Writing is the hidden gold mine of making money online

Writing is the hidden gold mine of making money online

Photo by

Stanley Dai

on

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Making money online is something everybody wants, but with all the terrible information out there today…

make money online, get paid to write online

Most are looking in the wrong places.

From wasting your time with

Swagbucks

to figuring out “passive income”…

All these shiny objects are making you miss out on the amazing opportunity that’s right in front of you, writing.

Why writing is a gold mine for making money online

I’ve had a steady source of income from writing for a few years now, and even though I should be used to it by now…

It’s still weird to think about.

Why?

Because I’ve never been a “writer”, the farthest thing from it actually.

Growing up I always hated high school English and never understood why I had to worry about where “and” goes or if I’m using the proper form of

APA style writing

And guess what? I still don’t today.

That’s because, as I learned a few years ago, the internet-style of writing is a lot different than the boring academic stuff we learned in school.

What do I mean?

Well, don’t get me wrong, there’s still a time and place for academic writing (like textbooks or technical documents)…

But for the most part, online companies use the written word for marketing, sales and deepening client relationships…

All things that are done by using a different style of writing, one that most refer to as “spoken language”.

In other words, if you know how to talk, and you’re willing to put in a few hours of training…

Then you can easily become a writer too…

And that brings me to my next point, all the different specializations out there.

16 writing specializations that practically guarantee success

So after I heard I could become a writer and get paid well for it, I was completely on board…

But there was one small problem that I couldn’t figure out — how do I do this?

I mean, whenever I think of writer, I think of Authors or Journalists…

But after asking the friend who introduced me to this new world, he quickly laughed and started telling me about all the different opportunities out there today.

From proofreading to writing emails, I quickly learned that there’s enough opportunities for everybody…

And throughout my years of experience, I’ve noticed that there’s 16 specializations that practically guarantee success…

Starting with:

Blog/Article Writer

Since you’re reading this right now, I know you understand what a blog is…

But what most don’t understand is how important blogs actually are.

I guess I always thought companies wrote blogs for the fun of it, but after looking into it a little more…

I can across an interesting concept,

content marketing

.

If you’re not familiar with content marketing, it’s an efficient way for companies to attract new clients…

And they do this by writing useful information, which then attracts potential clients to their website…

With the remainder of the sales process taking place from there.

In short, I’m pretty sure every legitimate company attracts customers with content marketing, so there’s always going to be a demand for this field…

And as a bonus hint, if you have another skill that can be combined with your ability to write (i.e. a CPA who writes about tax for other firms)…

Then you’re going to be set for life.


Demand Level:

High


Income Level:

It’s not surprising to make $40/hr for this service, which isn’t the highest, but it’s always consistent work…so that’s a major plus in itself.


Difficulty Level:

Depends on the industry you’re working in, as it can be harder to write on some topics, but for the job itself — blog writing is simple and enjoyable.

Press Release Writer

Another field where I’ve seen a lot of people make money in,

writing press releases

.

Now when I first started working online, I actually thought it was funny that people got paid to do this…

Because from what I could see, it really wasn’t that hard.

If you’re not familiar with press releases, they’re really just a short essay that’s sent to multiple press outlets in hopes of getting some publicity…

And most companies will do this when they have something noteworthy to announce, like a new product or some big news.

Anyway, I stayed away from press releases for the first few months, but then after I continued to read about it and noticed how helpful they could be…

I decided to write a short press release announcing my new company, then sent it off to multiple outlets.

The results?

Nothing. Not even a reply.

This was depressing and made me despise press releases for a while, but after I cleaned up my tears and quit acting like a two-year-old…

I decided to give it another shot, and this time, I hired a professional press release writer to do it for me.

The results this time?

Well, I actually got some replies and made it into some publication (I can’t even remember the name now, and I don’t think it did me any good, but hey — it was an improvement).

Long story short, most companies don’t do a lot of press releases and they’re not going to take the time to figure them out…

Making them more than willing to outsource this work, and that might be a great opportunity for you.


