The SEO Writing Business Challenge For Struggling Freelance Writers: Week 1


Written by Chrislyn Pepper

My head is filled with dreams of the kind of SEO writing business I want to have. The problem is I don’t have it yet.  I’m beginning to feel like Atlas the way life’s circumstances are bearing down on me.

“How do you cope when bills are due and neither payments nor work for your SEO writing business are coming in?”

I’ve been trying to do quite a few things to get my SEO blogging business’ still waters moving again. I’m gathering from Yuwanda’s posts, summer comments and the other Inkwell editorial contributors that this is a busy time for them. I didn’t get any SEO orders for September and had to spend a lot of time writing for content mills, which is discouraging.

Even though my business hasn’t really picked up anymore, I’m still marketing. I keep telling myself, “Keep doing something every day for your SEO business, and eventually, you’ll hit pay dirt.

Note: Here are all four posts in this series — You’re reading Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

The SEO Writing Business Challenge, Part I

Go Back to the Beginning

One of the things I always do when something isn’t working right is to re-read the instructions.  I like to make sure I’m not doing something wrong. For my SEO business, this is Yuwanda’s Master SEO Writing Package, prior posts on and a few (very few) hardback books I purchased early in my non-fiction writing career.

While re-reading posts, I came back across Yuwanda’s answer to another writer going through this exact same experience.  It made me want to share this with you now in case you’re like me and aren’t so busy right now.

We can be a support to each other. 🙂

Although I could go into detail about what I think I’m doing right or wrong, I just don’t believe that’ll help you.  However, challenging you can benefit both of us.

So, here’s the gist of it . . .

Let’s Learn to Follow Directions EXACTLY as They’re Written

(Until We Profit)

I read Robert Bly’s The Copywriter’s Handbook, 3rd edition, again (One of those few hard books I have).  One thing struck me this time that really didn’t hit home before starting my SEO copywriting business:

Originality gets conversation – not sales.

That’s not an exact quote. Plus, he was referring to advertising when he explains this concept. But . . . I’ve had a lot of conversations about engaging my writing services and only a few sales. I can’t help but think it’s because of changes I made to the original instructions:

  • I chose higher rates
  • I added more pages and features to my website
  • I didn’t send out the same number of marketing emails
  • I have too many writing samples on too many subjects within the medical niche.

So, if I want to make this business work, I need to try to do exactly what Yuwanda’s testimonials show works. I can worry about making changes when the bills are paid, and I’m overwhelmed with work.

I’m betting the same goes for you.

THE SEO Writing Business Challenge Details

If you don’t have the SEO Writing Package, you’re going to find it hard to keep up. It’s doable by subscribing and going through a ton of old posts.  At the very least you should get Yuwanda’s “How-to Make $250 or More Per Day Writing Simple 500-Word Articles.”  This is the manual we’re going to follow to a “T”, and it’ll save you a ton of time as it has all you need.

Week One Directions:

Day 1: You need to choose one niche audience to target. Note the word AUDIENCE.  My articles on choosing a niche should have left you with at least 3 niches to use.

Choose the one that has a clearly defined market.  Post your name, your audience in the comments below. You can also send me a tweet to @chrislynpepper with these details and “”.  I’ll send you tweets with challenge reminders this month.

Days 2 – 4:  Write 3 – 6 SEO articles that suit your chosen target audience. Be sure to follow the directions in formatting your SEO articles. Include all of the new tips Yuwanda gave to Penguin-proof your writing.

Day 5 – 6: Create your one-page website as described in the e-book.

If you already have a website, great! Double-check that your website follows tips given in this freelance writer website review. Make sure you have a web design and blog posts relevant to your audience. Make a note of what you think you need to change, and set it aside.

Then, create one page on your website that follows the directions and style of the linked sample in the e-book. This is the page we’re going to market. Please, send me a tweet with your page link and, and then post it in the comments below.

