The post-pandemic gig economy is ready to grow, with remote work and freelancing leading the way. Freelance writers as well as other freelancers have had their lifestyles and work choices validated by the remote work and work-from-home trends prompted by Covid-19. [Read more…]
We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who supported us when we ran our survey last November. As we promised, we are sharing the results of the survey with everyone.
We asked freelance writers questions that provide insight into our work and industry as a whole and put together the data into one graphic.
To give you a quick overview of the results, here is a summary of the key points. [Read more…]
Editor’s note: This post was writte by Steve Aedy, who writes as a ghost blogger and works as a writing expert at http://www.freshessays.com/. He writes a lot and likes to help bloggers with both writing content and reaching bigger audience. Also Steve is really good at editing and adores writing essays. You can contact him on Google+.
If you’ve managed to get your first guest post published, congratulations! But don’t sit back on your laurels just yet. Oh, no. The work’s only just begun…
Guest posting on the big, influential blogs in your niche has several benefits:
- You can use it to promote your platform.
- Collect fresh email addresses.
- Generate interest in your products or services. And,
- Create networks and build community.
But it doesn’t end with the publication of your post. To effectively leverage all this wonderful, new exposure, you need follow up and interact with the host blogger and all those who comment on your post.
While there’s no one definitive guide to guest posting etiquette, to maximize your results implement the following 5 tips:
- Schedule time to respond to each and every comment. Your guest blog’s host will be able to tell you when to expect publication, so set aside some extra time in your schedule to reply in a timely manner.
If you’ve done your due diligence and written a post that resonates with the readers, expect a heavy response rate the first couple of days. This will then trickle down in the coming days and weeks. After the initial rush is past, check daily for at least 30 days to catch any stragglers.
Please, do take the time to acknowledge all comments. If there’s a lot, group by topic and give a nod to each person’s comments in your reply, similar to the way Marc and Angel hack replies at marcandangel.com.
However, if comments are sparse, don’t get all bummed out and feeling rejected. Instead, use it as a learning tool to improve. Ask yourself the following questions to come closer to the bull’s-eye next time:
- Was my post relevant with the most popular topics?
- Could my headline be improved?
- Was my call to action strong enough?
- Did I pick a blog with dwindling reader engagement?
Scan the readers’ comments in the well-liked posts to find the most prevalent problems and hot topics for your next pitch. They’ll tell you what they want to read and what problems they need solved.
- Be prepared. When your guest post is a huge success, be ready to act quickly.
Have a series of related topics and headlines for your next pitch with your host blog. Do some keyword research and find variations of long-tail keywords relevant to your topic. Use them to pitch a two-parter or series of guest posts.
And back at your blog, have a series of posts based on the same long-tail keywords to link up to your guest article. This is for your readers’ convenience, and builds backlinks authority with Google.
- Bio box. You need a stellar bio box designed for the individual goals of each guest piece you write.
Pre-determine the goals of writing your guest post, and then create an appropriate bio box:
- Do you want to build your Google+ or other social media profiles? Include appropriate icons or clickable links.
- Are you looking to increase your email list? Include a link back to your landing page.
- Building backlink authority? Have a link to your website.
- An effective landing page with an outstanding gift. Having been spammed mercilessly and flooded with numerous, useless ebooks, blog readers are a pretty savvy group these days.
If you want to collect their email addresses, you need to have something of immediate value for them to prise it from their reluctant fingers.
If new email addresses are your goal, your bio box link should send readers to your landing page, not the homepage of your site. With limited time to retain their attention, you need to convert now. And that won’t happen if they’re wandering about looking for that free gift you promised – they’ll simply leave your site.
For best conversions, your landing page needs:
- An attention grabbing headline that highlights the greatest benefit of your gift.
- A list or bullet points showing all the other great benefits of your gift.
- An unmistakable call to action, with easy to follow prompts to enter their email address.
Once you have their email address, ensure that your gift/incentive provides outstanding content which has solutions they desire. If you don’t, they’ll unsubscribe in a heartbeat.
To keep your subscribers happy and establish you’re the real deal, have a series of on-topic newsletters scheduled with your autoresponder. Continue to offer more solutions, freebies etc. to establish a foundation of relevance and trust with your list.
