The Business of Writing: Finding corporate work

Posted on October 9, 2013

The business of writingWelcome to the first in a new (semi-regular) series on the Business of Writing.

While writing is one of those careers that sounds romantic – pyjamas, working from home, creative thoughts, etc – it has to be mired in common sense.

You can’t eat words, no matter how many of them you create. And so money must be made.

This series is intended as an introduction to some of the different ways to make a living from writing*, as well as some of the requirements of running a writing business. And so I thought I’d begin with corporate work – the more prosaic end of writing for a living.

In an age where communication is key, there is a lot of work available in this area, writing for company newsletters, websites and other publications. It’s not as touchy-feely as editorial work. It’s not perceived as highly creative (though it definitely can be). And you don’t get your name on the story. But if you want to make a living as a writer, it can be a very useful part of the toolkit.

How to find corporate writing work

I asked Lisa Lintern, from Lintern Communications, a professional writer and communications specialist, for her thoughts on writing for corporations. Specifically, how to find corporate work and how to keep it.

What sort of writing comes under ‘corporate work’?

Lisa Lintern: “Typically people tend to think traditional ‘marketing’ when it comes to corporate writing work; things like websites, brochures, direct mail copy. But there is a great pool of writing done in areas like internal communications that people tend to overlook.

Intranet sites in particular are evolving into more of a news approach to employee engagement as more companies realise they need to compete with external sources of information for their employee’s attention.

Another way to hook into corporate writing is through project work – supporting a major project to produce communications collateral like white papers, press releases, major internal announcements and speeches.”


How do I find corporate work?
LL: “Network, network and network again. The best way to crack into corporate writing is to develop relationships with key marketing or communications managers who oversee things like websites or intranet sites, and often sit at the table of large internal projects. People in these types of roles are easy to find on Linkedin.
Start with an email, and example of what you’ve written and then ask them out for a coffee. Word of mouth is incredibly important when it comes to corporate work, so once you’ve landed some initial work, you’ll find it easier to find more.”
What sort of skills will I need?

LL: “An ability to understand potentially (and usually unnecessarily) complex information and translate this into plain-speak.

Organisations are crying out for people with fresh minds to decode their messages into well-written materials.

Often full-time employees get caught up with jargon – a product of hearing it and reading it all day – and easily lose the art of good writing, which is why they choose to outsource it.

A healthy dose of patience, as well as thick skin, to ride out internal sign-off processes (trust me – every woman and their dog will want to have their say in the construction of your sentences) is also helpful.”


What can I expect to be paid?

LL: Like all freelance writing, this is the million dollar question but I can confidently say you will be paid much more than you would as a freelance writer submitting to mainstream publications. It really depends on the type of materials you are creating.

Websites and marketing material would probably be on the lower end of the pay spectrum, while more strategic pieces like communications to support large projects or things like CEO speeches are on the upper end.

Corporate work usually tends to pay hourly rate – you could receive anywhere between $75 – $200 per hour, again, it really depends on the nature of the work.”


Do I need a marketing/communications background?

LL: “Again, this depends on the type of work. Marketing or consumer focused writing you definitely don’t. But if you want to get into the bigger projects (where the bigger dollars are) some kind of exposure or understanding of strategic communications is necessary.”


Three tips to keep in mind if I’d like to do this work.

1. Don’t underestimate how much you might enjoy corporate work! Corporate writing is often seen as ‘constrained’ and conservative – if you ask me nothing could be further from the truth. Corporates are seeking vibrant writers to turn the mundane into the interesting, so don’t be afraid to bring your personality to the table.

2. Word-of-mouth is really important. Once you’ve cracked into the corporate scene, this will be your major source of ongoing work. As a result, you will only be as good as your last gig, which brings me to my next point…

3. Politics – while as a freelancer or contractor you won’t be directly impacted by the inner workings of a corporate culture, your internal client will be. So as changes are made to your work during internal sign-off process, it’s best not to be precious.

You’ll find Lisa Lintern here on Linkedin and Twitter, or take a look at her website.


So You Want To Be a Writer bookAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

Subscribe to So You Want To Be A Writer podcast for more amazing writing advice.

Or check out So You Want To Be A Writer (the book), where my co-author Valerie Khoo and I have distilled the best tips from hundreds of author and industry expert interviews. Find out more and buy it here.


  1. Maxabella

    I really do need to pull my finger out… x

  2. Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel

    Good advice, especially on networking and you just can never beat that face to face meeting… yes, even in this very digital age, it makes such a huge difference.

  3. Lucy

    Al, as you may recall, much of my writing was corporate stuff for a government department – a contract I maintained for a decade and happily paid our mortgage with! I have just finally torn links with the work – to give me more time for my other job and the kids and more creative writing BUT, it was brilliant whilst I did it – dull, at times, but so worthwhile. I think it even helped my bits of more creative writing…

  4. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)

    Awesome tips Lisa, thanks for sharing. I’d like to get into corporate writing. Thanks Al, as always x

  5. Sarah McKay

    Thanks for this post.
    Especially true that corporate comms can be vibrant and interesting! And, they usually pay well.
    I second thoughts on LinkedIn – most of my new enquires come via my LinkedIn profile.

  6. Sam Stone

    LOVE this advice. I would love to get more involved in corporate writing as a technical writer I believe it would it is the next step in my writing career!
    I’m off to Linkedin to link with Lisa and network, network, network!

  7. Dorothy

    I’ve been struggling to crack that one. So much networking and no results. Obviously marketing in the wrong places with the wrong poeple. Might give LinkedIn a go.

    • Allison Tait

      Networking is like Karma. It can be slow, but it works when you least expect it. 🙂

Pin It on Pinterest