For Struggling SEO Writers Only

If you’re already running a successful SEO writing business, this challenge isn’t for you, sorry. 🙁

We aren’t thinking about rates or services, because the original business only offers $25 per 500 word articles and $15 per 300 word blog posts. (At the time, blog posts were called 300-word SEO articles). If you make more than this, don’t go backward for this challenge.

Another reason this is for struggling SEO writers is that I’m mimicking Yuwanda’s directions.  You’re already past this point, and I can’t help the people I’m following. I’m praying for the results others have written about and wanting to take several other struggling writers along for the ride.

That said, I’m doing the same things you are throughout this challenge. Plus, I’ll be commenting on the post pages and tweeting my results. Remember, this challenge is about following directions and getting sales, not being original.

We can be original later.


Creating a Marketing Foundation for Your SEO Business

Yuwanda has frequently written about the importance of consistent marketing. This is the part that’s going to make or break our SEO writing business.  Sometime today, read (or re-read) her advice on “How to Find the Right Clients for Your Freelance Writing Business”. These are the things to keep in mind during this part of the challenge.

So, let’s get right to it.

Week Two SEO Business Challenge Directions:

Day 8:

  1. Create an email address for your marketing efforts.

This can be on your site if you have a domain or Gmail if you are using free options. The point is that you want a clean email address that you know is only for your SEO business. Set it up to notify you of emails by phone if you have a smartphone.

Share Your Thoughts

Are you up for this challenge? If so, please don’t forget to send me a tweet with your page link and, and then post it in the comments below. 

About the Author: Chrislyn Pepper is a freelance, SEO blog writer. Her niche is SEO content writing for medical professionals, but she writes on a variety of subjects. Visit to get blog content or SEO blog writing tips. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter. Chrislyn Pepper turns blogs into building blocks for businesses.

P.S.: The SEO Class in Jamaica Will be Here Before You Know It. Sign Up Today!

P.P.S.: Earn Extra $$ Every Month by Offering Social Media Consulting Along with Your SEO Writing Services.

How to Become an SEO Consultant

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing. That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Content Writer Average Salary, Fall 2012

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.


27 Comments so far

  1. […] contributor Chrislyn Pepper starts a new, exciting, four-part series entitled, The SEO Writing Business Challenge For Struggling Writers. It’s designed to help you get — and stay — motivated to make your SEO writing […]

  2. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 10th, 2013

    Good luck with this writing challenge Chrislyn.

    You’ve provided a wonderful opportunity for struggling SEO writers to really take the bull by the horns and “have the kind of SEO writing business they want” as you put it.

    I’ll be following along and rooting for you guys. 🙂

  3. Halona Black on October 10th, 2013

    Thanks for this, Chrislynn! Any business takes hard work, determination, and consistency. My work is up and down, but I’ve only been writing since May of this year. It’s also important to know that diversifying writing services is important. My niche is health writing and I’ve had more luck lately calling bigger health businesses directly rather than solely relying on emails. I also expanded my list of writing services to healthy recipe writing as a job for that quite literally fell into my lap for that last week (I’ve taught cooking classes for the last few years). Now I am looking at writing for magazines and other websites. Magazines often don’t pay until after publication once your article gets accepted. But I think the process of doing different types of writing will help to make me a better writer, and help me to make my income as a writer.

  4. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 10th, 2013

    Just like investing Halona, diversification is key — so you’re right on about that.

    One thing I always advise when it comes to this though is to diversify WITHIN your niche — as you’ve done (ie, healthy recipe writing for mags is a perfect complement to your niche of “health writing”).

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Chrislyn on October 10th, 2013

    Welcome to the challenge Halona.

    Keep doing what works for you. I’m going to stick to medical writing, but my audience for this challenge is going to be podiatrists.


  6. Jennifer Osborne on October 11th, 2013

    Good evening,

    The first step to admit it, yes my name is Jennifer and I am a struggling SEO writer! This challenge has come at exactly the right time. Marketing, marketing and still no fish biting. I am not about to give up and like you, I want the success that others freelance writers have achieved.