Set the bar high and deliver your best.
- Share on social media. Use your social media resources to compound the reach of your guest post.
Share the link on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn etc. And, as with comments to the post itself, be sure to respond with appreciation to all tweets and Facebook comments or anyone who re-posts the link. Also, make sure to reference your host’s blog and Twitter handle to acknowledge their generosity as well.
Once your post is published and you’ve achieved your goal, don’t ignore the blog you’ve posted on. Continue to build your relationships with your niche influencer and their followers with your relevant insights and comments. Competition isn’t a bad thing. And supporting other new writers is a good way to network with entrepreneurs in your niche.
Apparently, guest blogging isn’t dead despite the rumors to the contrary. It’s a strong, viable venue for you to promote your platform and your brand. And, you’ll meet some remarkable people along the way. So, to make the most of your guest posting aftermath, work the above 5 tips and reap the rewards of guest blogging know-how.
“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
From Facebook to Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, approximately 1.97 billion people will be active on social networks by the end of 2014, according to a 2013 eMarketer study.
As freelance writers, we should utilize social networking in our everyday professional practice. Now, I’m not talking about trolling relationship statuses, improving your Candy Crush score, or sharing a pic of your breakfast platter. This type of social sharing doesn’t enhance your credibility the same way professional networking can.
Whether you’re looking for more contract opportunities, peer-reviewed writing sources, or a virtual shoulder to cry on when your inspiration well runs dry, networking with other freelance writers provides a host of benefits:
Creates a Support System
Sometimes, only writers can understand writers. As much as we adore our family and friends who work in other professions, it can be difficult for them to discern the need to shut yourself away while finishing an article. And forget about explaining how “good enough” writing isn’t good enough, or why you’re fighting with your Muse. Networking with other freelance writers provides a support system composed of like-minded individuals who empathize with both the blessings and burdens of the craft.
Connects You with Employment Opportunities
A freelance writing network can serve as a virtual phone tree for colleagues looking for new contracts. Within your network you can get the inside scoop on the latest employment leads, discover which employers to avoid, and gain access to editors, agents, and publishers who could further your career.
Helps You Hone Your Talents
We become better writers by eliminating professional tunnel vision and exposing ourselves to others’ work. Networking with other writers provides you with an invaluable body of knowledge to help hone your talents. Utilize your freelance writing network to read publications from authors in your vertical, discover varying writing styles and techniques, and expand your writing themes and vocabulary.
Gives You Access to Resources
Professionally mingling in freelance writing circles will keep a library of industry experts at the ready. Being able to quickly call on contacts for scholarly research or to find the perfect quote to round out your article can save valuable time and energy. Websites like ProfNet Connect simplify the process of searching for academic resources, following industry news and trends, connecting with peers in your field, or highlighting your own expertise.
Lessens the Loneliness
Stop playing “Lonely is the Night” on loop and own the fact that you have been called to an isolating profession. Unless you are a journalist pounding the pavement for onsite interviews and breaking news, most of your time is spent in solitude. Aside from the professional pluses that networking can afford freelance writers, it’s just really nice to know that you aren’t alone.
Reaching out to other writers will keep you grounded, eager to create, and remind you of why you are so moved by the written word. Not to mention that in networking, friendships could lead to professional partnerships. The writer who completes you, and your passion project, could be right around the corner.
How to Begin Networking
Unfortunately, there’s no Bat-Signal for locating other freelance writers. However, you can investigate freelance writing networks using the following suggestions:
• Search for freelance writing themed accounts on Facebook
• Use the #amwriting hashtag on Twitter
• Explore writers-only social networks
• Become a member of a professional association, like the ASJA, EFA or SPJ
• Join or create a LinkedIn group
• Visit co-working centers in your area
• Cliché or not, chat up the patrons furiously typing away on their laptops at your favorite Internet café or coffee shop
Has networking with other freelance writers enriched your life? Leave a comment and share your story.
image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Freelancing in any niche is a tough task, requiring you to play the roles of boss, employee, client hunter, marketer, and motivator each and every day, a workload much more demanding than many more traditional jobs! Being successful and moving upwards may be tough, but it’s entirely possible; you’ll just need to stay on the cutting edge of what’s new, exciting, and useful in your field.
