Many freelance writers face three major issues: talent, finding clients, and scaling a business. I can’t teach you how to write content, but I can pool the best freelancers together to share what worked for them so you can learn from their processes.
You’ll find recommended courses and books in the guide if you want to upskill. If you’re struggling to find clients, take a peep into how 6-figure freelancers find consistent gigs. And if you’re on the fence about scaling or moving from freelancer to agency owner, learn from those who’ve done it successfully.
For hiring managers looking to hire writing talent, I’ve tried to provide more context instead of the generic “best of” list that exists out there. I’m hoping that by digging into the stories of these freelancers and sharing bits of their processes, you can make informed decisions.
Looking to hire a freelance SEO copywriter or content writer? Start with these amazing folks
Chima Mmeje – SaaS Content Marketer, Strategist & Writer
A bit about me.
I’m a content marketer, strategist, and writer. Re: signal called me a changemaker in SEO. I was listed in Semrush’s top 100 influencers in content marketing and one of the best SEO experts by North Star Inbound. I’m a full-circle expert in content marketing, including building content briefs, writing long-form authoritative content, and optimizing for search. I work with product-led software companies like Semrush, Wix, Remitly, and Guru.
When I’m not writing SEO-optimized copy, I enjoy cooking or baking complicated dishes that take hours to complete. For some weird reason, it helps me relax.
Why should you hire content writers with SEO experience?
- Understands how search works
You get the best of both worlds when you hire an SEO copywriter. I know how to write engaging content that solves problems and optimize content for search engines to crawl and rank your web pages. Also, it’s easier to OWN SERP real estate like People Also Ask and Featured Snippet when you have a writer that can optimize for Google SERP features.
- Rank for related keywords
Adding semantic entities enriches your content with relevant words and phrases competitors use when discussing the topic, making it easier for search engines to rank your content. The difference between me and AI is that I can add entities naturally in the blog content (like I’ve been doing) without making them stick out like a sore thumb.
- SEO copywriters can write
People hear “SEO copywriting” and assume it’s content written to trick search engine bots, but that’s not true. The content I create is human first and search second. SEO copywriters write content that provides value, answers a question, and ensures the user is completely satisfied.
- Cut down publishing time
There are three stages of writing great content that ranks on SERP consistently. The first part is planning, where keyword research and content briefs happen. Next, you have writing and on-page optimization stages. You can hire me to handle the entire content creation process instead of having different people complete each step.
- Human-first approach
If you’re using AI to write content, think of the time you’ll waste fact-checking every line of text because machines don’t follow the same code of ethics humans do. Also, they lack empathy, sensitivity, and the emotional element that makes us human. AI is excellent for many things but sucks at generating empathy-filled content.
We’re moving from content for the sake of it to content that stands out because it features experts your audience trusts. Currently, it’s not achievable with AI content that is often generic and lacks personality. You get the human approach when you hire me to write deeply researched content that features subject-matter experts and is filled with empathy for the user’s problems.
How do you become an SEO copywriter?
I will use my journey as an example to answer this question. I was already a copywriter but wanted to niche as an SEO content writer. So, I took the HubSpot Inbound Marketing course, a free resource that taught me the basics of clustering and other content strategy techniques.
Next, I changed my job description on social media and rewrote my website copy to reflect that I offered SEO content writing services. Repetition is the first and most important step in building authority.
I learned a lot about on-page SEO from reading blogs like Search Engine Journal and Content Marketing Institute.
However, blogs can only teach you so much if you’re not implementing on the go. So, I built my website and used it as a testing ground to see what worked, how long it took, and what could be improved. If something worked on my website repeatedly, I added it to my process and used it on clients’ projects for great results.
More results, more clients, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The first step is to call yourself the thing you want others to call you
The second step is to upskill so you can deliver results
The third step is to change your bio everywhere to reflect what you now call yourself
How much do freelance SEO copywriters make?
