by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
I've said it before and I'll tell you again. Helping others is an important part of being a web writer. Not only can you use your words to do good in the world. But you can also use them to help other writers get where you are.
But I just started. How can I help? No matter where you are in your web writing career, you've done something or learned something that can benefit someone else. Maybe you discovered a new venue others may not know about. Perhaps you learned of a resource that might help. Maybe you struggled in life and you can help someone else with a similar struggle.
Won't helping others hinder my success? No, no, and NO!! There is plenty to do for everyone. We each have our own unique goals and talents. We also each have our own styles and areas of expertise. For more insight, I discussed this aspect at greater length in the post: "Am I Creating Competition by Helping Others Succeed?"
But I don't have time to help others. What? Sure you do! You can help others while doing your normal work. Help can occur within the posts you might already make daily. Also, think of some of the moments you might waste in the day, such as time on meaningless forums or Facebook posts. Instead, use that time on forums and Facebook posts that might help others. You don't have to ditch all of your fun. But it's not that hard to find some time to help others.
Why should I help other people? Why not? It's simply a good thing to do. For me, this is always my favorite part of what I do. But there are other benefits as well, if that's not enough. Oftentimes, those who help others have the most success. They usually find something people need and help them achieve it or maybe they are just so nice and helpful that people are attracted to them or their business. It also may help you build important business connections. There are various reasons helpful people succeed. Therefore, if the joy of helping someone isn't enough, at least think of the possible financial rewards.
Have you helped someone today? What are some of the ways you help people?
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
When freelancing for a living, a business website to refer clients to is a must. This is a simple and professional way to let clients know what services and expertise you can provide. But what information is essential to share? As one who has been freelancing for years, here are 8 things I feel are absolute musts on a freelance web writer's website.
A bio describing some of your experiences, interests, and areas of expertise should be included in a prominent area. This lets potential clients know exactly what you are all about. You want them to know this because it helps them decide if you may be what they are looking for. Would you rather hire a construction contractor who was upfront with their skills and experience or one who simply stated he was a contractor with no additional information? Freelance writing is no different.
Experience is touched on briefly above, but you may be wondering what to include. Experience can refer to degrees and it also can refer to work or research that you've done. For instance, are there special clients or media agencies you have worked for? Do you have a degree that contributes to what you produce as a freelance writer? How many years have you been freelancing? These are just some of the things you can discuss on your website.
Potential clients will need to see what type of work you are capable of. It also is a good way to show your professionalism and skills to more people. You can still email samples to potential clients, but it will be much easier for both of you (and provide a wider reach) if you make these easily available on your website. Some may choose to display these as files that can be downloaded. Others may choose to link to work they've done around the web for various clients and content sites like Associated Content.
A contact form is an easy way for potential clients, as well as readers, to communicate with you. These are easy to set up and can be customized to fit your purpose. These forms will forward directly to your email address. It makes contacting a simple and quick process for those who visit your website. They also can help to cut down on spam requests, as many can be customized to track IP addresses, ask for a captcha code, and other preventative measures.
This is where you can engage and interact with your audience. It's where you can talk about different aspects of the writing business, give writing tips, and also give updates on your business ventures. Don't be afraid to add some fun things in every now and then. Who you went out with last night and what you did may not be a good topic for a blog on your business website, but adding an appropriate personal touch is good. It helps followers and potential clients connect with you.
RSS and Email Subscriptions
Freelance web writers should always have a way for their audience to stay updated on their work. RSS feeds and email subscriptions can be extremely helpful here. Some content sites that freelancers may write for already have RSS feeds available to the writer. These can be placed in widgets that allow readers to view or subscribe to the content via email or feed readers. Each time a piece of content is published to the feed, those who are subscribed will be updated. Making this available on your website can be helpful in building a following.
Social Media Connections
If you are using social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) to increase your online presence or to make connections in the writing world, place those links on your business website. This will help people connect with you around the web and can be useful in creating a following. Not everyone is comfortable with every form of communication. Social media helps create a variety of ways to connect with your readership.
Every freelance web writer should have some form of interaction on their website. RSS, blogs, and social media links are a few ways people can interact with you and the site. You may also want to have an advice page where readers can use a simple contact form to put in suggestions or ask advice that you can answer in upcoming articles. A forum is also a good source of interaction, but only create one if you have time to keep up with it. The main point is to have some way that readers can interact with you and/or your website. This will keep people coming back.
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*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
It's always good to establish yourself in a topic. However, sometimes it's good to be spontaneous as well.
Jump in and do something you don't usually do to give your readers something different. When you fall into your typical pattern, it may appear to your readers that your main habit (or group of habits) is all you know.
Being spontaneous with your writing helps readers get to know you, keeps them interested in coming back for more, shows clients and potential clients what you're capable of, and also may bring in new readers who may not have noticed you otherwise. Plus, it's good for you as well. Spontaneity can help develop writing skills you may not have exercised before.
Have you ever been spontaneous in your writing?
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
As a long-time web writer who now also helps fellow writers succeed, people often ask me how to make more money. What are the best ways to succeed in web writing and how does one apply them for the maximum reward?
