Can you make money writing for digital marketing agencies?
Yes. How about easy $100 assignments, $400 blog posts, or $1,000 long-form projects, and plenty of ongoing work?
Find a good digital marketing agency to work with, and it’s totally possible.
In theory, here’s how it works:
- A digital marketing agency does all the heavy lifting to find clients in your niche.
- Then the digital marketing agency hires you to write content for their clients…blog posts, white papers, case studies, website content, marketing materials, etc.
Sounds pretty good, right? All you need to do is find some digital marketing agencies, and you’re set. Lots of work, less marketing, steady pay.
Hold on…Some digital marketing agencies have a track record for paying writers respectable rates. But some are nothing more than low-paying content mills disguised as a digital marketing agency, and we want you to avoid those.
Want to write for a digital marketing agency? Check out these freelance writer recommendations:
Want to write for a digital marketing agency?
We asked our network of writers for recommendations. And we heard some horror stories about low rates, pain-in-the-butt editors, and content-mill-like experiences. But we also heard from freelancers who regularly write for digital marketing agencies in their niche and get paid fairly. Check out the list:
Founded by Freelancer Writers Den Member Kim Rotter in 2012, An Army of Writers is a growing digital marketing agency that works with expert writers in a variety of niches.
- Get started: Networking. That’s how freelance writer Jen Roland landed an assignment with An Army of Writers. “Kim Rotter reached out to me in the Den because of my experience with clients in Ed-Tech.”
- My projects: Blog posts about credit and personal finance
- Rates: $175 per blog post
- What’s it like?: “The pay was good, and the work experience was great,” says Roland. “They collaborate through Trello, so you can always check in and see where your post is in the process and what you need to do as far as editing or additions. But they don’t work with newer writers. You’ll need a portfolio of great work that goes deep into a particular field to land an assignment.”
- Agency advice: “I don’t depend on agencies,” says Roland. “I find most of my clients through proactive marketing and inbound reachouts, so it’s a nice bonus to have someone who knows your value and has great clients to reach out to when they have a good fit.”
- Contact: Kim Rotter, founder of An Army of Writers
Note: Freelance Writers Den 2x member Kaitlin Morrison just landed her first assignment with An Army of Writers that started with a networking connection and a well-written letter of introduction. “Kim has been great to work with and has clearly communicated everything about the client and assignments.”
Yes, that ClearVoice…the one recently bought out by Fiverr. It’s a type of digital marketing agency that’s proven to pay pro rates, work with brand-name clients, and have enough influence to generate an estimated $113 million in venture capital money.
- Get started: When some long-term client work dried up for freelance writer Tracey Stepanchuk, a friend told her to try ClearVoice. “I went online, created a profile and a portfolio, and within a day or two had my first assignment.”
- My projects: Blog posts, marketing emails
- Rates: $150 to $250 for 500-600-word blog posts
- What’s it like? “I’ve done six assignments for ClearVoice, and so far happy with the way they operate,” says Stepanchuk. “The person I’ve worked with is super responsive and helpful, and even sent me a referral.”
- Contact: Sam Neeser, ClearVoice talent manager
If you need proof Contently isn’t like a lot of low-paying digital marketing agencies or content mills, their client roster should tell you something. Big brands like American Express, JP Morgan Chase, Marriott, and Wal-Mart hire writers through Contently…writers like Casey Hynes.
- Get started: “I created a Contently portfolio and applied online when they were looking for new writers,” says Casey.
- My projects: Blog posts and long-form articles that may require interviews, info from clients, and secondary research,” says Hynes.
- Rates: $400 to $1,000 per assignments
- What’s it like? “Overall, I’ve had great experiences with Contently,” says Hynes. “They work with very high-caliber clients, so everyone involved in the process is extremely professional. You can get great clips writing for their clients, and they pay well and upon submission.”
- Contact: There are different editors for each client. The best thing to do is create a Contently portfolio and sign up for the email newsletter, so you’ll know when they’re looking for new writers.
LeadtoConversion is an Ohio-based digital marketing agency that primarily works with small to medium-sized businesses.
- Get started: Freelance writer Evan Jensen landed assignments with LeadtoConversion after sending a letter of introduction.
- My projects: Blog posts for weight-loss surgery clinics
- Rates: $80 to $100 for 500-word blog posts
- What’s it like? “They always provided easy-to-follow guidelines for assignments, editing was minimal, and always paid on time,” says Jensen.
- Contact: Send a letter of introduction to Executive Vice President Matt Travers.
- Agency advice: “This was a great move-up client for me, but I don’t write for this agency any more,” says Jensen. “It’s not uncommon to get paid lower rates when you write for an agency, especially a smaller agency. But if the rate is decent and there’s a large volume of work, it can be a reliable income source.
NewsCred helps companies with their marketing, including native advertising, brand journalism, writing and publishing of content. With their own software system, this company allows clients to plan their marketing and access customized writing and licensed content from NewsCred’s pool of freelance writers like Tolu Ajiboye.
- Get started. You’ll need to create an account and go from there. Here’s how Tolu got started. “I was in touch with the director of digital content of a company on Linkedin,” says Tolu. And she learned the Fortune 500 company uses NewsCred to hire writers.
