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
Online article writers serious about their writing must remember the purpose of our content is to provide someone else with the information they need. Even when the writing goes to a client that will not return any page view or click revenue, remember that their audience still needs accurate and relevant info as well. Ultimately, someone will be reading the finished content. Here are five ways online article writers can get and keep clients.
Get and Keep Clients by Learning SEO
I know I must sound like a broken record to regular readers, I mention SEO so often. There's a reason for that. SEO skills are an absolute must if you are serious about making money as an online article writer. The main purpose clients purchase web content is to draw traffic where it's placed. If your articles do not have proper SEO, clients will look elsewhere to meet their content needs. If you often lose out on higher paying clients, gigs, and assignments, SEO skills may be to blame. If so, get and keep clients by reading up on SEO and implementing it into your work.
Get and Keep Clients by Providing Consistent Effort
Some online article writers make the mistake of putting less effort into lower-paying gigs than they would with others. This makes no sense. First, this shows a lack of pride in one's own work. Secondly, your name or pen name will be attached to everything you write. Do you really want potential clients to read one of those lesser-effort articles? Would someone want to hire you after reading them? Online article writers are lucky in that many of us enjoy doing this for a living. Plus, we can make money writing articles from anywhere we prefer - even at the beach. However, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't maintain consistency and professionalism. Putting effort into each and every piece of content you produce gives you better odds of being noticed and appreciated by clients.
Get and Keep Clients by Making Assignments Unique
When a client gives out an assignment, there are times where you may feel the topic is too broad for their audience. To solve this, write on the topic the client has assigned you, but choose a unique slant. Most will likely appreciate the extra effort. For instance, if the client asks you to write about bathrooms for seniors, you could write about eco-friendly bathrooms for seniors. Go for an angle that isn't saturated all over the web. Some clients might need reasoning behind your changes, but in my experience, most understood when I explained about topic saturation. I rarely receive rejections on my work. Sometimes clients will reward the extra effort with extra money or be appreciative enough to buy more content. Even so, don't get upset with those who don't seem appreciative. Just make any revisions and move on. That's another way to keep clients.
Get and Keep Clients by Setting Up and Maintaining an Updated Website
Setting up and maintaining an updated and professional website is an absolute must for online article writers for hire. A website will give you a place to share writing samples and a background on yourself and your writing skills. Have a contact form on your website as well as an alternate email in case the form experiences a glitch. Potential clients may like something they see on your site and bookmark it for later if they aren't yet ready to purchase content. Keep the website updated with current information so that people will want to continue visiting. Maintain a blog with writing tips and business updates. Get and keep clients by referring them to your website for business, rather than an email address. This is an important way to establish your personal brand as a freelance writer.
Network With Fellow Writers
Learning and growing is a big part of being successful in an online writing career. Things change so rapidly that it's important to stay connected with other writers to learn and grow together from each other. Just because you've been writing for years does not mean you know everything there is to know. While you may have expertise on one aspect of writing, another writer may be an expert in a different area. Get and keep clients by networking with other writers to share and discuss knowledge. This will keep you up to date in the online writing field. Plus, it can be a great deal of fun.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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8 Musts on a Freelance Writer's Website
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.
Web Writing Tips: Why You Need a Website
Why All Web Writers Need a Website
Why All Web Writers Need an Online Resume Page
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
A friend once asked me why a community needs guidelines. Shouldn’t adults be able to interact appropriately without them and determine what they want their community to be? In theory, that sounds good. However, in practice, it can become an entirely different scenario. Also, appropriate behavior isn’t the only reason to have guidelines in place. While your members should definitely determine the overall feel of the community, there also should be some rules. Those rules need not be complex if you want something simple. But you should definitely have some in place.
Members May Be Confused
A well-run community should have a clear objective. It’s difficult to set and keep that objective when no guidelines are in place. Members may get confused as to what should and shouldn’t happen within the community. Without guidelines, no one really knows what the community is about and what behaviors are expected (or not expected).
Managing Could Become Difficult
A community without guidelines is much harder to manage since members may be confused about things. This often leaves the community manager in a difficult position. If there are no rules or guidelines, members may be reluctant to listen when situations arise. It also may become tough to decipher whether a situation is even a situation at all, since no guidelines are set. When should you laugh about something and when should you take action regarding certain posts and behaviors?
