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The Juice Journal: Memoirs of an Online Content Writer

December 2, 2016

Diaries and journals are typically private and secret logs meant only for the eyes of the individuals they belong to. But have you ever stolen someone’s diary and read it? Come on…be honest! If you have siblings then this is almost a certainty. It’s naughty and unfair but then again extremely interesting, right!? Gaining an exclusive insight into someone’s life, told honestly and unrestricted from the subjects of the story themselves, is for some reason tantalisingly entertaining.

Aren’t we awful!? Or just human? Anyway, welcome to The Juice Journal! This is our own little offered insight into the thoughts and opinions of an expert online content writer. Throughout this series of blogs, we will be providing direct access into some of the writing roles our writers have filled throughout the years. You will get an understanding of what each role is, what they require and instructions on how you too can follow each trade.

We kick-off with a role we have all filled for quite some time now – the role of an online content writer!

A Day in the Life of an Online Content Writer

To be perfectly honest, the life of an online content writer is a massively unpredictable one. It can also be a very dull one. A lot of patience is required as the pipeline of work is rarely steady. Peaks and troughs is the nature of this game and the troughs often far outweigh the peaks; meaning you can spend large parts of the year with nothing to do. This is especially true when you first start out, but as you gain a reputation and some history behind you, this becomes less and less of a problem.

If you consistently create decent content, then word-of-mouth and solid case studies will ensure the customers keep coming. That doesn’t mean to say the boredom stops though. It still exists but the levels vary depending on what you have on your plate. For example, one week you may have a project writing about holidays in The Bahamas. Great! A lovely brief! But the next week you might be writing about stainless steel…or spoons. See the difference?

Perhaps this represents the best quality of being an online content writer – no two days are ever the same!

The Best Parts

As mentioned above, the variance in your job is probably the best part of being an online content writer. Also, the ability to work on your own terms and be a subject matter expert is advantageous. If you can construct a working day into periods that suit your life, then you can make an unconventional working day profitable for you. For example, you can pick your own start time and lunch hour rather than conform to a uniform office time slot.

Being a subject matter expert is also awesome. Not everybody knows how to write and many people feel uncomfortable even trying. Having the ability to string a sentence together is a skill that people are paying you for – so whatever you say goes – literally! It’s almost like a consultant role in a way.

The Worst Parts

Unpredictability and the ratio of full-time writing roles to competition. Full-time writing roles are hard to come by in comparison with the amount of available content writers out there competing for them. A lot of online content work is freelance and therefore can come in dribs and drabs, so it can be difficult to plan finances and stay afloat at times. Aside from that, sitting in an office chair banging on a keyboard all day is not great for the health or posture! If you do not get the balance right between exercise and work, then this could have a negative effect on your wellbeing.

Undeniably though, the absolute worst part is the first few years of starting out. This is where you first establish your name, profile and brand if you have one.  Although this will be a tough time as work is hard to come by, it will also be a huge learning curve for you to develop and improve from. So stay positive and be cool about it – stressing out will not help you at all! Plan your finances wisely too as you do not want to leave yourself short in times of low work.

The Most Important Requirement of Content Writing

Obviously, the ability to write excellent and interesting content is the most important requirement to becoming an online content writer. This could be said for any writing role, but it is a lot more relevant to a role like this where you client is literally paying for every word. If you are a journalist for example, yes, the quality of writing is important but you have an editorial team to correct any mistakes. In that role, more importance is placed on the quality of the story and its sources than the actual writing itself.

When it comes to online content writing though, every word you provide your client represents their brand and products. If you miswrite any of it, you are embarrassing your clients and yourself. Google certainly won’t like you for it either – as the importance of quality content only grows over time online. Patience is also a virtue for a web writer, especially when it comes to dealing with clients. You must bear in mind that a lot of your clients will not be great writers – so it is just as difficult for them to explain to you what they want as it is for them to put it down on paper themselves. Simply work with them to help you!

How to Become a Web Writer

Becoming an online content writer or web writer is easy enough – just make yourself a profile on as many freelancing websites as you can! There are lots of job boards and freelance opportunities out there, such as People Per Hour and Contena, where you can bid for work. Remember, the pipeline will be extremely slow to begin with, but if you put the work in you will soon see the rewards!

Contact us for more information if you are thinking about becoming an online content writer, or if you have some experience in the field and wish to practise it some more!

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Ian Arnison-Phillips

Director at Content Juice
This piece has been written by Ian Arnison-Phillips. Ian is an experienced content marketer, author and creative writer. His specialisms are web content, blogging, PR and creative content.

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