Planning to take your freelancing career to the next level? Check out any of these five freelancing seminars to sharpen your mind and build your contact list: [Read more…]
As a mother and blogger, you’ve got a full plate, juggling more in the way of demands than any corporate position entails as you work to please your children and your readers, all at the same time. Given the extreme importance of your dual positions, whether you blog for fun or for business, you’ve got to stay sharp at every moment.
Luckily, conferences aimed at moms with home offices are abundant, offering workshops and networking opportunities that will help you to hone your skills in every department as you learn from the busiest and best of your peers!
Connect with other moms who double as power bloggers at one of these four international mom freelance bloggers meetups: [Read more…]
Being a freelance writer isn’t an easy gig. Many people wake up on January 1st and after staring at themselves through a hazy fog of cheap champagne and celebratory glitter decide that this would be the year they took the big step and pursue their passion for the written word.
Three months and several rejection letters later they sit alone in their basement home office muttering about being an under appreciated, true artist. Instead of writing for a living, they spend the majority of the day failing at freelancing. Fortunately, after spending a fair amount of time sucking at this job and talking with other writers who have also, at some point sucked, I have found five truisms that should keep you from flunking out of freelance writing:
Freelancing is a J-O-B.
The bunny slippers, the special hours, the inordinate amount of time spent checking email or taking photos of food may make this gig look like a cool excuse for tax write-offs. I assure you, whether you are wearing a bathrobe or a business suit, if you don’t commit to working you won’t eat. Internet currency/street cred/real estate cannot be printed off and used as cash to pay the gas bill. I’ve tried it already.
Real world client interactions rock.
It’s shocking I know, and if you need to take a few moments to compose yourself I understand. There are times where you’ll have to *deep breath* unplug from the Matrix and get out there to find clients. Networking events,
If you never leave the house, you will miss out on a lot of opportunities.
If you want to pick a low-budget, start-up business, freelance writing is the way to go. To start, all you really need is a computer, an internet connection and a printer. However, if you stop there, the freelance writing money wagon will not stop at your door.
Okay, I’m not sure about there being a wagon, it could be an internet rumor like Facebook shutting down. The truth is, if you are unable to communicate with an editor, don’t have a website with links to your work or refuse to get on that Tweety thing or Faceplant you are going to miss opportunities.
You don’t need a fancy website, but you do need a little slice of internet real estate where you can host your clips. The advantage is two fold: many editors don’t open files from people they don’t know which means your query with clips attached may be deleted or shunted to the spam file. Also, you cannot rely on a website to keep your clips live. Saving them as a PDF and uploading them to your website will keep you from losing clips to limited bandwith or upgrading tragedies.
While you’re setting up your site, grab yourself an email account, an IM (instant message) profile and a social media account. If you have to pick one I would start with Twitter. Facebook tends to be more personal, while Twitter allows you to follow people in the industry without being personally connected.
You don’t need a paying client immediately to pay the rent, you have an opening in your schedule. It’s the difference between “Please go out with me, I haven’t had a date in a year” and “I scored two tickets to the game on Saturday, would you like to go with me?” Desperation is a turn-off in both the public and private sector. So don’t announce to Twitter that you need a job. Approach clients/editors privately – dm, email, phone call and let them know you are available.
Do Your Research.
Not a week goes by that I don’t get an email that says “I love/like/tolerate/skim your work on Freelance Writing Jobs, how do I become a freelance writer?” I always wonder why they left a site chock full of info, from a variety of industry professionals, to send me an email.
When I write back I always direct them back to FWJ and include a few of my favorite “Get started links.” I do this not to be an ass, but to give them the opportunity to use their own research skills to find the information that is important to them. Every writer has different goals, pathways and priorities when it comes to this profession. Putting in the time to research the industry boosts a writer’s confidence and affords them an opportunity to personalize their writing journey.
