Nicolas Cole started as a professional video gamer, competing at the highest levels in World of Warcraft. This exposed him to the world of online content creation and building an audience. He pivoted into writing, working for an ad agency and freelancing.
At the ad agency, Cole realized that great writers don't just write a lot of words - they influence thinking with just a few carefully chosen words. As a freelancer, he learned that you have to solve readers' problems, not just write about your own interests. But he knew he eventually wanted to build his own writing business.
Cole left freelancing to start a ghostwriting agency focused on serving busy entrepreneurs. He built it for several years before stepping back to focus on education for writers. Here he teaches tactical frameworks for succeeding as a writer online.
Nicolas Cole is an online writing expert who teaches writers how to build audiences and make money with their words.
For Aspiring Writers, Cole Says To Start By Solving Readers' Problems
If you want to make money as a writer, focus on identifying and addressing readers' questions and needs. Write content that provides value to them. For example, Cole got his start on Quora by noticing that the highest performing answers were stories that addressed people's specific questions.
Use Data To Guide Your Niche
Double down on writing about topics and for audiences that generate engagement. Let the data guide you to your niche. For example, Cole wrote a viral blog post on stoicism for Tim Ferriss. The feedback made him realize there was demand, so he expanded it into a book and doubled down on stoicism.
Offer Free Work To Prove Yourself
Successful people will pay you well once you demonstrate you can do great work. Start by offering your services for free. For example, Cole offered to write speeches for free for influential people, knowing it would lead to paid opportunities down the road based on referrals.
Productize Your Knowledge
Create courses, ebooks and newsletters to scale your income beyond trading time for money. Package your expertise. For example, Cole took his frameworks for online writing success and packaged them into an online course called Ship 30.
Share Lessons From Your Recent Years
You don't need to be an expert to start creating helpful content. Share what you've learned over the past few years. For example, Cole suggests using the "two year test" - reflect on key lessons and insights from the past two years that could help someone two years behind you.
Build A Library To Avoid Repeating Yourself
Creating a body of work allows you to point people to answers rather than re-explaining yourself. This maximizes the leverage of your writing. For example, Cole built a library of Quora answers so he didn't have to repeat himself when people asked common questions.