One of our readers recently brought up an interesting subject in the comments recently. They were wondering how someone who is currently a full-time parent can market themselves as being knowledgeable about a specific niche topic. The good news is that you know more than you think you do, and there are several topics that you would be quite comfortable writing about, if you give it a bit of thought.
Archives for April 2009
Every writer knows creating a great lead (lede) is key to a great article. It piques an audience’s interest and pulls them in for you to deliver the goods. What some writers fail to realize is a good ending or conclusion is just as important.
We’ve all been there – one minute you’re reading a piece, zooming right along and then it just trails off… An article is not a novel, it shouldn’t have a cliffhanger.
When writing a newspaper article, there are a few set standards for finishing up a conclusion, such as a final quote. Features have more room for creativity. Unlike a news article (particularly with inverted pyramid style), the ending is not in danger of getting cut off by a copy editor because of space issues. Depending on the type of feature you’ve written, you need to decide what you want readers to take away from the piece.
Do you want to leave them with a thoughtful quote? What about the end of the story – what happens? What is likely to happen next? Is there an opportunity to provide an update or give them information to take action? Blogs will often end with a question to spur readers into commenting.
An article shouldn’t end simply because there is no more information. An article needs to end when the ‘W’s’ of writing are satisfied. The conclusion should leave the reader with something to think about and a sense of finality – as far as the article is concerned. They shouldn’t look at the bottom of the page for the next page arrow or a note on where the rest of the article picks up.
Is this article finished? Why or why not? If not, write a conclusion for it below! Got any tips on creating a great conclusion? Tell us below.
I recently wrote a post challenging writers to ask themselves if they’re scared of spending money. If you read that post and the ensuing debate in the comment section, you’ll have noticed that Jennifer Mattern of AllFreelanceWriting was quite the champion and had strong opinions on the subject.
While well written (though a touch assumptive of my personal views) and also off topic from my original post (which was to spend on self- and business improvement, such as advertising or courses), Jennifer’s post discusses some dangerous presumptions that could be damaging to writers enjoying a better life.
I’d like to address them here:
When you are working as a freelance writer, ideally you want to have a number of clients that you work with on a regular, or at least semi-regular basis. It helps to smooth out the financial ups and downs that go with the territory. Many clients would rather go back to a freelancer they have worked with successfully in the past for their future needs rather than hiring someone new for each project. How can you increase your chances of being the go-to person for future work? Here are some tips:
Freelancing can be a great move to make. It can change your outlook on life, improve your financial situation and give you more freedom. It can also open up opportunities that you didn’t have access to previously, like traveling to new places or maybe a book deal.
But freelancing also can be a bad move, in some circumstances. Many people get desperate and throw themselves into this line of career without thinking and planning. The result? You’re worse off than you were when you started.
So when is the right time to move to freelancing? Is it a good decision for you? Will it be everything you hoped for? Read on.
I’ve been doing some reading about whether all clients are created equal, and most of what I have found suggests that they should be divided into categories depending on whether they are likely to give you more work and/or referrals. The idea is that you give better service to the clients that you have decided are most worth your while.
Your relationship with a client starts off when you make contact with them for the first time. When you are answering ads looking for writers, you may not know exactly who you are contacting. The ad may be sketchy, and you may know only that the person doing the hiring needs a certain type of writing done.
Discussing interns and internships are what I consider an “annual” topic. Every year at about this time we talk about interns, or rather, the folks who like to present a job as an internship in order to get away with hiring free labor. So let’s talk about what internships are, why they are necessary and why they are not free labor.
What is an internship?
An internship is a job one takes, usually working for a business, corporation or the government, in order to gain experience, build up a reputation and learn from the best. The focus is on the job training, rather than monetary compensation. Most interns are in college and work in this capacity in hopes of having a very good job lined up upon graduation. [Read more…]
We have recommended several times here at FWJ that people who are looking for freelance writing work start a blog or put up a web site to provide samples of their work and as a marketing tool. Looking for your next assignment should be a regular part of your routine, and one advantage of having a web site or a blog is that it is always available to potential clients.
“Why do you want to work for us?” The question crops up frequently in business interviews, and it should also become a standard in every pitch you write.
Knowing how to pitch why you want to work with someone (or for someone) is a valuable tool to have in your arsenal. It can help you land a gig that you really wanted, get you working for a better employer or help you become part of a team business.
So just how should you answer that question? It can be a tough one, because the obvious doesn’t really sound very good: You want a better job. Or you want more money. Or you want to be famous. Or you want more freedom.
You want, you want… Yes, true, it’s all about your wants, but your potential employer doesn’t want to hear what you want. He doesn’t really want to know why you want to work for him, either.
He wants to know how you’ll make his business better. He’s really asking, “Why should I hire you and not the next person? What are you going to get out of this, and why should I care?”
Here are tips to help you give a winning answer:
- Know who you’re going to work for. It’s a given that you apply for work or pitch a gig and you don’t know anything about the potential client or his business, he’s not going to be interested in having you on the team. Check out the company website, read the About page, and learn what you can.
- Know what the company stands for. Business owners love to hear that other people resonate with their mission. Mention that you believe in the same and compliment the mission of the company.
- Talk about a project you know the company has going on and mention how you’d like to be involved in its development.
- Demonstrate you know where the business problems might be and that you want to solve them. Even better, suggest a solution (which should involve your presence in the company eliminating the issue).
- Show ambition. Point out that you’d like to learn so that you can work up to a certain position in the company – and also point out you know you have a ways to go before you get there, so that no one feels threatened.
- Get excited. Show interest. Nothing makes a business owner feel better than seeing his or her passion firing up someone else’s passion too.
- Be honest and forthcoming. If there is something you want from this job or project, such as better skills or an opportunity, say so – but also demonstrate that this desire to improve benefits the company. They’ll have a go-getter on the team.
For more of an idea of answers you could try in your next pitch, here are some suggestions of what I’d personally want to hear from a prospective employee:
“You clearly know the business of writing. I know writing but not about the business. I also know that you could probably use the extra hands so you could work on your projects. I want to help you work less, and at the same time, learn more about the business side of things so that one day, I could have a business of my own.”
“You’re a growing business, and I know you’re not done growing yet. I think that’s fantastic, and I’d really like to get in on that instead of having to always be a solo. Plus, we can work together now and I’ll be perfectly trained for later when business gets crazy.”
Those are just my suggestions, though (but they did land Taylor a full-time job at my business). If you owned a business, what would you want to hear? And if you were a writer pitching a company, what would you say?
Want to learn more about how to make yourself a valuable asset to any business or team? Get The Unlimited Freelancer and get into great business.