Demand Level:

Medium, but at the same time, I don’t see too many press release writers out there…so the demand tends to be higher than the supply.


Income Level:

Varies. I’ve seen some people charge as little as $5 for these, and then I’ve seen some people charge upwards of $200. In other words, it might take you a few projects to get your rank up…but once you do, you’re set.


Difficulty Level:

After you do one or two, it’s pretty easy.

Sales Copywriter


Sales Copywriting

is hands down my favorite line of work, and if you can learn from the right people, then you’re going to make a lot of money off it.

Why?

Because it’s one of those deals where every writer thinks they can do it, and even though writing is important…

It’s far from the only thing you need to know, as sales copywriting focuses 100% on psychology and emotional triggers, the things that get people to buy.

What do I mean?

Well, most writers think they can throw some fancy words on a page, spice it up with a lot of !!! and then top it off with some shiny buttons…

Which is almost an insult to mankind, as nobody falls for that stuff.

On the other hand, if you can understand the target market’s wants, fears, and uncertainties…

And then position a product or service to match these characteristics, then you’ll have clients for years to come.


Demand Level:

Through the roof


Income Level:

As high as it gets for writers.


Difficulty Level:

Very difficult, and it takes a lot of brainpower. 20 hours of sales writing knocks me down for a week.

Landing Page Copywriter

Carrying on with the “sales” theme, landing page copywriter.

This is another important one for me and even though I like sales copywriting the best, I’ve found that I make the most money by creating landing page content.

Why?

Because it’s the area with the highest demand, but it’s also one where many copywriters fail to convert…

And if you have any examples that are above the typical 1% conversion rate that most mediocre copywriters receive, then well, your services are going to be in high demand.

If you’re not familiar with the term

landing page

, it’s really just a one page offshoot of your regular website.

They’re called landing pages as it’s where specific traffic is sent, and even though this can take place in any form of marketing…

The most common method is paid advertising, which is also why I think landing pages are popular today.

The best part of landing pages is that they really don’t take a lot of words to get the point across, and if you come across a client that’s been burned by other copywriters in the past, making them more than willing to pay for good results…

Then you can easily make upwards of $150/hr to do this (and it’s uncommon, but I’ve actually had a few projects where I made over $200/hr…which they were happy to pay as I was able to get them a 34% conversion ratio).


Demand Level:

Very high.


Income Level:

If you can show past results that are well above the competition (which isn’t that hard to do with a little bit of practice), then you can easily do fixed projects that pay over $100/hr


Difficulty Level:

Easier than sales copywriting, but it still takes time (and proper training) to learn…putting it in the hard (but achievable) column.

Ad Copywriter

It takes good copy to make a landing page convert well, but the right type of traffic never hurts either…

And that all starts with brilliant

ad copy

.

This seems to be a field where a lot of companies can get by and they usually mimic their competitors ads, but that certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t a demand for this either…

As every company wants to stick out and get the most clicks on their ad, which is accomplished with great copy and okay design.

This is a field that I’ve worked with hundreds of times but it’s also one where I usually don’t enter, unless I’m doing the landing page copy as well.

Why?

Because even though companies understand the importance of good ad copy, and they’re willing to pay for it…

Most of the ads only take 50 words (or less), and since a lot of companies look at pricing on a per word basis…

It’s tough to charge a lot for these services, and since it still takes time to do some customer research before creating the copy…

I’ve just found that it’s usually not worth your time, UNLESS you’re doing this as an add-on for landing pages, because you’ve already done the research and it’s just an easy 50 words after that.


Demand Level:

High


Income Level:

By itself, not that much. As an add-on, very profitable.


Difficulty Level:

Medium, but once you get the hang of it, it goes very quick (it took me 7 minutes to do my most recent ad copy, and the results have been amazing).

Email Marketing Copywriter

If you have any experience working online then you’ve definitely heard that “the money is in the list”…

And by list, they mean email list…

Which is definitely true, but here’s the thing, very few companies actually know how to do this properly.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve joined an email list and received generic sales emails everyday, which makes me cringe as I know they’re scaring away hundreds of customers…

But it’s also annoying, because well, who likes to receive a sales email everyday?

