4 Tips for New Work-at-Homers
by Lyn Lomasi; Owner & Ordained Shaman at Intent-sive Nature & Brand Shamans Content Community LLC
Your job has ordered workers to complete their tasks from home or you’ve been laid off or let go and need to start your own business - but from home. Whether due to new rules at your job or a personal preference to work from home, you need help getting into the swing of things. You’re new at this work-at-home thing and need a few pointers to make it work effectively. As someone who has been running her own business from home since 2005, don’t worry! I can help. Here are 4 tips for new work-at-homers.
Relax. Breathe. Release.
This is the very first thing you need to do before doing anything else. Relax your mind. Take a few deep breaths. Think about what is going on and what your goals are. Let it sink in and then release all negative energies surrounding it. Some may use healing jewelry for this purpose. Yoga is another great way to clear the mind and get prepared for change. Working independently can be difficult for some not used to work from home positions. Relaxing your mind can go a long way in prepping for this change.
Set Up a Comfortable Effective Workspace
Even if you only plan to be working from home temporarily, you still need a place to do it. When your workspace is comfortable and contains everything you will need for work, it’s much easier to get your job done correctly. Consider the type of work that you do when creating your space. You can create this spot as a section in an existing room or if you have one you can use, convert an entire room.
No matter how large or small the space you have to work with, make sure it has everything you need to do your job effectively. Most jobs will require at least a desk and some office supplies. After you choose the correct desk for your specific use, consider other essentials your job may not have supplied you with and be sure they're within easy reach. You may also want to decorate this space to make it an enjoyable one. Even if not required for work, be sure to have some way to communicate with the outside world from home.
Don’t Panic. You Can Do This.
If I can work from home as a mother of 7, running 20 websites, a web store, making handcrafted items, and doing tons of services daily (like content writing, consulting, and publicity) while making sure a baby, toddlers, and teens are all taken care of, you can do it with hopefully a smaller workload than I have. I don’t recommend starting off with my kind of workload, unless necessary. I’m an experienced pro and have mastered the art of multitasking properly without taking away from people or tasks. The point is if I can get to that level, you can get to whatever your level is too.
Consult With Experienced Work At Home Professionals
This one is a must, especially if you are having issues getting started, staying on task, or finishing on time. Join work at home support groups online, such as Work At Home, Remote, & Build A Business Opportunities on Facebook. Ask questions in those groups or of people you already know who work at home. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help. We all start somewhere and there is always someone to help. Social distancing doesn't include online spaces and there are always people in reach.
If you have no idea what business to start or what direction you should go in, feel free to get on a consulting chat with myself, my partner, or another on our team of experts. Learn what business you should start based on a variety of things revealed about yourself by consulting with us.
Questions, tips, or commentary? Feel free to use the comment section below. We're here for you!
LAST UPDATED 6/2/2023
by Lyn Lomasi; Owner of Intent-sive Nature & Brand Shamans Content Community
If you’re a web writer, there are some things you’re probably doing that you just shouldn’t. Learn how to examine your web content to find the painful truths you can fix in your online writing.
You Need To Write For Search
This is where many people new to online writing often struggle. But it’s really not as hard as one might think. Start with one easy good SEO technique, such as LSI and build up from there. Stay away from blackhat methods, as these may appear to work at first but can be the downfall of your entire site or blog.
You're Not Writing For Your Intended Audience
Are you writing to yourself or to your targeted readers? Sometimes, that’s the same thing. But occasionally, it's really not. The good thing is you can fix that. Simply pay attention to comments in your online writing, as well as where your readers are coming from.
Your Content Needs To Be Shareable
Read your online writing back to yourself. Is it something you would share if written by someone else? The title should make someone want to click and read it (but please avoid clickbait). The main image and first paragraph should make them want to keep going. The rest should provoke them to reshare it when finished.
Proper Grammar And Spelling Is A Must
If you can’t spell correctly or use way too many commas, do you really think people are going to take you seriously? Study up on your grammar and spelling and use free tools to analyze your online content writing before hitting publish. Even better, hire a professional editor. Your readers will thank you by not clicking away when you avoid the nonsense.
If You Can’t Word It Right, Your Audience Can’t Read It Right
This falls in line with grammar and spelling. If your posts are all over the place or are nonsensical, your readers can’t follow along and will just go away. Be sure you are saying what you mean so that people can actually read your online writing and understand it as intended. Otherwise, you’ll either get misinterpreted or skipped over very quickly.
LAST UPDATED BY LYN LOMASI 7/23/2022
How To Start A Review Blog
by Lyn Lomasi; Owner of Intent-sive Nature & Brand Shamans Content Community
Do you like trying new products or reading new books? Want to make money or earn free samples for it? Here’s how to start a review blog.
Choose a Platform For Your Review Blog
The first step in starting a review blog for books or other products is choosing the platform you will use. There are many to choose from, such as Weebly, Blogger, and WordPress. I personally recommend Weebly because of the versatility and the fact that beginners can jump right in. If you’re also a pro, not to worry. You can edit the CSS if you want to, but the default drag and drop options make it simple and fun for everyone. In addition to hosting, if you want a dot com domain, you will also need a domain manager. I recommend rcomexpress.com. However, there are lots to choose from.
Build Your Blog
Once you’ve chosen your platform, it’s time to build your blog. This is relatively quick and simple if you’ve chosen one of the more easy platforms. You can choose your template/theme, colors, and so on. You should also be able to choose which pages you’d like and customize each page with the text, images, and anything else you need to. If you’re going to be reviewing products, you’ll want sections for ads on each page. This will help you earn revenue.
Make Sure You Have These Important Pages
At the very least, in my experience, every review blog should have a homepage, a blog page, an about/contact page, and a review policy page. By law, you will need to have a review policy and disclose when you receive products or cash in exchange for reviews. All of the pages and policies mentioned will help your audience have a positive experience with your blog.
