So, you want to write for a living. Why not? You can be your own boss, travel the world, and make your office a beach chair where your only worry is spilling your adult beverage onto your laptop.
Well, it is an attractive dream, but here is the reality. Deciding to make money writing and actually being paid to write are different sides of the same coin. To earn a good living writing, you need to have a solid plan and the dedication to execute that plan.
Here are five surefire ways you can take your idea from a dream to reality.
1. Gain Recognition: Plan, Stalk, Schmooze, Engage
Image via Flickr by 401(K) 2012
Being paid as a full-time writer does not happen overnight. Sure, you will read the rare success story about how someone quit their job, moved to paradise, and lived happily ever after.
What you may not realize is that for each success story, there is a back story of failed attempts and heartbreak. They persevered until they finally succeeded.
To succeed and make money writing, you must have a plan. What excites you? What do you enjoy doing most? Is it something that excites a niche group? If the answer is yes, you have a subject for which you can write.
Read everything you can on the subject. Learn as much as you can. Try to identify angles to approach the subject that would not be the norm. You want to begin to place yourself as an expert in the niche you choose.
Then, you will need to infiltrate the genre to get to know the kings and queens of the niche. This research will help you break through and get that connection that will take you to the next level.
How do you break through? You stalk and schmooze them. Follow them on social media. Comment on their writing. Offer to do favors for them. Eventually, pitch them for a helping hand.
When I say you comment on their pieces, I don’t mean you say “Hey man, great piece.” Make points that will engage them. Be bold. Be a contrarian. Be different. That is how you set yourself apart in the crowd of wannabe writers.
Now that you have their attention, offer to do something for them. Offer to moderate a forum, share their content, or write a guest post free of charge. Once you’ve built a relationship with them, you can ask for a helping hand that will set you on the road towards paid assignments.
2. Guest Blogging: Advertising Yourself Through Popular Blogs
What? You heard guest blogging is dead? Think again. Although guest blogging has changed, the craft itself is far from extinct. Guest blogging is still the best way to market yourself and gain name recognition.
Think about it. You can put your best piece on your own website where you may get a handful of visitors, or you can put that same piece on a site as a guest post, where you get exposure from thousands of visitors, and the ability to drive those visitors back to your own site.
The good news is that a lot of sites that accept guest posts pay writers for their posts. Even if you write for a popular blog or online magazine that doesn’t pay, good pieces drive visitors back to your site. From there, you can convert those visitors into paying customers by advertising what you have to offer.
3. Content Marketing: Quality Writing that Gains Trust
Several years ago, content marketing began to emerge as the new way to advertise. Because of this, more businesses need content creators. That means there are opportunities to make money writing if you can write smart.
Companies that rely on content writers need to reach a specific audience. Projects they offer include blog articles, case studies, white papers, and more.
The good news is that this type of writing pays well. The bad news is that it is a harder market to break into. But, if you plan, stalk, schmooze, and engage you will eventually be able to break through with a connection.
4. Copywriting. The Craft of Selling Yourself (and their product)
Are you good at selling things? Can you write in a way that touches a reader and leads to a suggested action? If so, copywriting may be your forte.
Not only is copywriting a unique writing craft, it can also pay big bucks. Copywriters are behind sales pitches in letters, videos, and other types of publications.
Some copywriters write with empathy and sell softly. They convince you to buy something because you are their friend and you need this item. Others are hard sell writers and almost scare you into buying.
No matter what style of copywriting you feel most comfortable with, understanding the art of persuasion is the focus of all copywriting.
This type of writing is an art form of its own and takes lots of practice, but if you love persuasive writing and have the time to learn the craft you can make a nice living copywriting.
5. Affiliate Sales: Promoting Products Through Your Writing.
Do you have a passion that you share with a group? Are there products that this group is more inclined to buy? If you answer yes, you can make a passive income on that niche.
Often, this niche is a smaller one where you can write to become the expert in that niche instead of one of many experts. You build trust with your audience and then recommend products they find valuable and buy through your links.
Promoting affiliate products allows you to begin earning money on day one. Choose products you believe in, work out an affiliate agreement with the company that sells them, post the affiliate links strategically within your articles, and voilà, you receive checks for writing about what you love most while the other company deals with production, shipping, and the financial aspects of the transaction.
Affiliate sales is an excellent passive income that continues to bring you income month after month as long as your readers continue to purchase through your links.
Writing can be a rewarding career if you prepare and plan. Get to know the experts, promote yourself, learn as much as you can, and write smart. Before you know it, your dream will be a successful realty.