Nobody, and after seeing unsuccessful marketing campaigns combined with floods of email unsubscribes, most companies are quick to hire email copywriters…

And that can create an amazing opportunity for you.

Just remember, when it comes to email marketing there’s really 2 different forms:

  1. Automated
  2. “Broadcast”

Automated

email marketing

refers to email funnels where you create a sequence of emails once, and then use them forever.

This usually takes place when a new subscriber joins their email list, and as you can guess, this is an amazing asset that companies can use forever…

So they’re willing to pay top-dollar for good work, but just remember, it’s not as easy as “writing emails”.

This is a mistake I see all the time and have had to clean up a lot of good writing that’s not working because the copywriter didn’t understand the underlying formula that takes place.

Then for broadcast emails, these are the type of emails that are sent frequently — like 3–5 days per week.

The complexity of this really depends on the company, as you can really get advanced and send out some detailed emails 3–5x per week…

But for the most part, most companies are looking for guidance on when and how they should send emails.

This puts you into more of a consultant role and that pays well, but when it comes to daily email marketing, most companies aren’t going to pay as much…

Even though it’s consistent work, so that’s something to consider as well.


Demand Level:

High


Income Level:

Automated — Very high (similar to sales copywriting). Broadcast — Medium


Difficulty Level:

Correlates to income level. Automated email funnels are difficult and take a lot of time (they’re really a long sales letter split into separate days) while broadcast emails may take a little bit of training, but they’re not too difficult to do once you get the hang of it.

Ebook Writer

I really have a love-hate relationship with this specialization.

I love it because it’s not too terribly hard to do, and they’re usually medium-large projects that can keep you busy for awhile…

But I hate it because, in my years of experience,

NOBODY WANTS TO PAY WELL FOR THESE.

Some of the pricing I’ve seen is absolutely rediculous (less than 1 cent per word) and even though I’ve had plenty of opportunities, I’ve never accepted one of these deals as there’s never been one that’s even close to worthwhile.

With that said, I don’t advise specializing in this field as it’d be hard to make a living, but there’s a good chance you’ll come across a topic that you enjoy — and if you’re just getting started, it might be a good way to get your feet wet.

Just remember, ebook can mean 2 completely different things in today’s world…

With one being the typical

“lead magnet”

(shorter ebooks that are designed to collect email address)…

And then there’s an actual book that’s only sold in electronic form. These are going to be longer and require more quality work, so be careful with pricing before entering one of these deals.


Demand Level:

Medium. I see plenty of these, but people are starting to become “desensitized” to ebooks…so their popularity is on the decline.


Income Level:

Low, very low. From what I’ve seen, you can make more as a proofreader.


Difficulty Level:

Easy, as long as you understand the topic.

Copy Editor

If there’s one hidden gem of online writing, it’s the

copy editor

.

Why?

Because the biggest problem with having somebody else write for you is having them find your voice and understanding how to say it like you want to say it.

Sure, you could always pay an expensive copywriter that takes the time to understand your voice and write it exactly how you would…

But most new entrepreneurs don’t have that kind of money laying around, and that’s where the copy editor comes into play.

The copy editor really works like any kind of editor, where they come in and clean up your work after it’s ready (usually a first draft)…

But a copy editor takes this one step further and actually goes through the work, then transforms it into a well-written blog that has the flow/structure of a professionally-written blog…

And since you took the time to create the first draft, having a copy editor is about 90% cheaper than having a full-blown copywriter who writes this for you.

This is actually how I first started blogging, and I think I paid my copy editor around $10 for a 1,200 word blog…

Which worked amazing as it saved me countless hours everyday (from editing), and also helped me improve my writing style dramatically (after seeing what they did to improve it)…

So it’s something I advise for any new entrepreneur, but it can also be an amazing start for you.

How?