    Like many I find myself to be a Jill of all trades and a master of none. Because of this I didn’t market myself under a specific niche. Took making a list of previous jobs and hobbies as suggested (by both you & Yuwanda) to narrow down niches. Fashion and beauty services going to be my niches. Looking forward to accepting the challenge

  7. Esayo on October 11th, 2013

    Excited to start on this journey with you. I didn’t realize that we were somewhat in the same boat! Unlike you, I have no conversations, because, the concept of having an online business is still absurd in my neck of the woods;I get the odd stare or the conversation comes to a screeching halt or falls on deaf ears.

    I’ve always done things outside the norm; I grew up with a mother who instilled and encouraged this is in us (anyone who grew up or passed through our house) so I’ve always been the oddball and honestly, I love it. Nothing-wrong with being a trailblazer. 🙂

    That being said and following your post on choosing a niche, my niche for this challenge would be HR/Student Placement particularly African Student Placement in the US and all that comes with it.

    My audience would be African students, their parents and professionals seeking short and long term placement in the US.

    I find this is such a daunting task for many regarding, culture shock, the placement process, taking the tests, accessing funding etc., and my very first ‘real’ job aside from working for my brother was placement of African students in the US.

  8. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 11th, 2013

    Hey guys (Jennifer, Esayo, Chrislyn, Halona), can you tell me EXACTLY what it is you’re struggling with?

    For example, when you say “marketing”, is it composing a marketing query, finding prospects to market to, pricing your services, etc.

    While SEO writing is becoming more competitive, if you’re: (i) marketing consistently (ie, daily in the beginning); (ii) to a defined niche; (iii) with good writing samples; and (iv) have set your rates competitively, you should have no problem landing gigs.

    And when I say market consistently, as I’ve said before, there were days when all I did was send out 25, 50 or 100 queries.

    So again, just clue me in a bit as to specifically what you’re struggling with and I’ll see if I can address it, ok?

    Good luck to all of you with the challenge. I’m interested to see how you all fare.

  9. Genesis on October 11th, 2013

    I would like to try this. My target audience is jewelry companies.

  10. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 11th, 2013

    Jump on in Genesis! We’re a friendly bunch here. 🙂

  11. Danielle Hanna on October 11th, 2013

    This looks like SO MUCH FUN! I’m in the middle of moving, but I’ll tag along as best I can.

    My niche is creative writing–which sounds like automatic failure to me, but I want to explore it. I’m thinking about the ebook trend and all the services that are rolling in with it, like ebook editors, writing classes, writer’s guilds, etc.

    Failing that, I know there’s a huge demand for info on natural pet health, and it’s a growing market with new pet nutritionists and natural pet food companies springing up left and right.

    I’ve been following the pet health industry and am well aware of the wealth of opportunity in this area. So I was humored to find that Google Trends ranks the search term “natural pet health” and related terms even lower than “write a novel” and related terms. Should I interpret this as saying that the book writing and publishing industry is too saturated? Hmmm …

  12. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 11th, 2013


    I don’t believe in saying an industry is “too saturated” if you have a true interest in it and the niche is large enough — and pets and all things related to them certainly are, especially pet health I’d think — as is self-publishing/book writing.

    So don’t ever let that scare you. See this post for more of my thoughts on an industry being too competitive/crowded/saturated.

    And — welcome to the group! 🙂

  13. Danielle Hanna on October 11th, 2013


    Thanks a million for the link. It inspired me to reach for my goals!


  14. Chrislyn on October 12th, 2013

    Welcome Jennifer, Esayo, Genesis & Danielle!

    Just one or two per day and you have 3 to 6 samples for potential clients. I hope everyone started writing yesterday. If not, it’s Saturday! Get busy writing two to four samples.

    @Yuwanda – My issue has been conversions. I have people giving me writing tests, talking to me about their topics, and asking for pitches but not following through with orders! A ton of conversations, but no sales.