Monetize Your Blog For Revenue
Join affiliate programs, such as Amazon Associates, Rakuten LinkShare, CJ.com, and Google AdSense in order to generate revenue. This will allow you to earn revenue with ads that are aligned with the products you review. Sometimes you can align an exact product this way for the best results. Be careful to read the terms of each company and make sure you are following their guidelines if you join. Some may require your blog to be a certain age or have a certain number of posts first.
Start Writing Posts
Once you have made all of your pages, done what you can to monetize, and have something to review, start making posts. The more active your blog is, the better chance you have of people seeing it. At first, it might seem you are talking to yourself. Don’t worry. People will come if you keep writing. Be sure to learn some whitehat SEO techniques to help that along.
Market Your Blog To Companies
Once you have some posts up, you can market your review blog to companies via proper SEO, social media, and by sending pitches out to those who share your interests. It may take some time to build a steady following and you may need to at first review products and books you already own. But in no time, you will start getting more requests than you can handle if you do it right.
Happy blogging! If you have any questions, please comment below or Contact Us and we will do our best to assist.
by Lyn Lomasi; Co-Owner of Intent-sive Nature & the Brand Shamans network
Many factors go into determining work and payments from business owners and other clients. These can differ depending on several things. While following this guide may not guarantee that you will receive more work with higher payments, you may see greater opportunities by adhering to the following suggestions. The key is not necessarily to increase every single payment, but to maximize the opportunities available, as well as maximize your long-term benefits from said work.
What types of content are eligible for payment?
All of it! Whether you are soliciting jokes, articles, blog posts, recipes, web page content, product descriptions, photography, or any other creation, it deserves payment if it’s quality material. The key is to submit to the most appropriate venue for best results.
Focus on a specific issue
When you have a tight focus on one topic, readers are more likely to be looking for your content. Think about the things you look for when searching online. For instance, instead of general tips on pet adoption, you may want something geared specifically toward the pet you are considering adopting. “Where to adopt a poodle in Denver” should perform better than “How to adopt a pet,” as an example. Write your articles on specific subjects that will be relevant and useful to readers looking for that topic.
Follow assignment details
If you are hired for an assignment, be sure you follow the exact instructions. That means if the instructions say something different from any advice herein, defer to the assignment. When editors and business owners see that you can follow all assignment details reliably, they may be more likely to offer you future opportunities. Remember that, while you should be creative, the content you’re creating is not for you. It’s for the person you are creating it for. Therefore, it should be the way they want it. It’s good to suggest corrections of facts that might be wrong or improvements that might help the client or their website. But again, if they do not agree, unless you are breaking the law or doing something you are strongly against, just do things the way the client wants.
Do your research
When you need to back up your content with facts, be sure these facts are from reliable sources. Also, make sure to cite those sources properly, according to submission guidelines and any additional assignment guidelines. Using multiple highly-trusted and relevant sources also helps to build credibility. Wherever possible, use sources from your client’s website, in addition to the others. This helps them build more relevant inbound linking. When client chooses to hire an expert, they expect expert material.
Examine the intended website
If you are submitting to a new client, study the website you are interested in writing for. Think of topics that could work well there but are not yet covered. Having an idea of what could potentially align with a particular property can give you a greater chance at getting accepted. Being unique is key. That means that you don't want to submit something you already see covered on the property. Instead, try submitting something that works well alongside existing content, provides a new angle, or has not been covered at all but could appeal to that property's audience.
Consider the audience behind the topic
Are you writing about parenting? What stages? Think of the age of the kids you're writing about - and then think of what ages the parents are likely to be; they are your most likely audience, and you should cater your content to them. The tone and style used in your article should be something readers can identify with. For instance, if you are writing an article for kids, using complicated business terms is not going to keep them reading. Acceptances of paid submissions are more likely on content that shows attention to detail in this and other areas.
Personalize the experience
When you write an article or blog post, readers should see the real person behind the story (unless your client is not interested in first-person accounts). At the same time, you don't want to ramble about something that has nothing to do with the subject matter. Find that perfect level at which the article provides the information needed with relevant personalization where it fits in with the main point of the article.
For instance, if I'm writing an article about picking the perfect daisies, instead of telling a long story about a time when I picked daisies, I would mention how I determine which daisies to pick. I would do that in a way that readers can tell I am knowledgeable and passionate. But it would also need to be something readers can benefit from to answer their questions. When you can use your own unique experience and style, readers can relate more easily. But at the same time, you don't want to say so much that they get bored and click away.
Focus on evergreen material
Focusing on evergreen material is one way to maximize your earnings, as most business owners can use long-lasting content. Evergreen content is that which will draw a reader's interest for long periods of time, such as unique ways to solve common parenting issues. Evergreen slants can also be applied to trending topics. Some editors may value those topics that have a longer shelf life. This is not to say that other content will not be valued, as articles with a shorter shelf life can be useful as well. They each have their own place and are both great ways to maximize your work in different ways. Getting the most out of paid opportunities often involves taking advantage of more than one way to earn.
Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and style
Category and vertical style guides are used for many assignments that offer pay. For the best chances at getting those assignments accepted, be sure to follow them closely. This also goes for any and all other instructions mentioned within the assignment details. Proofreading, even after using spelling and grammar checkers, has always been a lifesaver for me when writing for any venue. Yes, I am a great editor. But, I am also human, so it’s best to double and triple check. Read silently, out loud, and even have a writing buddy take a gander. Programs can miss little things, such as skipped words or typos that are actual words, but not words you intended to use.
Optimize your content for the Web
Studying The Yahoo! Style Guide is a great way to learn basic html, grammar, editing, formatting, and style as it all pertains to writing for the Web. Most content that is submitted to potential clients must be publish-ready. While some venues may have an editor, never rely on editors to fix poor writing. If your writing needs to be thoroughly edited, it is much better to study up so that your submissions are more likely to get acceptances than rejections. You can then submit at a later date when your skills allow you to submit content that is more in line with the platform's needs.
