5-Day Guide to Getting Started as a
Web Writer

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of people who know they want to be web writers. But instead of taking action, they become “watchful waiters.”

Can you relate?

It’s where you read blogs and books about copywriting. You start following web-writing trends. You even join forums and Facebook groups about freelancing.

And then you wait.

Maybe you’re waiting till the timing feels right, or till you finish one more program, or till you feel 100% ready.

Or maybe you’re just hoping someone will drop out of the cyber-sky and say, “Hey, I’d like to hire you!”

But nothing like that happens, so you feel torn between waiting a little longer and giving up all together.

If this sounds familiar, don’t sweat it. We all go through the watchful-waiting stage. But it’s important to push past it and actually get started — in a way that’s comfortable and enjoyable.

That’s why I’ve written this guide to getting started FAST (in a week!) — and getting over the hump of waiting for something to happen.

Day 1: Create Your Safety Net

I can’t emphasize this enough: You HAVE to have a support network of some kind. Whether it’s a professional organization, a chummy group of fellow entrepreneurs, or a laid-back book club, it’s important to network regularly with people who understand your goals.

And there’s another benefit. Web writing is a continual education process. Linking up with others in this industry means you’ll learn from their experiences, which are bound to be different from your own.

Here’s how I recommend you connect:

And then, actively network. Read posts and blogs, comment, and review feedback. It’s the quickest way to make connections.

Why is this so important? For the simple reason that what you’re about to do is a BIG change from the status quo. And when you decide to buck the trend of a normal, humdrum life, it’s nice (okay, essential) to know people who’ve done it and who will help you get to where you want to be.

Day 2: Create Your LinkedIn Profile

Whenever I talk to ultra-successful copywriters, I like to ask about their favorite way to “get noticed” as web writers. The vast majority tell me LinkedIn is the top way to go. Sure, Twitter and Facebook and even Google+ all have their places, but LinkedIn is the watering hole for professionals willing to pay a good web writer what he or she is worth.

The great thing about LinkedIn is that it’s free to create a profile, and it’s easy to do. You literally just fill in the blanks.

But, if that has you scratching your head, just look at the profiles of successful writers. Pam Foster’s profile is a favorite example of mine. She’s absolutely a high-dollar writer, and she’s been quoted saying that LinkedIn is her #1 lead-generation tool. I’d say her profile speaks for itself.

For you, the best thing about LinkedIn is that it puts you out there. It serves as your virtual business card, and it gives you a way to start connecting immediately with others.

Plus, it gets you online immediately. At some point, it will be important to establish a professional website. But for now, put yourself online using this simple, reputable tool.

Day 3: Learn to Talk the Talk

There’s nothing worse than being asked to do a project and not understanding what that project is (I’ve been there).

Save yourself the stress of making things up as you go by getting familiar with industry jargon. Read it, learn it, and understand it.

The first place to go is Wealthy Web Writer’s Web Copywriting Glossary.

After that, besides reading the content on the Wealthy Web Writer and subscribing to AWAI e-letters, I recommend reading the following:

The Copywriter’s Handbook, by Bob Bly

The Architecture of Persuasion, by Michael Masterson

Assuming you’re a member of the Wealthy Web Writer, search the site for articles related to writing web content, autoresponders, e-letters, or the specialty of your choice.

I know what you’re thinking: “But I can’t read all that in one day!” That’s fine. At least skim the Glossary, sign up for the e-letters, and order the two books online. You’ll lay the foundation for continuous learning, and the more you read and review this content, the more capable you’ll feel.

As for articles on the Wealthy Web Writer site, you’ll find a lot of them. Use Day 3 to make a list of the ones you most want to read, and then work your way through them, little by little.

Day 4: Set a Goal

By Day 4, you should be well on your way to establishing your network of support. You should have a public presence on the Internet though LinkedIn. And you should be roughly familiar with industry terms, armed with a list of “continuing education” materials to work through over the next few weeks.

Your next step, then, is setting a goal.

I recommend a three-pronged approach.

  1. Decide what specialty and niche you’d like to work in — e.g., autoresponders for the self-help industry, or web content for small businesses.
  2. Set an income goal. Make sure it aligns with your chosen niche — e.g., the B2B niche offers higher income potential than, say, the fundraising niche, although the fundraising niche may offer more personal satisfaction.
  3. Lay out a timeline — something like this: “Six months from today, I’ll have earned $30,000 as an SEO specialist for education-based websites.”

Once your goal is set, go back to the connections you made on Day 1. Ask your connections if any of them are part of the education industry, or if they can introduce you to someone who is. Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your specialty. Research if there are any targeted LinkedIn groups you should join. Read up on all SEO-related articles on the Wealthy Web Writer site, including articles about setting fees. And, check out the new Pricing Guide available to Platinum members, How to Price and Land the Top 7 Web Copy Projects.

