I get a lot of parents asking me what the easiest way is to make money online. Although setting up any sort of business Is no easy feat, there are some routes that have a lower barrier to entry than others.
One of which is SEO content writing, it is something I have done myself in the past, and which I learned through Sean Ogles awesome course and community, Location Rebel. The course focusses on equipping you with essential skills required in the online space, so that once mastered you can apply them to your own projects later on.
So let's take a look how you can make money with this method, allowing you to work from home. This is quite a long post, but if you follow along, you should have a freelance business up and running in a matter of days (if not hours!).
I know how demanding a family can be so I don’t expect you to do this all in one sitting, however if you take out at least an hour a day to follow along with this tutorial then you should have a it set up and ready to go pretty soon.
What Is SEO Content Writing?
So you may be wondering what exactly is SEO content creation and how you can become an SEO content freelancer. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and so SEO content is er…content that’s optimised for the search engines.
This mean’s that in addition to people liking what they read, the content is devoured by the Google bots due to its relevancy and quality. Although SEO writing is no glamour puss, it’s a sure fire way to make some money online immediately.
In the past I have written articles about all sorts of things, anything from nappy rashes, caravan’s and the best places to visit on a budget, to photography. As I said SEO writing is not something you would want to stick to for long as it can get rather tedious after a while. However it’s a brilliant way to get your foot through the door, and start earning money as you work from home, while your baby has a nap!
You can build it up to a level where you have a secure income coming in, plus a new arsenal of skills (which you didn’t have before). Then you can concentrate on some ‘passion projects’ without worrying about expenses and bills. Even with changes to Google, there are always SEO companies who are frequently looking for native English speakers, who can write good quality content for them on a daily basis.
The concept of SEO writing can be explained as follows:
Don’t worry if you don’t know much about SEO, you don’t need to. All you need to understand is that links are the currency of the web, so having good quality back links from authority sites to your site means it will rank better in Google. This is why these clients hire you to write the articles so that they can embed their link’s in the articles to rank for their chosen key words.
Note: If you DO want to learn more about SEO and how you can utilise the skill, then I would highly recommend checking out Sean’s Location Rebel course, it was the first (of many!) courses that gave me the community I craved, valuable information, and clear blueprints to creating a solid freelancing business.
Basics of a good article:
- 500-1000 words long.
- Has key word in title - If possible.
- High quality, well written, without key word stuffing (adding the key word just for the sake of it). Note: The article should flow properly and the key words should fit naturally in the flow.
- The key word is the anchor text for the link back to the site. For example with Enter Liberty, the anchor text is ‘Enter Liberty’ which routes back to this site. Or if we go with the example above ‘emergency plumber Washington’ will be the anchor text in the article which if clicked upon will link back to the www.joepipeplumber.com website.
Simples? Yes?…cool, Let’s move on.
Create A Website
The next step is to create your portfolio website, where you will be diverting your leads/clients, so that they can get more information about what you do, any sample work and testimonials.
For a full ‘hold your hand’ version on creating your website read my creating a website tutorial.
Still stuck? - Check out this bumper post by Sean, on how to build an asset in 48hours! Now that is quick…!
Create a website using the tutorial, and checklist. And post it in the comment’s section below for some feedback. Don’t be shy we are all helpful people here.
Picking A Niche
Niching down is always a great strategy, especially when it comes to SEO content writing. This is because when you specialise in one area it can be easy to write the content as you are already knowledgable about it. This also means that you can produce more articles in less time, which results in a higher per hour rate for you.
For example you may be passionate about dogs as pets, if you specialise in this niche you can write 2x 500 word articles easily in an hour as you are familiar with the topic. If each article is worth $15 then that means you have earned $30 for that hour, which is pretty good.
However if you write about a broad spectrum of topics it may mean you can only do 1x 500 words an hour, as you have to factor in research on the topic and final information checking. This results in only $15 and hour, which means you have to work double the amount of hours to get the same earnings.
This is the one mistake I made when I first started, I was targeting any one and every one but I soon realised that I would not be able to sustain the random niches and hence decided to specialise in topics I was familiar with. This skyrocketed my efficiency and time in producing the articles.
Choose 1-2 niches you are good at and stick with those. Your niches can range from interests such as hobbies (photography, motorbikes, fishing) or something you are very knowledgable about, such as finance, entrepreneurship or technology.
Whatever you choose make sure to highlight it on your website and maybe even build your brand around it.