Being a freelance writer isn’t easy, but it is a worthwhile, bankable profession as long as writers keep an eye out for possible pitfalls on the way to writing success. Starting out well and maintaining good habits along the way will hopefully keep you from enduring a suckfest. I’ve been there and it’s not fun. You don’t need to be a starving artist to have a successful writing story. Plus, a rumbling tummy interferes with your inner monologue as you write.
Got any tips on how to stay sucker free? Share them below!
PR Newswire’s ProfNet service has been around since 1992 and made it easy for writers to find expert sources for quotes, interviews, and more. Now, ProfNet Connect has launched and replaces the ProfNets Expert Database. It’s still free to join (either as a writer seeking sources or as an expert), and offers a more interactive approach to connecting experts and journalists.
With ProfNet Connect, you can search for experts and communicate directly with them through messages, forum posts, and blogs. Expert profiles include a lot more information than they did during the ProfNets Expert Database days. For example, a profile can now include multimedia, videos, pictures, white papers, audio content, and more. With the enhanced profile feature, you can gather enough information about a person to determine if he or she is the right person to contact to help you with a story before you go any further.
The new ProfNet also offers the ability to create groups, so you can easily find sources who have identified themselves as having expertise in specific areas. For example, ProfNet is still very new but already has groups for green technology, social media, keynote and guest speakers, cloud computing, and more.
ProfNet Connect also offers an event calendar, and another feature that you might find yourself visiting is the Job Board included in the ProfNet Connect Forum.
Rather than simply publishing an opportunity, you can search for experts and contact them directly. However, you can still submit queries through the ProfNet site or the ProfNet query form if you prefer.
I have used ProfNet in the past to find experts for articles and books I’ve written, so I can attest to the fact that it works. You can follow the link to find more free tools to find expert sources for your own stories.
Those of you who paid for premium cables channels in the 80s may remember Angel. It was the tale of a girl who’s momma left here alone with a $100 bill one day who decided to make a living on the streets. She had a secret life–High school honor student by day, Hollywood hooker by night.
Brett Giddens has a slightly less dramatic secret life. Then again, he’s a real person. He’s an Oklahoma high school basketball coach by day who spends his nights singing in small casinos as an Elvis impersonator.
I have a secret day/night life, too. Mine doesn’t rival the Angel story and it isn’t as fun as Giddens’ tale.
Sometimes, in the evening, I write things that pay next to nothing. And I do it just for fun. [Read more…]
Being a freelancer guarantees weirdness. Unpredictability is the only constant and the bizarre twists and turns of everyday life constantly squash efforts to create that ideal professional/personal balance.
How in the hell are you supposed to balance your work with the rest of your life?
Sure, writing copy so beautiful it brings tears to your eyes is mega-fun/rewarding, but so is making homemade spaghetti sauce, catching an afternoon ballgame on getaway day, dancing to the Godfather of Soul with your kid, making out with your spouse and, to a lesser extent, keeping your house somewhat tidy.
What’s the big secret to separating the wild yet wonderful world of freelancing for a living from the rest of your life?
If you want suggestions, they’re easy to find. Drawing the work/life line is constantly buzzing topic. You can find freelancers who’ll suggest setting regular hours, dressing as if you’re actually heading off to a day at the office, putting up signs to keep your family away while you work and a million other things.
You’ll hear lectures about time management, recommendations about working smarter instead of working harder and pleas to turn off your phone, computer and everything else even remotely related to your profession during the weekend.
My Failure to Divide…
Some of that stuff probably works for some people. It hasn’t worked for me. Not even close. This is my experience:
The need to run to Price Chopper for diapers can shred a well-planned schedule. A weekend free of work sounds ideal until you chop off the tip of your index finger with your favorite Wusthoff on Wednesday (just try writing anything other than “ewoek/lifer supaeratioij u s so dalmn haard” at three a.m. with a bandage on your hand).
The idea of dressing for traditional success makes me a wee bit queasy and all of the smart work in the world can’t solve for an overflowing toilet plugged with a small stuffed giraffe and three plastic Strawberry Shortcake figurines.
If you can tidily separate your work from the rest of your life and that’s what you want to do, congratulations.
I’ve given up. Completely and intentionally.