Maximize your content. Keep the rights to your content as often as possible and re-purpose it when you can. Many publications will accept non-exclusive work, which means you can do the work once and get paid for it repeatedly. Just be sure that the information stays up to date and syncs well with each publication it's submitted to. Even if you have ti make a few changes now and then, it will be easier than writing new content every time. While new content has its place as well, there's no reason you can't re-purpose existing content when appropriate.
Be flexible. We all have our own habits and methods. However, sometimes it pays to bend personal rules if it makes a client happy to do so. You of course want to always let a client know when you feel what they want isn't what's best for them. However, you should also be flexible in some of the ways you work so that may better provide the service in the way clients expect. They each will expect something different. Therefore, it pays to listen, keep an open mind, and be able to adapt to varying situations.
Meet or exceed deadlines and expectations. Happy clients will often be repeat customers, which means there will be more money lining your pockets (or your PayPal funds). A big part of keeping clients happy is meeting the deadlines and guidelines laid out in the contract. When you can do this every time -- and exceed expectations when possible, clients are more likely to use you again or even recommend you to others. Just like any other business, word of mouth can be paramount to making more money in web writing.
Spread your talent. Some people will be content with just one client. I've been there before. However, no matter how well one client pays, it's always good to have more than one. That way, if something happens unexpectedly, you don't lose all of your income. Keeping a variety of clients also provides more experience writing upon request in varying styles and topics.
All web writers need a website. I've said this many times before. But I will say it again and again. All writers need a website. Your website is where clients can find more about what you do and contact you for services. A good writer's website should include at the bare minimum a contact form, an online resume, samples, and a blog. For more on what to include, please read "8 Musts on a Freelance Writer's Website." If you use your site correctly, you'll be making more money just by having an easy way for clients to interact with you.
Maintain a blog on your professional website. As mentioned above, a blog is an essential part of a writer's website. In addition to helping fellow web writers succeed, keeping an active blog helps showcase what you can do to clients, which can lead to more money. Some things successful web writers can blog about include writing tips, marketing tips, information for clients, book releases, tour/book signing dates, events, and special features of your work. The possibilities are endless. Just keep it active and keep it relevant. The more you blog, the more traffic your site will get if you do it right. This can lead to more clients. Active writers generally make more money than those who are simply waiting around without action.
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by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
"Amy who?" If you get that question often, you need some help branding yourself. Have you ever thought about twitter? Perhaps you've tried twitter already but don't know how to brand your company with it. You're just talking to thin air, right? Wrong. If you use twitter correctly and tap into the available resources, you have access to a very wide audience. I've been using twitter to brand myself in several niche areas for years. So how do I do it?
Follow people who represent what you stand for. This is one of the most important ways to show people what your company is all about. If you want people to know you are involved in a particular activity, be involved in it everywhere, including twitter. One of my missions in life is to help rescue and bring appreciation to small animals. Anyone who knows me, even for a second, knows this. Why? I put it out there. I talk about it, write about it, have a web page about it, facebook about it, and yes, twitter about it with a twitter account dedicated to that alone. On that account, I interact with other animal lovers. Following and keeping up with these people not only shows I'm involved, but it keeps me up to date with what's going on in that niche area.
Tweet tips about your purpose. If your purpose is to bring attention to homelessness and you're tweeting about your new cat and his cute tricks, you are targeting the wrong audience. It's one thing to have random fun posts. But most of your posts should be related to the niche you want to brand yourself or your company in. Otherwise, your followers will be very confused as to what exactly you represent. Do people need to ask what your purpose is? Do your followers often have nothing to do with your niche? If so, work on tweeting more about your purpose, lest you branded for something completely unrelated, such as silly things cats do, instead of fighting homelessness.
Tweet links to more information. This shows your followers you know what you're talking about. An authority on a topic should have an outlet where the topic is further discussed. This could be a blog, a website, a facebook page, or all of the above. Tweeting these links helps to brand your name (or company name) to a niche topic because it shows activity on a particular topic. I am well-known for my parenting and pet content. Why? I live it, write about it, and share content about it regularly. Those links go out to twitter every single time so that followers know what I stand for. When your followers know what you're about, they will start to look forward to this information. That's when you know you've done a good job branding. But don't stop. Keep up the momentum.
Use hashtags that represent your purpose. This helps readers and potential followers find your tweets. If you tweet about homelessness, you might use the tags #poverty, #homeless, or #homelessness after your tweet to indicate what you're talking about. If you do this with every single tweet, people come to associate you or your brand with the topic. To reach the maximum amount of people, experiment and search twitter for various hashtags that mean the same thing. Choose the ones that produce the most results. The more people that regularly use a hashtag word or phrase, the better.
Use hashtags that represent your brand. You can also take it a step further and create tags that represent your company or name. Place those tags, as well as other related tags, in every tweet so that it's easier for people to find you and associate you with certain topics. I add #LynLomasi in many tweets that I want associated with my brand. One of my websites is called Life Successfully. When I tweet about something I want branded to that website, I use the hashtag #LifeSuccessfully.
