Content Writing and School – a Pretty Good Mix, Actually

Posted by Nelma Lumme
July 28, 2017

Self-Published

A lot of entrepreneurs begin their careers while still in college. The famous ones we all know about – Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg – but there are many others who are making a great income from businesses they began while still students.

One of the most flexible and potentially lucrative careers to begin while in school is content writing. Any student who genuinely likes to write and has areas of interest to write about can move into this niche, once they know how to get there.

Here are some steps that should get you started.

  1. Choose Your Fields

Most content writers who begin as freelancers make the decision to write about anything that might get published, even on topics they may not love. And this is probably smart. The first goal has to be getting something in print.

Later on, once you are more established and actually earning some money, you can make the decision to specialize in one or two areas.

  1. Write for Free at First

To think that you will be able to submit a post that will be paid for right out of the chute can be a bit unrealistic. Does it happen? Yes, it does, but do not be discouraged by starting with free content. You need to build a reputation.

  1. Keep the Ideas Flowing

You will need to stay in research mode at all times. You cannot come up with new ideas unless you are reading on the topics about which you will be reading. This is the only way that you will know what’s “hot” in a topic area. And if you don’t address what’s “hot,” no one wants to publish what you write.

  1. Submit Lots and Lots

It’s sort of throwing stuff against a wall and seeing what sticks. Some content writers submit as many as 10 articles at a time, hoping to have just one accepted. And don’t get discouraged about rejection – it’s normal, especially when you are new.

  1. Look at All Options

The more experience you get writing, the better you will become. So, while you are creating content for blogs and such, check out other options, such as essay writers for hire at online writing services. You can develop a lot of basic knowledge on a variety of topics by doing this, conducting research, and getting ideas for content writing. The other big plus, obviously, is you do get paid.

  1. Pitch Your Ideas

You don’t have to submit full articles. In fact, a lot of writers don’t. If there are blogs you really want to write for, come up with some great ideas on current and relevant topics and pitch them with an email. Busy editors may not respond, or at least be very slow. But, if you have a truly great idea, you may easily get a response. That response may very well ask for an outline of what you wish to write. Get that outline crafted and back as quickly as possible, but do make sure that it is stunning.

  1. Build Relationships

Once you get an article accepted by an editor, start building that relationship.

  • Stay in touch with that editor, and continue to pitch ideas. Ask what topics that editor might like to feature.
  • If you get an assignment from an editor, be very careful. Read the instructions carefully; follow every last detail. And whatever else you have to sacrifice to get it back by the deadline, do it.

 

  1. Start Building a Portfolio

Here’s the thing. You may think that freelancing is great right now. You may not always think so. As you build a reputation as a content writer, you are also building a network among editors and other writers. It is possible that at some point you may want to pursue a full-time content writing position, especially as you get ready to graduate. Having your portfolio and links to those sites where this content has appeared (with your byline of course).

  1. Work on Your Skills All the Time

Just being a good writer is not enough. There are other skills that result in success as a content writer.

  • Work on a variety of styles. At one time, you may need to punchy, at another smoother. Sometimes, your writing must be academic and research-based; other times, you will need to be very informal and write at a middle-school reading level. Sometimes, you will be educational; sometimes you will be humorous; sometimes you will be inspirational. The more styles you can master, the more marketable you are.
  • Every piece of content your write has an audience. If you are not certain of the audience, dig deep into research until you are certain. It’s what is known as a “persona,” and you need to understand that persona for every piece. It will determine not just what you write but how you write it.
  • Get to know SEO – search engine optimization. It’s all about writing so that search engines will be happy – keywords, long-tail keywords, titles, unique content, etc.
  • Create unique and engaging titles and first sentences. This is how readers are captured.

 

  1. Be Original

Yes, there are a lot of other writers crafting posts and articles on the same topics. You job is to study all of that content and figure out to make yours better. You want a reputation for being fresh and new. That’s what will impress editors as they decide whether to publish your content and to pay you for it.

Time – It’s on Your Side

Here’s the thing about starting with content writing while you are still in school. You have time to develop your skills, to test the waters, to find out what works and what doesn’t, and to find your “voice” in a very noisy content world. You can experiment; you can begin to develop relationships; you can build a reputation – and all of this before you even graduate. You’ll be ready for your career on day one.

 

 

 

 

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