How much money can I make as a content writer?

Published: November 28, 2020 at 10:00 am

Last Updated on February 8, 2021 at 6:06 am

Have you ever wondered how much money a content writer can make? In this article, professional content writer Smriti explains what to expect as a content writer and how to earn a regular income from it. Content writing is a powerful tool to attract potential clients to your business or service. Quality content writers are in good demand. Many major websites, including this one work with regularly work with content writers.

About the author: Smriti is a freelance content writer and an avid reader. She quit her six-year-long IT career to embrace her love for writing. She writes content across genres and takes pride in her ability to research and carve magic with words. Over her six years of content writing experience, she has developed a knack for technical and digital marketing content. She also passionately writes about parenting and is currently working on her book. When not writing or reading, she can be seen running behind any of her two kids or learning Deutsch.

Smritis is the lead author of this extremely popular book that I edited: How to profit from content writing

Are you thinking of breaking free from the monotony of 9-hour office. Or, you want to follow your passion for writing? No? none of these? Perhaps you are here because times are tough and you want to earn? Earn some extra income?

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Well, that makes sense. With “Content is King” written all over the web, it is only natural to think of content writing as a money mine. And why not? Instagram is full of fantastic travel pictures from people who claim to be digital nomads. Most of us have envied those people popping on our feed, featuring in blogs, writing an article while chilling on a beach in Bangkok and next we know is they are photographing the pyramids in Egypt.

Many of us have secretly dreamt of this life. I am no exception. When I first started as a content writer about eight years ago, I was just after that extra buck to buy a new top to wear to work on a Friday (yay! Casuals). But then I was doing a full-time job, and I needed to know “how much money can I earn online”. I looked up online, and there wasn’t a clear answer. Some blogs said I could make it to a multi-million-dollar business and some said it would be just sufficient for a part-time gig.

Well, I dived in to get an idea. Eight years later, content writing is the only thing I do to make money. I am writing this blog for you to understand what to expect as a content writer.

There isn’t a fixed number that you can expect on your bank statement every month, but you can expect a good income if you invest yourself diligently into it.

Below, I have tried to answer some questions regarding content writing as a career:

Is there serious money in content writing?

The short answer is yes. But if you ask me whether there is easy money in content writing? Then no. It isn’t easy if you lack the requisite skillset and commitment.

Are you serious about working? If yes, there is serious money in content writing. Let us face it. No career, howsoever fancy it may seem, will pay you without putting in efforts.

Content writing groups on Facebook and LinkedIn are full of people who think of content writing as easy money. They aren’t ready to do long articles, adhere to guidelines or follow basic rules of grammar, but they want advance payment.

Back in 2018, when I was looking for some writers to work on a project for me, I interviewed a few from these groups, over Facebook messenger. One question that I asked everyone was, why do you write content? Here are some answers I received:

  • I am passionate about write.
  • I want to work from home.
  • My friend earns, I can too earn

Well, this not a poorly proofread blog. This is exactly how some answers were worded. I know that English is just a language and isn’t a metric of intellect, but we all should know that language expertise is a basic skill for content writing. You are not required to write prose at par with Shakespeare, but you are required to write clear and error-free sentences.

And you cannot earn if you are in it only because you want to work from home. That is just one of the perks of this career. Many people do not find that a perk either (you know what I mean if you have kids or nosy neighbours 😉)

So, the money you earn is directly proportional to the effort you put in.

How many hours should I work per day to earn money as a content writer?

When I say, the amount of money earned is directly proportional to the effort put in, that doesn’t equate to a fixed number of hours.

There are other aspects of earning being a content writer than just writing on a word document. You also need to build an online presence, create a portfolio, talk to clients (and negotiate with them! Phew!) and keep reading to improve your skills. Smartly allocate time to each of these tasks and work according to your capacity.

I normally spend an average of 1 hour per day on networking with clients, bidding for projects etc. I write for nearly 3-4 hours per day, spend some time interacting on online forums and read whenever I find free time.

How are content writers paid?

There are several types of agreements and will vary according to your and your client’s preferences. You could bill your clients per hour of work that you put in, per content piece or word. Some clients are also more comfortable with a periodic salary structure (I do not recommend this unless you are sure of the amount of work they will require in a specified period)

This also depends on the type of content the project requires. I, for instance, mostly work on the per-word model. But, if I am writing product descriptions that are usually very short, this model isn’t financially viable for me. This is because short content is a lot more effort-intensive than long-form content. Also, writing thought-provoking articles or creative content cannot be billed the same as article rewording jobs.

So, I have a diverse rate card based on the type of content. I suggest you create one too.

Will quoting a lower price, bag me more assignments?

Mmmm… Sometimes, yes. But this isn’t healthy for your business, the industry or the client. Never sell yourself short. If you charge low for your skills, you will soon be disappointed because your earnings will not justify the efforts you put in. As a result, the quality of work will suffer. It will also create unrealistic expectations from other writers in the industry. Stick to industry standards, and if you are good at your job, work will eventually flow in.

How much can I earn being a content writer?

So, we are back at it. Back when I started content writing, I did accept meagerly paid projects. As a result, I worked nearly 5 hours each on Saturdays and Sundays and earned barely 8-10k a month.

I was disappointed and had no confidence to quit the IT job that frustrated me to no bounds but paid decently. I also quit content writing for about 1.5 years in between.

Later, when I was on a maternity break, I started again. And there was no looking back, I quit my job, and now content writing is my only source of income.

If per word projects are what you are seeking, do not go lower than 40p/word for general content and 60p/word for tech content. As you work more and build a portfolio, you can hike your rates.

A new content writer can earn about Rs. 25,000 a month or Rs. three lakh a year. They need to dedicate a fair amount of time doing the tasks I mentioned above. Once you get the hang of it and become more proficient, the sky is the limit.

I will write more about all you need to know to make content writing a full-fledged career. Till then, make up your mind and get ready.

If you are an entrepreneur or businessperson looking to increase online visibility and more business via content writing; if you are a content writer wanting to learn how to write articles that make a difference; if you are a blogger trying to get more views and eventually an income from your website; if you are a salaried person looking for a side-income, you can consider joining our new course Earn from Skills. More than 520 members have already signed up for it consuming the 10+ hours of content.

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Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
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