How to Monetize Your Writing

monetize writing

Guest Contributor: Kayleigh Toyra

Always dreamt of earning money with the power of your pen?

Making money online through your writing skills is very rewarding, but you need to be committed to the hustle in order to succeed.

​It isn’t as easy as just sitting down with a coffee one fine morning and writing a best-selling ebook. In order to succeed as an online writer, you need to come up with sticky sales strategies, build up a credible brand, and constantly improve on your own expertise.

Here are some clever strategies and tips to help you (literally) make the most of your words.

So, what are my options then?

A writer wears many hats. Here are just some of the available career paths:

  •  Ghostwriter
  •  Digital copywriter
  •  Ad copywriter
  •  Blogger
  •  Content creator
  •  Ebook author
  •  B2B copywriter
  •  Journalist…

The list goes on! It pays off to specialize, but don’t get too obsessed with all the different job titles. It’s all about good writing.

​Learn how to sell with words

One of the most important skills you need to cultivate is your ability to convey sales messages in copy.

  • Selling online is very benefit-led. You need to be clear on how a service or product is going to benefit people, and then spell it out. Companies are often too shy in their copy, and can’t explain benefits in a compelling way. (That’s where a sales copywriter comes in). Get into the heads of your readers and customers and talk to them, human to human.
  • In order to be successful as a ghostwriter for brands, you need to be willing to get your hands dirty and really get to know what you’re selling. Interrogate the benefits and features from many angles and always focus on addressing customer questions.
  • The old heydays of ad copywriting still have much to teach us when it comes to selling with humor and emotions.Though the current online environment is much more about user language (rather than how many puns you can come up with); there is still a space for creativity and ingenuity. Learn when to take calculated risks – reach for the emotive ammo when you need to.
  • Online, it never hurts to learn as much as you can about the sales funnel. Investigate how design, color, and other online factors impact the number of sales and sign-ups.
  •  Direct response copywriting gets people to take a direct action, like sign up for a service or an email newsletter. The direct response approach works best on sales or landing pages. (Some copywriters offer themselves out as landing page and lead generation experts).

To earn money as a sales copywriter you will need to build up a client portfolio with a wide range of projects. Use your knowledge about selling client products to help you sell yourself!

​Start your own blog

By running your own blog you will learn how to build relationships, promote content, and build a cohesive brand. A blog is a great way to find new clients and it’s become central to many writers’ lead-generation strategies.

  • Your own blog is the best place to share your content. It’s a great place to test new things – try out new content formats and experiment with your writerly tone of voice on your own blog.
  • There are different ways that you could eventually monetize your blog – affiliate marketing, brand sponsorship, ads. But don’t start running your blog with a money-first attitude –  your ability to build a community will suffer. It’s better to focus on developing yourself as a writer first. The best types of blogs are frequently updated. You need to commit to providing fresh and insightful articles.
  • A blog will be an extension of your personal brand. Use it as a platform to explore what you want to tell the world.
  • Display your writer services, portfolio, and case studies on your blog for everyone to see. Develop a lead-generation strategy and look for potential customers amongst your readers.

Not convinced yet? Here are four more reasons to start your blog today!

​Develop your own writer brand

Clarify your own brand as a writer – it’s an invaluable marketing tool. Focus on the experience you are giving clients and make sure your messaging is compelling and up to date.

  • Have a keen understanding of what your clients are looking for. Do they find writing stressful? Is it something that they need in order to make more money? Why are they looking for a writer? What you sell is rarely just words – you are actually selling time, business growth and customers. Make sure your value proposition and brand are aligned with your customers’ goals.
  • Develop relationships with the people around you. Make your brand an open one and contribute to the online community positively.
  • As a writer, make sure that all the little details of your brand come together. Spend time perfecting emails and website footers to create that extra ‘wow’ factor.

​Build a list

It’s probably one of the most frequently quoted online marketing tactics, but an engaged email list is an amazing way to share knowledge, find new clients, and drive referrals. Here are five tips on how to build a good email list.  

  • An email list needs to be nurtured – you have to keep it constantly updated and offer emails with plenty of value. Focus on building relationships with your subscribers. You want them to look forward to your emails. Offer industry insights, tips, and hacks to help people lead better lives and businesses.
  • Your email list will be your first port of call when it comes to testing out a new project or direction. Use it as your sounding board and treat your subscribers like special VIPs.
  • An email list will give you a certain amount of independence. Don’t neglect list building in favor of more flashier growth tactics.

​Where are all my clients?

To make money as a writer, you need to prioritize client experience.

You rely on word of mouth recommendations, so make sure that clients have a great experience with you. Here are some top tips to help you keep clients happy:

  1. Be open about your current availability and their deadline. Nothing sours a relationship faster than late delivery.
  2. Learn how to talk to clients. You need to be friendly, yet assertive. Don’t sell yourself short.
  3. Communicate openly with clients. Frequent emails, updates, and phone calls will help them feel appreciated.
  4. Be professional. Using branded questionnaires and maintaining high professional standards will help clients remember you for all the right reasons.
  5. If you are on freelancer writer sites – invest in getting good client reviews and make sure that you keep your profile updated with your latest projects.

​How to ask for more money

One of the number one challenges that writer freelancers face is getting the right amount of money off people. It can be hard to ask for money (especially if you work with friends), and writing can be tricky to estimate and price.

  • Use proper invoices (try an app like Xero) to help you stay on top of clients. It gives you a much more professional profile, and will help you manage cash flow.
  • You need to learn how to price your time accurately. Writing is time consuming. Whether you are being paid per word, or per hour, make sure you are getting an amount that reflects the effort that you put in. Show clients how much time is being spent on a project to give them a clearer picture.
  • Be clear on expectations from day one, so that you don’t end up working extra and doing more than your share. Clarify how editing and feedback works – you can’t keep on working for free. (Here are some client feedback lessons you’ll want to hear).
  • If you are using freelancer sites, go for ones that value their writers and that give them good rates. Don’t participate in a race to the bottom, you won’t win!

​Run your own side hustles

When you first transition to becoming a writer online, you might need to get a bit creative with how you earn your money. Having online side hustles is a great way to tide you over during quiet periods, diversify your income, and teach you invaluable digital skills.

  • Passing on work to other writers and taking a management fee is a great way to help you scale if you find you can’t take on all of the writing work right away.
  • Branch out to branding, design, and online consultancy. Offer a holistic range of services that will give you a break from writing. Social media managers are always in demand, and it’s the perfect writerly side hustle.
  • Want to get your hands dirty with some ecommerce? Why not become a dropshipper & open your own store? Or what about selling cool stuff on Amazon? Both these side hustles can teach you more about selling online (and ecommerce always needs more good writers).

Hopefully you’ve got a good overview of how to use words to make money online! Remember, don’t get impatient if money doesn’t come flowing in right away. Play the long game and build your brand up first. What do you love most about writing?

About the Author:


Kayleigh Toyra – Writer & Marketer

Half-Finnish/British Copywriter living in Bristol, UK. Passionate about Shakespeare, poetry, and selling (not necessarily in that order…). Come say hi on Twitter.

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