What are the best ways to make money writing online as a non-native speaker, you ask? Well, honestly, the internet can provide you with a lot of options. But this post will give clarity on what’s actually good and possible for you and whatnot.
Table of Contents
- Why Should Writers Specify Their Content Writing Expertise?
- How does Professional Content Differ From Other Forms Of Digital Writing
- How Should Writers Choose Topics?
- Option 1: 5 Major Types of Content
- Option 2: 35 types of content (by structure or form)
- Option 2: 26 top, unusual, high-paying writing side hustles to try (by popularity)
- Conclusion – Key to Profitable & Marketable Writing Skills
Why Should Writers Specify Their Content Writing Expertise?
The content writing industry has become more complicated than how it was a few years ago when I began in 2014. Yet, it’s a department of the “make money writing” niche or generally in content marketing that is worth exploring.
Most beginner writers have no idea of their roles and position in content marketing or digital marketing in its entirety. On top of that, they aren’t aware of the best practices to increase their profitability and market value as a non-native speaker who wants to thrive in this niche.
As a result, it’s challenging to develop creative ways to find prospective clientele online. In other words, if you don’t know how the internet works, especially for your prospective clients and their businesses, it also means you have no idea how you can help them at all. So, why would they hire you?
This scenario makes it extra challenging for you to find profitable writing opportunities. Because, as I said, why would they hire someone not only is he or she a non-native speaker, but that person also has no background or the basic knowledge of how everything on the internet works for them as business owners.
Why should they take the risk when they don’t have to, as there are a lot of native speakers out there who can do better and have lesser risks to take?
This is among thousands of questions in every business owner’s head, regardless if they’re bloggers who try to make an income from building online courses or financial advisors looking for clients. It doesn’t matter as long as they rely on the internet for leads that will eventually turn into sales. Are you getting my point?
How does Professional Content Differ From Other Forms Of Digital Writing
Yes, we are writers. We can write everything we like. But in the digital writing world, it’s a bit different. Especially if you’re trying to sell your writing skills across continents. Simply put, the way you write on your personal blogs won’t work if you do the same thing in this department. Not the same way as you did when you’re writing for a local essay writing contest, publication, or newspaper either.
Though you may have the option to write about any topic, you have to be aware that there is an existing editorial control that will demand order from content writers, both native and non-native speakers, beginner or expert, alike.
More often than not, the editorial team or the website owners, who hired you or have accepted your application to become one of their guest contributors, may have already provided a content outline with specific instructions for you to follow.
Unlike owning a website, you have no option but to simply write the content according to their rules, not yours. You’re not in control of the target audience and its goals at all.
Nonetheless, content writing will remain one of the biggest freelance writing opportunities as the web space continues to entice business owners to build their platforms to sell whatever products or services they may have for specific audiences or preferably their target market.
Below is an example of the document I’ve been talking about. I received it from a Philippine-based company when I applied for a content writing job. The reason is to show you what you could expect when you apply for any content writing job or what every website, established or not, expects from your guest contribution. Click here to see the sample document.
How Should Writers Choose Topics?
Another issue that I like to point out is the writer’s tendency to focus only on the “profitable niche” and disregard other options outside its parameters or so-called comfort zones. Writers are often tempted to choose topics not because they’re aligned with their interests, but for a higher and faster income.
For instance, choosing finance topics than lifestyle because of the amount you earn from Pay-Per-Clicks (PPC) or Cost-Per-Click (CPC) revenue. The problem is evident as most content writers struggle with keeping the writing routines because they unconsciously follow the wrong approach to writing. If not, they chose the wrong niche for the sake of getting a job or guest post submission.
For sure nobody would try to stop you from making that choice. But this decision would often lead to a dissatisfactory writing life, which I assume isn’t the reason for joining the digital content writing force in the first place. Or, is it?
To avoid these scenarios and rather build a successful and meaningful writing career, you have to be careful when choosing topics, and make sure your writing decision is aligned with your personal beliefs and/or writing strengths.
From choosing the topics you have to write to the niche you want to focus on for your website, every decision you have to do as a writer should be within your interests and not the other way around. Otherwise, self-motivation will continuously be a hurdle as you continue writing each day in front of your desk in the long run.