There’s no one size fit rate card for all SEO copywriters. However, a decent rate for SEO copywriters starts from $150 on the low end to $2 per word on the high end. I started out charging between $50 to $100 as a minimum price for copy in 2019 and scaled up to $200 by the end of the year. Towards the end of 2020, I had more confidence in my skill set and charged $600. By February 2021, I was charging $900, and increased my rate to $1 per word by August 2021.
Pricing is unique to every writer, and it’s got more to do with confidence than skillset.
Here are a few tips for setting freelance copywriting rates:
Ask peers: I’m a big fan of talking about money publicly because if you don’t know, how will you grow? Knowing what your peers charge indicates whether you need to raise your rates.
Increase your rates as you skill up: The more SEO and content skills you acquire, the higher your pricing to reflect your talent.
Raise your rate when fully booked: Getting fully booked out is a dream for most freelancers. Before redirecting potential clients, send them a new rate card with 20%-40% higher pricing and see who bites. You’ve got nothing to lose; If they can’t afford your new pricing, refer them to other content writers within their budget.
Fiona Campbell-Howes – B2B Tech Content Writer
Fiona Campbell-Howes is a freelance B2B tech content writer specializing in blogs, ebooks, white papers, case studies, and other long-form content. She has worked agency-side, in-house, and spent 12 years building her B2B tech writing agency, Radix Communications, which she founded in 2007 and sold in 2020. Fiona has written for brands like AWS, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, Salesforce, and Slack.
You’ve written content for some of the largest brands in the world, including Google and Salesforce. How did you reach a point where it was easy to attract dream clients?
I got my first job in the tech industry in 1996 at age 25, working as an account admin in a tech PR agency with clients like IBM, Compaq, Sharp, and Sybase.
Soon I was promoted to account exec, and after a while, I moved to a bigger London agency where I managed the Oracle account. During that time, I discovered writing was something I was good at. So, when I first went freelance in 1999, I had the skills, industry knowledge, and contacts to get a good stream of writing work. B2B tech marketing is a tight-knit sector, and good reputations travel fast, so those first roles and contacts set me up for my whole career.
Most of my work for the largest tech brands came through B2B agencies like Velocity Partners in London, Workspace 1 in Leicester, and The Oval Office in Amsterdam rather than directly. I’ve only recently stopped working with agencies to focus on direct clients.
Given your experience and success as a tech content writer, what qualities make you an asset to these brands?
I think I’m a good writer, which helps. But writing is at most 50% of what makes me valuable to my clients. The rest is being easy to work with, taking a collaborative approach with the client, making them feel supported, and not being afraid to ask questions and challenge the status quo when appropriate. In addition, I’ve developed good subject matter interviewing skills over the years, which helps to bring out original angles and showcase the client’s expertise.
You write thought-leadership content for your clients. How do you prove the ROI of your content writing services?
This will sound strange, but I’ve never been asked to prove the ROI of my writing. My clients tend to use me for content intended to raise the brand’s profile or position them as thought leaders on a given topic. In 26 years, I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a project that’s been measured on conversions or search ranking. I often ask new clients how they intend to measure the success of the content, and they rarely have a definitive answer.
Lily Ugbaja – Content Strategist
Lily Ugbaja is a content marketer overseeing marketing efforts such as strategy, execution, and distribution for SaaS brands and service providers. Her work has generated millions in revenue for clients like WordPress, HubSpot, and Zapier. During breaks, you can find her playing with her kids, over-analyzing movies, or writing her newsletter Marketing Cyborg.
When did you realize you could make a career out of content marketing?
The moment I realized that I could make content marketing my career was when a leading SaaS company in the CRO space reached out. They saw a guest post I wrote to promote my blog on Blogging Wizard and wanted to hire me full-time. So, I worked as a freelance writer for them, and it just snowballed.
What’s your secret for attracting high-paying clients consistently without posting regularly on social media?
Doing a great job and making genuine connections. If there’s one thing my clients say, it’s that I go above and beyond with the work I do. I remember taking one month to write a piece when the pay was only $1,500. But that blog post contributed over $2m in revenue for the client and became the deal closer for many of my contracts.
