You may have heard about Freelance Writing and blogging. I have been working as a Freelance Writer since 2019 and Technical Writer beginning this year.
In 2020 many businesses went remote. Cybercriminals looked at this as an opportunity. It opened more pathways for their attack vectors, from malware to ransomware.
Today in technology, we are facing many challenges and threats. The attacks against businesses and other vulnerabilities are what I write about, my niche.
I chose what I wanted to write about based on my background – information technology. That doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. There are many ways to decide what you should specialize in for your writing.
One question you hear a lot is, “I have no experience, can I get paid to write?”
The short answer is perhaps. More accurately, not this moment, but after developing a website & blog, you can.
First, you should answer these questions.
Have you ever written a blog? It doesn’t have to be on your website. It can be a WordPress[.]com or Blogspot blog.
Have you ever written on Medium?
Are these still around?
These may help you provide potential jobs writing examples, depending on the content and quality. Still, good to start with for now.
Finally, and most importantly, do you like to write? Many companies have writing requirements of 5-8 articles a week, and if you don’t enjoy it, you will be miserable.
Bear in mind that often where you begin in your writing career isn’t where you end up.
In 2016 I heard my niece was doing well with her blog. I mean, she was earning a good income from writing and producing eBooks on her blog. With my tech background, I thought this was excellent and decided to give it a shot.
I registered a domain and began writing. Before I knew it, I had made a wrong turn, and no one was helping me. My niece accused me of plagiarising her content, and she wasn’t entirely wrong at the time.
I thought I had rewritten the content so it wouldn’t appear copied, but I was wrong.
I had no idea what tools I should be using. My niece was mad and didn’t offer any guidance or support.
I ended up shutting down my website and putting my dream aside until things settled down.
In 2019 I quietly began again. I realized that monetizing a blog, writing ebooks and other money-making add-ons for a blog were not for me. So, while the website was good, and I put up several blog posts, I wanted to make money from my writing.
So, I began researching what I needed to do to put myself on the map.
I found many websites that helped guide me on how to begin. Studying them helped me quickly learn what I needed to do and how to set up my LinkedIn profile.
The last was an essential reason I got my first writing gig.
Tools For Freelance Writers
There are many essential tools for Freelance Writers and Bloggers, and the list is continually growing. Let’s look at each one.
If you haven’t heard of Grammarly, it’s a great tool. The free version will get you started but buy the premium version when you can; it does more. Grammarly checks your writing for errors. IT’S NOT PERFECT. So, always read your article aloud to find the mistakes it misses.
Many sites that take writing from freelancers will ask you to send in a Google Doc. So, if you don’t already have Gmail, it’s a good idea to set one up.
Mixmax helps to automate scheduling, contacting prospects for writing, track email opens, and more. There is a limited free version, but there are also competitively priced other packages as well.
Trello or ClickUp
Putting together articles requires research and a way to organize that goes way beyond paper. That’s what makes tools like Trello and ClickUp excellent. Trello has been around for years, and I’m no expert, but I found it easy to organize. Still, if you want more help, Kate Doster has a great package of templates for Trello available from her website.
Kate is also a great wealth of knowledge to get your email list started. Yes, it is something you need as a writer, blogger, and freelancer. She has an excellent podcast called Inbox Besties that is filled with great ideas and interviews every week.
As I mentioned earlier, my first blog ended dismally due to improperly checking my text for plagiarism. No company will hire a writer found to have copied another website’s work. Grammarly premium has a built-in checker, but it misses stuff.
That’s why I use and recommend Copyscape. It’s not free, but it’s also not too costly either.
One of the main things you need as a writer is knowledge.
That doesn’t mean you need to be a walking encyclopedia but become familiar with search engines.
Excellent researching skills are a must for any writer.
A critical point to consider is what area, topic, or niche you will write about. I started writing as a generalist. I would write on a variety of topics. It was good because it allowed me to experience a lot of niches.
Since my working background was in information technology, I generally liked to write on those topics. Eventually, I made that my niche, and since then, I have slimmed that down to cybersecurity specifically.
My resume says I am a Tech Writer, and I write for technology businesses like Managed Services Providers and Managed Security Services Providers. In general, many would say I am a B2B Freelance Writer.
Each business you work with has a method of communication. Here are a few that are common:
Zoom is a video conferencing platform that is widely used for many purposes. While it is known for its video conferencing capabilities, some also use it to exchange text messages or make phone calls.
Whether sending out messages to multiple teams of writers or providing help to new team members, all the parts of a diverse writing sphere must reside on a robust platform.
One solution used by many content writing businesses is Slack. Slack is straightforward to use and free to signup for an account.
While email seems to be the lesser-used form of communication, many businesses still communicate that way. Always write professionally in long-form to make the best impression.
Several social networks are essential when starting as a writer. Some will say you should have a presence everywhere. That’s when you need to take stock of your time and other responsibilities.
Use a professional-looking profile picture where you are smiling. Many advise joining groups that fall in your niche and being active. I agree, as this helped me.
It has its good sides and wrong sides, but it is excellent if you are active in getting noticed.
Facebook and Instagram are great if you have the time to build a following, but building your email list should take priority, and then if you have time or helpers, work on the rest.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. Decide what’s important for your business.
Freelance Writing Where to Begin
Beginning Freelance Writing is an open question. You may wonder where to begin or what you should write.
I won’t pretend that I have all the answers.
I know the road to where I am now wasn’t a straight path. There were a few detours along the way.
The key is to start now.
Lori Imdad is a Tech Writer for Managed Services Providers (MSP) and Managed Security Services Providers (MSSP) with a background in information technology. She worked for fortune 500 companies in the IT sector in the US and non-profit and private organizations in Bangladesh, both in IT and Management roles.
Concurrently, she has been writing blogs since 1997 and transitioned to content writing in 2019.
She currently holds a full-time position with an MSP in the US as a Tech Writer and Content Creator and writes a monthly MSP news summary for MSP360.