Further resources to help you pick your niche...
I love Pat Flynn, he’ such a genuine and helpful guy, check out his tips on picking a niche.
Chris Ducker gives you 3 simple steps to finding a niche.
Get a pen and paper, now create 3 columns. One for ‘Niche's I have a lot of knowledge in’, ‘Niche's I have a bit of knowledge in’, and ‘Niche's I have no knowledge in but would like to learn more’. Now fill in the columns with as many words, phrases, or sentences that you can think of. Once you have brain stormed some ideas, take a look at the results, is there any topics that really speaks to you, if so just go with that one.
Once you have chosen your niche topic, now you have to create some sample articles to showcase your ability. This will be the first glimpse a potential client will have about your work so make them really good. Luckily if you know a lot about the niche you have chosen these shouldn’t take too long.
4-5 samples will do for now, if you are happy to do more then that’s fine too. You can create links on your samples page and upload some of the articles on article directories such as Ezine’s, and place a link back to your site in the author box. This way you have a few backlinks to your website already, which is great for search engine rankings.
Pricing Your Work
Next you need to decide how much you would like to charge for your articles, this largely depends on how much you are looking to earn a month. However each project is an independent entity and you should use your own judgement as to what you would be willing to do the work for. You can find a brief calculation you can use to work out the rate. This is just a guide you may alter as you wish.
Example: If you charge $25 per 500 words article, and can write one in 30 minutes that means your hourly rate is $50. Not bad! But if you find that you are a bit slower at writing in the particular topic, and it takes you 1 hour to write 500 words then it would be $25, still not shabby at all considering most people only get $7-$9/hour in their day job.
If you want to make $500 a week, then that would mean you would have to work 10 hours in that week (if creating 2x articles per hour). This would result in roughly $2000 a month. Of course you can tweak the figure around, according to your earning requirements, as well as if you are doing all the writing yourself or outsourcing some of your work.
Sean offers a really comprehensive guide on pricing in his premium course, Location Rebel, below you can take a look at a brief example of the rates that work for many people and that I have used also.
- SEO writing (500 words): $10 – $30
- Product descriptions (under 200 words): $8 – $15
- Blog writing (500 words): $50 – $100
- Blog writing (monthly): $200 – $1,000
- Ghost writing (per post): $75 – $200
- eBook writing (per page): $10 – $35
- Newsletter writing (per newsletter): $20 – $60
- Print writing (per word): $0.50 – $3.00
Further resources to help you on pricing as a freelancer...
Lise also has a book that goes into detail about pricing as a freelancer. (Affilli link, Thanks!)
So How Does This Work Then?
Ok so you have a sexy website up, have some kick ass samples up on your site and even have your pricing strategy sorted. Cool! Nice start…
Before we go ahead, it might still be confusing to you how all this will work so let's have a look at this.
1) You start reaching out to your leads/potential clients via various methods (details below).
2) After some back and forth e-mails with some clients, you finally manage to sweet talk yourself into some work. Woohoo, well done!
3) The company/ clients provides you with keywords/phrases to target in your article. They may also give you the topic and maybe some information about their website/blog etc (rare though!)
4) You agree upon a final rate and deadline for the work.
5) You write up your article in your preferred writing software, Word will do just fine for now. (Although I recommend Scrivener for more larger projects such as e-books, I use this for all my writing needs now and I know a lot of other writers/entrepreneurs swear by it, it makes writing and formatting a joy!)
6) The client checks over your work and is either happy with it or asks for some modifications.
7) Once the client is happy with your work, you get paid. Normally via Paypal or whatever method you agreed upon.
That’s it…just repeat and rinse this process.
Now that you have an overview of what the process looks like, you need to get some hungry buyers through the door.
The first stage is to actually get your leads, their names and emails (as you will be cold emailing them, don’t worry though it’s not as scary as it sounds). You can either do this yourself or outsource the lead generation process on sites such as odesk.com and elance.com.
I love these sites as they are really helpful when you need mundane tasks done, where you’d rather be working on more important aspects of your business. They are ideal platforms for outsourcing at cheap prices, as people from all over the world bid on your gig’s, giving you choice of quality and price.
Try and outsource your repetitive business tasks as early on as possible, this will give you more freedom of time, rather than being bogged down with tedious tasks, which can easily be done by a virtual assistant etc.
Check out the two processes below, and work out which one you would like to follow, either is ok for now. Just take action and get it done.