The second thing is reaching out to people I admire (like you!). Some of my biggest deals have come from relationships that were at least six months old.
Bani Kaur – B2B SaaS and Fintech Writer
Bani Kaur is a B2B freelance writer for brands like CXL, Klaviyo, Litmus, and Sprout Social, where she writes furtively (seriously, keys flying, coffee spilling) about the software world. She spends 50 hours a month with technology companies strategizing to scale operations, expand into new geographies, and fast-track sales. Bani specializes in long-form, research-intensive writing like whitepapers, ebooks, and exhaustive ultimate guides.
Was there a specific moment when you decided to niche in SaaS content marketing?
Yes. I worked as an editor at an online publication spending four hours a day on manual tasks I believed could be automated. So, I got a software engineer to build a tool that automated the task.
That’s when I realized I enjoyed working on automation solutions, and the SaaS industry paid me to write about it.
You live in India and work with large brands like CXL, Klaviyo, and Litmus. What advice would you give freelance writers in developing countries aiming to work with similar companies?
Don’t pitch your dream clients six months into your career. When you apply to (or even riskier, cold pitch) an expert-level opportunity with a beginner-intermediate level skill, you risk a terrible and powerful first impression.
Do this instead:
Improve your craft and work on it every day. Talk to people working with brands you’d like to write for. Learn from their work, compliment them on their achievements, and analyze what the brand does best. Aim to create a human connection while researching the brand and waiting for an opportunity.
When the opportunity to work with them presents itself (and it will), impress them with your homework on the brand and your skill.
What are some essential elements you include in a content brief?
A few elements that I include in a content brief are:
- Content summary describing what the post talks about
- Target audience
- Client goal
- What happens after the user reads the content
- Search intent
- Stage of the funnel
- Product features and benefits to highlight
- Internal and external links
Maddy French – Founder of the Blogsmith Content Agency
Maddy French is the bestselling author of “Writing for Humans and Robots: The New Rules of Content Style.” Maddy’s efforts as CEO and Founder of The Blogsmith Content Agency earned her a spot in Semrush’s and BuzzSumo’s Top 100 Content Marketers and The Write Life’s 100 Best Websites for Writers. In addition, she has spoken for audiences at WordCamp US, SearchCon, and Denver Startup Week. The Blogsmith works with B2B technology clients, including HubSpot, Klaviyo, Automattic, Wix, and iPullRank.
You’ve worked with tons of freelance writers. What are some exceptional qualities the best freelance content writers have?
Assuming they’re decent writers with industry knowledge, dependability is the next most important thing. That may not sound exceptional — but it is. The best freelance writers I’ve worked with meet deadlines and communicate with time to spare if they have reason to think they can’t meet a given deadline. It’s amazing how many writers fail our first paid test on the way to writing for The Blogsmith, which involves meeting a reasonable deadline.
Another rare but essential quality involves respectfully pushing back against a brief if research and initial writing efforts reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of the topic (as a result, misdirected keyword research) or incorrect assumptions made during brief creation by the client or us. I’d rather work with writers who challenge the status quo than quietly accept it and produce a less useful piece.
What are your best techniques for generating quality leads for your content writing services?
Our success in getting new business comes down to making existing clients happy. Our best leads are referrals from existing clients or editors we’ve worked with who move on to new organizations. Relationship building is a must in this industry. Aim to underpromise and overdeliver for best results.
It’s worth mentioning that I used to do sales at Groupon, where I learned how to be effective — the hard way. So, I encourage new freelance writers to learn sales on another company’s dime before turning their freelance efforts into full-time jobs.
After writing content, what does optimization look like?
Optimization is a part of the process from start to finish. Armed with a brief (created by the client or us), we start keyword research before writing a word. We love Frase for briefing content research and Clearscope as part of optimizing content during the outlining, drafting, and editing stages.
Uploading content to a content management system (CMS) is another important piece for on-page SEO success. The Blogsmith shares content deliverables with all relevant details for effective on-page SEO.
What are some mistakes content managers should avoid when hiring freelance content writers?