This is why I highly recommend spending time determining the ways based on what most writers have been doing to make an income online without compromising their well-being and personal interests. At the same time, evaluate these options and know which is more acceptable and preferable than the other.
Below, you have three (3) options to choose from based on demand, structure or form, and popularity.
- Option 1: 5 major types of content (by demand)
- Option 2: 35 types of content (by structure or form)
- Option 3: 26 top, unusual, high-paying writing side hustles to try (by popularity)
Option 1: 5 Major Types of Content
Here, we have five major categories of content that are produced and needed like:
- Website content writing
- Content writing for media and entertainment
- Technical and academic writing
- Online courses/eCourses
To put it simply, these are the top 5 categories most people will continue searching for content because of its increasing demand and wide scope and opportunities for many businesses and even private individuals.
1. Website content writing
For website content writing, we encounter jargon, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), keywords, long-tail keywords, keyword tools, page views, conversion rates, and the list goes on. But I guess you’re already familiar with many of them.
There’s also the primal need to understand the data displayed on several platforms like Google Analytics and the G4 Analytics, which is the newer version of Google Analytics, and Google Search Console as if they’re our survival kit.
As content writers, your role is to understand the implications of the data gathered and transform them into pieces of content.
Learning the different types of content and familiarization with these tools are pre-requisites not only to increase your market value but for flexibility and versatility to cope with the content writing demand. You’ll understand this better in the next sections of this post. So, better stay towards the end.
2. Self-publishing/ebook writing
If unprepared, the self-publishing route or eBook writing can be exhausting in the long run. It may be a multimillion-dollar industry, but the constant strain with the tight schedule is enough to drain your creative juice.
For example, getting to know how Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing works, formatting or typesetting eBooks that are compatible across platforms, designing a good book outline, or writing the book from the first chapter to the last.
A regular eBook may have as much as 2,000 words and up. For a full-length novel, you might have to write between 50,000 words to as much as 60,000 words and above in total, excluding the time you need for the editing and proofreading process before you can finalize and submit your work within 30 to 90 days, with 90 days as the maximum time limit.
Do you think you can handle that? As you may know, writing a book is hard. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a profitable writing service worth considering. So, you might want to check out my “Epic Guide to Self-Publishing” post and learn more about it.
3. Content writing for media and entertainment
As a content writer, you may want to entertain your target audience first as much as possible to keep them from leaving the page.
You may have to create a piece of content or a series of blog posts or articles in different formats, such as videos, audio, or any other graphic-related content to play around with the user’s attention span and determine which of them work best for them and your goals.
Vlogging, podcasting, audiobook narrating, blogging, guest post contributions, and affiliate marketing are among the popular options that belong in this group. As you can see, there’s more than the writing demand when it comes to the content creation process.
4. Technical & academic writing
If you already have experienced how to construct any technical write-up or academic essay, for example, you have a higher chance to make a higher income than any other category on the list. It’s because most clients are willing to pay higher, especially to expert-level writers, to write content that represents their brand or an essay that will help them in their academic studies.
One of the few examples of technical writing demand that I’ve personally seen in the past few months alone, you could earn hundreds of dollars from writing a press release, white paper, or a case study.
By the way, why do businesses need to make such an effort?
Nowadays, customers are getting smarter with their purchases. As a counterintuitive measure, businesses strive to market their products and services as transparently as possible.
Consequently, they need a team of writers to produce content that is strategized according to a pre-planned or assumed customer journey highly based on data. If not businesses, you’re serving academicians or college students, or even postgraduate students asking for help in writing a research or a thesis on a deadline for them to submit and graduate.
The point is that you understand the skills needed to deliver the output your clients ask from you, such as research or collaborative skills, as well as the scope of the projects. From defining the objectives to writing a draft, you have to have the right skill set to succeed in this niche, specifically the tone and the audience who will be reading your work. Keep in mind that they are also experts and could smell bullshit from a mile’s distance.
5. Online course writing
Over the past few years, many entrepreneurs, mostly bloggers, include online courses as an integral part of their financial success. Similar to self-publishing, it offers dual wins for you and your client. That is if you also want to create your own.
In most cases, clients will hire you to create a course for their audience. When you think you have the skills to do this particular job, then, you can consider upselling your skillset by offering that service to your client.
