How to Use Your Writing Skills to Land Full-Time, High-Paying Jobs

Writing has become a commodity, and in order to separate yourself from the rest of the good writers out there, you need to tell employers how you are going to use your writing skill to make money…”

So, you have the skills as a writer, and want to take your career to the next level? Are you wondering, “how do I land a high-paying, full-time job by being an excellent writer?” The trick is how to put that skill into terms and language that employers are looking for, gain the closely-related skills that go in tandem with a solid writing foundation, and make yourself the complete package. Well, you’ve got to think a little bit outside of the box, but it’s not as hard as it seems.

What do you mean the “complete package”?

First of all, let’s look at areas of industry or careers that really need someone that has the writing chops to produce the deliverables needed. I’m talking about the areas of marketing and content. Within marketing, there are a thousand titles, and a ton of different job descriptions that vary just as much as each company. I highly recommend reading a ton of job descriptions in these two areas. You will find, over time, and with experience reading these job descriptions, that no two marketing positions will ever be alike, and no two companies have the same needs.

What’s important, at the end of the day, is when you read through these descriptions, that they are looking for someone who can produce high-quality content for a variety of mediums, at a pretty fast pace, and deliver results. Where your writing will live varies drastically from one position to the next. You could be writing for just one website, or, for example, at an agency, you could be in charge of content for a multitude of clients.

Sure, there are writing specific jobs such as speech writing, proposal writing, grant writing, and RFP writing, amongst others, that necessitate excellent writing skills for the gig. If you are talented, skilled, and can produce the deliverables needed in a timely fashion, these are good areas to go into for full-time, high-paying jobs. The more experience you have, and the better salary negotiator you are, the more high-paying and lucrative these jobs will be. It all depends if you are taking a job with a small company, large company, and what they pay (amongst many other factors). Salary negotiation is an entirely different conversation altogether.

What areas of employment or specific job titles should I be looking for when I do a job search?

If you focus on the marketing and content fields, there are a few titles in particular that I want to point out that you should be looking for. Marketing Managers and Marketing Directors often have a plethora of tasks to do daily which can include everything from graphic design, copywriting, managing media relations, to paid advertising. But, depending on your technical knowledge and expertise, you might have to have your online SEO copywriting and digital marketing skills up to par. This means knowing and being certified in everything from Google Analytics and AdWords, to understanding the ins and outs of keyword research and knowing all the tools. Depending on the company, the role, and how many other skills you are willing to acquire, the sky is the limit with how marketable you can become.

Marketing Managers and Marketing Directors are two roles where your writing skill can make or break the deal. When they need a lot of high quality content for their online presence, blog, corporate communications, etc. your writing expertise will be the difference between you and the next candidate. The other candidates may have more marketing experience or have more digital marketing savvy, but may not be the talented writer that you are.

Content is king. But, really? How does this translate into a high-paying, full-time job?

A new, burgeoning area of employment is in “Content”. With so much emphasis put on “content marketing” and the online presence of companies, you need to start looking here. Titles can vary from “content strategist”, “content manager”, “content marketing strategist”, or “content writer.” And, depending on the company, the skills required for these jobs will vary from place to place, and the demands of each job will look a little bit different.

Even if you were to land a role as a content strategist who often has to contract out a lot of the writing, you need to have excellent written skills. In this role you have to assign titles, scope, focus, direction, and hold the hands of each writer you are overseeing to deliver your content. If you aren’t doing this, you aren’t doing your job. Not to mention all the content strategy you will be creating, devising, and implementing. This all requires understanding what quality writing is, what people want to read, and what type of writing, subjects, and style will gain traction online, drive results, and make money.

What types of words should I be using on my personal marketing materials?

How are you marketing your skill, what language are you using, and what are you putting on your marketing materials? This can make all the difference. If you look through LinkedIn there are a plethora of “skills” for you to look at, understand, and make the decision whether you have them or not. Putting “copywriting”, “content writing”, “content strategy”, “content management”, “editing”, “proofreading”, “journalism”, or any of these keywords in your materials can showcase your writing skill. It can frame it in a way that is directly applicable to the specific job you are applying for.

If you really want to bolster your resume and your marketability, there are closely related skills to writing that you can start acquiring to go in tandem with your writing. Acquiring these skills is not about obtaining degrees, going back to school, or spending any money. These are all skills and knowledge you can acquire on your own with access to the internet. These are SEO, content optimization, keyword research, Google Analytics, and everything else that comes with online digital marketing and marketing strategy. All of these skills can be self-taught, from home, with access to the internet.

I can tell you right now that this is the easiest way to make yourself marketable as a writer, and set yourself apart from the competition. Sure, there are a lot of good writers out there. Do they all know how to create content that will gain traction on the web and make money? A resounding “no” is the answer.

These days, it is not just about writing, but how to optimize your writing for online search engines. Understanding how Google works as a search engine, and as a whole, is key. In an interview, it can be this knowledge, with some coding fundamentals, that lands you the role immediately.

How does learning digital marketing skills help me?

Writing has become a commodity, and in order to separate yourself from the rest of the good writers out there, you need to tell employers how you are going to use your writing skill to make money and positively affect their ROI. Content is king, we all hear that, and when it comes to content marketing, it truly is. In order to be good at content marketing, and to understand how to write content for online purposes, you need to understand how SEO works. You also need to know how to use Google Analytics and possibly other tools to monitor your content online and see how it is performing. A good understanding of online marketing and how to create content that converts is your meal ticket.

But aren’t there a lot of other good writers out there?

Not all writers are well-versed in all the marketing principles that are used in online marketing today. Not all talented writers fully understand content marketing either. So, in order to get the content strategist role that pays that high salary you have been looking for, you’ve got to add to your skills. These skills will sit on top of your solid writing foundation so that you become a complete, marketable package.

“The more experience you have, and the better salary negotiator you are, the more high-paying and lucrative these jobs will be…”
If you gain the marketable skills that go with your writing talent, there really is no end to what you can do as a writer. It really is the one thing that they can’t teach you in school, and nobody can ever say they have a graduate degree in writing and that’s why they are so talented. (Well, there might be someone out there saying that!) Good writing is a product of practice, experience, and a lot of, you guessed it, reading and writing! So, don’t let it go to waste, and learn how to leverage your most valuable asset by looking into the industries and the employment opportunities that will take your career to the next level.


About the author

Kim Birkland

Kim Birkland

Kim Birkland is a Freelance Content Strategist and Copywriter who has worked in many different marketing roles, mainly focused on content. You can read more about her professional and writing experience at www.linkedin.com/in/kimbirkland or follow her on Twitter.

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