This article was last updated on September 5, 2017
A few years ago, I’d spent fifteen years working at the same company. But there was a massive problem. I loved writing, but wasn’t given the opportunity to do enough of it at the business in question. So I left, and focused on making money from SEO writing. Was it as simple as that? Absolutely not. It took months of deliberation, planning, blood (well, not quite), sweat and tears before I finally made a break for it and set up alone. And it was the best thing I ever did. If you’re in a similar boat and would like to make a name for yourself as a wordsmith in the field of SEO, you may be wondering where to start. How do you make money from something that seems to have multiple points of entry and no defined, linear career path?
The trick lies in making yourself indispensable – one of the most invaluable lessons learned in life. Your ally here is that fact that thin content sits among the most common SEO mistakes. Many marketing agencies struggle to offer this vital service without relying on external help – which they do, regularly. You could become that invaluable source of help – providing you follow these three brilliant techniques to make money with SEO writing.
Sign up to freelancing websites
When I first started out alone, I signed up to a number of freelancing website. The best I found were as follows:
- PeoplePerHour. There are admittedly thousands of people on this service who claim to be experts at SEO writing, but if you create a profile that shouts louder than everyone else and set realistic (i.e. not too low or too high) pricing, you should start to get noticed.
- Freelancer. Again – another very busy marketplace for SEO writers, but you need to be in amongst it if you’re to win writing gigs. Get on there!
In my experience, freelancing websites like those above act as fantastic introducers of new business. They have a ready-made audience of people looking for work, and you don’t have to worry about any of the technical aspects associated with selling your services online. By using a platform that gives you the ability to quote for work, communicate directly with buyers and receive guaranteed payments (via ‘escrow’ systems), you’ll skip an awful lot of the hassle associated with starting from scratch yourself.
Reach out to SEO and marketing agencies
A big part of my strategy has been working directly with marketing agencies. I sit quietly in the background while they feed me with SEO writing work. It’s a fantastic way to indulge in my passion, because I don’t have to worry about getting new clients on board or nurturing those relationships – I simply provide the vital hours required to get the job done. Many modern marketing agencies rely on outsourcing for all or part of their writing projects. And that’s for good reason. Think about the number of services they now have to offer:
- Content marketing
- SEO writing
- Social media management
- Traditional print advertising
- Web design
The list is endless.
Now imagine the number of people you’d need to fulfill those roles in-house; you’d soon run out of a personnel budget (and patience). This is why SEO and marketing agencies rely heavily on independent workers to get certain jobs done. If you follow the steps I undertook to introduce myself to such businesses, you might just land yourself some fantastic partners who will feed you with plenty of work:
- Step 1: make a shortlist of local (you can go national at a later date) marketing agencies.
- Step 2: create a template email to send each agency. Don’t use an email marketing platform – send them in the traditional sense (it’s far more personable). Keep it short, and honest; if you’re new to the game, explain you want to get some writing work under your belt.
- Step 3: if you don’t get any bites, pick up the phone and introduce yourself that way (starting with “I just thought I’d call to see if you received my email and to find out if I can help you at all with SEO writing”).
- Step 4: keep the relationship going. Once you strike up a deal to write for an agency, make sure you keep in contact and – if convenient – suggest meet ups and regular reviews of past work.
Despite what others may tell you, I strongly advise against offering to work for free – even if it’s to be your first writing gig. I’ve never provided my time for free, because I think it’s always worth something. Sure, set a lower price if that makes you more comfortable, but believe in yourself and demonstrate you mean business from the outset.
Work on a long-term strategy for blog monetization
Above, I’ve focused solely on the idea of writing for money by providing a service that is immediately saleable. However, there are some forms of SEO writing that require a slightly different mind-set. Let’s consider blogging for money – that ethereal goal so many people set themselves in the digital age. If you number amongst them and have created a blog with a view to monetize it, I’ve got some bad news: it’s going to take an awful lot of hard work – and it might not work.
However, there’s a few things you can do to a create a long-term strategy for blog monetization.
It’s a realistic goal, but one that will require you to do the following:
- Research your niche. Have you chosen a topic that’s saturated or one that appears to be completely unique? Don’t be fooled by the latter – if it’s unique and no one’s searching for it, there probably isn’t an opportunity. Saturated markets mean there’s plenty of search traffic to grab!
- Build a great site. Don’t cheap-out on your blog. Build it on a reputable platform, create a logo and make sure it is beautiful, engaging and fully mobile-ready.
- Just start creating amazing content. Get writing – now! The sooner you start creating great content, the sooner you’ll be able to monetize it.
- Grow and nurture your following. Use social media (every channel you can get your hands on) to make yourself known; jump into relevant conversations and share your content judiciously.
- Deliver on your promise. You’ll only make money from SEO writing on a blog if the content you create arrives regularly and when the readers expect it. Set yourself a weekly posting goal and meet it – always.
Blog monetization is a deep topic in its own right, but it remains one of the most sought-after ways to make money from SEO writing. Follow my strategy tips above, and you’ll put yourself in the long-term mind-set required to turn your blog into a commercial venture.
Wrapping up: action steps to take
All three tips above share something in common; they’re realistic ways to make money from writing online, but they all take a considerable amount of time to get right. There’s no silver bullet, and no shortcut you can take on this journey. It simply requires hard work and a laser-focus on your daily writing tasks.
To wrap up, here’s the action steps you need to take:
- Sign up to freelancing websites, build a profile and start pitching for work.
- Shortlist and contact local marketing agencies, but don’t hit them with an offer of free work – treat it as a business transaction from the start.
- If you want to make money from a blog, create a long-term strategy for it and become comfortable with the fact that monetization will only arrive if you spend time building an engaged audience.