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
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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Why All Web Writers Need a Website
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5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Web Content
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Part of succeeding in your web writing career is knowing when a potential client is one you should avoid. There are many scammers out there. You need to know how to protect yourself. As a long-time career freelance writer, I’ve picked up a great deal of experience on sorting out the legitimate clients from the scams.
Ask for a percentage of pay upfront.
This is extremely important to making sure that you get compensated for every piece of content you produce. I generally ask for half of the pay before starting the work and the other half when I complete the project. This is protection both for myself and for the client. If a client decides to stiff me, at least they have paid me something. Also, it helps reassure the client, knowing that they do not have to pay the full amount until I finish the writing.
Never pay for work.
You’ll often see ads or websites claiming that if you purchase a service or product, they’ll give you work. The majority of these are scams . Unless it is a legitimate contracting service, and sometimes not even then, it is best not to pay anyone for work. There is plenty of work out there and you are the one providing the service. You should be the one getting paid.
Get all project and payment details in writing.
Before you even begin the work, discuss the details with the potential client. Then, create a contract and make sure you both agree to it. Even if you are not familiar with professional contracts, this is still possible. As long as all the terms are laid out and parties are documented agreeing to it, that will be enough for a legal agreement.
Watch out for fancy calls to action.
This is a common pitfall for potential writers and others looking for work at home positions. Usually, if you see something that uses terms like “get rich quick,” “easy money fast,” “Sign up and get paid today,” and the like, run far, far away. There are cases in which people may use similar terms for legitimate offers. But most of the time, that is not the case.
Know where and how your content will be used.
This is very important. There are people out there who will pay another writer to do something that is legally supposed to be written by them. Many content sites require the writing to be 100% created by the person who is submitting it. Never produce work for someone if it is going to a place like this or if you don’t know what they will be doing with it. Otherwise, you could unknowingly be part of a scam. This goes back to the contract issue. Make sure the contract includes what will be done with your writing. This way, if the other person does something illegal with it without your knowledge, it is documented that you sold the content for other reasons.
Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this on BUBBLEWS (no longer published there)
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
While it’s true that writing often can lead to a successful web writing career, that isn’t the only way to success. In fact, your business strategy should involve more than being productive. You should also know how to make the most of your existing content. As a career freelance writer and advocate to fellow web writers, I have years of experience doing just that.
Submit non-exclusive work as often as possible.
The more rights to your content that you can keep, the better. While exclusive pieces can sometimes net you more upfront, you won’t always make the most from exclusive work in that piece’s lifetime. If done right, evergreen (ever-relevant) non-exclusive work can net you more over time.
Save all of your work in more than one place.
Always have more than one copy of everything you write. For instance, if you save it in an online word/drive program (like Google Drive), make sure you also save it to your computer and also to a flash drive. This ensures that if something happens in one of those places, you’ll still have your work stored in another place. It never hurts to over-store your writing. But it can often hurt to under-store it. Just because one thing is reliable does not mean it always will be. At the very least, have your work stored in two places. But I recommend more, if possible.
Re-use your non-exclusive submissions whenever possible.
The reason you want to submit your work as non-exclusive wherever possible is so that you can re-use that writing elsewhere. Many venues will accept work that has been previously published. This means that you can get more use out of one piece of content than if you had originally submitted it as exclusive. In fact, you can republish that content as many times as you wish if it isn’t exclusive to a particular venue or individual.
Keep your published content updated.
Generally, when you post content online, most of the time you’ll have access to keep it updated. This way, its “shelf-life” is longer. Links and information can get outdated. If you always keep your content as up-to-date as possible, readers will trust your work and you’ll be able to direct people to your content for longer periods of time. Many online venues pay per view. No one wants to look at stale content. But if your content stays updated, you can continue to promote it and keep people interested long after its original publication date.
Reference and promote your existing content often.
Don’t forget to link to existing content that is relevant to new things you publish. Also, when promoting new content, always remember to cycle promotion of your existing content as well. This keeps attention on your content for longer periods of time, which means more views and usually more money.
People often say “Work smarter, not harder”. I say “Work both smart and hard for the best results”. You still have to write often to keep people interested. But making the most of your existing work will help you earn more from each piece of web writing you produce.
Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there)
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
I've said it before (Gloomy is Good, Too) and I'll say it again. Authenticity is the key to returning readers. Being the true you creates trust.
You may not win over everyone by being you. But your goal is not to please everyone. If you think it is, you may need some serious rethinking time.
No matter how much it may seem that you have different thoughts than others, there will always be someone else who can relate. I am finding this out lately as I open up more on a personal level with certain friends.
Even if no one agrees with you, it is better to be authentic than to fake it just to save face. Readers like honesty and although they may not always agree with you, they'll respect you much more for being real than they will for being fake.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this on Write W.A.V.E. Media.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Try doing a Yahoo search on anything related to freelance writing jobs and you’ll pull up a multitude of opportunities, many of them scams. The simplest way to tell if one’s a scam is that it usually starts with “make easy money” just like any other scam. While it’s true that some aspects of a freelance writing career will become easy to an experienced writer over time, freelance writing as a whole is NOT an easy full time career path. But it’s worth it.
As a full time freelance writer, I used to spend countless sleepless nights thinking, researching, and typing out the results endlessly. Wait, “used to”? If I’m no longer a full time freelance writer, what do I know? The thing is, I spent years as a full time freelance writer and I slowed down, not because of the lack of money or interest, but because I wanted to help other freelance writers. That’s right. Now my full time job is helping others do what I did. But I still write almost full time as well. Therefore, I assure you, you can trust my experience.
