I’ve been writing search engine-optimized (SEO) content since 2007, and I like to share these stories because it shows not only how the industry has evolved, but how just regular, everyday people who took the plunge fare over an extended time.
The day before yesterday, I got one of these emails. This freelancer and I have been corresponding since 2009. I can hardly believe it’s been that long, but I went back through my emails and found her initial contact with me – which was in February 2009. My jaw dropped.
I’ve been privy to her ups and downs – from taking the leap from a full-time job into freelancing, to where she is today – developing her own online products and services, all the while still keeping her foot in the SEO copywriting waters.
She contacted me to give me a rundown of what she’s been up to lately; giving me the skinny on a hot niche she discovered where there’s plenty of work, among other insights. Her email really underscores just how much freelance writing work is out there, including one niche you might not have thought of where there’s a lot of work.
Following is her email (interspersed with some notes from me). I hope it inspires you to keep putting yourself out there for work. I’m always saying it (ie, there’s plenty of work out there). Now you get to hear it from someone else as well – someone who’s actually doing it.
One Freelance SEO Content Writer’s Success: This Could Be You Too!
I know you get a lot of aspiring writers asking you all kind of questions as I once did when I was a newbie.
As you know, I have been trying to transition from writing [for clients] to creating my own programs, which are coming along nicely. However, I still take on clients from time to time. Mostly because these are my OG’s [old clients] and I love them; without them my business would not exist. So, I try to pay it forward when I can.
Types of Copywriting Jobs She’s Landed
It got me thinking –that there is still a lot of SEO work to go around. That’s if you are willing to write about the non-sexy topics. So the recent projects I have been doing have included:
Educational company that focuses on Islam and Arabic (I’ve dated enough Middle Eastern men to feel like I am a subject matter expert in this. Tee-hee!)
Painting and home renovation company (focusing on high end luxury homes)
Moving and Storage companies (I have a couple of these)
Personal Injury /Criminal Lawyers: Let me say, I am not a fan of writing legal copy, so I have started to outsource some of it to a Jr. Writer I hired. Lawyers always [seem to] have a lot of work, so even if someone was charging $25-$30 per article, they can make a handsome salary focusing on lawyers alone.
I remember I once had a lawyer literally give me 100 articles a month. The only thing with lawyers is that they are extremely busy! So, it can be difficult to get copy approved, payment on time, etc. If they have a business manager that is their primary point of contact that is ideal.
34 Pages of Copy Needed – It’s Not Sexy, But It Pays the Bills
I just got an email from my OG client and he’s putting together a site so I can work on 34 pages for infrared beams – or something with infrared – don’t ask me. Lol.
As far as sales copy, I have written sales pages for an IT consultant, and surprisingly enough I have two different clients I write for in the “boost your libido” niche. Two totally different products, but the same end result.
I think I will probably niche myself as a sales Page writer; I am not too sure yet. Even though they are 12 to 15 pages, they are much easier for me to write than a standard 500-1,000-word article. That’s just the way my brain works I guess.
How to Find SEO Writing Jobs: 5 Pieces of Advice from a Busy Freelancer
In a nutshell, I guess I wrote to share with your audience:
1. Partner with SEO firms. If you find the right one, they can keep you busy. I cold-called a guy 9 years ago, and he has referred many clients too me over the years.
2. Lawyers have a great budget and will give you a lot of work. So when a lawyer approaches you don’t get discouraged if he/she wants to pay $35-$40 per blog post/article.
See if you can work out a retainer system with them. There is an art and science to writing for lawyers, and if you think you can handle it, it can turn into a lucrative career working for them alone.
3. Give sales pages a try. I know there are many other things like ebooks, case Studies, etc., but I think I found my sweet spot with sales pages. Depending on the topic, it’s fun to research, easy to write, and you can charge a premium.
Editor note: Sales letter writing is some of the most highly paid freelance copywriting work out there. Here’s an interesting read by one freelancer you will enjoy. He tells you how to guarantee that you earn exactly what you’re worth: Copywriting Fees: “How can I get $5,000+ for writing a sales letter?”
4. Hire a Jr. Writer or two (like you told me before Yuwanda). I cut a deal with a brilliant writer. He’s been writing for a long time, but new to SEO and needs to get some experience under his belt. So, I put him on a 60 day trial period on an agreed upon rate that works for both of us. And I still make profit.
5. The non-sexy topics can be your bread and butter. I know that writing about health, fitness, love, travel are ideal and can pay well. I am sure there is a lot of competition for those topics too. However, I don’t see too many people jumping out of bed to write about moving and storage every morning. Lol. So, if they are willing to write about the boring topics, they can make some serious bank!
Editor note: I’ve written tons of SEO articles in my day, and plenty of them were in non-glamorous niches, eg, plumbing, tree-cutting, roofing, office furniture and arctic drilling equipment, to name a few.
Yeah, these types of companies need content too. In fact, as this freelancer pointed out, many of them need lots of content – and probably very few of them are pitched by freelancers because really … who wants to spend their days researching how to unclog drains and cut down trees safely.
3 More Tips for Finding Freelance SEO Writing Work: My Take
Following are a few more things to keep in mind that you can use to land more writing jobs.
1. Use Life Experience: For example, her reference to dating people from different cultures. If you’ve had a particular experience in your life that you could pull from, then use that. For example, I’m intimately familiar with living and working from the Caribbean. It’s a “life experience” I could use to pitch to potential clients, eg, as a travel writer.
Or, maybe you could develop your own products/service around it. I conducted my SEO copywriter training seminar on-site in Jamaica (Negril) in 2014, and wrote an ebook about how to live and work from the Caribbean.
Life experience – never underestimate its value.
2. Become an Outsourcee: As in, reach out to other freelancers who may have work. This writer hires other writers. I have a “go to” team I use, and I know of many other freelancers who routinely hire other writers.
Now, while I don’t think it’s a method of finding freelance gigs you should spend a ton of time on, as I discuss here, but it is a viable way to get some work.
3. Expand Your Skill Set: This freelancer advises giving sales pages a try. There are many different kinds of writing business need these days, and they include everything from simple blog posts, to more in-depth writing like case studies and white papers.
FYI, here’s a list of 30 types of freelance writing jobs; some fall within the SEO writing sector, some don’t. The idea is to get you to thinking, “Hmm, where’s my ‘sweet spot?’” as this freelancer put it.
The SEO Copywriter Training Class: Latest Update
The class consists of five modules. Usually, you have to purchase the whole class – and all modules are sent to you at once to work on at your leisure. Now, however, you can purchase each module separately. You can see exactly what each one entails, so you can pick and choose the one that suits your needs at the moment.
How Much Do SEO Jobs Pay? How about 60-$80K, Or More
As an aside, I don’t check my LinkedIn account very much. Yesterday, I logged in for the first time in a few months. There were two full-time job opportunities there — companies wanting to interview me for full-time positions. And, guess how much they paid?
Both were for SEO Content Management positions. One paid between $60K and 80K; the other between $75K and $80K. Many SEO jobs (like analysts, digital marketing specialists, and search marketing consultants) can pay more — a lot more, especially in big cities.
Why do I point this out? SEO is a highly paid profession — so getting this training and some experience under your belt as a freelancer could set you up for high-paying, FT job opportunities too. I politely declined both, of course, but did let it be known that I was interested in any freelance SEO consulting work their firms might have. Hey, you just never know! 🙂
I hope this week has been a productive one, and that you’re looking forward to the weekend.