They say content is king. That may be true to an extent, but if I have learned anything so far in my freelance blogging career, it is that speed (in part) determines success.
The faster you can write up an article of true quality, the more you can earn. It really is that simple.
Once you put all notions of hourly rates out of your head and focus on the far more important issue (what your clients are willing to pay), you will soon realize that the more systematized your writing process is, the more money you can make.
Blogging is a very different beast to other forms of writing, and you may not realize that it pairs beautifully with a highly efficient writing process. With that in mind, today I want to show you what I do to produce blog posts in double-quick time and how you can too. Continue Reading
Facebook is an integral part of my small business. See, I own a niche wedding publication and use Facebook to interact with my readers and fans. It’s important to me to have engagement not only on my website, but on my Facebook page, too. I use Facebook to publicize events, tease readers about blog posts, and share information to wedding professionals as well as brides planning a wedding.
I really liked this blog post on DanZarella.com about data he collected on more than 1.3 million posts published on the top 10,000 most-liked Facebook pages on how to get more likes, comments, and shares. He analyzed the posts and here’s what he came up with: Continue Reading
In this issue of Ask FreelanceSwitch, we look at incorporation and working with family. 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.
If you are just getting started, is it too early to incorporate your business? If yes, when is a good time to incorporate?
I actually incorporated fairly early for a freelancer — about two years after I started freelancing full-time. My reasons for incorporation were based on having a few other things going on than straight up freelancing (including bringing in subcontractors). For many freelancers, incorporation is something that can be put off indefinitely.
Incorporation means that you’re going to need to pay out money every year to maintain your corporate status, pay extra money to your tax preparer and spend time on extra paperwork.
I’d generally wait until a CPA or other business advisor says that you really need to incorporate: you do get benefits if you might otherwise be liable for a problem, but I’ve only heard of a handful of cases where freelancers faced such issues. Generally, we can get by without incorporation. Continue Reading
In light of the recent Tuts+ Premium compromise, we’ve been auditing our systems to make sure they all have good practices around account and password storage. Because our FreelanceSwitch system was connected to an older version of BBPress, it was storing some accounts using a simple hash (not a good practice). Newer accounts, and ones which have had a password reset in recent times, had better security (a better hash, and a per user salt).
So to be certain that everyone is up to date, we have reset all user passwords on the job board and forums. Users will need to update their password using the Reset Password Form.
To be clear, this is just a precaution to improve general security on FreelanceSwitch.
We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause users. If you have any questions or run into any problems, don’t hesitate to contact Support.
I’ve written a couple of blog posts this week about plagiarism. It’s a serious offense for writers—freelance or on staff—and has ruined many a journalist’s career.
You’d think these journalists would learn from the mistakes of others. But apparently not, as Hearst recently fired one of their award-winning reporters for making stuff up.
Paresh Jha was a reporter for the New Canaan News in Connecticut. He’s been fired for fabricating sources and quotes in at least 25 stories over the past two years.
“We have found 25 stories written by Paresh Jha over the last year and a half that contain quotes from nonexistent sources,” David McCumber, editorial director of the Hearst Connecticut Media Group, said Friday. The problem was discovered when unusually spelled names were fact-checked by the editing staff. “When confronted, Jha admitted that he had fabricated the names and the quotes,” McCumber said.—NewCanaanNewsOnline.com
The stories that were discovered to have fabricated information have been taken off the weekly newspaper’s website.
In May, Jha won two awards at the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists Awards—a first place and a third place award in the community non-daily category.
Jha isn’t the first, and won’t be the last, journalist who resorts to making stuff up. One of my favorite stories about fabricating sources is the one of Stephen Glass, who worked for the Washington D.C. based-The New Republic. This was such a crazy story that they turned it into a movie—Shattered Glass—which came out in 2003.
I first watched this movie in graduate school. I was taking a media ethics course from none other than the guy who outed Stephen Glass. My professor, Adam Penenberg, was working for Forbes at the time and had been scooped on a story by Glass. “Hack Heaven,” written by glass, was the exact thing Penenberg covered for Forbes, and when Penenberg looked into the story, he realized the entire story had been fabricated by Glass. The unraveling of the tale is appalling, and makes for a good movie. Continue Reading
The advent of social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter have many small businesses abandoning traditional media, such as print advertising in favor of the web. But when it comes to these traditional advertising approaches, should freelance businesses jump ship just yet?
Online marketing is critical, don’t get me wrong. And it’s a lot cheaper in some cases than mailing postcards to everyone in your community or to every local business. But in the end, it depends on the kind of business you operate.
If you can provide services to people all over the world, then an online marketing campaign may be perfect for you. On the other hand, if you sell to local patrons only, then you may need to focus on local advertising methods. Keep in mind, most businesses will still benefit from both offline and online efforts; you may just need to focus more on one and less on the other.
Advertising in local publications takes the same scrutiny. Each business has to decide if paying for ad space within local magazines, radio stations, newspapers, phone books, and even your local chamber of commerce website is beneficial to them. Read through the information below to help guide your decision on whether or not to purchase local ad space. Continue Reading
I recently wrote about content theft, how my FreelanceSwitch blog posts ended up on another person’s blog without proper credit. Scratch that—there was no credit! My blog post was published and another author was taking credit for it. He claims it was unintentional, but it was against the law — frustrating.