Day 5: Reach Out

This is usually the scary part for a lot of new writers, but it doesn’t have to be — as long as you have a plan of action. Create your plan by following these steps:

  1. Decide how you’ll approach potential clients about writing projects. (Are you comfortable making direct calls? Do you want to send emails? Would you rather surf job boards?)
  2. Based on your answer above, write up your approach. So if you’re comfortable calling potential clients, write up a short script. If you’d rather send emails, write up a template.
  3. Direct all potential clients to your LinkedIn profile to establish a connection. If you speak with someone directly, just ask — “Can I connect with you on LinkedIn?” and then do it. If you email them, request a connection. And so forth. That way, even if they don’t have projects available right away, you’ll have established a link that could translate to future projects.

Going Forward

What do you do if you don’t hit it big this first week? Simply repeat the process. Continue to grow your support network. Work toward setting up your professional website. Regularly educate yourself. Build more connections on LinkedIn. Assess your progress toward your goals. And consistently reach out, week after week.

Keep that up, and you WILL succeed as a working web writer.

This article, 5-Day Guide to Getting Started as a Web Writer, was originally published by Wealthy Web Writer.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

Click to Rate:
Average: 2.8
Published: May 23, 2012

8 Responses to “5-Day Guide to Getting Started as a Web Writer”

  1. Hi Mindy, Here's what I want to hear from YOU about. It's something Carolyn A. Cole wrote years ago after working with Clayton Makepeace. You produce a piece and the client wants to tear it apart and change it all. Then he mails it and blames you when it bombs. I've run into too many people who know nothing about advertising and insist they can improve my work by ruining it. So now I only want to write for my own website. How do you deal with this problem?

    Guest (Stephen Newdell)

  2. Mindy, I'm very new and still working my way through the Accelerated Program, but just wanted to thank you for your wonderfully clear and specific suggestions and guidance. With the enormity of great resources that AWAI offers, I find myself roaming through the website and its links, or through my WWW Platinum membership's offerings, only to pick my spinning head up an hour or two later and realize I'm on overload. That's when I search out something like your 5-Day Guide, or those sequence-pieces you wrote at the turn of the year about bringing 2014 into focus. Everything I read from you is so well thought-through, organized and proactive that my clarity and sense of enthusiasm is refreshed.
    So Thank You for That!
    I hope, once I get my bearings and get further along in the primary program, I'll be interacting more often - and be able to have you as part of my 'safety net.' In the meantime, just want you to know how much I appreciate your actionable outreach.

    Kris Larkin

  3. Dear Mindy, I have just gone through this wonderful outline and 5-Day Guide. I do want to become a web-writer. I am a member of COS and plan to be at Bootcamp 2015. I now have a LinkedIn account and am setting up my website.
    Finding the right niche seems to be the biggest stumbling block. I want to work with the Christian market and the education market. I also love genealogy and wonder if that is something I could incorporate? My head is swimming with so much to think about. Thank you for being so down-to-earth!
    Kathy Wenzel

    Kathryn Wenzel

  4. God bless you Mindy for this article. It is what I needed to wake up. After reading it, I know that I am on the right track with regard to social network and building connections. Nevertheless my major problem is finding my speciality and the right niche. I guess it is hard for me because I love to write and teach the word of God. I have a blog site but I am not even doing well with it. I will continue to read like you advised. Thank you and remain blessed.


  5. Hi Mindy, great article, thank you.

    I am feeling very ready to transition from my current career (IT Project Management) into copywriting, but this niche business is really causing me pain!

    I have a lot of interest in the Equestrian market, run one of the largest equestrian groups on Linked In (Horse lovers of the Business World) and have over 25,000 followers on my equestrian based Facebook page (Ride Alert) - yet my experience of the equestrian world is that there is always a shortage of money to go around! Most companies are non-profits and always expect you to work for free or for as little as possible.

    It's depressing - this IS my niche, but I'm not sure I can afford to live in it.


  6. I really enjoyed this article Mindy, Thanks so much. I found it very informative and helpful. As I am new to this process and like others feeling a bit overwhelmed. I know that I will return to this article again and again to keep me focused and on my path! Thank you. I look forward to continuing this process and leaving my corporate desk to work full time from where I am now- My home office!


  7. Hi Mindy. I'm brand new at this. Just signed up yesterday. I've been studying it since. I've wanted to be a writer ever since I learned to read. I have some real high hopes for this. So far there's lots of great information, and I've found a few niches I could write about. But not a lot of writing just yet. Not sure if I should just look up my niches on LinkedIn and start contacting people? Or would that upset potential clients since I don't know what I'm doing just yet? I'm a little confused on how to write every day if I don't.

    Natures Copy

  8. I am so looking forward to moving forward in the writing business! It's always been a dream of mine and to be successful would be amazing. Any suggestions & advice is greatly appreciated.


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)

This name will appear next to your comment.

Your email is required but will not be displayed.

Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters

Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)