Content Writing: Expectation vs. Reality

Content Writing: Expectation vs. Reality

The world of content writing, copywriting, and digital marketing can be incredibly overwhelming.

Often, when you see a peer’s success on Instagram, LinkedIn, or other platforms – it may cause complicated (and understandable) feelings of inadequacy and envy.

Disruptive thoughts like ‘well, what’s wrong with me?’ and ‘How can I get where they are, and fast?’ run rampant in these scenarios. That’s especially true if the bills are piling up.

Yet, you’re likely not seeing their entire story, and you have not finished writing yours.

Let’s take a deep dive into how the expectations you or others may have for a content writing career are not always congruent with reality.

Romanticizing The Hustle

COVID-19 has glamorized working from home. You can hang out with your cat, eat whatever you like, and wear comfortable clothing.

If I had a nickel for each time that I saw a content writer on TikTok, Facebook, or other massive platforms talk about quitting their jobs and earning high six-figures monthly from home with little context on how I’d be a rich girl and stop content writing forever.

Sometimes, this content is well-meaning and genuinely meant to encourage others to start their freelance career. However, more often than not, they’re hustling a course they’ve created.

When promoting courses, they’re absolutely capitalizing on the desire to make big bucks on the comfort of your couch or a yacht in Ibiza. They glamorize “being your own boss” and the ability to hustle, grind, and get that bag. Who wouldn’t want that?

These folks are showing you one piece of the gigantic puzzle.

The Reality

While you, as a freelancer, may not answer to a boss, request PTO, or chortle around a water cooler – you’re often ‘on’ all the time.

The reality is hours of research, obsessively checking a dry email inbox, fostering intentional connections on LinkedIn, and sending cold pitches that often go unanswered.

You may also have a day job you need to work your freelancing around, which is often complicated and draining.

How To (Actually) Get Started

Don’t let this put you off, though. Freelance content writing is a rewarding journey. It can be lucrative and put you on the path of some fantastic mentors and clients.

And – courses are excellent! Many huge CRM giants like HubSpot offer free certifications in the world of digital marketing that are informative and look great on your resume or portfolio.

I’ll leave you to be the judge on whether you should pay money for a course that may (or may not) be a regurgitation of the scores of helpful articles online about getting started with content writing.

The expectation when you see this (very targeted) ‘if I can do it, you can, too’ content is that you’ll open your laptop and immediately land some clients.

Yet, here’s the tea. You’ve got to put in the work. And you’ll build up your experience for some time before landing clients that enable you to quit your day job.

Here is a very brief checklist for getting started with freelance content writing:

  • No experience? Start writing samples. It can be in blog format or simply a few pieces you can send to prospective clients.
  • Create a portfolio. Portfolios can live anywhere, even in a tidy Google Docs folder. nDash has a fantastic article about what to put in your portfolio and some ideas for places it can live!
  • Get used to working in your pajamas. It might sound incredible at first, but it’s no yacht, and it can get pretty dry after a while.
  • Market yourself. Look, being a freelancer is sort of like being your own digital marketer. You’ve got to create an online presence and show your value and that you are an authority in your niche. Start by connecting with like-minded writers on Instagram, joining writing groups on Facebook, and growing your LinkedIn network.
  • Learn to pitch. nDash is a fantastic platform for pitching – it brings the best companies right to you. You can also opt to compile a list of companies to pitch – ones you like and local contenders, too. Crafting the perfect pitch takes time – but it yields incredible results when you get into the swing of things.

Content Writing: The Bottom Line

It would be truly amazing to open up the laptop and immediately have clients burning up your inbox. But it takes time.

When you set your expectations to a reasonable level, hone your writing skills, and put in the work to market yourself. You will see results.

For more trending insights into freelance content writing, check out the nDash blog!

About the Author

This post was written by nDash community member Katherine Major. To learn more about Katherine — and to have her writer for your brand — be sure to check out her nDash profile page