There are many ways to brand yourself on twitter. Be clear and consistent in the methods you choose to gain the most positive results. Be fair and don't spam too many links or over post. That will actually cause you to lose followers, rather than gain them. Be authentic and use twitter to enhance what you already believe in.
**Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
Branding is important for any business, small or large. But what do you do when you don't have a huge budget -- or maybe you have a budget but want to stick with something simple? There are a few simple, effective ways to enhance your brand that are attainable for many business owners.
Start and maintain a topical blog. Keeping fresh content about your industry, product, and values tells people what your company is all about. A blog is the easiest and most effective way to do this as it's right on your company website.
Have an appropriate company logo. A company logo should reflect what your company is all about. For instance, you wouldn't want a logo of a bird if your company is about dogs. That makes no sense. Your logo should tell a story about your company.
Collect and spread data. People like information. One way to share that information is by sharing infographics through social media. If you can collect some interesting data about your industry, people can come to associate that information with your brand. Make sure that association is a good one and truly reflects what your brand is about.
There are many other ways to enhance your brand. These few should get your company started on the right path toward better brand building.
*Disclaimer: The author was compensated for discussing some of the companies or products mentioned in this post.
Why would online article writers need a website if many article submission sites allow a professional profile? This is a question I get asked often when I mention the idea. Learn some of the many reasons all freelance web writers need a website of their own.
When applying for online writing jobs and gigs, reference links and/or a resume are often required. This will be much simpler for those with a website. Some may create an area where a client can download their resume by requesting the link. Others may post links to samples. Yet others may do both or handle it another way. Online article writers need a website in order to reference their work all in one place.
Professionalism is key, even though you don't see your clients face-to-face when writing online. A freelance writer's website is like a virtual resume, meeting place, and office at the same time. This is where you can let your clientele know you are professional by including all of the right things. A bio, samples, and a contact page are just a few. Read "8 Musts on a Freelance Writer's Website" for more details on those and other must-include items for professionalism.
Even if a client finds your work elsewhere, they may want to know more than they can find in a limited bio attached to your profile on a content site. This is where your website comes in handy. Many content sites allow article writers to place a link to their website in their profile or bio. Also, be sure to link to it from any blogs or other profiles you have. Giving clients (both potential and current) a place to find more information about you as a person and as a writer is very beneficial to them as well as to your writing career.
If you have any big writing projects, off days, exciting news, etc it can be posted to your website. Of course you don't want to announce information that is too personal, but a web writer's website can serve as a great way to spread the word. Doing this has many benefits. Some include letting clients see that you are accomplishing things, engaging with your audience, and also depending on the announcement it might bring in more readers or clientele.
Depending on how much bandwidth your site allows, this can be a great place to store certain files. Of course you still need a hard copy backup, but storing them in a secure, hidden location on your website can help you keep everything related to your online article writing all in one spot. This also can free up space on your computer if you'd rather not have the files there. Just be sure, as mentioned above to keep a hard copy if you go this route.
What do you want out of your writing? Are you writing for the money? The audience? Do you write to help others? Is it simply because you like it? Whatever you write, always know what it is you want to get from it.
Knowing what you want will help you get to your goal faster. It will also help you make important decisions along the way. Never write a word without knowing its intended purpose as well as where you want to be with writing, in general.
What you want should be apparent in your actions, as well as your words.
Do you know what you want?
Readers and fellow writers often ask me why I enjoy helping so many people? Am I worried about creating competition for myself? Why do I just freely give advice and inform others of what I do to succeed in writing? Am I creating competition by helping others succeed?
If I were creating competition, I am not afraid to play the game and I'd play it fair. However, I don't believe I am. Why? There is a vast sea of opportunities, gigs, jobs, and contracts in the writing world. It's not humanly possible for me to have every writing task to myself, nor would I desire to.
Aside from that, I am wise enough to know that every assignment is not for me. I don't know everything there is to know. Also, each writer has their own style. Why take on a project I know I can't do when there could be someone else better suited to it and who may need it more than I do? Instead, I could refer a good writer and move on to something better suited to me.
I have always believed in helping others, no matter the situation. Whether in my career or in every day life, if I see someone who needs help, I'm going to provide it if I have the means. If you knew a secret that could change the whole world for the better, would you keep it to yourself? Of course not - at least, I hope not.
No, writing advice is probably not going to change the world. However, if I can offer some guidance that can help change someone's perspective or career for the better, you can bet I'm going to tell them. One small piece of advice or word of encouragement could be all that is standing in the way of someone living their dream. How do I know this? People have given me that kind of hope and assistance. Were it not for fellow writers pushing me and offering me advice, who knows where I'd be today?
So, am I creating competition by helping others succeed? Does it really matter?
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, they are your content superheroes to the rescue! Running their network, tackling deadlines single handedly, and coaching fellow writers & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is their top priority. While rescuing civilians from boring content and marketing, they conquer the world, living the RV life and making Crafts For A Purpose with their awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels. They also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
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