I learned some valuable lessons when this happened, and I thought I would share them with you and how you can handle plagiarism if it happens to you (and I hope it doesn’t).
Lesson 1: The power of social media
A friend of mine alerted me to the fact that someone was publishing my FreelanceSwitch blog posts on his business blog. When I checked it out, I sent the link to the editor of FreelanceSwitch, Sean Hodge, to handle. I wasn’t sure what was appropriate, and I didn’t want to get in the middle of it.
Instead of emailing this man, named Kevin, myself I posted a link to two of my blog posts on my Facebook page, calling him out on it. I figured my friends would be on my side, but some of them actually went on to Kevin’s site and left messages that what he was doing was wrong.
Three hours after my Facebook status update, all of my FreelanceSwitch blog posts (and other blog posts from various FreelanceSwitch authors and other blogs) were taken off his site. He even wrote a post trying to apologize. How’s that for service? Continue Reading
When you get a huge workflow of content writing and the clients are diverse with varying requirements and expectations, how do you manage your output to ensure high standards are still maintained?
Content writers are normally hard-put to meet client specifications for their websites and this can create a lot of pressure for the writer. Add to that the challenge of competition and the need to attract clients who will pay for services rendered and you realize that just having the writing skill alone is not enough.
The ability to leverage your writing skills in the face of stiff competition is a great plus in this field of writing. There are many expert writers out there. You need to look for a way to stand out from the rest. In management circles there is a practice that maintains a high standard of production and it can be applied to the field of writing. That practice is Quality Assurance (QA).
Quality Assurance is simply the process of ensuring that products or services meet customers’ expectations. It normally constitutes a system of steps taken during the production process to maintain high standards throughout.
QA contributes to credibility, it increases customer confidence, and it enables a business to compete effectively on the market. In the context of writing services, QA means that there are certain measures put into place to ensure the highest standard of output for your business. Continue Reading
If you know me, you know I love a good study. And I found the findings in the 2012 Oriella PR Network Global Digital Journalism Study to be fascinating.
Titled The Influence Game: How News is Sourced and Managed Today, the study shows the deepening penetration of digital and social media into all areas of newsgathering and production.
The study was conducted in April and May of this year and surveyed 613 journalists who work for a variety of different media outlets (from broadcast to blogs) in the following countries: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Vietnam, the U.K., and the U.S. On average, 38 journalists were surveyed in each country.
The global economy is affecting newsrooms
The study found that journalists in Asia, Brazil, and Russia had a sunnier outlook on their news organization than those living in Western Europe and North America.
This year the study found that 12% of respondents globally believed their publication would go belly up, down from 21% last year. Check out how individual countries and regions fared when asked the question of falling (or growing) revenues:
- Europe: 43%
- Brazil, Russia, China, North America: 21%
- Spain: 67%
On a more upbeat note, journalists in Russia, Brazil, and China seem to be doing great. Advertising revenue, audience, and editorial staffing is all up in these countries. According to this study, the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China will experience double-digit growth in ad spending during 2012. France will see a scant 2% and the U.K. will see 3.4%. Continue Reading
Part of being a freelancer is persistence: cold calling, checking up on a pitch, or setting up an interview with an important source all take a bit of determination to pull off successfully. But often, an obstacle lies in your way: someone who’s job it is to protect the person you need from such calls.
Previously, just a voice on the phone, today’s gatekeepers have a much wider reach: they filter phone calls and email, shield the recipient from tweets and other social media, and sift through their snail mail. But the result is still the same, they make it difficult for you to get through.
It can certainly be frustrating, but getting angry won’t further your career, nor will giving up completely. If you really need to get through to someone, try these ways to soften the gatekeeper:
- Stay polite: No matter how terse the gatekeeper may act, remain polite and unruffled. Eventually, he or she will feel guilty behaving nastily to someone with such good manners, and they’re bound to soften a bit.
- Get on their level: Verbally recognize that you know they’re just doing their job. Suggest that if they just pass along your message, or set up an appointment, you’d be happy to get out of their hair.
I had a crazy thing happen to me that I want to share because it is an important lesson to anyone who works hard to create great content for their blog or website.
Someone who reads my blog posts on FreelanceSwitch contacted me today about something she thought was fishy. She had seen a blog post about making the switch from full-time work to freelance that looked suspiciously familiar to one I had written for FreelanceSwitch a couple of weeks ago.
When I saw the blog post I was appalled. It wasn’t similar—it was EXACTLY the same! The only difference between in the content are the links inserted into the copy. Even the same stock photo that was purchased for the post appeared in this new blog.
There was no mention that I was the author and no mention that the post was originally published on FreelanceSwitch. In fact, the ONLY thing that was given any credit was that stock photo. At the end of the article was an “About the Author” section, including a byline and a bio—but it wasn’t mine. It was attributed to someone else – Kevin. Continue Reading