Well, on the other side of things, I’ve noticed that the hardest part for a lot of new writers is getting started.

I guess some call this

white page syndrome

, while others call it performance anxiety…

But once there’s words on a page, and it’s not your work that you’re looking at, it’s really not that difficult to go through and edit a blog.

Then on top of this, you really don’t have to know a lot about a subject to edit a blog (even though it does help), and that means there’s endless opportunity out there…

So if you don’t like the idea of writing everyday, where you have to create something from scratch and thoroughly understand a topic…

Then copy editing might be a great start for you.


Demand Level:

Medium. From what I’ve seen, this is something that a lot of people will gladly use, but they don’t think about it. That’s why I have to give it a medium demand rating, but if you know how to explain your services, it could easily jump into the “high” category.


Income Level:

Since the work is easier, you’re going to be making a little less…but it’s still a great start that pays okay ($30/hr is a good starting point). At the same time, it’s usually consistent work, so that’s something to consider as well.


Difficulty Level:

Measy (get it, like medium and easy?) Okay, maybe not the best joke, but I think you get the hint…it’s not something that I can call easy, but it’s certainly easier than most other forms of writing…so it falls somewhere in between medium and easy.

Proofreader

Carrying on with the editor theme,

proofreaders

.

As I mentioned above, copy editors are advanced editors that not only go through and proofread a client’s work…

But they also do some restructuring and rephrasing to ensure a constant flow throughout the entire article.

This takes some extra time and allows you to command higher pay…

But if you’re still uncertain about your editing skills and want to start with something easier, than proofreading is for you.

This line of work is really about as simple as it gets, and the typical clients you work with are ones that just started a side hustle and don’t care about the quality of work too much…

But they still want to have everything spelled correctly, so they’ll hire a proofreader to skim through their work and make sure there’s no major typos that stick out.

This is honestly a line of work that anybody could do, as you’re merely getting paid to be a second set of eyes, and as you can guess…that means you’re not going to get paid that much.

With that said, it’s still a great start if you’re not comfortable with any of the other roles, so it’s something I wanted to mention.


Demand Level:

Medium. There’s always going to be work out there, but it seems like proofreaders are always “hunting” as well. What I mean by that is most proofreading clients are usually one-time projects (such as ebook proofreaders) or long-term commitments that don’t last long (client either quits their side hustle or graduates to a copy editor), so that’s something to keep in mind as well.


Income Level:

Low. This is really about as easy as it gets for online writing, so you should expect the lowest rates out there. It’s possible to charge $30/hr, but you’re probably going to be closer to the $15–20/hr range…especially in the beginning.


Difficulty Level:

Easy. Proofreading is really just looking for typos, so it’s something anybody can do.

Video Sales Letter Copywriter

I guess I’m not sure if that’s the correct name for this field, and it just sounds funny to say…

But this is the most common name I’ve seen for this role, so it gets the point across anyway.

With that said, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this or not, but the recent demand for videos has skyrocketed.

It seems like every company is using this for every aspect of their business, and rightfully so.

Most people simply prefer videos over text, and this isn’t really a lazy thing, it’s more of a learning preference…

But either way, I think they’re here to stay, and out of all the video fields…

The one that’s always caught my attention is

video sales letters

.

If you’re not familiar with this term, it relates to videos that are intended to sell a product or service…

And one thing I never realized (or thought of) was that every one of these videos actually has a script (or sales letter), and that’s where the copywriter comes into play.

I’ve actually had the opportunity to create a few of these, and even though they’re very similar to traditional

sales letters

(i.e. sales copywriters), they do have some differences…

And from my experience, I’d say they’re a tad bit harder — but that could have been my lack of experience as well.

Either way, if you want to take the time to learn this skill, you’ll always have clients begging for your service…

Allowing you to have a constant stream of work, and charge a high rate while doing so.


Demand Level:

High. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t see as many opportunities as you would in the blog writing field, but these projects are always much longer and that offsets the difference. I can confidently say that any video sales letter writer will always have enough work to keep them busy, and with the usage of videos on the rise, I think this demand level will stay the same (if not increase) for years to come.