Without solid processes, you’ll have trouble scaling content. So, start with a solid plan around your hiring process, onboarding, and training. Hiring external team members also means communicating your needs effectively and how you want your brand represented. As such, you should have a detailed written and visual style guide, an editorial calendar, briefs, and other supporting content materials for writers to quickly and effectively get up to speed.
Nia Gyant – Freelance Marketing and Martech Writer
Nia Gyant is a self-taught content writer and copywriter (est. in 2015) focusing on product-led content that drives traffic, leads, and conversions. Nia has written for WordStream, LOCALiQ, Zapier, GatherContent, and other popular brands in marketing and Martech. When she’s not writing for Omniscient Digital (the content agency she went from freelance to full-time), she helps fellow freelance writers improve their businesses and skills.
Can you describe your experience working with content agencies in your early days?
Earlier in my career, I worked with mediocre agencies that paid pennies. They didn’t have processes or standards and sold clients the most generic SEO content. So, when you’ve had that experience, good agencies stand out.
I’ve been privileged to work with a few agencies that cared about their work. That care translated into thorough and thoughtful processes to get results. As someone entirely self-taught, these collaborations played a significant role in verifying if I was on the right track and shaping my approach to the work.
Is this route ideal for new freelance copywriters?
I wouldn’t necessarily say “ideal,” but there can be some advantages. For example, agencies often provide consistent work, which is helpful for new freelancers. They can provide insight into strategy and writing processes that inform workflows for independent clients. Also, agencies allow writers to collaborate with skilled editors.
But there can be downsides as well, such as tight deadlines. Or, in some cases, a lower cap on what you can charge than if you were working directly with clients.
I noticed that you shared some impressive client results on your website. How do you get clients to share content results with you?
While good agencies share results willingly, a proactive approach makes a difference. Asking early about current performance and goals reveals how transparent a potential client will be. If you end up working together, it sets the expectation that you will follow up on results.
You’ve written content for some of the top SaaS brands, including Wordstream. What essential step in your writing process makes you stand out?
I don’t know if I’d point to a specific step. My strength is covering all strategic bases without losing sight of the finer details (the actual writing). There are many moving parts to SEO writing that can make or break a piece, and it’s tough for writers to find balance.
I will add that asking questions is vital. When researching, many writers take the information presented at face value. But it’s important to ask what gaps, half-truths, or outright inaccuracies exist in those sources. Also, be curious about your knowledge gaps since filling them will clarify your topic for readers.
Afoma Umesi – Freelance B2B Tech Writer & Editor for Martech/SaaS Brands
Afoma Umesi is a freelance writer and editor for mar-tech brands and marketing agencies. She’s worked with companies like ConvertKit, GatherContent, and Hotjar. When she’s not tapping away at her keyboard, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen or buried in the pages of a good book.
You’re a content writer and an editor. Is this a dual skill every freelance SEO writer should have?
I don’t think so. While both skills intersect to an extent, it’s okay to be a writer or editor. However, writers should have basic self-editing skills such as grammar knowledge and write clearly with minimum friction for the reader.
What specific steps did you take to hone your editorial skills?
I read several insightful books about the mechanics of writing and editing (two of my favorites are William Zinsser’s On Writing Well and The Subversive Copyeditor by Carol Saller). However, doing the work had the most impact on my editing skills. I recommend working with an expert editor and studying their edits and comments. If you can, work with them as an intern or subcontractor and ask the editor to review your edits. I’m constantly growing as an editor because I work with other skilled editors.
Bylines in articles are essential for freelance writers. What’s your strategy for getting bylines?
When I first got into B2B writing, I targeted brands offering guest posting slots. Sites like Zapier, Primo Stats, Harlow, and even some marketing agencies are often open to guest posts, and it’s a fantastic way to get your foot in the door. However, you have to pitch a strong topic to be accepted.
Ashley R. Cummings – Freelance Writer Specializing in SaaS, eCommerce, and Marketing
Ashley R. Cummings is a freelance writer and the CMO of Reading With RIK. She writes for eCommerce SaaS tools and has worked with clients like Shopify, LinkedIn, Hashtagpaid, and Salesforce.
