Content is king! It is the basis of everything communication, which is nearly everything. Content is the engine that drives every marketing effort, business communication, and even personal relationships. Hence, a content writing side hustle is valuable in a post-lockdown economy.
With the world indoors, businesses that depended largely on physical meetings and relations were brought to their knees, creating a real and far-reaching opportunity for the digital economy.
Businesses had to get on social media, create websites, client forums, develop online customer relations platforms, amongst others. To make these work, they needed the king – content. The people who had this skill became in high demand more than ever. This article would empower you with the knowledge and tools you need to start a content writing side hustle.
What is Content Writing?
Content writing has been around since the start of the digital age and no matter the trajectory the world takes, content writing would remain relevant. We indeed live in a technology-driven world today.
According to HubSpot, content writing is the process of writing, editing, and publishing content in a digital format. Content writing covers the entire process from ideating to publishing the content. Hence, a content writing side hustle is a smart choice for smart undergraduates like you.
The content so written by a content writer can become a blog post, video or audio content, social media content, press release, sales copy, e-book, etc. It is through content writing that a brand can tell its story, win the mind of its target audience and achieve its goals. To successfully start a content writing side hustle, you must develop a knack for quality, relevant and insightful content.
What is a side hustle?
Depending on parents or guardians solely for your survival as a student, would never afford you the simple luxury of affording the things you need, when you need them. In my experience, no matter the amount of money you receive from home, it is never enough.
As money experts say, “expenses would always rise to meet income”. An increase in upkeep allowance is not what you need as a student, an additional source of income is. In the real sense of it, your undergraduate days are meant to prepare you for life after school. If this is true, then you shouldn’t wait till you graduate to start earning your own money.
A side hustle, which can also be referred to as a side job or side gig, is any form of work undertaken in addition to a primary source of earning. It is usually based on individual passions and skills, takes the form of freelance, and allows you ample time for your studies. Can you write? then it is time to start a content writing side hustle.
How to Become a Content Writer
If you are looking to start a content writing side hustle, you should already possess a flair for writing. In the case where this is missing, all hope is not lost. Like any other skill, writing can be acquired through knowledge and practice.
The journey to becoming a content writer is usually different for most content writers. Bearing in mind that content writing cuts across every sector, it is advisable to start with what you are conversant with. The key is practice, research, and more practice.
1. Start with short piece content
The journey of a thousand miles would always begin with one step. Start by creating short piece content regularly, consistently, and purposefully. You can share your content with your friends and fellow undergraduates, if they love it, chances are that other people would like it too.
Don’t look too far, you can start by sharing your content as a WhatsApp broadcast. Request for their comments and feedback, then adjust accordingly. Your goal here is to hone your skill. These short pieces of content would help to build your confidence for bigger gigs.
2. Research and study
You are still an undergraduate, so researching and studying is part of your daily routine. Starting a content writing side hustle would also require that you carry out some research. You want to read sample content by others and more experienced content writers. By observing what they do, you are teaching yourself to write like them and even do better.
While a degree is not necessary for you to start a content writing side hustle, you need to understand how the industry works. Get familiar with the meaning of complex terms like SEO, tools like plagiarism checkers, etc. You can also take advantage of online courses.
3. Volunteer to write
Now that you have a better knowledge about the content writing space, it is time to start deliberately building your confidence with public works. As an undergraduate, there are tons of student organizations you can belong to. Join the ones that match your values, if you are not already in any, and look out for opportunities to serve with your writing.
As an undergraduate, I served as a secretary in most of the organizations I belonged to. This meant I had to write minutes of meetings among other writing duties. It was easy to brandish this on my content writing resume, once I got started.
If your organization or any organization you know of is publishing a magazine or calling for articles, submit your work. You are building your resume for your content writing side hustle. Every other point on becoming a content writer can be summarized thus – WRITE. Just write, there is no magic to it. The more you write, the better you become. So, write and keep improving.
With knowledge and practice, you are now ready to launch your content writing side hustle. Your goal at this stage is to gain visibility – get people to know what you do. You are not the only one looking to do this, so you must be aggressive with your visibility efforts.
1. Create your portfolio
As you would when writing your resume, you want to make the right impression on whoever comes across your portfolio. You are now a content writer, so use your good command of words to sell your market. Include all the good stuff you have done as above. It is now time for all the volunteer works you did to pay some dividends. People want to know what you are capable of doing before trusting you with their writing needs, show them in clear terms what you are capable of.
2. Get your own blog
As a content writer, nothing screams authority like having your blog. Creating your blog is a great way to put your work out there. As an undergraduate who is just starting a content writing side hustle, you also need to learn the discipline of creating regular content, a blog would help you achieve that.
Creating your blog would help your portfolio look great in addition to the earning opportunities it opens up for you. You can start your blog for free or you can opt for a paid version. If you claim you can create content for other people, you might as well begin that charity at home – your blog. Ensure your blog content are well researched, excellently written, and compelling enough.
3. Leverage your social media presence
Use your social media presence to connect with other content writers, that way you stay informed about jobs and other opportunities as they come. Your friends and followers on social media should also be aware of what you do. Create regular and relevant content for posting on your social media. The more people see you, the more they are likely to do business with you or refer you to someone in need of content writing services. With social media promotions, you can reach more people with your content.
4. Sign up with writing agencies and writers’ groups
The majority of my writing jobs come from my membership in writing agencies. Most content writing agencies operate on a freelance basis, which is what you want to do with a content writing side hustle. On LinkedIn, there are professional groups you can join to better your chances of landing content writing jobs. I also belong to several Facebook groups for writers, where writers share tips, experiences, and writing opportunities.
Skills Needed to be a Content Writer
As a content writer, you need to be vast in knowledge and able to research things in record time. If you want to have a successful content writing side hustle, it is helpful to possess an objective and critical mind. A report by indeed.comsummarizes the skills needed thus:
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Knowledge of social media
Websites to get Content Writing Jobs/Gigs
You can easily start a content writing side hustle today by signing-up and setting up your content writer profile on sites such as:
Content writing is a big field, you can make a career out of it. I started my content writing journey as an undergraduate studying accounting. I have never stopped writing since then. While working as an accountant in a leading real estate company, content writing was my side gig. Today, I have left the accounting profession to focus on content writing and currently serve as head of content for a marketing and brand communication agency.
Consider this a side hustle that can easily become a career for you. Use the tips shared in this post to develop, hone and publicize your writing skills. Congratulations and good luck on your content writing side hustle.