Good Web content displays certain qualities. Apart from being interesting, it must be easy for a wide audience to read. It also must be easily found by search engines. Keep your articles concise and informative in an easy-to-scan format. Web readers often look for something that answers their question quickly and accurately in an engaging manner. For more on writing for the web, again, The Yahoo Style Guide is an invaluable resource.
Maximizing payments on your content is about taking advantage of the many ways to earn. It's also about covering your bases all-around. A solid article is not just well written, but also speaks to the intended audience, giving them exactly the information they expected and needed in a clean, easy-to-scan format.
Kids on summer vacation from school and you still have a job to do? A job that requires you to work while they are at home in your midst? It may seem scary and impossible. As a veteran homeschool teacher and work at home mom, I have learned a trick or two. You can maintain a work at home job when the kids are on summer vacation.
Keep busy items on hand. Working at home in the presence of the kids requires creativity on the parent's part. Of course you will need to play with the kids and give them attention. But there is no reason they shouldn't also have some playtime independent of you. In fact, it’s probably good for them. During those times, they can play with what I call busy items. This would be any item that the kids are very interested in and can play with for long periods of time. Craft supplies, puzzles, building blocks, crossword (and other pencil) books, and favorite stories are just some ideas. Whatever keeps your child busy will be ideal for this time. When it is your child's busy time, it's also your busy time with work.
Take family field trips and schedule activities. This may seem like a distraction to your work from home job. But if you don't take care of yourself and your family, you are not going to perform as well at work. Take time out for fun so that the kids know you care and so you can get in a break. When you can have fun days mixed in with the work days, it helps create balance, leaving you and the kids less frustrated during work time. You can also schedule activities for the kids, such as team sports, dance, and other things they may be into. Be sure to schedule both activities you can participate in with them, as well as those they do independently. Work harder at home when the kids are away and enjoy them when you can have fun together.
Schedule what you can around the noisiest times. You know what times the kids are most likely to be full energy. Try to schedule family fun into that slot and your work in another. Chances are that if you try to work through the noise, you'll get less done. You might as well save the work for later if you can. As I always say, 10 minutes of focused time is more valuable than an hour of chaos. Fit your work in where it makes sense, if your work at home job is at all flexible. Because I am a writer, I can write at any time. Sometimes I find myself writing during graveyard hours because it just didn't happen that day. If you have to, try changing your hours so that you are not working at all when the kids are home or awake.
Call in a mommy's helper. If all else fails, hire someone to help you out. My oldest child is a teenager, so she can do this when necessary. Just have someone around (perhaps an older child or a good friend) who can supervise the kids while you work. You can still be the main supervisor, as I am in my house. But the mommy's helper can help with things like keeping the kids busy, preparing lunch, cleaning up small messes, answering the phone, and more. Even though you are paying this person, when it's an older child, be careful not to work them too hard. You should still be the main supervisor. But having a mommy's helper can really take away a good amount of the stress and frustration so you can get your work done.
Just let it flow. This is probably my life saver tip. Sometimes it helps to just relax and let things go however they go. My work at home career is pretty flexible, as far as time. There are deadlines at times. However, I find that I get things done best when I don't over plan or over schedule. I just do the work when I can and let things flow. Sometimes I want to work when the kids want to have fun. If I don’t have a deadline, I don't worry about it. I just have fun with the kids, such as when we take our nature walks. I complete the work when we get back. There are times when work has to come first. But the kids should also know they matter. For me the key to keeping it all together is letting go of all the worry. My mind is freer, I get more work done, and my family is much happier.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Are you looking for a way to speed up your writing productivity? Think you've tried everything in the book on working faster? Perhaps you've even considered the possibility of networking household devices together for this purpose. Does using multiple computers speed writing productivity? Perhaps my experience with this method will help you decide if it will work for you.
Why Should I Set up Multiple Computers?
Setting up two or more computers may help speed up productivity for some article writers. You might delegate all internet activities to one and all the writing to another. This can help save the time it takes to switch back and forth from web pages to writing documents. It may seem like a small amount of time. But if you write articles for a living, that time really adds up. Even if you are not doing any web research at the moment, you could still make use of multiple computers. Splitting writing documents between two or more computers might be easier than flipping back and forth between documents on just one computer.
How to Set Up Two or More Computers for Article Writing
When setting up multiple computers to increase article writing speed, there are several factors to consider. First, be sure the computers are in very close proximity to each other. The computers also need to be angled in a way that makes it easy to transition from one to the other. For instance, if one computer is facing toward you and one is facing the complete opposite direction, you will need to move your chair or computer every time. If you will need to move across the room to switch computers, this will not be convenient either. It may even waste time instead of saving it. You can even network the computers that share the same operating system to save you from transferring files by disk. If the computers do not have the ability to share a network, you can also use cloud storage, such as Google Drive or OneDrive. A USB flash drive is also a very fast option for sharing files back and forth.
Tips for Using Multiple Computers
Results may depend on the person. Some may get stressed at the thought of multiple computers. Others, like myself ,may naturally fall right into it. Signs that it may work for you include the ability to quickly navigate one computer between documents and websites, being a multitasker, and having the ability to work in changing situations. Signs it may not work for you include having little knowledge of operations on just one computer, getting stressed easily, and not being able to perform in varying situations or under pressure. Like anything else, it will only save time for the person who feels comfortable doing things this way.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Because online article writers can sometimes earn their money based in part or in whole on views, promotion can come into play often. If you are a freelance writer and aren't earning much for your content, not enough marketing or the wrong kind of promotion could be part of it. Here are some easy promotional techniques for online article writers that can be implemented right away.
Sign Up for Twitter and Start Tweeting
If you write online and haven't been tweeting, you may be missing out on a fair amount of exposure. I recommend that all online article writers at least try Twitter. If done right, this easy promotional technique has the potential of putting your work in front of people you may not find elsewhere. The unique dynamics allow people you may or may not know to spread the word about your content quickly and easily. Online article writers should remember not to be a spammer that only posts links. Like any other social networking site, there should be some social involvement. If you sign up and don't like it, you can always cancel your account.