You’re a freelance writer for eCommerce and SaaS companies. Are there similarities in both niches that make it easy?
There is a lot of cross-over between my eCommerce and SaaS clients. I also have several clients that provide SaaS tools for eCommerce businesses. For example, Shopify is one of my clients. Hashtagpaid, a creator marketing tool, is another client. I often write about eCommerce marketing trends that apply across both niches.
Does your research process differ when writing for eCommerce vs. SaaS companies?
I follow the same research process when writing for eCommerce and SaaS companies. I also keep a constant pulse on what is happening with eCommerce and tech trends, which makes it easier to conduct research in both niches.
How do you set your pricing for freelance writing, and how frequently do you increase your rates?
I started freelancing 12 years ago by writing penny-per-word SEO articles, which wasn’t glamorous. I didn’t stay at this rate very long, but I think it’s too low, even for new freelance writers. I raise my prices based on client-budget, market rates, and experience. I also raise my rates if I am offering more value. For example, I provide built-in SEO optimization with Clearscope, third-party editing, and more.
Kerry Campion – Content Marketer and SEO Copywriter
Kerry Campion is an SEO copywriter, content marketer, and the founder of God Save the SERP. She has worked with clients like Create and Elate Productions, Iceberg RevOps, and Just Sell Homes. When she’s not knee-deep in Semrush or Google Search Console data, you can find her wandering the woods with her German Shepherd, Kira.
What did you do before content marketing?
I briefly worked in communications and PR before working full-time as an English teacher. I traveled around Europe teaching English and settled in Spain, where I worked at a language academy, before going solo.
I started a blog and podcast about learning English for immigrants in Ireland, which fueled my interest in content marketing.
Did you work in-house before going freelance?
Nope, I went from freelance teacher to freelance copywriter directly.
Why did you become a freelance SEO copywriter?
I think it’s my love of blogging. I’d always been interested in writing and blogging, and when I found out about SEO, it seemed like a natural progression because you want as many readers as possible to find you.
I worked with an SEO specialist who was the first to call me an SEO copywriter, which gave me the confidence to call myself an SEO copywriter.
How do you find clients?
Initially, I found clients on Instagram because I worked with many coaches and service providers. I’ve also leveraged copywriting groups, Twitter, my website, and referrals. I want to explore cold emailing in the future, as I think it’s a great way to work with brands that align with your ideal client avatar.
One of the biggest challenges freelancers face is staying booked for months. Any advice on how to get past this problem?
“Head down, chop wood, and trees will fall.” In other words, keep putting yourself out there, make connections (especially with other writers and designers), and believe in yourself.
I found many opportunities by being a human to other humans and talking with them. Nobody is coming to save you; if you don’t show up, the opportunities won’t either.
I advise joining an active copywriting community because other writers are my biggest source of referrals.
Ayomide Joseph – B2B SaaS Content Writer
Ayomide Joseph is a freelance SaaS content writer & strategist for MarTech and CyberSecurity companies. He has worked with clients like Nutshell CRM, Aura, Edgemesh Corp, Ganttic, and DCKAP. He enjoys playing video games and using no-code tools to build websites and apps in his spare time.
What are some qualities that help you attract SaaS companies?
My attention to detail and ability to weave SaaS products into content without sounding “salesy” has been my primary selling point. Additionally, my copywriting and design experience is handy as I help clients with messaging and give advice on their content’s visual experience.
Is there anything that could improve the client-freelancer partnership?
Clear and direct communication is the first step to a profitable freelancer-client relationship. It ensures that there are no assumptions about the project requirements which could affect outcomes.
Conversely, when clients and freelancers communicate correctly, the project is successful, and everyone is happy.
What are some red flags you look for when working with SaaS clients?
