SEO Content Writing: Can You Be Successful If You Have No Particular Subject Matter Expertise?

Five days ago, I received the following question from a wannabe freelance SEO writer. In her email, she said …

Hi Yuwanda,

I came across your name and your ebooks through researching SEO copywriting. I love your books (I purchased the SEO writing package and your book about developing a portfolio) and I’m really interested in pursuing freelance SEO copywriting as a career. I’m also considering your copywriter training course.

A big question that has been nagging at me ever since I started reading your ebooks is this: I have no particular subject-matter expertise. I haven’t spent years working in a particular industry. If I were to write SEO content, I would be relying heavily on research to write my articles, blog posts, etc because I don’t have years of work experience. Does this mean that I shouldn’t pursue becoming a freelance SEO content writer?

I’ve considered pursuing freelance writing at a previous time in my life, but this very issue stopped me in my tracks. I would read books that would say things like “start out writing about subjects in an industry that you’re familiar with or already know something about.” Not only do I lack experience writing (and freelancing experience), I also lack industry-specific knowledge. In the past, I couldn’t see a way to get around this, so I decided that freelancing wasn’t for me.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this as an experienced freelancer and SEO writing expert.

Sincerely,
JW

How to Start an Online / SEO Writing Career with No Experience

My Answer

Let’s break this down into the two primary questions for ease of answering.

1. Does this (no industry-specific knowledge) mean that I shouldn’t pursue becoming a freelance SEO content writer?

You don’t need any kind of experience to become a search engine optimization (SEO) writer. I’ve discussed this many times. Following is why.

(a) Are you a good writer? Many clients just want someone with good writing ability. By creating writing samples – preferably within the niche you want to write in – you can show them this. So, the way to get around the “no niche” experience is to create samples. Even if you have NO actual writing experience, creating samples is the way to get your foot in the door.

Again, all most clients want is proof that you “can write” on a subject; not that you “have written.” Excellently crafted writing samples are your ticket into the world of freelance writing – even with no previous experience.

(b) Your writing assignments will vary. Even if you are hired as a niche writer when you first start out, many times you will find yourself writing on topics outside of that niche. This is what happened to me when I started my SEO writing career back in 2007.

I started out writing mortgage content for an internet marketing firm in Canada. I had this client for about two and a half years. I wrote a couple of thousands of articles for them – on everything from wedding cake toppers, to arctic drilling equipment, to how to make wire jewelry.

So don’t let the “I don’t have any particular niche experience” stop you. Sure, find niche and pitch clients within it, but realize that in your career as a content writer, there will come a point where you will produce copy outside of that niche. Guaranteed!

FYI, you would follow the same steps to create a freelance writing niche as you would to change niches, as outlined in the linked-to article here.

2. I lack freelance and writing experience/knowledge; how do I overcome this?

The only way to get over past the “I have no experience” phase is to … just get started! Everyone has to start somewhere and the only way to get experience is to get going.

I lay out all the steps you need to take to take in the post, How to Become a Freelance Writer: Starting from Scratch.

BTW, once you get ready to start marketing for writing gigs, here’s a great post on how to find hundreds (if not thousands) of potential clients for any niche you may choose.

Conclusion

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating … in my opinion, too many wannabe freelancers overthink getting started. What we do is important as content providers, but it’s not brain surgery or rocket science. All it takes is the desire to get started, and the persistence to keep going when things get tough.

Freelance writing is a very easy business to start (ie, set up and get going) BUT, it does take effort to make a decent living. In spite of this, I’m amazed at just how simple it is for anyone with NO previous experience to start and within months be making really good money. Proof?

Freelance / SEO Writing Success Stories: This Could Be You!

Following are some links to some freelance writing success stories – from this blog and others around the web.

SEO Copywriting: Still a Viable Freelance Opportunity in 2015?

Freelancing: 2 Years, $230,000+ and 9 Big Lessons Later

How I Make Money As a Freelance Writer

How to Become a Freelance Writer in 30 Days or Less (and Make $4,000 a Month)

Yes Virginia, You Can Make a Living as a Freelance Writer…

SEO Copywriter Earning $1,000/Week Less than 5 Months After Starting

As these success stories prove, there’s no one set way to make a living as a freelance writer. What they all have in common though is the freelancer’s persistence.

At the rate digital devices are invented these days — and the need for content for those devices – there’s never been a better time to be a freelance writer; particularly an online writer. The amount of online writing work available is simply ASTOUNDING. All you have to do is set yourself up – and go after it.

I hope this insight helps, and good luck if you’re reading this and decide to proceed.

Best,
Yuwanda
P.S.: You’re gonna need a website when you start your online writing biz. Learn why I trust HostGator for my web hosting needs.

P.P.S.: Get the Training You Need to Start a Successful Online Freelance Writing Career. Click link below for details.

SEO Copywriting Course Online

P.P.P.S.: Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.