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Should I go into Content Writing?

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by JudyJiaStyle, May 5, 2006.

  1. marketjunction

    marketjunction Well-Known Member

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    #101
    Don't forget research time.
    SEMrush
    That's one reason why every successful copywriter will tell you to niche out. By becoming an expert and focusing in a couple of niches, you will be more valuable and more knowledgeable, which means less time researching and working.
     
    marketjunction, Jul 30, 2006 IP
    jhmattern likes this.
    SEMrush
  2. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #102
    That's exactly right, and it's the difference between making a few hundred dollars per hour writing versus just a few dollars period. For example, I can knock out a marketing, PR, or small business arting in 30-60 minutes, because I'm so well-versed in the background and experienced in the subject matter that I rarely need to research the topics unless it's something highly specific like a case study. But if I tried to write about investing, even at my higher per word rates, I wouldnt' make that much per hour, b/c I'd have to sink a lot of time into researching just to make sure my facts were accurate (not even to mention trying to come up with something more unique).

    But in addition to marketjunction's point, another plus of focusing on a niche is that you'll maintain your passion for writing much longer if you constantly get to write about something that you love. I've only done very limited writing outside of my niche, and quite frankly I don't enjoy it even half as much. If I had to do that to make a living, I'd probably quit writing altogether. I'm not saying there's no use for general content writers; just that you're probably more likely to enjoy your work over the long term if you focus on something that really interests you as far as subject matter goes.

    Jenn
     
    jhmattern, Jul 31, 2006 IP
  3. marketjunction

    marketjunction Well-Known Member

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    #103
    Here's another. If you focus on a niche or two, you become more involved in that world and it could open up other doors.

    If you write for magazines, one of the worst things you can be is the "general" guy or girl. Those that can show lots of good clippings in the niche will get most of the jobs and all of the good ones (unless you are well known).

    BTW, going into a niche doesn't mean simply writing about it. You must go deeper and immerse yourself into that world. If you look at some of those most successful writers, they all focus in a niche (sometimes 2 or 3 niches).
     
    marketjunction, Jul 31, 2006 IP
  4. glennhefley

    glennhefley Peon

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    #104
    Well... I have to put in here that I completely disagree. Nitche writing may be easy, but it isn't more profitable. I agree that you shouldn't forget about the time it takes to research, but also don't forget about the time between jobs. Nitch writers find themselves in heavier competition with less work. A great deal of the time you are beat out by a non-nitcher, even if you clearly have more experience, because the guy can sell himself.

    I'm a writer. I don't care what I write about. I've honed my researching skills so that it takes me very little time to find out about a subject (any subject) and create custom work per-spec in three to five days for three to five articles. I charge by the article, not the word. And a lot of folks much more educated than I am in certain subjects don't work because I can sell myself and deliver on time.

    That's the key, timely delivery. If you say you will have it done in three days, and you really do have it done in three days, that client is yours for life.

    I also disagree that you can't make a steady living at this, in an earlier post a member said she had two friends that were writers that couldn't make it as content writers. I have to suggest then that they aren't trying very hard.

    There is risk involved. I quit my sys-admin job, set up my home office and started writing. There are no health benefits, and despite the fact that I've never been a week without work in the last five years, I still stress over where the next job might be coming from. I work long days and most weekends. But i love to write and I love to work for myself.

    It isn't hard to find jobs. It use to be. Back in the day (20 years ago) I started writing for magazines. That was much different. You sent out "idea" letters to editors and hoped you got a response. Or you wrote articles and hoped you could sell them. With the Internet all of that is changed. Right now I'm so booked I'm working at 3 AM hoping to catch up.

    The other rub is that when you write like this for a living, you have to find the work, sell the work, do the work and them collect for the work (its a lot of work). If all I had to do was write I would be in heaven, but that isn't the case.

    As far as your skills are concerned, you should be fairly confident that your work is at a professional level before you start trying to get jobs. Find copy that you like, and then take it apart and really find out why you like it. Then, learn how to duplicate those aspects in your own articles.

    Go over to http://www.creative-reporter.com/ or https://adm.associatedcontent.com/signup.cfm and sign up. Start submitting work and see if the editors publish it. It won't take you long to find out if you are up to par or not (neither of those sites pay worth the damn, but they act like they do).