- Multiple revision requests (over three revisions)
- Constantly exceeding the due date for invoice payments
- Requesting extra work without pay
- Doesn’t respect work boundaries and personal space
Althea Storm – SEO Content Writer for B2B SaaS Brands
Althea Storm is a B2B SaaS writer specializing in data-driven content that increases traffic and conversions for small startups and large businesses. She has worked with companies like AdEspresso, HubSpot, Aura, and Thinkific. When not writing web content, she’s curled up in a chair reading a crime thriller or watching an old movie.
You’ve had consistent growth as a freelance SEO content writer. What’s your secret to success?
I’ve got two secrets:
Upskilling: Improving your skills is crucial to growing your career and landing dream clients. These companies require a high-level skillset that only some writers possess. Also, upskilling helps you increase your client offering and income.
Audacity: I learned this from you, so thank you. I’ve found that many writers think they’re not good enough, and that mindset prevents them from applying to dream roles. Over time, I’ve learned to go for what I want, and it’s a pleasant surprise when the client asks for a test project or hires me based on my writing samples.
Have you struggled with finding clients in the past? How did you overcome it?
Yes, when I was starting, I searched for gigs on Problogger Job boards, and 99% of the time, I didn’t find any freelance writing jobs. I got tired of that approach and decided to upskill through courses and copywriting books.
Next, I found a mentor who helped me improve my writing, and when I was confident in my skillset, I cold-pitched prospective clients. Finally, I got on LinkedIn and followed the Heads of Content and Editors at companies I wanted to work with. When I saw a LinkedIn post advertising for writers, I applied immediately.
You live In Nigeria and work remotely with clients around the world. Do you think living in Nigeria as a freelance writer is a disadvantage?
Yes and no. At the start of my career, I struggled to get clients because they assumed I was a fraudster or couldn’t speak (or write) English.
Some hiring managers distrust writers who are Black and live in an African country. So I wrote under a pseudonym to combat this issue. However, as time passed, my work gained traction, and it was easier to find freelance writing gigs. My employers know I am Nigerian, and they are okay with it.
If you have a great portfolio, most companies don’t care where you’re from as long as you deliver outstanding work.
You’ve worked with large SaaS companies. How did you find them?
LinkedIn is powerful and effective for generating qualified leads and landing dream clients. Some clients reach out to me directly on LinkedIn. Other times I find work by pitching to prospects or applying to job postings on social media.
Liam Carnahan – Content Strategist, SEO Copywriter, and Coach
Liam Carnahan is an SEO specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. He offers coaching and mentorship for SEO freelancers through his SEO Bridge Builders program and provides SEO consultation and strategy for businesses through his company, Inkwell Content. Liam is a digital nomad and is always on the road, but you can reach him through his website or follow him on social media.
SEO copywriting often gets a bad reputation. Why is that?
I think there are two reasons for this:
First, there are many SEO scammers out there. Because SEO seems ambiguous, some people use smoke and mirrors to keep their SEO retainers going. For example, one client told me she was paying over $1,000 monthly for a list of 10 keywords. However, when I looked into the list she was getting, the keywords didn’t have search volume. That’s a scam.
Regarding SEO copywriting, people assume you must sacrifice creativity to please search algorithms. There’s some truth to that, but only if you’re not doing SEO properly.
Google’s algorithm rewards high-quality, helpful writing. You can be creative, have a unique perspective, and break the rules while meeting good SEO practices. Following SEO guidelines helps you create digestible, well-structured content for your audience.
Is SEO writing the same as content writing? Where does SEO writing stand out?
Ah, the age-old debate. I believe that SEO writing is one of many types of writing under the “content umbrella.” Content writing covers many writing formats with little to do with SEO, like creating emails, conversion-based landing pages, or downloadable ebooks.
When working on SEO writing specifically, your mission is to create or upgrade existing content to perform better.
You’re an editor as well as a writer. What are some common mistakes freelance content writers make?
In the fiction editing world, there’s a phrase you hear a lot: “Murder your darlings.” It means writers must sacrifice the characters and plot lines they love deeply for the novel’s sake.
This phrase applies to freelance content writers, too, though in this case, the “darlings” are words, phrases, and sections that don’t serve the overall purpose of the article.