How Do You Know What’s Relevant?
If you have no community guidelines, how can you organize your community? While it may seem beneficial to just let members discuss whatever they wish, it can quickly get out of hand. Guidelines will help you sort it all out, whether your community is about one topic or a hundred. An organized community is easier for everyone to use and simpler to run. With guidelines in place, you should immediately know which posts to move, delete, or leave where they land.
Some Members Might Push the Envelope
With no guidelines, some members might take advantage and run amok. But is it really running amok if you have no rules? There are people out there who will do this simply because they know no rules are there for you to enforce. These members may feel that anything you say is simply an opinion and not something they need to listen to. There’s always the option of banning unruly members. However, simply having guidelines in place to enforce can prevent doing so in many instances. Who truly wants to restrict their members or treat them that way?
*I originally published this on Bubblews.com (no longer published there).
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Every community needs to have a clear objective. What is your community about? Do your members know the full purpose or intent? Is your community’s objective obvious when people visit the web space?
Make new on-topic posts as often as possible
In order for members to be able to interact with a similar objective, things need to be fresh and on-topic. If other members aren’t posting relevant topics regularly, as the community manager, you should step in and do so. This ensures that both new and old members understand what the site’s objective is. If things aren’t kept up-to-date, they may lose sight of what your community is truly about, which also leaves room for spam and other unwanted behavior.
Monitor member posts for relevancy
In addition to making those new, relevant posts, it’s important to keep an eye on what community members are posting. Part of a community manager’s job is to make sure that what’s being posted is relevant to the community. It’s fine to have an area for off-topic things. But if you want your community to be user-friendly, most posts should match what your community is about. Those that don’t should be moved to an off-topic area or removed entirely. Use your better judgment based on what your community members would prefer.
Keep an updated “About” or “Mission” section or page
Every web community should have an area that describes the community’s purpose. If your community consists of a website with multiple conversation areas (like comment sections, private messaging, and forums), you can create a specific page for that. Usually, that page should be titled along the lines of “About Us” or “Mission statement”. If your community is just a forum, you may want to include some community info within the main/welcome/guidelines post. That way, it’s immediately visible.
* I originally published this on Bubblews.com (no longer published there).
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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?
Even the best of writers make errors. From typos to grammatical mistakes to run-on sentences, mistakes in writing are common. In internet writing, many writers are editing their own content. This works well most of the time, but we all have our off days. Even a star editor can make a mistake in their own writing. So, how can you solve that? One way is to get a writing buddy.
What is a Writing Buddy?
A writing buddy is another writer whom you trust with your work. This writer also must entrust their work to you. Writing buddies give their final proofread copies to each other to be sure the work is of good quality.
What exactly do writing buddies do?
Writing buddies read over each other's final drafts and make correction suggestions if needed. If both writers also are good editors, there may not be many corrections, but it always is good to have more than one set of eyes looking over a project. It's a great way to ensure quality work is produced as often as possible.
Why Should I Get a Writing Buddy if I Never Make Mistakes?
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. No one is perfect. I'm sure that anyone combing this very post will find at least one (if not more than one) suggestion to make. There always is more than one way to look at writing. Also, like I stated, nobody is perfectly accurate all the time. I have gone over pieces of work several times, thinking they were up to par. Then, after they've been published of course, I've found grammatical errors or typos. Having a writing buddy can minimize the chance of inaccuracies.
How Do I Find a Writing Buddy?
If you're a writer, chances are you know at least one other writer. If not, you really should start networking. Having other friends who write can be extremely beneficial in more ways than just the one listed here. I recommend choosing your closest writing friend for this particular project. Be sure that you and this person can fully trust that neither will misuse the other's work in any way. I won't give legal advice on this because I am not a lawyer. Only you can decide how you should handle the legalities. But, I will say that it can be extremely helpful to have a fellow writer give an opinion on work before it is turned in to the client.
How Many Pieces Should My Writing Buddy Check?
All of them, if possible. However, if you are like me, then that may not be possible. I write way to many articles in a day to fairly have a buddy check them all. You and your buddy should decide on a fair number that is feasible for you both. Once you get a balanced writing, reading, and editing routine down, you may be able to add to that number.
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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