View engaging conference lectures, interesting how to discussions, and high quality freelance advice via video here on FreelanceSwitch.
This week we look at Beware online “Filter Bubbles” by Eli Pariser. As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy. For marketing online through SEO it’s critical to understand how search engines tailor results. Continue Reading
Dave Copeland of ReadWriteWeb talks about what I preach to my journalism students every week in his blog post titled “Want To Save Journalism? Start At The Bottom“. It’s not enough to just be a good writer or a good photographer these days—you have to be good at everything.
“When I started out as a journalist in the early 1990′s, being a good writer or a good reporter or a good photographer was usually enough to land a good entry-level job in print. That model doesn’t cut it anymore: now students need to have all those skills, plus an ability to work in a range of content management systems. Being able to edit video and audio and being fast enough on your feet to file a broadcast from your smartphone doesn’t hurt, either. Oh, and don’t forget all those crucial social media skills that colleges are not stressing enough.” —ReadWriteWeb
My undergrad alma mater, like many other universities and colleges around the nation and around the globe, started a new media track in the 2000s to help train students for jobs in the digital world. Not solely journalism, or film, or marketing— these new media tracks focus on creating and producing video, web sites, audio files, film, and much more for an audience that gets their news and information from more than just traditional news sources.
At the recent Spring College Media Convention in New York City, college students participated in workshops that touched on many aspects of journalism. Some of them were:
- Website Revolution: Rake in Readers, Tame the Flames, Land a Hot Job
- Phone Alone: How to be a Multimedia Journalist With Whatever’s in Your Pocket
- Brand Me: Using Social Media to Brand Yourself & Your Newsroom
- Video Basics and Beyond: You Don’t Need to be a Final Cut Pro to Make Your Multimedia Amazing
Sure, all of these things are important to know for a budding multimedia journalist. But what about WRITING!? I’ve taught at two schools—one a state university and one a small, private media college. The writing that comes out of these students is usually abysmal. And if this is the way journalism is heading, we should be scared. Continue Reading
I’ll be honest– my home life is completely insane. My house is like a zoo with two feral monkeys on the loose, tearing apart everything they can get their little hands on.
There are spills, wrecks, crying jags, minor explosions, loud thumping sounds (heads on walls probably), and occasional horror-movie-style screams. It’s amazing that two tiny people can create so much chaos.
My wife does all she can, but she’s outnumbered. I provide back-up, but I’ve also got a job to do. In spite of all the madness, I still somehow manage to write for several hours each day.
Speaking of which, I should get started on some work right now while they’re eating pancakes. Here are 5 of the ways I keep from going completely nuts and manage to keep my freelance writing projects on track. Continue Reading
By 2016, there will be three billion Internet users across the globe, according to a new study by The Boston Consulting Group. That’s half the world’s population!
The study focused on Internet use by consumers and businesses in the G20 countries, which includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the EU, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S. In 2010 alone, the Internet accounted for $2.3 trillion (4.1% of the GDP) and surpassed the economies of Italy and Brazil. In the U.K., the Internet’s contribution to the 2010 GDP is more than that of construction and education.
The Internet powers growth and creates jobs, and most freelancers use the Internet constantly. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to write for FreelanceSwitch!
I clearly remember in 1995 when my best friend’s family got the Internet on their home computer. We were enthralled with it, despite it’s limitations. What the heck was AOL? We thought the Internet was a place where you could talk to complete strangers on the other side of the country—which you could do then and can do now—and had no idea it would become so much more. Continue Reading
In this issue of Ask FreelanceSwitch, we look at repeat clients and increasing your workload. Ask FreelanceSwitch is a regular column here that allows us to help beginners get a grip on freelancing. If you have a question about freelancing that you want answered, send an email to email@example.com.
I often do ongoing design projects with repeat clients. With repeat clients is it best to have a contract for each project, or just a simple agreement with a list of deliverables?
Most of my clients are actually on-going projects, where I’ll come in and work on their blogs without a set end date. Asking them to sign a new contract every month just won’t work out particularly well. So I write the initial letter of agreement we use to set up a project to include my ongoing rates and to cover the long-term.
If we’re talking about a whole new project on top of what I’ve already agreed to do, I write out another letter of agreement. Letters of agreement work the same way as contracts and legally function as such. I do think it’s crucial to get each project in writing with the client’s signature on it. Having to sign something seems to remind most clients that they’re dealing with a professional. Of course, on top of that, if the worst happens and you need to go to court over non-payment, you have an agreement in writing — which counts for a lot. Continue Reading
When I was in journalism school (in both the late 1990s and mid 2000s), the AP Stylebook was our bible. We didn’t go to class without it and frequently had quizzes and assignments built around it.