When self-editing, I often delete two-thirds of the introduction, even if I had fun writing it, because readers just want to get to the point.
Take self-editing seriously if you want to improve as a freelance content writer. Use an hour, if not more, after you finish a first draft before you return to edit it. Then, look at the piece from 1,000 feet up, and get out the axe.
What steps did you take to become a consistent 6-figure SEO copywriter?
Unfortunately, I took the long route to become a 6-figure SEO copywriter because I started in 2008 when the industry was still a baby.
But if we skip past the decade I spent learning my craft in agencies (which you can now do much faster through online courses and training), you can boil down my freelance journey like this:
Step 1: Speak with other freelancers who were already making bank to ask for their advice and get a boost in confidence.
Step 2: Hire a business coach (I got one for free through my local government) to help me determine my long-term goals and strategy.
Step 3: Build a website showcasing my services so I have somewhere to point people. My first website was a one-pager with my email address. It didn’t have to be perfect – that would come over the next few months as I continually updated it.
Step 4: Start building my network by posting on LinkedIn daily (I did that for three months), following and interacting with many people on Twitter, and joining some freelance-focused Slack channels.
Step 5: I refined my processes with each new client to earn more money. I made better service offerings, got confidence in providing bigger and better quotes, and had more results and testimonials to improve my value.
John Iwuozor – Content Strategist and Writer for Cybersecurity and SaaS Companies
John Iwuozor is a freelance writer and content strategist who provides engaging content for Cybersecurity and B2B SaaS brands. He has written for Forbes Advisor, Progress Telerik, Esecurityplanet, and Tripwire. John enjoys playing chess and exploring new domains when he’s not hanging out on LinkedIn.
You came into your own in 2022, and it’s been milestone after milestone. What specific steps helped you scale successfully?
First, I worked on my mindset. To scale my income, I had to believe I was worth more and should not settle for less.
Next, I reconsidered my brand and core offerings. I realized that the only way to stand out was to identify a profitable niche and build authority. So, I created a professional freelance website and started using LinkedIn to publicly share my progress, results, mistakes, and lessons.
The next step was upskilling by taking SEO writing and strategy courses like the 10x Topic Authority Course. Then, I attended webinars like the FCDC Expert Series, built genuine relationships with the best freelancers, studied my favorite LinkedIn creators’ content, and leveraged SEO content tools. Thanks to The Freelance Coalition for Developing Countries (FCDC), I got access to some of these resources for free.
What are your biggest challenges as a freelancer?
The biggest challenges include rejections, imposter syndrome, and a mindset of lack. I struggled because it made me feel like an imposter swindling clients.
For example, my confidence nosedived when I increased my writing rates from $25 to $50 per article in my first year, and the client dropped me. One year later, I’m turning down prospects who would have loved to work with me for 5X that rate.
Do US-based freelance content writers and strategists have more location advantages?
Yes, they do. Most freelance gigs require applicants to be remote but live in the US or UK because of time zone, more manageable payment options, and location-specific culture. So, I’ve learned to focus on finding amazing clients who value skills and efficiency over location.
What is your superpower as a SaaS SEO copywriter?
I started writing with a data science background, making it easy to niche in technical fields like cybersecurity, SaaS, MarTech, and artificial intelligence. However, hiring managers in these industries struggle to find technical writers with SEO expertise, which I leverage.
Brooklin Nash – Co-Founder of Beam Content
Brooklin co-founded Beam Content, a B2B marketing agency focused on content that starts with conversations. He freelanced for eight years before starting Beam in 2022 with two co-founders. Now he’s excited to learn new things as they grow the team and work with cool clients.
You’re that rare breed of freelancer who transitioned seamlessly into managing an agency. Did you learn anything as a freelance writer that helped you run a content agency?
I don’t know if “seamlessly” is accurate, but we’re working on it. I learned that the more expertise you can offer on one particular thing, whether it’s SEO strategy, landing page copy, or case studies, the more valuable you are to potential clients. Also, being a great freelance writer doesn’t just mean writing good content. It also means clear communication and on-time deliverables.