Utilize RSS Feeds
Utilizing RSS feeds is another easy promotional technique. Many content sites have an RSS enabled profile where the work of each writer is displayed. Submitting the RSS feed to RSS directories of the appropriate topic is another way online article writers can promote. The more ways that people have to find your work, the more likely you are to get noticed. You also can post RSS feeds of your content onto your blog or website so that your readers and fans can easily find more of your content.
Frequent readers are probably saying "Oh no, here she goes again with the SEO talk," but it is true. For online article writers, this easy promotional technique is a must. It may seem odd to refer to SEO as easy, but some aspects of it are and implementing it gets pretty simple once you get the hang of it. There also are some simple techniques that even beginners can use. If you don't know what SEO is or are still confused about it, pick up some books and learn more. You might even wish to take some classes. To get started, read Easy SEO Tips For Online Article Writers.
Blog About Your Articles
Your own personal or commercial blog is a great way to promote your work. Blog about the topics of your articles and link to them within your posts. This gives your blog readers something extra and can also lead to more views of your articles. Blogging can be a great way to get targeted readers to your content. Targeted readers may be more likely to stay longer, which could mean more views and more income. This form of promotion has that benefit and also the benefits of RSS and SEO capabilities. The RSS feed helps get your blog posts indexed with search engines. It also creates a way for readers to get instant updates of your posts. Implementing SEO into not only your online articles, but your blog posts is also a great promotional technique.
Start a Facebook Page
Facebook is another great way to promote your articles. Once you have signed up, you can even create a Facebook page specific to your online business. People can sign up to be a fan. If you use both Twitter and Facebook, the applications can be connected so that whatever you post on Twitter also posts to Facebook. This is a great way for busy people to post in two places at once. Just remember to actually interact with people. Otherwise, only posting article links can look like spamming. Also, be sure that your family and friends are aware you’ll be sharing your work. You don't want to overwhelm them all at once.
Some forums allow a signature line to be attached to each post a person makes. Where allowed and appropriate, this can be another effective method of promotion. Simply place the link to your work in your signature. Some forums may also allow you to share actual articles where appropriate. Always follow the rules. Posting where it isn't allowed is a promotional technique that can have opposite results than intended. If you become known as a spammer, your work may instead get ignored.
Yes, here I go mentioning SEO again -- that magic three-letter abbreviation we hear often. Using easy techniques can help online article writers significantly. If you haven't heard of SEO or if you haven't heeded the advice, you likely are losing out big time. A large portion of Internet traffic comes via search engines. If you expect search engines to find your content and deliver it in search results, you need to talk their language. Here are some simple techniques you can incorporate right away to help increase traffic and bring in valuable readers that stay around.
Focus, Focus, Focus
Focusing clearly on the subject at hand is a very easy way to draw people in. Not only should online article writers focus in on the subject without rambling, but focus should be in one specific aspect of that topic. For instance, the subject of this article is 'techniques for online article writers.' For focus, it was narrowed down to 'SEO techniques,' and more specifically, 'easy' SEO techniques.
A good way to narrow your focus is to search your topic on the site you're writing for, as well as your favorite search engine (mine is Yahoo), to see what already exists. Go for an angle that focuses on something useful or interesting, but focus on an aspect either not covered enough or not covered in the manner you intend on covering it. When I searched on this topic, I found many SEO articles, but none that were as specific or as simple to understand as I'm hoping this is.
Remove Modifiers and Fluff
Ever tried to read an article where the use of words such as "and, at, that, to, but" etc. is excessive? Not only is this bad for readability, but it takes up space and lowers the importance of the relevant words. Obviously, you need these words in some areas, but remove them where possible. For instance, instead of saying "She thought that it would have helped her, but it didn't help, " you might say "She thought it would help, but it didn't." See how much easier that is to read?
Being too descriptive or using too much storytelling can also take away from the SEO and the valuable info. Creativity is good, but don't be excessive. This is useful info to remember when writing the article, as well as during proofreading. Remember that web writing differs from other writing. Instead of saying something like "Jenny hurried across the green, grassy lawn to take a potted flower to her grandmother's house and enjoy a well-done steak dinner, " you might say something like "Jenny rushed home to her grandmother's with a potted flower, to enjoy a steak dinner with her." It still gets the point across, but is not so drawn out.
Latentic Semantic Indexing (LSI)
Latentic Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a technique that can easily be implemented with others. It shouldn't be the only method used, but when used in conjunction with the techniques above (and more as you learn), it's a great technique. Here's a simple way to remember LSI. It's basically the action of using words related to your key topic. There is a more complex explanation. However, we're keeping things simple here.
To find related words, simply use a word cloud generator. Type up a phrase or word that best represents your topic. That will give you results with some related terms. You can do this with various words and phrases. You also can use keyword tools, such as the Google Keyword Planner. Once you have all your related terms, sprinkle those throughout your content. These do not need to be used often and should be natural and not forced or overly used. Ignore the ones that actually are not related and do not make sense within your content. You still need to make sense and provide something functional to your readers.
Web writers often get stuck within the limits of the first way they start writing. For some, this could be submitting to large content sites or communities. For others, it might be different. However, there are many ways to make money in web writing. Here are 5 of the most common ways that are simple to get into.
Start a blog. This is one of the easiest ways to get started in web writing. If you’re a beginner, I recommend doing this before you apply for paid work, as it will help you learn how web writing works and give you some experience and practice. Seasoned web writers may also find this option desirable, as you are your own boss and can easily become an authority in your niche topics, as well as in the online writing world.
Sell your services to other websites. Many web writers choose to sell their content services to other websites. This is beneficial to those websites, as well as to the writer. The website owner gets quality content and the writer gets paid. Some websites will post ads for this on sites like Craigslist. Others might clearly list submission guidelines or post a call for content submissions. If you don’t see this on a site you feel you can provide a service for, look for the editor’s email address or for another way to contact the website owner or editor.
