All of you MTV generation kids out there would be lying if you said you didn’t remember You Gotta’ Fight for Your Right to Party, the 1986 power chord, rap/brat anthem that launched the Beastie Boys into suburban homes across America. Right now you’re either fondly remembering the absurdity and debauched mayhem of that classic video, or thinking to yourself: What do the Beastie Boys have to do with web content and copywriting? Simply put: It’s all about the fight.
The Internet is like a Mother Brain of self dividing and regenerating cells. It’s vast, expansive and growing. However, making a living on the Internet as a freelancer is competitive, and it’s getting more cutthroat by the day. There’s a glut of capable writers ransacking sites looking to squeeze out a living crafting copy. Is content, too, like a cell that just keeps on dividing? Will the supply ever outweigh the demand?
A Content Survival Guide for Writers
Content writers can get snarky and catty on forums, but being that everyone is working, spy-like, from some undisclosed location, there’s no bare knuckle office brawls or Melrose Place style tantrums. Is there schmoozing, brown nosing and ladder climbing? Perhaps. But the competition amongst content writers is subtler than what you would find in a traditional office, and because it’s a subtler competition, it can be more dangerous.
If ole Jimbo wins a Pulitzer at The New York Times, everyone in the Five Burroughs knows it; they know his style, tone, and voice, and they can probably quote highlights from the piece. As a content writer, you have little or no idea what the work of your fellow scribes looks like. Sure, you can follow some bread crumbs and do a bit of detective work, but that’s about it. If a client wants to hire a copywriter and he/she is rifling through 100 writing samples, you have little idea what you’re up against when it comes to nailing down a job.
Of course, perhaps this not knowing is really for the better. Maybe it frees up creativity and confidence. Don’t get the wrong idea; content writing is not some kind of dog-eat-dog, Wall Street type profession. Writers who are new to the genre should know, however, that it’s not a walk in the park, either. Those old conflicts still arise: Man vs Man, Man vs Society (actually, perhaps it’s Man vs Content Marketplace).
All you need to do is fight for your right to copywrite.
Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.