Income Level:

Very high. You’re going to be in line with a sales copywriter, and from what I’ve seen, most video sales letter copywriters can easily charge in excess of $125/hr….while possibly getting commissions on top of this, if you’re able to get results.


Difficulty Level:

Hard. Like sales letters, writing is only a small fraction of the skill needed to complete this role. It takes some time to understand the underlying structure, psychology, and target market research…so don’t expect to jump in and become a video sales letter copywriter on day 1.

Explainer Video Copywriter

Carrying on with the video theme,

explainer video

copywriter.

Now I wanted to mention video sales letters first as they’re more common, but explainer videos shouldn’t be laughed at either.

If you’ve never heard of an explainer video, they’re really a shorter version of a sales video, generally ranging from 1–2 minutes long…

And their main goal is to introduce a product or service, which usually moves the customer further down the

funnel

.

I honestly love picking up these projects as they’re quick, easy, and fun (usually around 100 words)…

But clients are always willing to pay pretty good for them as well, so it’s always a fast way to make some extra money.

Heck, the other day I was bored in between projects so I picked up a quick explainer video script and made $125 in 2 hours…

So it doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh rookie that’s looking for your first project, or an industry vet that’s looking to fill some free time…

This is a field that I think everybody should know.


Demand Level:

This one is tough as I want to say high, but from my experience, it’s not quite at that point yet…so I have to give it a medium. With that said, I continue to see more and more everyday, so I don’t think it’ll be long before hitting the “high” mark.


Income Level:

It pays well, but the projects are never large. This means you’ll be doing a lot of starting and stopping (where you have to keep understanding new products), and that can take a lot of mental energy so I usually just advise this as a side hustle or added service, but it’s a great field nonetheless.


Difficulty Level:

Medium. It’s really just telling a story and anybody can do it, but you have to understand scriptwriting and storytelling first.

Grant Writer

I’ll be the first to admit that this is one field I don’t quite understand 100%, but I’ve also seen people make some decent money off of it, so I had to at least mention it.

From what I understand,

grant writers

just create applications for funding, and I don’t think it’s a line of work that takes a specialized skill set….

But I’ve never met a lot of people who specialize in this field either, so if you wanted to position yourself as a grant writer, I’m sure you could get a decent amount of work.

As for the work itself, personally speaking, I think it looks boring and it’s a lot of technical writing, which eliminates a lot of creativity…

But I personally know one person that enjoys this line of work, so if you’re not the creative type — then it might be something to look into.

Last but not least, the one thing that really scares me with this field is the ideal target market — non-profit entities.

From my experience, non-profits usually don’t like to pay a lot of money and would rather exchange services more than anything else…

So that makes me skeptical on the amount of income you could make, but that’s pure speculation — so it might be something to look into.


Demand Level:

Medium. When you think about how many non-profits there are in the U.S., and how many of them are always applying for some kind of funding…then the amount of work can really add up quick. On top of this, I don’t see too many grant writers out there, so the supply is low, giving you a great opportunity to have a lot of work.


Income Level

: Low. I’m sure you could work your way up and demand higher prices once you show that you’re able to get most grants approved, but as I mentioned earlier, the ideal target market is non-profits — and they’re not known as big spenders.


Difficult Level:

Easy. From what I’ve heard, once you do one or two, you’ve done them all. I think it’s really just fill in the blank work and knowing what the approving agencies want to hear, but again, I don’t have any experience in this field…so you might want to fact check me on that.

Business Plan Writer

As an ex-Commercial Loan Officer who’s seen hundreds of

business plans

, I can confidently say that 99% of new entrepreneurs need help with this field…

But just like a few of the other categories we’ve discussed, it requires more than a general ability to write.

Instead, you’ll need to have an understanding of mitigating risks and identifying problems, along with financial projections and why they’re accurate…

All things that most entrepreneurs forget to mention.