If you haven’t found one yet, don’t worry. You still have a ton of options to write and make money online. However, it’s wise not to deny or ignore the fact that creating online courses remains a great long-term investment for most entrepreneurs. It is still part of content writing.
By the way, I also created an online course that will teach you everything about content writing for non-native speakers. It explains your position in the digital content marketing industry to help businesses thrive by building trust and authority. These can only be achieved through skillful content design. Bonuses are included, too!
Option 2: 35 types of content (by structure or form)
Below is the complete list of the types of content you need to get to know and familiarize yourself with. Primarily, their usage depends on the target audience and goals you intend to achieve.
- Blog posts
- Website content
- Long-form content
- Case studies
- Client profiles
- Testimonials and customer reviews
- White papers
- Content images
- Lead magnet
- Email marketing
- Social campaigns
- Link building
- Ask Me Anything format
- Interactive pages
- News releases
- In-app messages
I highly suggest you read my separate exhaustive post where I explained each type in detail. Not only does it provide further explanation, but I also gave examples for you to have a better understanding of each type of content and how it’s used in real life.
Option 2: 26 top, unusual, high-paying writing side hustles to try (by popularity)
- YouTube videos scriptwriting
- SaaS blog content writing
- Content rewriting
- SEO content writing
- Technical writing (legal, pharmaceutical, medical, finance, grants)
- Research writing
- Curriculum writing (development)
- Essay writing
- Writing on Medium
- Freelance writing in different languages
- Contribute articles
- Magazine writing
- Offer writing services
- Searching for writing gigs
- Building an authority website
- Starting newsletters
- Affiliate marketing
- Cold pitching to potential clients
- Creating an online course
- Ghost blogging
- Producing and selling an audiobook
- Ghostwriting for books
- Writing erotica
I wrote about each writing side hustle in a separate post, so if you want to explore the ones I listed here, click here to read the post. Then, find out the ones you think are possible for an immediate start and/or the other options that would likely require more qualifications before you could start writing them and get paid. Be realistic. Always.
Conclusion – Key to Profitable & Marketable Writing Skills
Many writers and bloggers alike, that I know personally and through some whom I have been following online, have been successful in these areas. The key here is to maximize your writing skills based on your strengths, and not your weaknesses. For example, don’t strive to keep up writing tech topics if you aren’t good at it or up-to-date with technology in the first place. Do you get what I mean?
In other words, to become a successful content writer or digital writer, you focus on training the necessary skills for a particular content that targets a specific group of an audience without, again without compromising your belief system. With that, I highly recommend you check out my ultimate content writing course, specifically tailored for non-native speakers.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with exploring your strengths and weaknesses and confirming your theories through years of practice. But if you tend to focus on working on your weaknesses just because you want to make a higher income faster, it won’t work. As much as you want to hide how you truly perceive your work from others, your actions, specifically how you maintain resilience and endurance, won’t lie and will likely show in your performance.
Develop a rightful approach towards writing through identifying your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your interests and dislikes when searching for clientele and choosing topics. Rather than considering only the idealized and romanticized idea of working as a content writer, I find it necessary for you to look on the other side of the coin, too, instead of avoiding the challenges just because it’s uncomfortable.
As a non-native speaker, content writing can be tougher not only because it’s isolating but because of the existing competition against native speakers, who are far more attractive to most people than us. Even if we are great English speakers, it doesn’t change the situation for several reasons.
First, you have to deal with the systemic racism embedded in people’s unconscious, resulting in the clear exclusion of writers who manifest non-native speaker qualities. Second, which is concerning the previous point, NNS writers can only expand the writing opportunities online if they have an extensive list of skillsets to present to their clientele.
In other words, flexibility and versatility are the MSGs to enhance asset marketability. Creating different and unique ways and avenues to showcase our writing capability is a smart decision to survive the isolating life. Developing ways that work for us based on our personality, attitude, our worldview, and beliefs. Despite being a non-native speaker, you’re not deprived of enjoying the benefits and exploring the best ways to make money writing online as a non-native speaker.
When you finally figure out how your belief and moral systems work together with building a successful and meaningful writing career, your workload becomes lighter, more enjoyable, profitable, and fair for you. Because you know what, there are vast opportunities available on the internet nowadays. Perhaps, they are looking for you to join their teams. So, better work hard, stay focused on improving your skillset and keep writing.
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