Sell your services to web content communities. Because this can sometimes be the fastest way to earn money, it is a desirable option for some writers. These sites usually do not pay as well as some of the other writing opportunities out there. However, it can be a great way to network and earn some extra side money. There are some web writers that can make a living doing this.
Write and sell e-books. This is becoming a more popular way to make money by writing online. E-books can be short or long. They might be fiction or non-fiction. If you provide what readers are looking for and you are able to get your e-books noticed, this can be a very lucrative way to make money in web writing. These can be sold on your own site or blog, Amazon, Lulu, and other places.
Use your content to enhance your own website. Because the payouts at content communities have gone down for some people, many web writers are choosing to run their own sites. It makes sense that if you’re a full time writer, you should be able to come up with enough content consistently to run a website. If you do this, I recommend Weebly for hosting, as the CMS and Site Editor tools far outweigh those offered by most competitors, in my opinion. It’s also a very flexible host that is very easy to use, from beginner to expert and allows for e-commerce, giving permission to other editors, and more.
You may think you're updating your web writing resume often enough. However, in the freelance writing game, things work much differently than in a traditional 9-5 position. I know you're not updating your resume often enough and here's why you should change that. I speak from experience.
Web Writing Changes
When the game changes, your approach needs to change. That means your writing resume too. That's your main tool when seeking new gigs and opportunities. If you can't change with the business, what do you think that says to your potential clients and editors? Stop using the same stale techniques when the rules have clearly indicated a new approach.
Your Experience Grows
Hopefully, if you're a full time writer, you gain new experience all the time. That should be reflected somewhere in your resume. How do you expect to get new opportunities when you're selling yourself short by leaving off valuable experience? Each time you do a new project, there is a skill or other experience that can be added to your resume. You should also use different writing samples where possible. Otherwise, it looks like you're not in practice, which isn't the best way to present yourself if it's not true.
Resume Requirements Vary
Your resume should be updated and tailored to each individual client every time you inquire about a new gig or role. A resume that is more specific to the exact role or project is more likely to be considered than a standard one that could be used for multiple positions. Also, each project or role will have different requirements and goals. If your web writing resume is the same for every query you make, you could be missing out on certain opportunities that you may have gotten with a few simple changes.
When was the last time you updated your resume? Do you agree with me? Have more tips? Let me know by commenting below.
Whether you've gotten started in freelancing or have been doing it a while, it's important to network with others in your field. So, how do you know which social networking site is the best one for web writers -- and for you, personally? There are many out there and they aren't all the same.
Choose a Site for Networking With Other Web Writers
First, when choosing a social networking site, be sure it's one other writers frequent often. If you join a networking site based around parenting, you may find some other writers. But, you may not get the best results from it if other things about the site aren't geared toward writers. Also, there's no guarantee you'll find other writers there, just a possibility.
Instead, visit writing forums and find out where other writers are gathering. You may even find that networking within a content site you write for is sufficient. If not, find out where those writers network. The networking site you choose does not need to be solely about writing. But you should be able to find a good amount of other freelance writers interacting there.
Should Web Writers Use More Than One Networking Site?
Absolutely! Use as many as you can keep up with. That's part of creating your brand. It is so important for web writers to get their names out there. However, remember when I said "as many as you can keep up with?" Don't create so many online profiles that you cannot keep up with them.
That's counterproductive, as well as disrespectful to others in the network. The whole point of a social network is to...well, network. If you aren't doing that, you haven't found the right social network or you have joined so many you can't keep up with them all. I recommend first becoming active in one that you feel comfortable with and gradually adding others as you are comfortable doing so.
Why Web Writers Need Social Networking Sites
When writing online, it's important to keep in touch with new techniques and also to see what others are doing. Fellow writers can also be great connections for friendship as well as extra business. It helps to discuss various techniques and aspects of online writing often. This way you can test new things often and find out what works.
Different clients like different styles and techniques. So, it's to your benefit to be open about exploring the writing territory. Social networks are also great for promotion and for meeting potential clients. They can add a whole new dimension to your writing career that you may not find elsewhere. It’s very important to incorporate social media into your business plan.
What is the Best Social Networking Site for Web Writers?
The best networking site will vary depending on the individual. The main thing to think of when choosing sites is to find one you enjoy using. If you get frustrated each time you log in or you don't enjoy the features, it probably won't be beneficial. You should be enjoying yourself, even if you have signed up for business purposes. Take the above points into consideration and choose the site (or combination of sites) that best fits with your social and business habits. Web writers, like other professionals, thrive best in desirable and appropriate environments.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
It's no secret that Facebook is a great place to spread the word about your business. For freelance writers, part of that generally involves sharing links to our writing. But is there a right and wrong way to do this? As with any other type of promotion, there should be etiquette involved. To present your work in the best light, you should know the difference between promotion and spamming.
Post more than just links. The number one mistake I see people making on Facebook is not having any engagement with people. They seem to just drop links and not converse with others. You don't have to be on there all day. But at least interact if you're going to drop links. Most likely, people are not going to click the links anyway if it's obvious that is the only reason you are there. If dropping links is all you're interested in, Facebook and other social networks are not the place for that. The whole point of Facebook is to socialize.
Do not tag people in link posts, unless the link is related to them. Facebook tagging etiquette is important. When you tag someone in a Facebook post, it appears on their profile, as well as in their news feed. It also appears in the news feeds of their friends. Absolutely do not tag people unless a post is related directly to them or they've asked you to. Tagging people in all of your links is considered spam and will get you a fast ticket off Facebook. It may also cost you some friends. Is tagging your link really worth losing friends and your Facebook account? When people tag me in their articles or other promotional links, it makes me not want to click the link or share it with others. I generally will remove the tag. In special circumstances, it may not bother me, such as if a friend is obviously having fun or just wants me to see a specific article. But habitual link taggers are spammers in my book and will not receive any clicks from me.