    Pay attention to everything you write, and start putting out 3000 words a day, no matter what, even if you have to pull out a book or magazine and copy the articles inside. Learn to sit and write 3000 words of edited text every day. It is hard to stay focused that long when you first start doing it.

    I wrote a few articles on this subject for my own website, because I kept getting asked "how do I get started as a writer". You can find those here :
    http://www.glennhefley.com/?cat=11

    Good luck and I hope this helps.
     
    glennhefley, Aug 6, 2006 IP
  5. factchecker

    factchecker Peon

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    #105
    quick question on this topic.
    If you compare writing to being a musician - then
    1. You have your "true" professional musicians who play in symphony orchestras (nobody knows who they are, but, they get paid loads of money).
    2. You have your professional "singers" who are as technical in their craft as the orchestra musicians, but, don't get paid well.
    to make a long story short......
    3. You have Britney Spears....... not a musician, not technical in her craft, but, is a character........ I would not want her performing a cantata with an orchestra..... Yet, she demands more than the most professional "technical" orchestra musician..........

    At least in music... it's not about the "technical" content.... it's about the performer/performance

    Is this the same in writing?
     
    factchecker, Aug 6, 2006 IP
  6. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #106
    I believe to a lesser extent that is true with any industry. It's just that the range between the high and low may not be as big.
     
    YMC, Aug 6, 2006 IP
  7. marketjunction

    marketjunction Well-Known Member

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    #107
    This post brings up a point about experience. Many times, we tend to base what IS and ISN'T on our own experience. For example, Glenn believes that niche writing isn't more popular, because his experience says so. I (and others) said it's better to niche, because my experience (and many other magazine writers) says it is. I guess the master point in all this is you may or may not find something to be good/better. We all have different experiences.

    We also need to differentiate what type of writing and on what level here. The original poster will most likely be performing web content writing for many website owners around here. This lower rung on the content ladder is fairly easy to work in and most clients won't give a hoot if you are a master in a niche or not, because the content required is fairly shallow.
     
    marketjunction, Aug 6, 2006 IP
  8. marketjunction

    marketjunction Well-Known Member

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    #108
    It's a little different. The writing world is filled with journalists, copywriters, article writers, fiction writers, non-fiction writers, creative non-fiction and so forth. Copywriters (in the true technical sense) overall are on the top rung of the ladder as pay goes. However, they are not the best writers out there. So yes, it's something like music. Spears isn't the best "singer" or even close, but she's working in a sector of music that doesn't rely on one being the best.

    Take fiction writing. Many spend great deals of time on their piece to craft something remarkable. However, most fiction writers make little to no money directly from their work. It's a very small percent that "make it." As to "true" writers, well that's another ball of wax. Writers constantly argue and size themselves up (in the professional world) as to who's a "true" writer and who's a real "professional." I don't see this happening much on the lower rungs of the ladder (DP for instance). Something happens to most people when you get into the higher leagues (pay and/or publishing wise).

    Writing, like music, has many tastes. For instance, a writer might write an article on Woodworking and think it's great. Someone else (a woodworking enthusiast for example) might think it's rubbish, because it's a surface/fluff piece and didn't go deep enough. In music, I might hear Spears sing and call her a hack, because there's no real talent there. I might hear Andrea Bocelli sing and call him a true professional singer. Another guy might come along and say the opposite. Why? We have different tastes and he is more easily satisfied. To a upper level music connoisseur Spears is low level trash.

    Copywriter: One who writers marketing or publicity copy.
    Journalist: One who writes the news / reports to a mass audience.
    Article Wrtier: One who writes general articles (like how-to), that are not covered in the other two groups.

    There's more, but that should give you an idea.
     
    marketjunction, Aug 6, 2006 IP
  9. glennhefley

    glennhefley Peon

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    #109
    marketjunction,

    What you know about the industry doesn't make a great deal of sense. Don Winslow and Shane Salerno, both good friends of mine, write fiction and they don't starve. The people that starve are the ones that a) can't write and b) don't send it in to be published.

    I've heard these lines of arguments most of my life, and they all come from some one who has gotten the urge to be a writer and can't get themselves to do it. They read a great deal about being a writer, they talk about it a lot, they put up blogs and say they are a writer, posting shallow pathetic posts on it day after day, but they don't ... write.