This is actually a field that I worked with in the beginning of my writing career, and my background allowed me to pick up a lot of jobs so demand was never a problem…

But it just got really boring and overwhelming to me.

Why?

New entrepreneurs have this wave of energy that’s hard to keep up with, and they always want to have their projects done right away…

So that was kind of annoying, but on top of this, once you do one business plan it seems like you’ve done them all, and even though it is fun to look at different ideas…

The redundancy got me, and that’s why I decided to switch over to a creative field — like sales copywriting.

With that said, if you have a background in finance and like writing business plans, then this is a great opportunity for you as technology has created a new wave of entrepreneurs that are looking for funding — and I don’t think the demand is going to go away anytime soon.


Demand Level:

High. I’ve never seen a shortage of business plan requests and they’re the perfect-sized projects. They’re long enough to where you’re not having to hunt all the time, but they’re short enough to where you can quickly complete them and have a steady source of cash flow, so it’s not a bad field to specialize in.


Income Level:

This is a completely biased opinion, but if you understand Accounting and Financial Projections, then you’re going to make a lot of money. Most new entrepreneurs think their product is going to make $10 Million in the first week, so if you can show them how to map out reasonable projections that actually get funding, then they’ll usually open their wallets. Just remember, not all new entrepreneurs have a lot of money — so you have to choose your clients wisely.


Difficulty Level:

This is also one that’s hard for me to answer, as I have a Master’s in Accounting with 5 years of Commercial Lending experience, so it was easy for me…but I could see how it’d be a hard field to learn right away.

Technical Writer

The part of writing that really lured me in was the mention of “spoken language”, where you don’t have to worry about proper english or the correct usage of “and”…

So I’m probably the last person who should speak about

technical writing

, but for the purposes of showing you the 16 best specialties — I had to include this on the list.

Technical writing can really cover a broad range of topics, and it seems like everybody has a slightly different definition of what it means…

But as the

Bureau of Labor Statistics

explains:

“Technical writers, also called

technical communicators

, prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. They also develop, gather, and disseminate technical information through an organization’s communications channels.”

Or in normal language, they take technical subjects and break them down into a way that the user can understand.

Having a pre-emptive knowledge of how a certain industry works is always helpful in this field, but if you’re able to take complex subjects and break them down into an easy-to-read format, then you’re more than qualified to take on this role.

So why did I mention the usage of proper english earlier?

Because, for the most part, a lot of these companies want their technical writing to be in an APA style format.

Think of any instruction guide that you’ve used in the past, and that’s really what technical writing is looking for.

That’s fine for some, but I know they’d hate my style of writing, so this is a field I’ve always stayed away from.


Demand Level:

High. I’ve seen a lot of opportunities for this field, and even though I’m sure I could suck it up and try it out, I’ve never been attracted to this line of work — so it’s something I have zero experience in.


Income Level:

I’ve talked to a few technical writers and they make a good amount of money. It seems like most of them focus on the instructions/user manual line of work, but either way — I’d say it’s on the high side of the medium range ($75/hr or so).


Difficulty Level:

Easy for some, hard for others. I actually talked to a few technical writers before writing this, just so I could have a better understanding of it, and even though they tried to make it sound hard…from what I got, it really boils down to the ability of breaking down complex subjects.

Website Content Copywriter

Most people claim that if you’re any type of copywriter, then you should be able to create website content…

But I have to strongly disagree.

Why?

Well, I know this is a mental thing and I could easily figure it out if I wanted to, but I’ve tried to do web content a few times…

And every time, I’ve fallen on my face. It just seems like you have to be very short with your writing, having the ability to explain something in a few words…

While my style is long and in-depth (if you couldn’t tell by this article), so website content has never been my thing.

With that said, there’s always new websites being created so there will always be a high demand for

website copywriters

But on top of this, I’ve noticed that a lot of people try web content for themselves at first, then after seeing how their website isn’t getting any conversions…

They’ll usually reach out to a website copywriter, and by that time they’re likely an established company, so you can charge a pretty penny t

   

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