Starting out as a freelance writer is not as easy as it appears. Learning how to become a freelance writer requires business considerations, not just writing chops.
Beyond getting out there and securing contracts, you need to be self-motivated and organized. This is a difficult transition, especially if you don’t have colleagues or friends who have been in the field and can help you along.
If you’re just starting out and hoping to make your livelihood writing, take a look at the seven tips below. Keep in mind that these are geared toward beginners who are pursuing freelance writing as a full-time job—not for those who simply do a little extra writing on nights and weekends. Continue Reading
On November 3, 2011 Google published a new article on their blog informing readers that fresh new content is now being seen as highly valuable on their blog or website. This “freshness update” is a new addition to Google’s “Caffeine web indexing system”.
Now blog owners who update their sites regularly will be rewarded with a higher search engine ranking. Let’s look at how freelance writers can put this new update to use in their business. Continue Reading
Internet and the English language brought people with common interests together from all around the globe, and blogging earned its big slice in launching individuals’ careers as freelance writers. What a great option to hone writing skills, learn how to interact with a readership, and build quality clips?
While the majority of these blogs are well written, no matter the author’s nationality, a number of non-natives’ blogs show poor English skills. Causes are diverse and not always a consequence of the author’s negligence: poor teaching, lack of feedback, and little opportunities to put language skills in practice.
The result, however, is the same: compromised readability turns off readers, and writers can have a tough time breaking into the writing market. Language skills are crucial to landing a job, along with an eye for storytelling and proofreading.
Don’t let this discourage you. If you are a non-native English writer with (still) unripe English skills, you can work on perfecting your writing for the English-speaking market, and advance your career.
“Ghostwriting” business communications is a lucrative and satisfying writing niche that requires some special skills and the right mindset. I’ve had excellent projects writing presentations for CEOs of very large corporations, and writing trade and newsletter articles for one-person consulting shops.
What they have in common is that these projects go beyond contributing good writing — professional, grammatical, persuasive, interesting — to capturing the client’s voice. When people are familiar with a given CEO or consultant, for instance, hear those presentations or read those articles, the ghostwriter’s contribution should be transparent, leaving the client’s themes, values, and style clearly visible to the audience.
These opportunities often come along after you have already been writing for a client for a while, or as a referral from one of your new client’s colleagues. You have been recognized as a skilled and dependable writer, and the client asks if you could help them with a more personal message, whether that message is delivered to employees or investors or trainees or clients or the media.
If such an offer comes your way, recognize from the start that this is different from your previous writing projects, and make sure you don’t blow it!
There was a time when getting one’s words into print and out to the reading public was time-consuming and expensive.
If you were going the conventional route and seeking publication with one of the major houses, you wouldn’t have been considered unless your project was submitted by a literary agent. Which meant that you’d have to find an agent first.
I’ve traveled this route myself – and I quickly found that the literary agency world has a hierarchy. Up at the top are the name-brand authors who write the bestsellers. Below them are the seasoned authors who may not have the name recognition of the superstars, but they can be counted on to produce books that sell.
Then there’s the third tier, which consists of everyone else – first-time authors, unknowns who aren’t first-timers, and that guy down the street, you know, the one who writes poetry on weekends. I found myself firmly in the third tier, which meant that my book project only got cursory attention from the agency I signed with.
So, what’s a resident of the not-so-exalted third tier to do? Well, if you’re bound and determined to get your book into print, consider publishing it yourself.
As a freelance writer, you have probably created a niche around your expertise. Maybe it’s healthcare, knitting, or finance. And I bet you spend the majority of your time writing about things you know a lot about. But what happens when you are asked to write about a topic you’re not all that familiar with?
No one expects you to be an expert on every topic. However, if you truly are a professional writer, you should be able to write about anything. And tackling a topic you don’t know anything about can be a good exercise in research.
You’re an awesome writer. So why aren’t your clients in awe?
Most of us become freelance writers because… well, we’re talented writers. We love finding the perfect words and putting them together with skill and finesse. We take our craft seriously and work hard to deliver polished, readable copy to our clients.
But sometimes we turn in our best work only to have the client come back to us with a less than enthusiastic response. When it happens, it’s easy to fall prey to self-doubt: “Am I not an awesome writer, after all?”
In fact, when good writers get a bad reaction to their work, it often has less to do with the quality of their writing skills than the quality of their people skills. After all, we become writers because we’re good with words, not clients. But to become a successful freelance writer, we need to learn to manage clients as skillfully as we manage the words on the page.
Are you getting the balance right? Take a look at three limiting beliefs writers fall into when they pay more attention to the words themselves than to the clients who pay for them.
Compared to other businesses, freelance writing seems a lot less costly. It’s relatively much easier and considerably less expensive than opening a brick-and-mortar store, or running a restaurant.
After all, you basically need your laptop and a fast internet connection (stuff you probably had anyway), and a quality printer/fax/scanner combination. Then if you are serious about promoting yourself, you might think about a website and a domain name. Finally, you are set, right?
Well, not really. There are many more expenses than people first consider when they start thinking about freelance writing and the budget they might need. They overlook the recurring costs of improving their craft, managing and promoting their business, networking, transportation and more.
I hadn’t really considered all this when I first started freelancing as a writer. The goal here is to prepare you for the potential expenses, offer tips to avoid excess spending and help you set your finances accordingly.
Let’s look at seven major blunders that appear on the freelancer’s sites on a regular basis.
Remember: your website is your virtual salesperson. The design is the way that salesperson is dressed. It makes the first impression. But the copy are the words coming out of that salesperson’s mouth: that’s what will make or break the sale.
When a prospect is looking at your site, they have a question in their mind: “Do I want to hire this person?” Your copy’s job is to make sure the answer is “Yes!” as often as possible.
Maybe you are about to launch a blog or possibly considering how to focus your content to draw a specific customer. Content consumers – your customers – are looking for something when they come to your blog. Do you deliver? How do you know?
In this article we discuss techniques so you can gear your blog content to your target audience. With a solid plan and a little legwork, you can focus your content and capture a more pinpointed audience. To do this, you must follow six clear steps.
Recently here on Freelance Switch, Thursday Bram discussed whether freelancers should be making use of the trend towards global outsourcing, to free up their writing and project management time by employing virtual assistants overseas to manage menial tasks.
Today, I’d like to expand upon that theme, and talk about how freelancers, especially copywriters, could be turning their personal cottage industry into an international enterprise, by teaming up with translators to go global.
The web is becoming an increasingly multilingual place. The growth in internet accessibility worldwide means that, in the near future, English will no longer be the ‘lingua franca’ of the web.
Web surfers prefer to browse the web in their native language – and this means that if you want to reach an international audience, you need to go multilingual.
Starting a freelance writing business can be overwhelming. As you start to look for those all-important first clients, you may second guess your every move.
Making some freelance mistakes are inevitable and even beneficial. Remember the old adage that you learn from your mistakes? However many mistakes are avoidable if you know what to look out for.
In this post I’ll explain the top six mistakes that new freelancer writers make and give you tips on how to dodge them.