Are you interested in becoming a freelance content writer?
There is widespread confusion over how bloggers can make money online.
I expressed I use to experience that confusion in my post 18 Ways You Can Have One of the Most Popular Blogs.
There are many ways to make money online. One of them is by becoming a freelance writer.
Blogger and freelance content writer Guru Lwanga interviewed Kevinson Libama, another experienced, successful freelance content writer.
While he was a new blogger, Guru learned a great deal about freelance writing from Kevinson.
Guru put together this interview so Kevinson can inspire you, too!
He’ll teach you how to choose writing samples, how to craft and deliver a pitch, how to determine what to charge, and other tips.
An Interview with an Experienced Freelance Content Writer
by Guru Lwanga
An Interview with Kevinson Libama, a Professional Content Writer
I interviewed Kevinson, an experienced freelance content writer and freelance writing coach, who has helped me get started and keep moving in my writing career.
Often, I asked him “Newbie Questions” during my first year of blogging, and he always had something valuable to say.
I asked the most important questions relating to writing and blogging that you can use as a guide.
Let’s dive in.
Me: How do you ensure that you have a steady flow of jobs?
Kevinson: By setting up systems rather than goals.
- I target clients with long-term contracts, 2+ years.
- I take care of the two things that are usually deal breakers when working with clients: Quality and deadlines. If you screw up on these two on the very first day, chances are the client may not send more work your way.
- Referrals. Some of the clients I have now were referred to me by a few of my clients who were impressed by the quality I delivered. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals though.
- Pitching direct clients is more likely to land you a steady stream of long-term work.
Me: Thanks. I hope this works.
Kevinson: It will when you try it.
Me: Can you tell us something about proposals and how best to pitch them?
Kevinson: On pitching:
- Address the client by name or if you don’t know the name, use something like “Dear Website Name Team.”
- Introduce yourself and what you do e.g. “My name is Brian and I’ve 2 years of experience in blog writing, press release writing, and web content writing.” (Don’t include more than three areas so you don’t sound like a Jack of all trades).
- Explain how you’ll add value to the company’s clients. Something like your ability to craft well-researched and interesting content that can reduce the bounce rate of the website).
- Mention your soft skills like the ability to beat deadlines, flexible, team player etc.
- Add links to published samples or attach some. Ensure the samples relate to your best skills mentioned in the above tips. Also, don’t attach samples containing grammar, spelling, or formatting errors.
- Close it off with something like “I’m available to start working immediately,” “I look forward to working with you,” or “I hope to hear from you soon.”
- Proofread the pitch before clicking the Send button.
- Keep it short (100-200 words). If you include your life history, no one will read.
- Don’t mention money in your pitch. The idea is to initiate a conversation with the prospect. Typically, they’ll reply asking for your rate. Try this and let me know how it goes. It has worked for me many times. Just ensure the samples you provide should include some of the best pieces you’ve ever written.
Me: Who do you pitch?
Kevinson: Don’t go pitching individual websites, as you will very rarely hear back from them. The reason is they have agencies who handle their SEO and content needs so they do not trust individual writers.
So, you should target the best B2B companies (business to business) out there who are likely to be in touch with individual clients who own websites and need content. In a nutshell, pitch SEO, content marketing, and web design agencies because they handle the content needs of nearly all websites on the internet. There are thousands of these agencies online. You can pitch 50-100 of them, but even if only 1-2 of them respond, you’ll get massive work that would last you forever.
I wonder why people complain there’s no work. You just don’t know where to look. This is the secret to finding direct clients with a constant flow of work.
However, searching for ‘write for us’ could only land you one project and it would also direct you to sites that need free guest posts. It’s also a good idea to write for such sites for free because such published samples will bring you more clients in the future. So, don’t overlook them.
Please before pitching prospects for work, make sure you have great samples. If you can have a blog, that is better, but it’s not mandatory. You can still have free guest posts published online on other sites and use them as samples in your pitches.
If you follow these tips, you might get work and a huge volume of work. Don’t rush into outsourcing as it’s very tricky. Quality will be compromised and you’ll lose the client, fast.
There’s no need to go looking for content mills like Textbroker and the like.
Just Google search “best SEO companies in France,” for example. You’ll be spoiled by the choices. Create a spreadsheet and enter the emails of each (use tools like Email Hunter to find the specific email of a contact person such as editor, content manager, marketing manager). Start pitching them one by one. Search for the best SEO companies in Singapore, for example, and repeat the process. I did this for only 3 days in January, and I have never had to pitch again.
Do the same for web design companies.
If you do it professionally, you won’t even need to pitch a whole week or month.
Me: Can I use Ghostwritten Articles when pitching?
Kevinson: I would say this: over 90 percent of all content written by freelance writers is ghostwritten, which simply means most writers use their ghostwritten samples to search for new work.
Not all clients will publish content under your name on their websites except for those who create a WordPress account for you to post content directly. Unless a client forbids you from using the content you ghostwrote for them and was published on their website, you can still use it as a sample while seeking new jobs. It’s only wrong to submit it for publication again to a different client (whether the content is published online or not).
Me: Is it good to specialize?
Kevinson: Specialization is always a plus because that positions you as an authority and expert thus earning you immense trust from prospects.
But if you are comfortable handling different niches, it increases your opportunities for getting hired.
You can become an expert in different ways:
- You studied (or are studying) the area in college and understand it well.
- You’ve written a lot, possibly for years, on the subject and have mastered nearly everything there’s to know about it.
- It’s your former or current area of practice/profession/career.
Health is an in-demand niche to write on. Loads of work in this area on nearly every freelancing platform.
Other areas you should consider specializing in include:
SEO, content marketing, Web design, Finance, Law, Small business, Cryptocurrencies, and Dating. There’s a lot of work in these areas.
Me: How should I charge my clients?
Kevinson. There’s no specific market rate for freelancing work. It varies from one writer to another. You could be paid $1.5 to write 500 words article while someone else charges $100 for the same. Sadly, a mistake most clients (and writers) make is to base the rate purely on the number of words yet we’ve other important factors as well including the technicality of the niche, how long it can take you to research on the topic, the ease of finding content, the deadline, etc.
So, always keep such factors in mind. When asked about your rate, you may want to know which niche you’ll be writing about because some niches are extremely narrow and most recent so finding content can be a harrowing experience. I have also realized clients will be willing to pay a good rate if you can prove to give massive value. So, if you are asked to send a sample piece or do a trial article, make sure you craft a masterpiece. Also, clients who have work in bulk for you may want to negotiate a slightly lower rate, and I think it’s important to listen to them.
Freelance content writer, Guru Lwanga, helps clients write killer articles, blogs, and non-fiction eBooks. He has interests in Copywriting, Science, and Technology. Find him through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Readers, please share, so other freelance content writers know Kevinson’s tips for becoming a freelance content writer.
Update: If you need one-on-one monetization tips, I offer a monetization coaching service.