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How to Make Money Online If You’re a Content Writer

making money

First, the question:

How often do you hear that writing is just a hobby, most writers never get rich, and you can’t turn this craft into successful entrepreneurship?

For a content creator willing to take the maximum from this skill, it’s challenging indeed. With so many opportunities available for men of pen on the market, it’s hard to choose and focus on one to monetize your talent. Why? Two words:

The fear of failure.

Writers are creative people that often doubt, “What if it doesn’t work for me? What if I’m not experienced and skillful enough to succeed in this niche?” And you know what? They fail because they don’t have any concrete strategy and plan of what and how to do to get where they want to be. The more realistic your plan, the better.

In this article, you’ll find the guide with five strategies on make money writing. They’ve worked for many professionals, and they’ll work for you. All you need to do is figure out which fits your expectations and skills best and craft a plan for implementing it.


1. Start Practicing Guest Blogging

Guest blogging (or guest posting) is the act of writing informative articles (Bid4Papers explain how) for third-party websites. In most cases, guest writers don’t get monetary rewards but author bylines or backlinks for promoting their skills. However, you can turn this strategy into your steady side hustle or writing business.

Despite global content shock and fatigue, top publications — both online and offline — still need talented writers to keep publishing their high-quality content, and they are ready to pay for it. Big dogs like Longreads, Better Humans, Vox, and others pay up to $500 for one article; guys like Forbes will give you up to $2,000 if your post is exceptional.

So, here’s the tactic:

Pitch top publications and do your best to become their regular contributors. Some will pay per article, and others with share a percentage of profits for your helpful content, but you’ll benefit anyway.

The challenge is to find those best-paid guest writing opportunities, reach them, and appear “good enough” for them to invite you to their family of content creators. The success won’t happen overnight, but the more you publish, the more chances you get for building consistent income over time.

Where to find paid guest blogging opportunities: Consider search engines, ready-made lists of guest-posting websites, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter), and partner programs at publications like Medium.

2. Translate Content to Other Languages

There’s a super option for content writers who know foreign languages: Translate texts for others! Many websites now craft a few versions to cover a broader audience, and they need specialists who’d provide high-quality content translation instead of automatic ones by artificial intelligence.

Besides marketing websites, you can translate news, e-books, print magazines, video content (YouTube clips often require good-quality captions), etc.

Some languages can earn you more than others, requiring more language skills from you. Check resources like Fiverr to understand the average rate for translations you can do, and develop your offer based on the knowledge and skills you can provide.

Also, consider the niche. Even if you understand a foreign language, there’s a big difference between translating a lifestyle blog article and technical documentation requiring specific vocabulary and understanding the details.

3. Consider Ghostwriting

This path can become yours if you’re okay with seeing other people’s names under your work and are ready to sacrifice your unique writing style.

Ghostwriting is the process of writing content on behalf of others. You craft essays, speeches, marketing content, or even books for those influencers whose name sells well: It can be a famous politician like Barack Obama, a celeb like Snooki, or an industry influencer with thousands of followers and a column at Forbes or Huff Post.

It stands to reason that ghostwriters charge more money for their work since they don’t get any credit, giving off the rights to someone else. There’s also an option that you can share credits with a client, but your earnings will be lower in this case.

How to become a ghostwriter:

It’s an aspect of freelance writing, so the process is quite similar:

  • You start a blog or craft a portfolio for potential clients to see your works and understand if your writing niche and skills fit their needs.
  • You build a personal brand and network for your current clients to recommend your services to others.
  • You find agents of people who you think might be potentially interested in ghostwriting services and pitch your offer to them.

Your earnings for ghostwriting depend on a few factors: a client, the type of work you craft, and a niche. If you’re a seasoned writer with a solid portfolio, working on a literary work for a celeb or a non-fiction book for a business owner, you can expect up to $25,000. An article for an opinion leader’s Forbes column costs around $500, though some ghostwriters earn up to $2,000 for such works.

4. Try Self-Publishing

What about becoming an “authorpreneur” — the author with an entrepreneurial mindset — and turning into a full-time writer who self-publishes and sells books on Amazon and Kindle? Today, this market is super massive and far more achievable for content creators willing to make money from writing books:

  • You get a 35% royalty for Kindle books priced from $0.99 to $2.98 and those above $9.99.
  • You receive a 70% royalty for Kindle books priced from $2.99 to $9.99, which is a better option to consider, agree?

But there’s a catch:

The competition is crazy: Don’t expect to publish your first book and get tons of profits from it; otherwise, you’ll get disappointed and might want to give up this idea.

To succeed, think like an entrepreneur:

  • Build a loyal audience before writing a book so you can market it to them when published: Do that via blogging, YouTube channel, or email marketing.
  • Research the audience and their demands: What do they want to read from you?
  • Get ready to be led by the market in choosing the topic and genre for your future book: Fiction or non-fiction, it should be about something you understand and what your followers (the market) expect.

Be persistent and prolific: You might need to write several books before gaining results and anything resembling a full-time income. Just a few years ago, the Alliance of Independent Authors published a report that shared that among 1,600 indie authors earning $25K or above from Amazon book sales, 1,000 published their first book three years ago. It’s a long game, indeed.

5. Use Promo Blogging

And last but not least on this list, affiliate marketing can be your best option to make money fast if you already have a niche blog with great SEO metrics and a loyal audience. Consistent and considerable traffic is a signal for you to add reviews, comparison posts, and links to promote third-party products:

You will get high commissions (50% and more) each time a user clicks your affiliate link or purchases a product you promote on the blog.

It’s critical to choose products or services that will be relevant to your blog niche and your audience’s needs. If you don’t have a blog but plan to start it for affiliate marketing, it would be perfect to know what products you’ll promote beforehand, so you could focus on growing the audience that will match those offers.

How to choose the right products for promo blogging? Start with this guide on YouTube. Consider those from trusted names and niches, ones that won’t hurt your online reputation but communicate the same views and values with you and your audience.

Another thing to consider:

Promo blogging (affiliate marketing via your blog) doesn’t undo all the work you’ve done to make your blog successful: You’ll need to continue writing and publishing compelling content, build the audience and email list, collaborate with influencers, and get the most out of your content creation skills to bring people to your website.

Ready to Start?

Now that you’ve got several alternative options to monetize your writing skills, which of them does look like the one you’d try?

If still in doubt, learn what it takes to be a content entrepreneur today — and choose the path that feels the exact fit for your skills, dreams, and needs.

About the Author

Lesley Vos

Lesley Vos is a professional copywriter and guest contributor, currently blogging at Specializing in data research, web text writing, and content promotion, she is in love with words, non-fiction literature, and jazz. Visit her Twitter @LesleyVos to say hi and see more works.

1 thought on “How to Make Money Online If You’re a Content Writer”

  1. Hi Lesley -you make a great point on #1. Consistency is key to published and sharing on social media. I see so many that start out well but after a few months, they stop. They didn’t see results right away and got discouraged.
    It takes time and patience to remain consistent with these things to succeed 🙂

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