You have high-paying clients all year round. Why do you think clients are attracted to you?
It stems from what I mentioned above. Apart from writing content for our clients, we help them with topic ideation, interviews, outlines, and more. In a phrase, we clarified what we work on and don’t.
What are some qualities you look for when hiring a freelance content writer?
- Unique, engaging writing—starting with the introduction
- Clear communication and organization
- Personality, in calls and their emails
Roshni Shaikh – SaaS Conversion Strategist and Copywriter
Roshni Shaikh is a SaaS conversion strategist & copywriter. She helps SaaS businesses to increase organic traffic, convert free trials into paying users and retain existing customers with lifecycle product marketing.
Very few copywriters are good at content writing. How did you develop a versatile skillset?
First, I started as a generalist content writer, which helped with my writing experience. Then, I saved enough money and purchased Copy School by Copyhackers. Copy School taught me a sophisticated copywriting process that applies to any writing project, including B2B SaaS writing.
You’re good at writing conversion assets. What are some essential elements to include when writing conversion copy?
Conversion copy combines empathetic messages that connect with the reader on many levels. It appeals to their layered personality. Good conversion copywriters:
Lead with VoC data and user research because 80% of good conversion copy comes from research.
Identify and highlight desired outcomes through product features while addressing the buying triggers and the drivers behind why people seek these outcomes in the first place.
Follow the rule of ONE, where the copy is written for one person, with one goal in mind and one desired action for the reader.
Extract dealbreaker needs, unique benefits, and advantages to move the reader and persuade them to take action.
Back every copy with ample social proof, such as data, testimonials, customer quotes, and case studies.
Eliminate fear of loss through social proof. Build support layers to prove your claims and establish credibility and trust.
Write ultra-specific copy and avoid boilerplate copy like the one the current AI writing tools spit out.
Make logical arguments to mitigate stress and tackle objections and barriers to conversions. Also, address the reader’s uncertainties, perceived risks, and skepticism.
What are your best tips for writing SEO-optimized web copy?
Write for humans first, and optimize for search engines later – without compromising your prospect’s brand experience and buying journey. I also follow the RISCOS framework for writing SEO web copy:
- Copywrite + Copyedit
- Optimize for SEO
- Split test
There’s a dark side to freelancing that we don’t talk about enough. The depression that accompanies feast or famine. Is this something you’ve experienced?
Before Covid, I was in a feast period. During Covid, my leads dried up as businesses slashed their marketing budgets overnight.
I started to second-guess everything I did and felt like it was all a fluke. I was applying for gigs on job posting websites but heard nothing back. Soon, my confidence plummeted due to rejections, and I felt like I wasn’t good enough.
But self-pity never solved any problems, so I contacted my past clients and partners asking for referrals, which paid off. My portfolio and referrals helped me get back up with new projects.
However, I didn’t lower my prices or take up low-paying gigs because:
- Low-paying clients demand the sun and the moon for the price of peanuts.
- In three years, I’d grown my freelance rates from $2 to $500 per blog post. It didn’t happen because “I started charging my worth.” Instead, it happened because my work produced tangible results. So there was no point low-balling when the ROI was clear.
- I made the mistake of slashing my prices once and regretted it. To give 101% on a project, the price must be right.
The Best Freelance SEO Copywriters and Content Writers Have Several Things In Common
If you’ve made it this far, you may have noticed some common themes among these writers. They are niche specialists who have built expertise working for specific clients. They took courses, worked in agencies, and honed their craft before charging a premium.
If you’re looking to hire a freelance writer, experience isn’t enough. Look for someone with expertise in your industry who understands product storytelling, SEO best practices, and empathy. These core principles ensure your content gains authority, makes the reader happy, and ranks on search engines.
For those looking for the secret of success, it doesn’t exist. It takes time to grow a network, build a personal brand, polish your writing skill, and work your way to the top. The real question is, are you resilient enough to stick it out until the results happen?