Use a fan page. If you know you are going to be writing often, the best thing you can do is set up a Facebook fan page. There are many reasons why. But one reason is to limit exposing family and friends to every single link to all of your work. Some may appreciate it. But not everyone does. By setting up a fan page, those who want to receive all your links can follow your fan page by 'liking' it. This doesn't mean you shouldn't post any links on your profile. But if you publish often, it's just common courtesy not to post all your links on your profile. Some may consider frequent linking to be spam.
Hide links from friends that aren't interested. Do you have friends who don't want to see every link? Create a custom list and hide your link posts from those people as you post them. To do this, simply select the lock button in the status comment section when you place a link there. Choose custom from the menu. Then, type the name of the list in the field where it asks who to hide the post from. Then, hit send. It sounds complicated. But it's actually very quick when you are doing it and it keeps your friends happy. I no longer do this, as most of my friends are writers and want to see all of my posts. However, it is very useful for people you want to keep on your list that don’t want to see those posts.
Don't post links on fan pages or in groups without permission and relevancy. When I log onto Facebook and check my personal fan page, the last thing I want to see is links to irrelevant websites. On the other hand, I love checking my niche Facebook pages and groups and seeing links posted in those places that are relevant to the topic. Be mindful of where you should promote your links and where you shouldn't. Not taking heed of this could cause a loss of readers instead of drawing new ones. Relevancy attracts readers while spam alienates them.
Writing, Financial, and Personal Goals Can Help Keep You Motivated
Are you having trouble staying motivated to write? Goal lists may be your answer. Keeping sight of various milestones helps some people see the bigger picture. Should you use goal lists to stay on task with freelancing?
Goal Lists May Help Freelancers Stay on Track
In freelancing, we are in charge of ourselves. No one can tell you what to do. In many ways, this can be a good thing. But for some, it can also lead to slacking off. Setting goals and writing them down in lists may help freelance writers stay on task.
Benefits of Using Goal Lists as Motivation
When using lists of goals as motivation, one benefit is always having that information available. If you keep it in your head, as opposed to writing it down, you may lose sight of some milestones. A physical goal list keeps everything front and center. On those days when you don;t feel compelled to d anything but slack off, take a look at the list of things you need to get done.
If there are bills that need to be paid and that next freelance project will pay them, that can get you moving real quick. Most freelance writers would rather pay the rent than live on the street and a goal list is a good reality check. As you accomplish each goal, you can check it off. Seeing such progress can lead to even more motivation.
What Type of Goal Lists Should I Use?
Make one or more goal lists for everything you need to accomplish as a freelance writer. Short term goal lists can include daily or weekly article (and other writing) projects. They may also include bills, items you promised the kids, home improvement projects that need funding, and more. Anything you need to accomplish in writing and anything you need to pay for can go on your goal lists. Long-term goal lists might include things you are working toward paying off, such as credit card debt, student loans, or a mortgage. Each time you make a payment, subtract it from the total.
Where is the Best Place to Keep My Goal Lists?
Goal lists should always be front and center. Stick them somewhere your eyes wander to all day. I like to tack my short term goals right on the computer, using a sticky note. When writing, I am looking at the computer all day. With the goals right there staring back at me, it's easier to keep my mind focused on them. I like to write long-term goals and on a magnetic dry-erase board on the refrigerator.
This is very beneficial if you have kids because everyone can see the goals. It teaches the kids financial responsibility and it gives them something to be excited about. This is especially true for goals pertaining to them. Freelance writers with families may wish to keep all or just some of their goals front and center, as I do.
What's on your goal list? Do you have other ways to stay on task? Share your thoughts and questions in the comment section.
What Should I Write to Maximize My Earning Potential?
As a website owner and advocate to freelance writers, I get asked often which topics are the best to write. What brings in the best audience? What topics pull in more page views? What topics does Write W.A.V.E. Media (WWM) want to see? Overall, which topics make the most money with ad revenue and reprints?
If I Write About Celebrities Will I Make More Money or Get Featured?
Yes and no. Celebrity content can be popular, but so can seasonal content, news, parenting tips, and a whole host of other topics. It's not about the topic, but how that subject is handled by each writer and whether or not what that person writes is applicable to the intended WWM site. Also, writing about any particular subject matter is not a guarantee to getting featured on the front pages of those sites. All content is promoted, regardless of front page featuring. What will get you featured is quality content and professionalism.
Which Topics are Most Profitable?
The thing is, I cannot give the same answer to each person on this. Why? There is not just one topic or type of article that does well. The fact is that what earns the most money will be different for everyone. Also, there are appropriate destinations for a variety of topics. There is no need to hone in a specific topic for all WWM sites -- and in fact, you shouldn't. There are plenty of locations for a wide variety of topics. Write only to those you are interested in.
There is no magic topic. What makes the most money for each person is whatever they write best - those where their skills and writing personality will shine through. This is because when you write to a topic without any knowledge or interest in it, a reader can see right through it. But when you write about something you have a passion for, readers can feel that too. It gives them something to connect with and they will keep coming back for more.
Establishing Your Niche Topics
To figure out what topics work for you, think about your passions. What do you enjoy writing about? Is there a topic that won't let your fingers stop typing? That's the topic that will do the best for you. Gear that topic toward its intended audience and write on unique slants that are not overdone.
Start out by writing about things you go through in your day to day life. Did you teach your child his letters with a unique method? Perhaps that method will help another parent. Write about it. If you enjoy it and do well, that could be your niche topic for turning a profit.
Drawing and Keeping Interest as an Online Article Writer
If you expect to make money in online article writing, you need to develop an audience. First, you need to draw readers in via promotion, SEO, and the like. But once they are there, you need to figure out how to keep readers interested. Otherwise, they'll just click away and possibly never come back to read you or your articles. So, how do you keep web readers interested in your articles?
Be Unique for More Interest
If your articles sound like everyone else's, readers will think so too. You need a unique flavor and angle that no one else has covered. Being unique keeps people interested. Give them something different to read about. For instance, if you're writing about a medical condition, just a description of the condition is something that can be found anywhere. Add in your personal experience with it in a specific aspect, that will give the reader some extra information and entertainment.