  15. […] This Site’s Companion Site: Regular contributor Chrislyn continues with week two of The SEO Writing Business Challenge For Struggling Freelance Writers (you can still […]

  16. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 14th, 2013


    You’re very welcome. 🙂 Glad it helped.

  17. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 14th, 2013


    The type of contacts you’re talking about (eg, taking tests, talking to prospects about their topics, etc.) are what I call “time sucks.”

    Most don’t mean to be, but you have to be wary of letting your time be used like this.

    For example, I don’t take tests. You’re in a different discipline so it might require you to do so, but I’d do so only with the understanding that there is a specific project on hand at the end. If a prospect balks at this, then move on. There are plenty of clients who won’t test you, so look for those.

    As for talking to prospects about their projects, put a time limit on this when you find yourself in these situation. I read where one freelance writer put an egg timer on her desk and set it to 15 mins; after that she eased clients off the phone.

    I tell prospects that if they have specific issues they want to cover, then we can speak via phone; otherwise, most of my correspondence is done via email. And even then, if it’s too much back and forth, I ask specifically what they’re thinking of hiring us for, what SPECIFIC questions they have and then I tell them I’ll cover their concerns in a proposal “that I’ll send over within the next day or so.”

    This way, you: (I) don’t let them drone on and on on the phone; (ii) see whether there’s a project on the table; and (iii) you can cover their concerns and specifics like your fee, start date, completion date, etc.

    In short, find out what the project is; don’t let ppl use your time and act as an on-call consultant based on something they “might do” or “want to do ‘soon'”.

    See what I mean?

  18. Jennifer Osborne on October 14th, 2013


    Working on those samples.


    I have been marketing pretty consistently but I am not getting any responses. I didn’t have a specific niche but am leaning toward beauty services. I have updated my samples as per the Pandora update and believe my rates are competitive.

  19. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 14th, 2013

    Jen that’s a hard niche b/c sooooo many want to do this type of writing and the rates for it are horrible. I don’t know how many msgs you send out per day, but whatever it is, up it. Also you might want to narrow your focus within that niche, eg, natural skincare products, etc. Then, create writing samples of course to prove your expertise in this area.

  20. Esayo on October 14th, 2013

    @Yuwanda: Like Chrislyn, I would say, ‘conversions’ although, after your review of my blog and the comments from both you and Chrislyn, I wonder if a lot has to do with the incongruity between my writing samples, my blog and possibly my cover letters because, lately, when I’ve written cover letters straight off the top of my head (and from my heart), I have gotten responses when normally my emails seemed to drop into a black hole. Now, I get a few responses yet no conversions.

  21. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 14th, 2013

    Keep in mind that it’s a numbers game Esayo. If you’ve gone from getting no response to getting some, then you’re improving.

    As for your cover letters, make sure you’re not getting too personal and sounding like a newbie “begging” for work. See the post, Marketing for SEO Copywriting Jobs? Are You Making These Mistakes and Attracting the Wrong Type of Clients for more insight on this.

  22. Esayo on October 16th, 2013

    @Yuwanda: Thanks for the refresher/post.

    Looking back, I had a range of cover letters which also included embedding self-made ads advertising my skills in the message box. I think my cover letters may have come across as ‘stilted’?

    “It’s a numbers game”- I’ll keep that in mind and see what transpires on this challenge. Thanks again.

  23. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 16th, 2013

    You’re welcome Esayo — and good luck!

  24. […] contributor Chrislyn continues with week two of The SEO Writing Business Challenge For Struggling Freelance Writers (you can still join!). FYI, there’s some good feedback in the comments section of Week […]

  25. Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor on October 21st, 2013

    NOTE: Am closing off comments on this post b/c of spam — well over 200 in one day! So frustrating. If you want to leave a comment, email it to and I’ll post it here, ok?

  26. […] The SEO Writing Business Challenge For Struggling Freelance Writers: Week 1 […]

  27. […] I submitted (and got accepted) a four-part series on starting a SEO writing business.  It should be a fairly evergreen piece.  All you have […]