John is a fervent writer, gamer, and guitar lover. Former automatic-transmission repairer, welder and hobbyist game developer.
If you're embarking on a career in copywriting, or you have a flair for words and want to make some extra money from the comfort of your home, you may have heard of iWriter. I'm not going to dwell too long on what this service is—there are plenty of iWriter reviews out there to explain that in great detail.
Instead, this post is going to focus on tips for new writers to use the service successfully. We're going to cover the whole gamut, from getting started with no experience, to being an Elite Plus writer with clients filling your inbox with special requests.
What is iWriter?
Now, as I said, we won't spend too long on this, but to save you a click or two I thought I'd give you a quick summary.
iWriter is a gig-economy copywriting service that operates in a very similar fashion to services like Uber and Postmates. It brings together people and businesses in need of content with writers looking for work and employs rating systems to help separate the good writers and clients from the bad.
When a client requests content, their job is posted on a public page that any writer who meets the required standard (more on that later) can take. The jobs are on a first-come, first-served basis, and the client can request revisions or outright reject content.
Understanding iWriter's "Levels"
Writers on the platform fall into one of four categories. The system for getting promoted (or demoted) is automatic and is based on your performance. Understanding this system is crucial to understanding some of the tips I'm going to give you in this article. Here are the levels and their requirements;
- Standard Writer - Basic grammar test (see below)
- Premium Writer - At least 25 ratings with an average of 4.1 stars
- Elite Writer - At least 30 ratings with an average of 4.6 stars
- Elite Plus Writer - At least 40 ratings with an average of 4.85 stars
You are required to pass a basic grammar test and submit a writing sample when you first sign up. The text on iWriter's website implies that all new writers start at the Standard Writer level; however, my personal experience saw me starting out at the Premium Writer level.
As you rise through the levels, you will have access to better-paying jobs. Of course, the expected quality of the work you produce increases also. But enough the inner-workings of the service, let's get into those tips I promised.
Pay Your Dues
Whether you start out as a Standard Writer, or get an initial bump up to Premium Writer status, as I did, you will need to endure some pretty crummy rates of pay in the beginning. Standard level writers can expect to earn a little over $2 for 500 words of content. Nobody is paying their bills with that kind of money. Unfortunately, if you want to make iWriter a significant source of income, you will have to push on.
Things are a little better at the Premium tier, where 500 words can net you just under $4. It's still not great, but most professional writers can churn out enough 500-word articles in a day to make it worth their time.
At the Elite level, a 500-word job will bring in a little over $7. For most copywriters, this rate of pay will allow them to make a respectable income without spending every waking hour writing. The Elite Plus level is a whole different world, however. At that tier, you can get over $25 for a 500-word job.
Now, what do I mean by paying your dues? We're not just talking about doing the bare minimum to get through those earlier levels. Yes, anyone paying $2-3 for 500 words of content should not be expecting a masterpiece, but sometimes that's exactly how they think. You should write as though every job is a top paying customer because, in those early days when you don't have many ratings, a single 2-star review can add weeks to the time it will take to reach the next level.
Pick Your Clients Carefully
It can be tempting to grab any job that looks good without much thought. Especially on a platform like iWriter, where someone else could snap it up in the time it takes you to decide. But resist the urge; think long term.
Look at the client's stats first. Do they have a very high ratio of rejected to approved jobs? Remember, you're looking at the relative amount here. If a client has rejected 497 jobs, it may look bad at first. But if that client has also accepted 512 jobs, their standards are probably about right.
If, on the other hand, a client has rejected 300 jobs and approved 2, their expectations are almost certainly unrealistic. The problem is, no matter how unreasonable your client is being, their poor rating will still be a black mark on your profile.
See How the Process Looks From Your Client's Perspective
Pick Your Jobs Equally as Carefully
On a similar note, be vigilant when choosing jobs. It's not uncommon for clients to attempt to squeeze as much out of iWriter as possible. For example, I have seen many jobs where the client has paid for, for example, 1,000 words. The job will be something straight forward—"Top 5 Mechanical Keyboards", for example—but the client will specify that the post should have an intro, a conclusion, and at least 200 words on each keyboard.
In cases like that, it is impossible to satisfy the terms of the job without delivering a few hundred more words than the client paid for. And if you don't fulfil the conditions, the client will almost certainly rate you poorly.
Of course, an extra hundred or two words on a 1,000-word job isn't the end of the world. I am not saying you should not take these jobs. Just be aware that you will need to meet the requirements of the post to satisfy the client, even if that means delivering more than they paid for.
Value Your Time
This tip assumes that you have gotten past the "paying your dues" stage. Once you settle into your status as an iWriter writer, you should start to get a feel for which jobs are worth your time. It will vary from person to person, depending on areas of expertise.
Clients don't always have the best understanding of the copywriting process, particularly when it comes to large batches of small jobs. And those that do will often engage a single writer, or a small group of writers, to complete the work for them rather than throwing it to the open writing pool.
If, for example, a client needs twenty 500-word blog posts on a particular fitness regime, it would be well worth your time to do the research... if you were writing all twenty posts. If, as is often the case on iWriter, each 500-word job is available separately, and you can't guarantee you'll get more than one of them, the time spent on research may no longer be worth that single job.
For clients who order a lot of work from iWriter, uncertainty is not something they relish. Every time they put a job up that is open to all, there is a chance they are going to have to deal with a writer who is a bad fit for the job, awkward to work with, or just plain not good enough.
That's why repeat clients like to build up a pool of favourites and send work directly to those writers. If you impress a client, there's a good chance they'll come directly to you for future work. This is your ultimate goal on iWriter.
Building up a steady stream of special requests not only gives you a more reliable flow of work—but it also makes it more likely your ratings will remain high. If a client has rated you highly in the past, they're more likely to do so again.
The icing on the cake is that special requests earn you a little more than regular jobs. It's not much (70% of the fee rather than the standard 65%) but every little helps.
One thing to be wary of is falling into the trap of only doing special requests. The overwhelming majority of special requests you get will come from clients you have already worked for. That means you need to be writing for new clients to keep that pool of special requests fresh. It is essential to do this because even the most loyal of clients will eventually drift away. Either they will run out of work for you, or they might just want a fresh voice on in their content.
Be sure to dip back into the open-to-all jobs on a regular basis, and impress some new clients.
What Jobs Are Available
The common problem with sites like iWriter is that they don't always have jobs available. For example, I have also used Textbroker extensively, and have seen literal months go by without new jobs being posted.
With iWriter, however, it seems there is always work (in my experience, of course) but it is dependant on your level. I have yet to see the Standard and Elite tiers have less than fifty jobs available at any one time, and for the Elite tier, it's often closer to a hundred.
On the other hand, the Elite Plus tier seldom has any work available. And new jobs that appear there get snapped up almost immediately. The Premium tier mostly has plenty of work available; however, I have seen it drop to zero once or twice.
Making Money as a Writer
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 John Bullock