Keep Readers Interested With Passion
If you don't care about what you're writing, that will most likely come right through. When you write, you need to show readers that you are passionate about conveying the facts or thoughts. It's possible to do this even in news or other topics that you research. Choose only subjects that interest you or subjects that you know about. Writing what you know or have an interest in helps the passion shine through in your writing.
Use Your Expertise to Draw Interest
Drawing even further on writing what you know, be an expert in your chosen topic each time. This doesn't mean you need to stick to one niche. It's alright to write on a variety of topics. But each writer should have certain topics that they write about often. Also, within each article, where possible be sure the reader understands your expertise. Make that clear in the first paragraph. For instance, begin a sentence with the phrase, "As an educator of 30 plus years" or some other experience indicator.
Be Yourself to Keep Readers Interested
Relax and just be yourself. You do not need to write like everyone else. Your own voice should come through your articles. This is possible whether you write in first, second, or third person. Of course, in third person, you can't say 'I' but the style in which you write can still be uniquely yours. When you just relax and be you, readers may take more interest because the writing won't feel so forced.
Pay Attention to Your Readers
When readers leave comments or send messages about your content, pay attention to what they say. When people blog about or otherwise mention your content, keep your ears open. Pay attention to the feedback and write related articles based on that. Sometimes, in addition to sharing experiences or thoughts about the article, people will ask questions. Answer those with another article and let them know via the comments or any other way you can contact them.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
When first starting to write for online venues, many writers are unaware they need to edit. Sometimes there is an editor, but oftentimes this is not true. Therefore, it is safest (and most of the time your responsibility) to self edit your articles before submission.
Writing for Content Sites
Most content sites require self-editing. Some do have editors on hand that may make changes. But for the most part, the work you submit should be ready for publication. Many content sites only have people who review your work to determine if it's fit to publish. They don't have time to edit your work, nor will they do so.
They'll just decline it and move on to the next piece. Also, on some of these sites there is the option to self-publish without review. Even though some may allow you to edit afterward, you should always edit before hitting that publish button. This avoids having readers (and potential clients) see those initial typos and errors.
Writing for Private Clients
When writing for private clients, it's pretty much expected by most that your work is ready to use. When someone hires you to write content, they don't want sloppy work. They want something they can just pay for and use right away. That's why they chose to hire a professional. That's you.
By making sure you self-edit everything, you will keep clients happy. Happy clients often return to the same writer and may even recommend that person to friends and business partners. By not proofing and editing your work, you are potentially hurting your writing reputation and career.
Maintaining a Good Writing Reputation
Sure, typos are going to slip through sometimes. But, as a professional writer, you should always do your best work. Even when you know there is an editor, you should submit clean copy that can be published as is. This way, they may not need to correct as many errors. Yes, that means more work for you - in more ways than one.
It may initially be just a little more effort on your part. But in the long run, it can create more opportunity. Also, self-editing is a requirement in some situations, as mentioned above. Writers who are completely or mostly self-sufficient will likely earn more gigs and clients than those whose work requires more tweaking before publishing.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Are you a writer looking for a wider audience? Have you tried Facebook? I'm not talking about accepting friend requests from multitudes of people - unless that's your thing. Try creating a Facebook fan page. This is a public place where followers can go to get your updates without you having to give out too much information. From personal experience, I believe all writers should have a Facebook fan page.
What is a Facebook Fan Page?
A Facebook fan page is a page on the Facebook site dedicated to a media professional, celebrity icon, or other business entity. Facebook has built-in options to choose from, including "Writer". For an example of what a fan page for a writer may look like, check out mine: Lyn Lomasi; Web Content Specialist & Writer's Advocate. The Facebook fan page looks and works similar to a profile page. However, there is no need to accept friend requests, as people can only "like" your fan page.
How Can I Get a Facebook Fan Page?
Anyone with a Facebook account can create a fan page for themselves or their business. It's free and easy to set up. Just like many features on a facebook profile, page features are labeled and fairly easy to figure out. On Facebook, when you are signed in, navigate to Facebook Pages. Once you get on that page, click "create page". You may be asked to allow the application or agree to some terms. Facebook gives the instructions after that point. If you still can't figure it out, find a techie writer friend like me to ask for help. Feel free to ask me on my fan page, in fact.
Why Do I Need a Facebook Fan Page?
There are many reasons that a Facebook fan page is a good idea for writers. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or prose, benefits apply. This is also true whether you are an online writer or produce content solely for print publication.
- - Cornering Promotion - Some don't like the idea of promoting their links to their Facebook friends. On the other hand, some friends don't like it either. A Facebook fan page can help you corner that promotion to a location for those who do want to view it. You may find that many of your friends will "like" your page to keep up with it.
- - Limiting Your Facebook Friend List - Do you like to keep your Facebook friend list low or limit it to just personal friends and family? By creating a Facebook fan page, you can do this more effectively. You don't have to turn away clients who want to interact, but you don't have to friend them either.
- - Creating an Online Presence - Many use Facebook fan pages as a means to help create an online presence. It's a public page. Therefore, it will most likely be crawled and indexed by search engines. If your Facebook profile is private, your promotion there is only limited to people you already know. You can reach a wider audience with a public fan page.
As you can see, there are many reasons why a writer should have a Facebook fan page. The networking and business opportunities alone are reason enough to jump in and try it out. It also can be quite fun interacting, just like on your Facebook profile. But be sure to keep your Facebook fan page fresh.
Don't have your Facebook fan page yet? Can you give me a good reason why? If not, go make one!
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
If you freelance for a living, there may be days where you just don't feel like writing. On those days, it's hard to get into a rhythm and you may find those days turning into weeks and so on. It can be discouraging when you don't have the same inspiration you once had. But you can get it back by taking advantage of timing.
Don't feel like writing? Don't. This may seem counterproductive. But, try it. If your brain just does not want to write and you have no inspiration, sometimes you just can't force it to produce quality work. If you have a deadline, try taking a walk and then coming back to it. Otherwise, take the whole day off and just have fin. Don't think about writing. Sometimes your eyes and your brain just need something else to focus on besides words, thoughts, and the computer screen. Whatever you get out and do may actually get your brain working on things to write about.
