -- freelance writing.
You see, I've freelanced since 1993 - full-time and part-time. Luckily, it's a career I never totally let go of because when I discovered SEO writing, it literally opened up opportunities in the world of making money online that I'd never dreamed possible. But, I digress.
How I Landed Jobs Quickly When I First Started Out
Why did I decide to do that landed me jobs quickly - I'm literally talking within a few hours - as an SEO writer? I "niched it." What do I mean? I mean I marketed myself as a niche content provider. Following are two reasons why.
(I) Easier to get work: In my experience, it's easier to sell yourself as a specialist instead of a generalist. Research backs this assertion up across all kinds of careers, not just freelance writing. Proof? The post, Should you be a generalist or a specialist? on GetRichSlowly.org states:
As you specialize, fewer and fewer people are vying for fewer and fewer jobs - because not everyone, sometimes for valid reasons, wants to get the degree/get the experience/take the test/or whatever that will allow them to specialize.
On the other hand, by being a generalist, you may get many different types of jobs, but more people are vying for those positions. And according to the BLS chart, many general occupations are entry-level, requiring little to no education.
Because generalist positions can require little to no education, they're more likely to pay less than specialist positions - another reason to specialize.
So what was my specialty? Real estate writing, particularly writing about mortgages.
I was a realtor in New York City in the late 80s and from 2006 to 2007, I was a mortgage consultant. So I was super qualified to write about mortgages - from various different perspectives. Hence, it made sense to pitch myself as a real estate writer.
How I Landed My First SEO Writing Job
The very first freelance SEO writing job I landed was writing articles on mortgages for an internet marketing company in Canada.
Even though I'm American, they had no problem hiring me, which is another benefit of this kind of freelance writing career by the way. You can do it from anywhere.
Within a few hours of sending out some prospecting emails, I'd landed my first SEO content writing job - and went on to write hundreds of articles for this company. But, they initially gave me a shot because they needed someone who knew how to write about mortgages. Once they saw that I was a competent freelancer, they entrusted me to write other content.
I earned thousands of dollars with this company - sometimes receiving article orders from two to three account execs within the same company in one day.
(II) Money: SEO content writing rates were extremely low when I first started out, eg, $5 for 500 words. There was no way in the world that I could afford to write for that! And I didn't have to.
I knew that there were companies out there who cared about their brand and wanted high-quality in-depth, well-researched, engaging content - the kind I was ready, willing and able to provide.
You see, when a firm is cares about their brand, they don't want low-quality content. And no writer is going to put the same effort into an article they're getting paid $5 for as, as opposed to one where they're getting earning $50, $85 $100 or $150 or more for. They just aren't. Nowadays content marketing is all the rage. Proof?
B2B marketers, as in years past, continue to be heavily focused on creating engaging content (72%), citing it as the top priority... over the next year. [Source: The Content Marketing Institute: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends-North America report]
They're willing to pay handsomely to get this "engaging content." And in my opinion, if you specialize, your earnings will be limited by your marketing ability.
Think, what skills/knowledge do I have that I can use to carve out a niche for myself as a freelance SEO content provider? Then get to marketing!
About the Author: Yuwanda Black has been a freelancer since 1993. She heads New Media Words, an online writing company, and is the webmaster of InkwellEditorial.com, a leading portal for information on how to start or grow a successful freelance writing business. Log on and get the free eBook, "Living the Freelance Life! How I Live Internationally and Have Earned a Living Completely Online Since 2007," when you subscribe. Ready to take the leap? Get the training you need to have a highly paid online (SEO) writing career. Learn one way to make money quick online as an SEO writer.
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