Welcome to the latest post in my side hustle series, looking at tried and tested methods to earn extra income. There are so many ways to make extra cash when you need to. This week Scott Dixon from A Writer in Edinburgh tells us how to make money as a web content writer.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing
I’m 49 and live in Edinburgh after spending most of my adult life in the Isle of Man working in financial services.
Alongside my consumer blog www.thegrumpygit.com, which focuses on consumer and motoring issues, I also have a writing website, www.awriterinedinburgh.com. This is a showcase for my writing, which is my side hustle.
What’s your money maker and what does it involve?
I write content for travel guides for their website to encourage tourists to join them on their tours, self-publish my own books and provide that as a service for other aspiring authors.
How long have you been doing it and why did you start?
I have been writing for travel guides since January 2019. I met my first client her over dinner a few years ago while she was here on a fact-finding visit. She wanted to mirror a successful bespoke tour guide operation she has in London. I kept in touch with her and I now I am her resident writer in Edinburgh creating content for her website here.
Other clients have been recommended to me from Scottish Enterprise, who work with tour guides. They know what they want but they don’t have the time or skills to create SEO content to drive their business forward.
I saw this work an opportunity to break in to tourism in Edinburgh and Northumberland and create a niche for myself.
How much money can you earn?
I charge £60 for a blog post comprising 850 words and featuring five venues, without photographs.
I like to meet the clients face-to-face over a coffee to get to know precisely what they want. It helps to know their style and voice, look at their website to gauge their client base and then I can create SEO optimised content to suit.
This is one aspect that I am developing as an income stream. It’s very much ‘word of mouth’ and personal recommendations to get the work around Edinburgh and make money as a web content writer.
I opt to do one blog as a sample so both parties can gauge whether we can work together. It also gives me the opportunity to deliver on my promises with no obligation of a long-term commitment.
What are the advantages?
Writing can be done anywhere at any time within reason, so it’s something that you can fit around work as a side-hustle.
You can adapt your style of writing to suit different individuals and the more you do, the better you get. This gives you the opportunity to hone your skills, develop other connections and create some other outlets for your talents.
You can also point clients to the work you have created as part of your portfolio.
What are the downsides?
Tour guides are time-poor and very busy, so trying to pin them down to get regular work is difficult. I tend to follow up with them a couple of weeks after the first blog has been delivered to get some feedback, establish a working relationship and secure follow ups.
Edinburgh is a very close-knit community and it’s smaller than a village, so you have to be careful in creating a degree of separation with the work you do and try and do it without any credits so you’re not tied to anyone.
You can’t rely on it for a steady income, although it is a great way to build up awareness of your skills and talents. It can lead to some interesting spin-offs, such as being asked to self-publish books for aspiring authors with full credits and an acknowledgement.
Set up a profile on LinkedIn with a banner to suit your niche using Canva software.
Connect with other freelance writers and engage with them on their posts.
Create a simple WordPress website without adverts (pay to strip them out) to showcase your writing.
Write a few blogs on tourist attractions to illustrate what you do with back-links across your blogs so people can work their way around your website.
Advertise on Craigslist and other forums that link back to your website.
Look for forthcoming local tourism events that you can write about. I wrote a blog on Prudhoe Castle for my home town and local Councillor, gave him the link and he shared it across social media. You can see the post and my website here.
I did the same on LinkedIn and tagged Northumberland Tourism, saying that I was delighted to be helping them promote this initiative for half price admission for locals. That created interest from Northumberland Tourism and I have a connection there now that will hopefully create more work.
Keep a record of all income and expenses on a spreadsheet and utilise all allowances for HMRC Self-Assessment tax returns. For example, you can claim £4 a week for using your home as an office.
Where can we find you?
Facebook: The Complaints Resolver
Thanks so much to Scott for this brilliant side hustle idea and tips on how to make money as a web content writer. For more in my side hustle series, take a look here.