Time to get one thing straight about what it means to get paid to write…
When you get paid to write, you are not just cranking out text. You are not just stringing words together. You are creating intellectual property assets for your clients. Your clients will use what you create for content marketing – to inform and educate their customers and prospects, to build a connection with them, to capture mind share so these customers won’t even think about taking their business elsewhere.
Your clients aren’t buying an advertising spot that runs today and disappears tomorrow. They’re investing in an asset they can use over and over, even reforming and repurposing, to generate revenue. Writing fees are not an expense like office supplies or utilities – they’re an investment in the construction of a valuable sales funnel.
I’ve been at this for more than eight years now.
It’s possible the market has changed, but I suspect it’s more that my understanding of what it means to get paid to write has evolved alongside my skills, portfolio, and confidence. How businesses use content has changed dramatically, too, causing a huge surge in demand for great content.
In 2005, most of my clients came from Guru. They were mostly Internet marketers needing vast quantities of articles (I can’t even count how many articles my team wrote on the topic of custom t-shirts). We’d get lists of hundreds of long-tail keywords and start writing articles.
Marketing writing services to small businesses was slow going. Many business owners were still skeptical that this whole “web thing” would take off. They seemed hopeful that the Internet was a fad they could ignore because it would probably go away. Many thought they had no use for professionally-written content. They didn’t publish articles or press releases. They couldn’t fathom using a book in their marketing. They certainly didn’t blog or do video marketing. Forget about autoresponders and broadcast emails. White papers and case studies seemed like something only big corporations produced. Maybe they had a newsletter, but even that was a whole different animal back then. “Content marketing” was like a flux capacitor.
By 2010, it was different.
Local business owners woke up to the fact that the Internet wasn’t going anywhere soon. They began to realize that advertising in the phone book wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
Local online marketing was starting to really take off. The number of SEO firms exploded. Content marketing became the darling tactic for getting high search engine placement, website traffic, and ultimately more customers. It didn’t seem to matter what sort of content was getting churned out – as long as the keywords were in there, it seemed to help rankings.
And it worked – until Google shrugged.
Panda and Penguin updates smacked sites silly – the ones that were using crap content, especially. While it nearly crippled the burgeoning SEO industry (at least those who’d bought into the idea that you can game Google), the adjustment actually served to raise the bar in online marketing. Content should do more than attract traffic – it should earn its right to exist by offering value to readers who exchange minutes of their lives and in-demand brain space to read it.
It’s all about differentiation in a crowded market.
Every business in any particular niche is pretty much the same, on the surface. A dentist drills and fills. A chiropractor makes your back and body feel better. A roofer keeps your building dry. Software makes business run more efficiently and profitably.
Business owners know it’s not enough to be the best they can be – instead they’ve got to be the best choice for their customers. Content marketing makes it possible to communicate what makes them that best choice. They’ve got to offer a steady stream of information, an ongoing conversation about how their customers benefit from the products and services they sell, about what differentiates them from every other business out there. They’ve got to communicate in a way that increases their credibility, that calls to their ideal customer and reasonably compels their loyalty. They know they’re not the best choice for every potential customer out there – but they are for some, and they need to connect with that group – both for their own livelihood and for the benefit of those customers.
Content marketing does all that.
In my completely biased but unashamedly insistent opinion, content marketing is and always has been a huge part of what makes the commerce world go ’round. Even if it wasn’t always called that. Even if it’s been bastardized along the way. Even if some businesses still don’t completely see the elegance of the asset. Even if you’ve just been fishing in the wrong lake, and only catching clients who miss the boat when they set a value on the content they order.
It’s all about supply and demand.
Consumers, businesses, and search engines demand good content. They are ravenous for it. The more strategic and elite businesses out there are eager to invest in excellent content assets. They pay well. They appreciate and commission the creation of fine content. They treasure the opportunity to work with talented, knowledgeable, high-integrity content creators.
And that, my friends, is why I say there’s never been a better time to get paid to write.
If you know someone who’s been toying with the idea of learning how to get paid to write, I’d appreciate you pointing them in my direction. Coming soon is my fully updated and turbo-charged course that will lay out how talented writers can get paid to write for businesses.