    You want to be a writer? then stop asking permission. Stop asking to be one, or if you can be one, and start writing. Every day someone is doing something that someone else said was impossible.
     
    glennhefley, Aug 6, 2006 IP
  10. glennhefley

    glennhefley Peon

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    #110
    I would say... yeah it is.

    Britney Spears makes tons of money (or use to, I don't follow her career very closely) because she entertains. Her music is not ... technically proficient (nice way of saying it sucks) .. and her lyrics are certainly ... um... not technically proficient, but she entertains. That's her real job, ... to entertain.

    There are a lot of writers out there who are technically proficient. Take Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose and How to travel with a salmon. Both of these books show a writer who is far better, technically, than just about everyone else currently on the market. The man is amazing, and speaks several languages which he can write just as well in all of them. I am stunned every time I read his work ... but, I'm not entertained.

    I enjoy Umberto's work as a writer ... a writer not as technically proficient. But i don't enjoy his work as a reader.

    Now, take Robert Jordon. This guy writes tons of novels (three or four every year and ghost writes more... or use to). As a writer I weep at the fact that this guy makes a living. As a reader ... eh... okay.. yes I'm entertained. I read the damn novel because it is fun and even though I can figure out the whole plot after page one, I still read it and read the next novel because they are fun.

    I don't mean to pick on Robert Jordan like that, but comparatively, the two authors fit your question.

    Both authors make money, I'll bet Robert makes more, and I know he puts out more work.

    What you are really comparing here is not writing, but the industry. Umberto Eco is a great writer, but he can't put out something every year that entertains. Robert can, and the public wants something entertaining all of the time. The ones that can supply that, are the ones that become "in demand"
     
    glennhefley, Aug 6, 2006 IP
  11. marketjunction

    marketjunction Well-Known Member

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    #111
    I would do a little more research on that one before commenting. You know two people who make money writing fiction and now thousands of fiction writers are money-makers? You think that just those who can't write don't make money in the fiction market? Research time my friend.

    No offense, but come on. If you did nothing but read some of the countless books and magazines on writing, you would know this. Your two friends are obviously great at marketing, coming up with ideas and have some connections. However, a strong majority of fiction writers, who happened to write well, are on the short end of the financial stick.
     
    marketjunction, Aug 6, 2006 IP
  12. marketjunction

    marketjunction Well-Known Member

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    #112
    By the by, in the freelance world, marketing is often the sole factor in success. You could be the best writer in the world, but if your marketing aspect of your business is lacking, it's an uphill battle.
     
    marketjunction, Aug 6, 2006 IP
  13. glennhefley

    glennhefley Peon

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    #113
    I like what clancey had to say up in his post. That last bit was very good.

    I just wrote out a long post on the difference between web writing and content writing for print, which if you are starting out, or even have been doing this for a while, may want to consider. I'll just link to it, as it is rather long.
     
    glennhefley, Aug 6, 2006 IP
  14. internetauthor

    internetauthor Peon

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    #114
    Jenn -

    From one professional writer to another - Amen, Sister!

    Rebecca
     
    internetauthor, Aug 12, 2006 IP
  15. wwwbug

    wwwbug Peon

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    #115
    it is a good job to be an article writer,nowadays ,there are more and more webmasters need unique content for their sites,as an article writer you can earn more than webmasters
     
    wwwbug, Aug 16, 2006 IP
  16. internetauthor

    internetauthor Peon

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    #116
    SHHH! Don't tell my husband! He's a webmaster, and I was trying to keep that a secret! LOL
     
    internetauthor, Aug 16, 2006 IP
  17. RNB80190610

    RNB80190610 Peon

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    #117
    I didn't know a content writer can make more than a webmaster
     
    RNB80190610, Aug 25, 2006 IP
  18. old_expat

    old_expat Peon

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    #118
    Depends on the writer and the webmaster.;)
     
    old_expat, Aug 25, 2006 IP
  19. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #119
    Definitely does. When I write content for my larger clients, I earn several hundred dollars an hour on average. When I run my websites, I'm lucky to make a few dollars a day... but I'm really just getting started in monetizing them. Of course... ideally I'd love to be writing for my own sites, earning that much completely regularly, and doing it as BOTH! :)

    Jenn
     
    jhmattern, Aug 26, 2006 IP
  20. marketjunction

    marketjunction Well-Known Member

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    #120
    You can say that again.
     
    marketjunction, Aug 26, 2006 IP