If you’re not writing blogs or working in social media, you’re missing out. Is that blunt enough for you? Digital marketing encompasses a large and ever-growing writing niche. In fact, in 2014, digital advertising hit $49.5 billion in sales. With that much money floating around and 83% of marketers on social media, this is not a space you can ignore.
The great news about choosing to move into writing for social media or blogs is that there’s plenty of work. Large companies and organizations supplement their in-house staff with freelancers. Small companies typically can’t afford to hire full-time digital marketers so they hire freelance writers to create their content. In either case, the work is steady and available.
So, how do you get into the industry and can it sustain your writing career? It will take some time, but my ten tips and tricks below can help.
1. Learn SEO. If you don’t already understand search engine optimization, you need to gain knowledge quickly. SEO basics such as keywords, placement, meta descriptions, etc. are an integral part of blogging. The Moz has a great beginners guide.
2. Delve into WordPress. It’s one of the largest blogging platforms in the world and there’s a 75 percent chance that one of your clients will want you to post blogs directly to WordPress. Thankfully, there are many websites with great information.
3. Figure out MailChimp and Constant Contact. There’s a lot of work out there for email blast writers. Knowing how to use two of the most basic email marketing platforms will boost you above the competition.
4. Get on Social Media. Make a Facebook page, Twitter profile, and Pinterest account. And, here’s the key – post every day and prove that you understand more than the basics. Can you write snappy headlines in fewer than 140 characters? You better answer, ‘Yes!’
5. Know rudimentary Photoshop. It’s all about the visual, baby. Some companies have internal graphic design teams but, for other companies, the images will be in your hands. You may be required to obtain stock images. Some sites offer commercial free-use images but be sure to only use one with an excellent reputation. Otherwise, you may end up unknowingly using a stolen image (copyright infringement). Here are some good services that have some free images, and many fee-based ones:
6. Illustrate your click-ability. Digital marketing is all about immediate and instant gratification. Show that you can click bait with the best of them, but that you can also go beyond the obvious.
7. Write a blog about blogging. Just as WritersWeekly publishes content about writing, to jump into digital marketing, write a blog with advice about blogging. Show that your knowledge doesn’t stop at the word, ‘blog.’ Publishing a blog about blogging will show you’re the “expert” and clients will want to hire you, not a writer who isn’t an “expert.”
8. Subscribe to digital marketing blogs. Digital marketing changes every day. Pinterest recently announced e-commerce and Twitter is changing direct messaging character counts. To succeed in the industry, you need to know what’s happening. Great blogs include: Social Media Today and Jon Loomer.
9. Sacrifice the byline, not the portfolio. As a ghostwriter, you may never see your byline but that doesn’t mean you still can’t build your portfolio. Before you sign the contract, make sure you’re allowed to link to your work for future self-promotion.
10. Know what you’re worth. Know exactly how long it takes you to write a Facebook post, a tweet, a Pinterest pin, a 500-word blog, and a three-feature email blast. Then, be sure to charge the appropriate hourly rate. Posting the content and going through all the motions can take longer than writing the content in the first place.
Digital marketing is a fast-growing space in desperate need of writers. Even if you’re not looking to break into the industry full time, there are plenty of small part-time projects available for the discerning writer.
Kelly Vo is an avid reader, freelance writer, and aspiring author. An ASU grad with a Bachelor’s in English: Creative Writing, she’s worked in social media and publishing. Now, her passion for words has led to Kevo Writing: