How to Make Money Writing: 29 Tactics (With Examples)

Updated on

Table of Contents

In today’s digital age, there are tons of ways writers can make money with their skills online. While just about everyone can string together a few sentences, quality writing skills are still at a premium today. 

Whether you’re a seasoned wordsmith or just starting, there are numerous avenues you can explore to turn your passion for writing into a profitable venture.

Keep reading for 29 tactics you can use to help make money writing online, complete with real-life examples to inspire and guide you. I’ve organized this blog article into six broad sections with specific tips underneath each one. 

Many writers make money in several ways, so don’t feel you have to pick only one thing to pursue. 

Craft Content and Copy for the Marketing Industry

Much of today’s marketing is done online, providing plenty of opportunities for writers to work remotely. Skilled writers who can create compelling content are still in high demand, even as more and more people try to make money remotely. 

Whether you’re looking to freelance or want to work full-time in the marketing sector, here are several strategies to consider:

1. Start SEO Writing for Small Businesses

Small businesses, individual creators, and emerging publications can be excellent starting points for a new freelance writer. These businesses need writing, but they are often run by individuals who aren’t confident enough to write articles themselves. You can take advantage of this to make money writing. 

Affiliate site owners require tons of content to promote services and products in their niche. Many site owners outsource work; some may even have over a hundred writers working for them. 

SEO writing is crucial in this case, as that’s how many affiliate sites get their traffic.

Smaller publications like newspapers, magazines, and online publications may also outsource some of their writing. If you have experience in a sought-after writing niche, you can often make a lot of money writing for niche publications. 

You may also want to look at opportunities with bloggers and social media influencers. While many of these individuals produce their content, they may also outsource some to ramp up production. 

Most of these companies post writing jobs on popular job boards. Keep an eye on websites like Problogger, which is a very popular job board for those in need of an SEO writer. If you land the right client, SEO writing can easily be a full-time job. 

2. Create Content for Brands

After specializing in a niche and gaining experience with SEO writing, you may be able to write for more prominent brands within your niche, allowing you to make money writing. 

Brands often prefer writers who are knowledgeable about their industry and can produce content that resonates with their target audience. Therefore, this isn’t an easy place to start, but it can be a very lucrative place to end. Try making a guest post of two in your niche before landing a paid writing opportunity at a larger website.

Red Bull is an excellent example of a larger company that runs a blog and a magazine:

3. Offer Thought Leadership Writing

Thought leadership content is one step above SEO. It typically involves in-depth, well-researched articles that showcase a brand’s expertise in a particular field. It’s something that brands are willing to pay a lot of money for, as very few writers can do it well. 

Given how competitive the internet is, thought leadership writing will likely only grow over the next decade. It’s a great time to make yourself known in this field and start making money before everyone starts doing it. 

One of the hardest parts of thought leadership content is figuring out a topic. Luckily, Animalz goes over this pretty well. Simply put, it’s important to have an opinion. It’s this opinion that will drive the content of the article. 

4. Write Website Copy

Everyone with a website needs words to put on it. Many people are willing to pay for a great content writer who can make their online presence stand out. Small businesses, dropshippers, and larger corporations hire people to write their web content. This may encompass everything from homepage content to product descriptions. 

You can specialize in several different types of website copy, as well. Just take inspiration from Michal Eisikowitz, who commands thousands for a single webpage. She also has a complete pricing guide for copywriters, which can help you figure out just how much to charge for all this!

Website copy services include creating product descriptions, designing landing pages, and writing About Us sections. You can make money writing a whole website or just a few pages.

5. Offer Email Copywriting

Many companies rely heavily on email marketing to connect with their audience and drive conversions. Skilled email copywriters can help companies create engaging email campaigns that drive open rate and click-through rates. 

For many people, writing a good email newsletter is akin to magic. Finding high-paying work can be pretty easy if you can do this well. 

Just look at the prices Val Geisler is charging:

$8,500 per customer isn’t anything to scoff at. She also has a stunning website, so I recommend clicking around for a bit if you have the time. 

6. Write Scripts for Video Creators

It’s no secret that most video creators work off of a script. However, did you know that many don’t write the video script themselves? When you’re producing a vast quantity of videos, it’s practically impossible to do all the script writing yourself – and that’s where you can come in. 

Even if you don’t want to ever show your face on a camera, you can take advantage of the growing popularity of podcasts and YouTube by writing for those who do. 

While scriptwriting is a bit of an art, it isn’t hard to learn the basics. However, it is important to structure these video scripts correctly, providing the main points in brackets with some sub points underneath. Most professionals also recommend only having around five main points. 

7. Craft Social Media Copy

Social media platforms are a big part of how brands reach their customers. However, all companies need someone to update and write copy for their social platforms. 

This sort of freelance writing often pays a lot per word since most social media sites have minimal character capacities. That said, you may spend more time researching and editing the post. Therefore, it’s important to price your services properly to make money writing. 

That said, lots of people are starting to realize how lucrative this niche is. Just look at this Business Insider article, which explains how one ghostwriter made over $200,000 a year in freelance writing gigs. 

For some inspiration, you can check out Pete Codes’s website. He primarily ghostwrites for clients on Twitter and LinkedIn. 

8. Draft White Papers and Technical Manuals

White papers and technical manuals are highly specialized forms of freelance writing. They often require in-depth research and a strong understanding of complex subjects—businesses in technology, finance, healthcare, and other industries often commission technical writers to create these documents.

White papers can be exceptionally lucrative if you’re a fan of in-depth research or have experience in an expert-lead field. 

Sadly, this is a tough content writing niche to break into, though. You often need particular technical experience and a high-level college degree. This niche is lucrative mainly because so few writers can do it. 

9. Make Compelling Product Descriptions

E-commerce is a massive part of the internet today. With the rise of drop shipping, more and more people need compelling product descriptions. Effective product descriptions directly impact sales, so companies are often willing to pay quite a bit for this service. 

However, with the rise of AI like ChatGPT, some companies may opt for automated product descriptions, which could impact this niche. 

Furthermore, this niche can get quite dull. Once upon a time, I wrote many product descriptions for a hardware store. You can only write so many descriptions of slightly different hinges before the world looks slightly gloomier. While you can get paid to write product descriptions, it may not be exactly what you had in mind. 

Plus, this isn’t something that will make for a solid portfolio, either. 

Write Articles for Newspapers and Magazines

Good ole’ fashion journalism may not be nearly as lucrative as it once was. Still, traditional magazines and newspapers hold a significant place in media. Getting paid to write for these larger publications is more about making a name for yourself and building a business – rather than getting paid. 

However, in some cases, the payout can be huge. Plus, they can make for a solid portfolio.

If you aspire to contribute to these respected publications, there are several strategies to help you break into this field and make money as a writer.

10. Pitch Established Publications

Contributing to established newspapers and magazines is a goal many writers strive for. While competition can be fierce, securing a byline in a prestigious publication can significantly boost your content writing career.

Even if you aren’t using this as your primary source of income, bylines in respected niche publications can be worth thousands in revenue down the line. 

These publications get tons of pitches, so it’s essential to do it well. Study the publications you want to write for, understanding their style, tone, and articles they publish. The last thing you want to do is pitch an off-topic article. 

Unique angles or story ideas often have a better chance of being picked up. Consider what experience or ideas you have that others don’t. Can someone else write the piece you’re pitching? If so, you may want to come up with something else. 

Most publications have specific submission guidelines for pitches, as well. Be sure to follow these. If you don’t, your pitch may not even be looked at. Just look at the New York Times’s requirements for opinion essays:

Even if you don’t get paid to write for these publications, even a guest post can be helpful to improve your standing. A guest post is simply a post you do for free, typically for “exposure.” 

11. Contribute to Magazines

Magazines come in tons of different shapes and sizes. You can find big and small publications on many topics, from lifestyle to fashion to science. Many of these magazines welcome freelance contributors if you can provide fresh, engaging content. 

Many of the principles I discussed above apply here, too. Choose something very few people could write about, pay attention to the publication’s requirements, and research the magazine. Pay attention to the writing style they typically use and try to mirror it. 

Often, this works best if you already have some expertise in a niche with sources to prove it. Once you get paid to write in a niche, other companies tend to take you more seriously. 

Many magazines also accept guest posts, which can be another way to get your name out there. 

12. Participate in Writing Contests

Writing contests can be an exciting way to showcase your skills and earn recognition and prizes. However, it’s crucial to research the credibility and legitimacy of contests before entering.

Furthermore, you won’t make a full income from writing contests. Often, the payout is low, and the chance of winning is even lower. However, if you do win, that’s something you can put on your resume to make money elsewhere. 

Caution: Be wary of contests that require an entry fee or have vague terms and conditions. Stick to well-known and reputable contests to ensure your work is judged fairly. Online writing is always a bit sketchy, but writing contests tend to be even more so.

Often, these companies will use the content as guest posts on their website, so be sure you’re okay with them. 

Establish Your Influence By Writing

While these methods won’t pay much money initially, they can help you establish yourself as an authority, which can help you get money. Building up an audience of like-minded people can open you up to new job opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise. 

There are several ways to do this, but you should preferably play on your strengths. Guest posts are a solid way to go about this, but there are some paid opportunities, too. 

13. Create Your Own Niche Blog Around Products You Use Already

You can start by establishing a niche blog if you already have a niche. While aiming to write for someone else’s blog is a money-oriented goal, this is more of a passion project. You probably won’t make much money writing articles for yourself(at least not right away), but you can use it as an example of your work. 

Ideally, choose a niche you already plan on content writing in. While you can technically make your blog about anything, it’s much easier to use to attract clients if it’s about a similar subject. It does matter whether it is creative or technical writing. 

You can use this blog as a portfolio site. A writing portfolio is exceptionally important for landing higher paying gigs. 

As you build your blog, you can sign up as an affiliate for relevant products and services. This allows you to earn commissions by promoting these products to your readers. Be transparent about your affiliate relationships to maintain trust with your audience.

You can use affiliate offers from day one of your website (in most cases). However, you may only be able to sign up for some companies once you start getting some traffic. 

14. Establish a Social Media Audience Around a Niche

Alternatively, you can start a social media account instead of a blog (or you can always do both). Choose a social media platform or two that are relevant to your niche. For instance, B2B topics are probably more appropriate to LinkedIn, but Twitter is a common place for this information, too. 

It’s essential to have a content strategy. You can’t just create and publish content like you do for your social media. Consider using a content matrix, as demonstrated by Justin Welsh in his Content Matrix, to plan and publish regular posts.

You should also interact and respond to your audience. Social media is about being social. You can’t just publish posts and expect to get very far. Some amount of community engagement is essential. 

You can monetize your social media presence, as well. Sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and creating your products can all help you make some money. 

15. Create Sponsored Content

Sponsored content involves working with brands to create promotional material that aligns with your niche and appeals to your audience. Brands are often willing to pay for this because it taps into your already-built audience (and that probably trusts you). 

However, you must already have a sizeable audience on your own blog or social media account to sell sponsored content. No company will pay for sponsored content if you don’t have an audience! Building influence can take years, so this isn’t a way to get rich quickly. 

Some established blogs like ShoutMeLoud offer sponsored content packages starting at $1,200. Use this as a reference point when setting your rates. Your rates depend on your niche and audience size. Blogs in the finance niche can often charge more, for instance. 

16. Sell Your Own Informational Products

If you can write, you can create and sell your own information products. This is an easy way to get paid to write if you have a following and are already established. You can start with something simple, like an eBook, one of the most popular ways to sell information content. Platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing make it easy to self-publish eBooks. 

You can also create and sell online courses or digital membership products. While these are harder to make, they can often be sold for more, so there is a trade-off. 

17. Become a Writing Coach or Consultant

If you’ve established yourself as a professional writer, you can consider offering coaching or consulting services to aspiring writers or businesses. Paid mentorships can be very lucrative, especially if you’re considered an expert. 

For instance, Elize Dopson offers one-on-one freelance coaching to help freelancers make more money and scale their businesses. You can offer similar coaching options. 

You can also consult with businesses on content strategy. Sometimes, companies need help figuring out where to go with their content, but they may not want to hire someone to fix the problem directly. Instead, they may need a quick consult with an SEO expert. You could be this expert. 

Take inspiration from professionals like Elise Dopson, who offers coaching services to writers and businesses seeking content marketing expertise.

18. Get a Book Deal and Get Royalties

If you have unique inspiration to share, you can write a book. While this is often considered lucrative, most book authors make less than you think. However, a well-received book can establish you as an authority in your niche. 

You must decide whether to pursue traditional publishing through literary agents or self-publish your book. Each path has its advantages, but they can be challenging in their ways, too. 

Look at writers like Mark Manson and Scott Young, who started as bloggers and went on to establish large audiences and sell many books. Their success showcases the potential for writers to transition from online content to traditional publishing.

Get Paid for Creative Writing

Creative writing is typically what most people think when you say you’re a “writer.” However, it is often hard to make money from writing imaginative stories. That said, if you have a passion for creative writing, there are several ways to make money from your craft. 

19. Monetize Your Poetry

Poetry isn’t the most mainstream form of writing. However, if you consider yourself a poet, there are ways to make money off of it. One of the most common ways is to self-publish poetry books. Typically, this involves compiling your poems into a collection and publishing them. 

Of course, someone has to want to purchase your poetry books, so it often works best if you already have an audience. 

You can also enter poetry contests, which may offer cash prizes. Be sure to only submit to credible sources, though. 

Consider a Patreon or Ko-fi account, where fans can support your creative work by making regular contributions. 

20. Write and Sell Your Songs

You could make money from your songs if you have a knack for songwriting. 

The best way to do this is to license your songs to musicians, bands, or production companies for use in albums, films, commercials, or other media. Royalties from song licensing can provide a steady income stream.

You should also join a performance rights organization, which will collect royalties whenever your songs are played on the radio, performed live, or used in public spaces. 

Alternatively, you can also sell sheet music online or in physical formats. However, this method is often less lucrative, as a single person is not paying for the sole use of a song. 

In today’s world, you can also create a YouTube channel to share your music and monetize it through ads and channel membership. You can also distribute your music on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. 

Nashville Songwriters Association is an all-in-one platform for songwriters to create and publish their songs. They also host events (both online and offline). With their membership plan, you can gain access to information on how to pitch your songs, pricing guides, and more. 

Liz Rose is a prime example of someone who makes a living writing songs. She’s written music for some serious professional artists, like Taylor Swift. She also works with Nashville Songwriters Association. 

21. Self-Publish Your Books on Kindle

Self-publishing has revolutionized the world of literature, offering writers an accessible way to get their work in front of readers. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows authors to publish ebooks and earn royalties.

However, a lot goes into publishing a book, even on KDP. Having a realistic expectation for the platform is essential, as it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. Eventually, it can help a creative writer make some passive income, though. Once the books are there, they will always be there. 

Furthermore, the average freelance writer likely won’t sell many books without some substantial promotion. You must use social media and email marketing to reach potential readers. Part of the appeal of using a traditional publishing company is that they do all this for you. If you’re self-publishing, you’ll have to do it yourself.

That said, you aren’t going to make tons of money self-publishing on Kindle. Project Rich Mom on YouTube shares how much she made in this video to help keep your expectations realistic. This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. 

There are many ways to go about publishing on KDP. You can publish a series or a collection of short stories, for instance. Kara Lockharte is a great creative writer who successfully self-published creative writing on this platform and does very well. 

Evolve Into an AI Content Marketer

The field of content marketing is evolving, and creative and technical writers can adapt by specializing in creating AI-assisted content.

22. Specialize in Creating AI Assisted Content

Slowly, AI generators are becoming more and more popular. AI writers can specialize in using these tools to create better writing (or simply write faster). You’ll need to learn how to use precise prompts for AI models to generate content that aligns with your needs. You’ll also need to review and fine-tune the content to ensure it meets quality standards. 

We aren’t 100% sure how this field will change and grow in the next decade, but now may be a good time to specialize in this new possibility. Either way, this is a writing skill you probably want to learn. 

23. Repurpose Content for Different Platforms

In an era of content saturation, the ability to repurpose content for various platforms and mediums is a valuable skill. Creative and technical writers can leverage AI tools to tailor content for social media platforms, email campaigns, blog posts, and more.