Some people think “Oh, I can write. My poems from high school are great. I should be a writer.” And if that’s you, writing might be a good career choice for you. But just keep in mind that writing for the web and writing a poem here and there are two entirely different things. Freelance writing as a full time career path will involve writing for a considerable amount of time most days. Decide which you REALLY want to do and do that.
Writing for the web as a full time freelance writer is hard work. Yes, work. Forget all those scammers out there telling you it’s easy. Yes, it’s easy for them at first because they’re copying and pasting the text that I (or another talented writer) put real time and heart into in order to create it. But it no longer becomes easy for them when we decide to pursue it legally.
Ah yes, there’s another thing about freelance writing. You’re not JUST a writer. You’re a writer, researcher, marketer, CEO, manager, self-appointed attorney, and many other things.
The first part – the actual writing – may come easy to you sometimes and maybe even most of the time. But there will be days when you may not be able to form a complete sentence no matter how many deadlines you’re facing or how much money is on the line. Even for writers who seem to just sprout creative words in an instant, writing all day every day can become difficult. And you WILL need to write very often (among other things) in order to make the most money at web writing.
I know what you’re thinking because it’s me as well. I definitely said it too. You’re saying “but I love writing. I already write all day long, nonstop. I can do this.” If so, then you probably can, just like me. However, keep in mind that even you will likely have days where you just can’t. Also keep in mind that everything you write, though it may come from your heart, is for someone else. And, while you are in charge of yourself, you do still have to actually work. Otherwise, what are you getting paid for?
Up until this point, I may have turned some people off already because it sounds like a big complaint. But heck no! I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for the world. The thing is, if you’re going to be in the business, someone needs to tell you the real facts. Yes, I can spend more time with my kids (human and fur variety). Yes, I make a fairly decent income when I’m consistent with it. But it does take real work and effort and if you can’t commit to that, this is NOT the career for you because if you stop working, the money stops coming.
For me, the benefits of staying home with my kids, the satisfaction of knowing my words may help people, being able to finally start saving some money, and some of the other things directly related to being a freelance writer are worth the hard work. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Still want to be a freelance writer? If you said yes, I commend you. Feel free to reach out to me on my Facebook page for help getting started: facebook.com/LynLomasi
(No, I’m not going to charge you anything for advice, unlike those scammers out there looking for a quick buck. NEVER pay for work. You’re the one working. YOU should be the one getting paid.)
**Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this here on BUBBLEWS (no longer published there)
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
No offense meant to the writers this applies to. But I have been doing this a long time and am a natural observer. I've noticed that oftentimes the writers who have the most interaction from readers are those that update their profiles, especially photos. I mean, who wants to look at the same picture for years, no matter how good looking it might be?
When you update your profile photo often, it shows that you are active and it also gives readers something fresh to look at. Think of your profile photo just as you would your written content. Random browsers may find an older photo or piece of content interesting. But those faithful followers need something new to look at or they might wander somewhere else more interesting. Yes, most of what readers will be focused on is the written content. However, it does help when the author photo is shiny and interesting. People on the interwebs like shiny things. It's a given -- and new shinies appear often.
How often do you update your profile photo? Have you observed the same things I have? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section.
Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
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.
You spend hours on a submission perfecting every little detail when along comes an editor to mess with your masterpiece. If you're going to make it as a writer, you will have to work with editors. A necessary part of the publishing process involves dealing with editors.
Learn to compromise. Editors can and often do change things. That's what they're there for. They catch the little mistakes we make (and we all make mistakes). They also may make changes that are better for structure, your audience, the web, and more. Though you may not always agree with their changes, you will have to deal with many of them. Depending on the publication, you may be able to form a compromise with the editor.
Let it go. That may be easier said than done in many cases. As writers, we see our writings as our little babies, if you will. We work hard on it and it means so much to us. Altering it can feel like someone is trying to change us. After all, it does have our names on it. But at some point, we have to learn to let it go. If the work never bypasses an editor, it may never get out in front of the audience. Try not to get too attached and let the work go once its complete.
What's the change? Instead of becoming to attached to the way the piece is written, focus on the message. If the edits do not take away the message, don't be so hard on the editor. It's perfectly fine to address the editor if you feel that the changes are unsatisfactory or take away from the message. But if the change is nothing that takes away the message, why waste all that energy getting upset? Write another article.
Report the editor. This is only for extreme cases. I say that because as a writer, you will need to learn to deal with the fact that your writing will be changed by editors if you want it published with major companies. If the editor really is making changes that are unreasonable (and not just changes you don't like - changes that affect the quality of the work significantly), that's when you report the editor. I advise not taking this route unless necessary because a writer and editor need to be able to work together peacefully. But obviously, if there is an injustice it should be reported.
Switch venues. If you just cannot deal with a particular editor, write somewhere else. Ultimately, you should be happy with your writing (or any) career. If that's not happening, you haven't found the right venue/s to write for yet. Realize you should not be switching venues every time you don't like what an editor does. But if there is a true problem, remember that you can move on.
Write for yourself. If you truly cannot deal with anyone at all messing with your own work, only wrote for yourself. When someone is paying you to produce work, it should be what they want, hence part of the reason for the editors. If you create your own venue, such as your own website or blog, you make the rules. Even if you go this route it can still be a wise move to have an editor or at least a writing buddy that is willing to be a second pair of eyes. But you'll have the most freedom when writing for yourself.
Bottom line: Editors are a part of the writing and publishing business and writers need to be able to adapt to that fact. Work with (not against) your editor, unless you have a legitimate claim against them.
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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