The tremendous growth in cryptocurrency interest and related topics has led to an explosion of demand for quality cryptocurrency writers. Writers with good knowledge about cryptocurrencies, tokens, blockchain topics, mining and security are currently commanding some of the highest per-word and per-hour rates in the freelance content writing world. If you’re used to writing for content mills at less than 5 cents a word, or clearing less than you would working at a 7/11, it’s time to set your sights higher.
This article assumes that you can already write well, and turn in clean copy that requires minimal proofing and editing.
The industry needs all kinds of writers that serve different kinds of readers. One of the first steps in becoming a cryptocurrency writer or blockchain industry writer is deciding which of these niches you can bring the most value to for your client. Note that there will be considerable overlap, and, of course, you can work in more than one category.
- Blockchain technology reporting: Covering the latest developments in coding, mining, smart contracts and other innovations for the programmer, miner or IT professional. Writers can focus on breaking news, opinion and analysis, “inside baseball,” to name a few approaches to the beat. There are lots of available subspecialties, too, including dealmaking, hedge funds, IT security and cybercrime, smart contracts, programming, equipment reviews, personality profiles, private equity and venture capital news, regional or industry-specific beats (i.e., covering blockchain and smart contract applications for the hospitality industry, banking industry, defense, travel, etc. in industry magazines.)
- Cryptocurrency investment reporting: The industry needs experienced investment and financial writers to cover cryptocurrencies, tokens and stocks in crypto-related companies as an asset class and as individual investments for retail and institutional investors. A working knowledge of blockchain technology, IT security and other technical matters will be helpful, but not absolutely necessary to start out, if you have excellent chops as an investment writer. However, you’ll want to bring yourself up to speed on the technical side of things as quickly as you can.
Some common subtopics within this niche include:
- Asset allocation
- Mutual fund and hedge fund reporting and analysis
- Brokerage and trading platform reviews
- Cyber security
- Tax-related subjects
- Retirement funds
- Private equity and venture capital financing
- Short-term trading tactics, day trading and automated trading strategies
- Self-directed IRAs
- Technical writing: Blockchain companies and token issuers need good technical writers who can document their products and services, write instruction manuals and user guides for their own in-house needs as well as for vendors, dealers, miners and end users. Occasionally they need these documents translated into other languages as well.
- ICO White paper writing: This kind of writing requires a synthesis of technical and investment writing, as many times you’ll be explaining a technology and how it serves a need to investors in a specific token, cryptocurrency or related product or service. Some basic design and infographic skills will come in handy in both the technical writing and white paper writing niches, especially.
In some cases, you may be asked to write a legal filing, such as a prospectus or annual report to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This is a potentially lucrative niche for investment writers who already have some experience with similar pieces.
- Content, PR and marketing writers. Blockchain and crypto currency issuers need to promote and market themselves in various ways. Many of these companies are startups with just a few people, and they frequently hire blog writers, article writers, and public relations writers to help them with articles, long-form advertorials, press releases, trade show materials and other collaterals. They also need people to manage their social media presence, which is an additional service you may be able to provide.
Possible clients include public relations, advertising and marketing communications firms, as well as crypto and blockchain-related companies themselves. Occasionally crypto industry websites and magazines will have a potential advertiser interested but who needs help writing advertorial copy.
If you’re a quality writer, developing your technical skills in any of these areas should help you command much better rates than most generalists slaving away for the low-paying content mills.
However, the barrier to entry is significant. If you’re not already up on at least one aspect of crypto or blockchain technology, or bringing some significant investment and computer technology writing to the table, you have a lot of reading to do.
But if you’re like a lot of frustrated freelance writers, stuck spending half your time querying and getting rejection letters and the other half writing for 10 cents per word or less, or $15 per hour or less, it’s worth the effort.
Spend a couple of hours per day reading everything you can find. The book Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World is a good start. Read the industry news sites like CoinTelegraph.com and Coindesk.com. Scour Reddit and Steemit for coin and blockchain-related topics.
Check out Meetup.com. If there’s a crypto meet-up in your area, don’t miss the opportunity.
If you want to be a crypto writer, you’ll either be joining a media organization as an employee, the marketing/communications department of a crypto or blockchain-related company as an employee, or approaching either of the above as a freelancer.
In any case, you will need to promote and sell your ability as a writer.
When you approach a potential client, they’re going to want to see some samples of your writing. Nobody wants to take a chance on a writer or pay a good rate if they aren’t confident that you’ll be able to deliver quality work.
If you’re an experienced professional writer, this won’t be a problem, since you’ll already have lots of samples to send them. Put the best ones up on your LinkedIn page, or, if you use a freelancing website like UpWork or Guru.com, on your profile page. Mention cryptocurrency and/or blockchain in your bio in both places so anyone doing a web search or site for these terms is likely to land on your page.
If you don’t have any clips yet, you’ll want to get some up on the Web as soon as you can, so that you can link directly to them when pitching a new client.
One great place to start: Keep your own blog on crypto-related topics. This is an excellent tactic if you can already write to an expert level on any niche in the crypto or blockchain world. You may get inquiries about writing just from running a successful blog alone. In many cases, a great blog is all a good writer needs to get started.
Some writers actually make a living from monetizing their own blogs. See www.problogger.com for some ideas on how to do this.
Creating a podcast or YouTube channel of you speaking on various crypto-related topics is also an excellent idea, if you can already speak as an expert on one or more subniches.
In each of these categories, a professional attitude, attention to detail and commitment to accuracy is essential to success. If you get a reputation as someone who is sloppy with the facts, who turns in substandard copy that needs extensive editing, or who disregards deadlines, you will have a hard time finding work.
With freelance writing, much of your success is in developing relationships with regular clients. The more time you spend querying, the less time you can spend focusing on actual paid work. So when you have a client that pays a competitive rate for your work, it’s important to keep them. It’s much easier to do great work for an existing client than to have to beat the streets looking for another buyer for your writing and editing services.
A few closing tips for long-term success.
Don’t get discouraged. It takes time to build up a freelance writing practice. It may be months or years before you’re doing it full-time or meeting your income goals. A career as a writer is a crockpot, not a microwave.
Don’t write for others for free. If you’ve put in the time, your contributions are valuable. Your services are in demand and it isn’t easy to find good writers with the specialized knowledge these companies and media organizations are looking for. Coin and token issuers and equipment companies are making money. They know you should be paid appropriately for your work. If you’re writing for free, it should be for your own blog to demonstrate your own expertise.
If your mother say she loves you, check it out. This is an old saying among reporters. And it’s important. The crypto world is very much still a Wild, Wild West kind of environment: There is no shortage of dreamers, charlatans, con-men and out-and-out criminals looking to fleece others of their money. The industry needs gimlet-eyed, skeptical reporters and writers not just to promote good opportunities, but to protect the public from bad ones.