This idea can give you a massive boost in content production. You can turn a single blog post into several social media posts or email campaigns. However, because you wrote the original content, the output would still be unique to you. 

Other General Ways to Make Money Writing

There are other ways to make money writing, too. However, these tactics aren’t as specialized or lucrative, so they typically only offer side income. You won’t be making a full time income out of these options, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore them. 

24. Do Book Reviews

Occasionally, a freelance writer can make some extra cash by writing book reviews. Some websites and publications will pay for book reviews and may even offer free copies of the books. 

Even if you don’t sell book reviews to another website, you can create a blog or YouTube where you review books. Over time, you could monetize this platform through ads and affiliate marketing. 

Kirkus Reviews is a very popular website for submitting book reviews. They have a whole writer’s center with information on writing and publishing. Check their careers page for information on applying as a writer. However, they do always have an open application for English and Spanish titles. 

Of course, this isn’t a full time job for most writers, but it can be a way to get your feet wet before diving into job boards.

25. Create Video Game Guidebooks

If you like playing video games, consider writing video game guidebooks. Often, this works best for very open-world games (think Skyrim or Baldur’s Gate). Usually, players are willing to pay to unlock secrets about the game that they may not discover themselves. 

You can self-publish your guide digitally. Alternatively, you could design your guides as video tutorials on platforms like YouTube and monetize through ads. You can even host them on your own website if you want to put the background work in. 

27. Produce Travel Guides

If you have experience traveling, consider writing travel guides. Aspiring adventurers often rely on guides written by people who have gone there. Self-publish travel guides of places you have gone to promote them through social media or travel forums. 

You must have real-world experience here. Pretending you have expertise likely won’t work in this field. 

Alternatively, you can pitch travel articles to magazines, websites, and similar publications. Most travel publications pay for their content from freelance writers, as they cannot pay to send their staff everywhere.

Apeksha Bhateja is a great example of a writer who travels while writing. She currently writes for Fodor’s Travel, which publishes a range of articles and guides on travel. 

28. Offer Resume and Cover Writing Services

Job seekers occasionally turn to professionals for help with their resumes and cover letters. If you can do this successfully, you can make a lot of money to help clients stand out from the rest of the competition. 

While this can be lucrative, breaking into this niche can take a lot of work. Often, it is overwhelmed by larger companies (which you could also write for). 

29. Write for Revenue Sharing Websites

While revenue-sharing sites may provide little income upfront, they can be a way to earn passive income over time. These platforms pay writers based on the performance of their articles and personal essays.

You may receive a small income in exchange if your content does well. Usually, this works better for those in a lifestyle niche – not so much for technical writers. Of course, this isn’t going to be a full-time job, either. However, it can make you some passive income. Once a published article is online, it stays there. 

Several websites work in this way, such as Medium. If you participate in the Medium Partner Program, you can earn money based on your stories’ engagement and reading time. 

It can be incredibly challenging to make significant income through revenue-sharing websites. Kristina Pulford explains that Medium isn’t a lucrative place to make money. She publishes on Medium regulation and has thousands of followers, so she knows what she’s talking about.

However, it can be a way to dip your toes into monetization and get paid to write while also making a name for yourself. You can also use the article published through these platforms to attract other clients. 

Final Thoughts

Often, getting paid to write isn’t about going down one specific path. Instead, many writers get their income via a few different routes. Some even do both creative and technical writing. You’ll likely need to try a few before you settle in and develop your career. 

Many options above also help you make a name for yourself and develop your writing skills, precisely what you need to land higher-paying writing jobs. 

It’s important to realize that making money writing online isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. Making money online has never been easier with today’s technology, but it is still work. Eventually, some of these writing jobs should help you replace your full-time income. Everyone wants to be their own boss, but being a full-time writer is still a lot of work. 

Chintan Zalani

Written by

Chintan Zalani

Hey, I'm Chintan, a creator and the founder of Elite Content Marketer. I make a living writing from cafes, traveling to mountains, and hopping across cities. Join me on this site to learn how you can make a living as a sustainable creator.