- My projects: Web content, articles, blog posts
- Rates: $350 to $700 per assignment (500 to 1,000 words)
- What’s it like?: “I like almost everything about NewsCred,” says Ajiboye. “There was a delay with remitting payment once. But it was because they were upgrading their system, and we were made aware of this. Since I started writing for NewsCred, I’ve also been added to the account of another big company.”
The Canadian-based digital marketing agency, Reaction, has developing websites, content, and marketing strategies for small to medium-sized businesses and organizations for more than a decade. And when they need a niche-specific writer for a client, they’ll find one like Lanre Peter.
- Get started: Introduce yourself with a letter of introduction. Or if you’ve carved out a nice for yourself, Reaction may come calling, like they did for Lanre.
- My projects: Website copy, case studies, blog posts
- Rates: $100 per blog post; $100+ per webpage content
- What’s it like? “I particularly liked working with Reaction, because of the highly skilled team and for their freelancer on-boarding processes,” says Peter. “I worked directly with the project manager and senior marketing strategist, and learned a lot from them.”
If you’re wondering how to find a digital marketing agency to work with, pay attention. Here’s another agency Peter has worked with…Signa Marketing. It’s an Arizona-based company that was recognized as a “top digital marketing agency” in 2018 by UpCity, and he found them the old-fashioned way.
- Get started: Send an LOI.
- My projects: Blog posts
- Rates: $100 per blog post
- Agency advice: “I believe agencies are always in need and are willing to try new freelancers,” says Peter. “So whether it’s through LOIs or LinkedIn, get in there, and pitch yourself.”
Back when banner ads were supposed to be the golden ticket to generating profit online, digital marketing manager Tom Gerace thought it was a dying model to help businesses attract customers. Internet user trends showed that people were more interested in quality content than flashy ads. So in 2010, he launched the content marketing platform Skyword and attracted big-name companies and a legion of freelance writers like Casey Hynes.
- Get started: Create a Skyword account. Set up a portfolio. Apply online within the platform.
- My projects: Reported articles, ebooks, infographic content
- Rates: $400 per assignment
- What’s it like? “I usually write for financial brands, but I’ve heard that accounts in other industries may pay less,” says Hynes. “I’ve had really positive experiences with Skyword. The editors are responsive and helpful, and payment is reliable (payments are sent twice a month). They also work with quality clients, so I’ve been able to learn a lot and get great clips while writing for them.”
- Contact: There are different editors for each account. Apply online and create a portfolio. Skyword editors can search the list of freelancers on the site for ones with a portfolio and niche-specific experience.
SmartBug Media is an inbound marketing agency that provides a full range of content marketing services to businesses small and large. Freelance writers Evan Jensen and Angie Mansfield have both written for SmartBug Media.
- Get started: Send a letter of introduction, or apply online to open freelance positions
- My projects: Lead magnets, blog posts, ebooks, case studies
- Rates: $75 to $800+ per assignment
- What’s it like?: “I would definitely consider SmartBug a move-up client,” says Mansfield. “Their pay is decent, especially if you’re coming out of the mills, but it’s not as high as you’d get working for a bigger client. Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to take another project from them.”
- Contact: Ryan Malone, Smartbug Media founder
Zerys is a content marketing platform that emerged in 2008 when founder Steve Lazuka recognized a demand for search-friendly content to help drive website traffic for businesses. Today, Zerys has partnerships with 12,000 businesses and 3,500 agencies that hire writers through the platform, including Stepanchuk.
- Get started: I found Zerys through networking, and I’ve been writing for clients there for five to six years.
- My projects: Blog posts, website copy, ebooks, white papers, case studies, marketing plans
- Rates: $0.15/per word on average
- What’s it like?: I’ve made around $60,000 over the years just writing for Zerys clients…My experience with Zerys has been exceptionally good. Their submission portal is occasionally a bit dodgy but they are always willing to work around that…Things have been a lot quieter there lately though, I don’t know what’s going on.
- Contact: Steve Lazuka, founder, or Nikki Madison, project manager
11. Creative Circle?
Does anyone actually write for this digital marketing agency?
Creative Circle has been around a long time. If you subscribe to job alerts in your niche, you’ll probably get flooded with Creative Circle emails for remote and on-site gigs for beginner and mid-professional rates like this one:
Position: Content Writer + Strategist (REMOTE)
Location: Other Areas
Estimated Duration: Open ended
Starts: Early to mid May
Rate: Up to $40/HR, depending on experience
Job Description: Our health + wellness client is seeking an offsite Content Writer + Strategist in an ongoing freelance role.
But when we asked around about Creative Circle, we didn’t find any writers who have landed an assignment this way. If you have, tell us about it, and how you got the gig.
You can write for digital marketing agencies
If you want to write for a digital marketing agency, do your homework. Find agencies that serve clients in your niche, and reach out to the marketing director with a letter of introduction. And if it’s a good fit, negotiate a rate you’re happy with. Writing for digital marketing agencies can be a great way to help you move up, earn more, and make a living writing.
What do you think about writing for digital marketing agencies? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
Evan Jensen is the blog editor for Make a Living Writing. When he’s not on a writing deadline or catching up on emails, he’s training to run another 100-mile ultra-marathon.