Integration vs. Separation…
I realized that I don’t really want a separation between the professional and the personal. I don’t want regular hours, a regimented schedule or a sign on the door of my basement office.
Screw separation. I want integration.
I love working for myself for a number of reasons, but the biggest weight on the scale is freedom. I spent a long time being a damn good employee who secretly hated being on the payroll because I didn’t have that freedom to do what I wanted to do how and when I wanted to do it.
The joy of freelancing isn’t just the money or the satisfaction of those occasional moments of copy perfection. For me, it’s the fact that I can do things on my terms.
After wrestling with time and experiencing a never-ending series of scheduling snafus, I realized something. I don’t wear suits for a reason.
Weddings, Russians and Realization…
Let me explain that last part about suits. A few weeks ago, we were up in Iowa for a wedding. I decided to dress appropriately. I was standing in front of the mirror, wearing a suit and marveling at just how freaking weird I looked. My wife says I look snazzy in a suit. Maybe she means it. Maybe she’s just being nice. All I know is that I think I look like someone else. I hate the damn things. I have broad enough shoulders without the jacket’s enhancement. Neckties are too silly (and phallic) for my tastes. I generally dislike shoes and hold particular animosity toward dress shoes. I dislike them on an almost visceral level. They conjure up feelings of conformity, caste and rigidity.
Unless I’m at a wedding, a funeral or taking the stand in my own defense, I really don’t want to wear a suit. I don’t like them.
Then a question occurred to me.
Why would someone who hates suits make an effort to run his business as if he’s wearing one?
In what turned out to be a happy coincidence, my websites and email accounts were serving as a playground for a few Russian hackers while I was standing in front of the mirror. When I returned home and surveyed the damage, I decided to burn things to the ground instead of repairing them and to start anew.
Authenticity and a Liberating Integration Casserole…
On a superficial level, this switch freed me to blog about things like the death of Jose Lima, my status as a victim of Exploding Head Syndrome and Kalae All Day–things I usually would’ve avoided because they didn’t match “The Brand”. It allowed me to tweet about the lapse in sanity exhibited by Royals third base coach Eddie Rodriguez last weekend and to dial back the formality of my client communication.
We talk the authenticity talk more than we walk the walk, I think. At least I did. Not any more. I’m retiring from thinking about being authentic. I’m just doing it.
That has included embracing my inability to maintain traditional, set hours and all of the other stuff that usually goes along with separating work from the rest of one’s life.
I’m not separating anything anymore. It’s all just one big crazy, gorgeous, wacky, depraved, enlightened, messy, tasty casserole. Yum.
It’s been a liberating experience. I’m bobbing between work and parenting. I’m weaving between being a husband and making a living. I’m cool with a two-hour client call on a Sunday and I’m just as happy to tell someone that I’m too busy buying diapers and freezer pops to take a call on a Wednesday afternoon.
Interestingly, this new outlook isn’t creating waves with clients. It’s allowing us to float closer to one another. It’s breaking down barriers and encouraging more human connections. It’s as if we’re all actually having fun for a change.
I’m sure someone will find this kind of authenticity worrisome. Discovering a blog post that includes a piece of Haiku about a baby kicking my ass may very well dissuade someone from doing business with me. There are traditionalists who want appreciate that sort of thing. I can accept that.
It’s a small price to pay, really. Besides, who knows how many ultra-cool people might actually like it?
An Alternative to the War of Separation…
If you’re fighting and losing a bloody war of attrition in the effort to defend or establish a dividing line between work and home, consider waving the white flag and walking away from it. It may not be the right fight. Consider integration instead of separation.
It’s okay if your peas touch your meat, folks. That’s true whether you hate shoes like me or if the idea of dressing like a corporate bigwig gives you a thrill.
At least that’s my experience.
What’s yours? Are you having a great time keeping your freelancing career and your personal life separate or do you feel like a struggle? If it is tough, do you think it’s a fight worth having? Can you imagine surrendering to overlap and to integration?
I’d love to know. I see many people writing about keeping things clearly delineated and very few, if any, advocating wholesale integration. It probably won’t change my perspective, but I’d like to know if I’m a nut-case.