If you are collecting the leads yourself make sure to collect them in some sort of spreadsheet, so you can keep track of the details and events. Here’s one I prepared for you earlier.
If you are outsourcing the scraping of leads, then move on to the next section while you wait for your contractor to get back to you.
Creating Your E-mail Template
The next step is to create your marketing template, this is the e-mail you will be sending out to your leads.
Note: It can take a few attempts to nail this properly, and as you start sending the emails out you will get feedback in the form of, clients asking you for more info or no response.
Sometimes it takes more than 300-400 emails before you get a bite but other times it may be after 5 emails, It really depends on how well you approach the company and if they are looking for writers. Then there are times when you are in the right place at the right time and you get a huge order.
Always tweak your marketing until it starts creating results every time, it is essential to keep testing and tweaking your email. Also be sure to personalise each email by visiting the company website and doing some research on the owner (or person you are emailing) so that you can add a personal touch. This can be the difference between an email getting sent to junk and actually getting read.
If you have certain qualities that would make you stand out from the crowd then mention them in the body, such as if you are a native English speaker or if you have any related degrees (journalism, writing etc).
This will give you a huge edge over other non native but cheap writers. This way you can justify your higher price.
From a copywriting prospective it is vital that you concentrate on the prospect rather than dwelling too much on what you can offer them. Make sure to relate your skills to what benefit they will receive from working with you, what will THEY get out of it.
Always remember, your prospect doesn’t care what you offer, all they want to know is how what you offer will help them, and that is what you want to hone in on and make very clear from the start.
Lastly, make it precise and to the point, don't waffle on. Remember these are busy people, and don't have all day to read long passages of info.
Other Ways To Land Clients
I know you may be thinking, “But Nayar I hate cold emailing, gimme ‘something else’.”
I hate to say it but, cold emailing is a skill you will have to learn, it's a great skill and can work wonder's if done properly. Period.
Just do it, don’t over think it otherwise you’ll never do it.
Once you have done it try these other things too … Don’t cheat though, do these in addition to the cold emailing, trust me, when you get people emailing you back for your services it will all be worth it. It’s a fear you need to get over, once you do you’l feel like you can do anything.
The ‘something else’ ways to get clients…
- Check freelancing sites for projects and clients, such as elance.com, desk.com, hirewriters.com, fiver.com, freelancer.com, and even Gumtree.com and Craigslist. These sites have many people looking for all sorts of writing work. In fact once you have a lot of SEO writing experience you can even diversify into articles and blog posts and even copywriting.
- Look up SEO companies in your local area and phone them up, to make it a warm lead, either send the CEO a message in advance so you are already in their head, or send some marketing material (leaflet, business card with handwritten letter etc) in advance, again so you are in their head.
This makes the call slightly easier for you because you can just leverage previous communication to take the conversation forward, making it less awkward. In addition though as you have created some sort of connection beforehand, the CEO is more likely to speak to you and listen than fob you off to his secretary.
- Attend meet up events in complementary industries, for example attend web design meet ups as web designers make websites and often have clients approach them for full packages, which can include content.
This way you can approach them to let them know that you are a writer and can create content, and in the future if any of their clients require content written then they can outsource to you. Create a win/win scenario and they should be happy to send you the work.
Further resources to help you find writing gigs...
Once you have work pouring in you may feel slightly overwhelmed. As mentioned before, SEO writing isn’t anything ‘sexy’ so you may well find that you want to outsource the major bulk of work so you can concentrate on some articles at a time.
Maybe you want to concentrate on other things that you are more passionate about but still want the easy income from the SEO gig’s to carry on coming in. Either way, you can outsource the work you get and act as a middle person who just deals with the logistics of everything.
This way you can free your time up and work on passion projects, or just relax and enjoy the semi-automated income while you spend time with family. Outsourcing can really help you scale your business from a one man band to a bigger entity, resulting in more money and financial freedom.
Whether you take this step or not is totally up to you, and the sort of lifestyle you want. So give it a try and see how it goes.
That’s all folks, phew! I told you this would be a long post but hopefully you have gained some value from it, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it, even if it took some long ass hours to create it!
I hope you found it useful, and hope that it can kick start your path to a freedom lifestyle, one which you can enjoy with your family. I would love to see some examples of your websites in the comments below so post away action takers!
Please leave a comment if you liked this post and how it has helped you. This blog is for YOU, so also let me know what else you want information about and what you would like me to write about. As I want to help you as much as possible.
Until next time…