I recently wrote a blog post about the future of journalism and how astonished I was to learn that my undergraduate journalism students were never made to even purchase their own copy of the AP Stylebook, let alone use it.
If you are going to write for a newspaper (even some magazines) you need to have your AP Style Guide handy. And the more current the style guide the better. So when I found this article at Ragan.com about frequently botched AP style points, I thought I’d share them. Continue Reading
Freelancers are often frustrated by fluctuating income. And when you don’t have the luxury of getting regular paychecks, there is the tendency to make money mistakes. But you can avoid overspending and make better use of your money by practicing good money management.
Reaching your financial goals doesn’t mean you have to be a financial wizard. Nor do you have to hire a money manager.
What could be valuable however, is a personal finance app that helps you keep abreast of your finances. Even if you have achieved freelance success, and don’t have money worries, you can still learn to sharpen your money management skills right in the palm of your hand.
Have a look at 10 apps that you perhaps didn’t know you needed, but you won’t be able to live without once you start using them.
iReconcile’s motto is ‘keep your finance in check.’ The easily customizable Android app helps you manage day-to-day financial transactions using a checkbook register. You don’t need to keep a list of all items you bought or all the money you spent. The app does everything for you; once you enter each transaction, your new balances appear automatically. It also comes with free updates and online backup. Continue Reading
Bid sites have become a part of freelancing, no matter how much some of us dig in our heels and scream otherwise. It’s become very common for a freelancer to land her first clients through a site like Elance or Odesk, or for a freelancer to pick up some work to fill in holes in their schedule.
Sure, the rates are lower than what we can probably get when we’re dealing with clients on our own — or at least they feel that way after the site takes a bite out of our revenues. But there is a level of convenience that bid sites offer.
It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of job bid sites before you start using them. Continue Reading
It’s coming—the Facebook pages update. March 30th is almost here, and if you haven’t updated your page yet (like me) you’re in for some big changes.
Mari Smith, a social media speaker and author, has a great marked up screen shot on her blog you should check out.
I’ve complained about this upgrade before, and I’m still reluctant about it even though I have no choice. It’s going to take some getting used to, and there’s tons of stuff I need to learn about my new business page to use it effectively. It’s this forced learning that is turning me off. There are so many other things on my to do list that I have just been pushing this off. Time’s a waistin’!
The first thing I need to do is add a cover image. The dimensions for this image are 851 pixels by 315 pixels. Already I’m annoyed. I like to use our cover image for the big “profile” picture. This still exists, albeit small, but now I need to find another photo that captures my brand. Sure, it’s prime real estate, but now I need to find a photo that I can use legally that says something important about me. This will take some thought. Continue Reading
Freelance marketers have one of the best jobs on the planet.
There’s a never-ending stream of exciting new projects to work on and clients to work with, and at the end of the day, your work is about helping business grow, which means a better livelihood for everyone involved. Not to mention that if you’re doing well, the money is really good, too!
In short, it’s rewarding, fulfilling, and very lucrative… a great gig if you can get it. So… how do you get it? Continue Reading
I would like an e-commerce site just like someothershop.com – how much would that cost me?
It’s a common enough question, and one that always leads your average freelance web designer to take a deep breath and sigh ‘Well, let me see …’. There are many factors that influence the cost of an ecommerce web project, but when you communicate the vagaries to clients, there tend to be three that can have a huge impact – and are often only dealt with summarily: products, postage and payments. Continue Reading
The annual study is an analysis of the health of journalism in America. This year’s study includes special reports on the impact of mobile technology and social media on news. Lets dig in and see what they say!
Evidence shows that the spread of mobile technology is adding to news consumption—that it’s actually boosting the reading of long-form journalism. Great news for you freelance writers out there who love storytelling.
People who use mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are getting news on these devices, and appear to be getting it frequently. 34% of desktop or laptop computer users now also get news on their smartphones. 27% of smartphone news consumers also get news on their tablet.
But while online audiences grew, print circulation continued to decline. So did ad revenues. When circulation and advertising revenue are combined, the newspaper industry has shrunk 43% since 2000. Here are some of the major trends the study recognized. Continue Reading