Take advantage of inspiration. When the inspiration does take over, let it. Just keep writing. Unless you have something important to do, don't let those moments pass you by. As I write this, it's 3 a.m. and my brain is still in inspiration mode. I'm not saying you need to stay up that late if that's not feasible for you. I happen to be wide awake and I do write during the graveyard shift sometimes. So, it's no big deal for me. The point is to take advantage of those moments when your brain and fingers are being extra productive, whenever those moments occur for you.
Schedule writing when you'll actually be free to write. This can be a big issue for many freelance writers. Friends and family often don't think of what we do as a job. They think that because we do this at home, we can drop everything and go wherever they want at any time. If you just cannot get it through to your family and friends not to interrupt you at a certain time, try rescheduling your writing around that. I know that you should not have to accommodate them. But it might make things easier for you. Inspiration flows more easily without interruptions.
Take note of your most productive times of day. Whenever inspiration hits you, write down the time from beginning to end. Do this every time for a month. See if you can find a pattern and switch your writing schedule to write at that time on your work days. Some people write the best in the morning, some in the afternoon. Then others, like me, write the best very late at night on into the morning. Writing at your magical time will help boost your productivity and inspiration levels.
Take time off. I know this from personal experience. The weeks that I take one or more days off to have fun with the kids are more productive than those I take less time off. Why? When your body is tired, it also has an effect on your mood. Most freelance writers will agree that it's much easier to focus when you are in a good mood. For me, outdoor adventures and homeschool field trips with the kids will do the trick. As long as we are doing that every week, it keeps our family happy and it also keeps me ready to write.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Private Clients, Contributor Communities, or Yourself? What's Best for Online Article Writers?
As a mentor among my online writing peers, I often get asked which route to go when it comes to freelancing. People want to know if they should take on private clients, write for content sites or contributor communities, or start their own niche sites. I have tried several different strategies. What's best for online article writers? I recently made the decision to slow down on certain work with private clients and dedicate myself mostly to my own venue, which also happens to be a contributor community. I am the happiest when mentoring peers and providing content for the Write W.A.V.E. Media network. I see the most income for the least amount of stress when I focus solely on projects that help others and make me happy, as far as writing goes. While this works for me, the best choice will vary for each person.
Know your work habits.
In any online writing, you need to be able to work independently. But if you are working for clients or content sites, you may need to pair that with teamwork. If you don't work well with others, you may want to go solo and write for your own blog or domain. But even then, you might still need to deal with people in one way or the other. If you like to be the only one to correct the work and will accept no changes to your material, you're better off writing for yourself. But keep in mind that even if you don't have to bend for editors, you still need to consider what your readers want.
Pay attention to your writing style.
What style and voice is present in your work? Can you change it up some to fit what clients want? If not, you may be better off either finding clients or content sites that align with your style or writing for your own venue. Check out contributor communities and content sites to see what the top writers are doing. Does it look like something you'd be interested in doing? If not, move on to the next or create your own venue that matches your style. When writing for private clients, I learned that analyzing their needs based on their audience and existing content helped me provide the best content for them. If you'd rather write freestyle without analyzing things, your own website may be the best option, providing you will still cater to the audience.
Consider your schedule.
Managing time and deadlines will be of more importance when writing for content sites and private clients. You'll need some sort of schedule when writing for yourself. But it will likely be more flexible that way. Some private clients may prefer to speak with you about projects during certain hours. Usually it will be normal business hours. If you cannot commit to that or are unavailable during the day, content sites, contributor communities, and your own domains may be the better option. Most contributor communities do not require you to be available during specific times. There can be deadlines if you claim certain assignments, but it is up to you at what time you write the material.
Think about your goals.
Are you looking to get your byline featured across multiple sites? Would you rather keep your name to its own venue? Do you not want your name out there at all? What are your revenue goals? Writing for private clients can sometimes involve a great deal of ghostwriting, which means your byline will not be featured with the content. Content sites generally feature your byline with the content. Some also offer opportunities to be featured on high quality web properties. It could take more time to build up a reputation on your own venue. But if that is what you prefer, the hard work can pay off, if done right.
The best fit for you is the closest to covering your main desires.
Consider all of the above, as well as any other factors that are important to you. Then, decide which option most fits that mold. You could be like me and choose a combination of two methods, choose just one, or go for something else together. Regardless of which choice you make, be sure it is one that aligns with your individual goals and dreams for the future. Remember that not everyone will have the same needs. Just because one plan works for your friends does not mean it will do the same for you. Align your writing career with your unique plans for the best results.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Have you ever clicked to read an article but clicked back away because of the way it looked? The info may have been good. But the organization likely scared you away. That’s how your readers may feel too if your formatting is ugly. Ugly formatting scares readers away.
Split up sections. Have you ever tried to read a post that consists of what looks like one giant paragraph? Don’t do that to your readers. This a very classic and common example of ugly formatting. Find a way to split up your thoughts into sections. This way readers can easily find and understand all of your points.
Use bold headings. Bold headings are one way to avoid ugly formatting. It helps to split up thoughts in an organized way. You can put these headings above each paragraph or as sentences, like I’ve done here. Either way, it helps make things look neat so that readers can easily scan over what you have to say.
Use bulleted points. Bulleted points can organize an otherwise out-of-control paragraph or section. Try this trick to avoid having ]ugly formatting. If your thoughts seem all over the place, this is a simple way to pull it together. Separate thoughts that go together into sections and use bullets to illustrate the points.
Avoid run-on sentences and unnecessary statements. Extra information that doesn’t need to be there can add to ugly formatting. If your content is all over the place with thoughts, it will be all over the place with organization. Make statements clear, concise, complete, and relevant. Cut down on anything that doesn’t need to be there to make your point.
Be consistent. If you’re going to use bulleted points or bold headings, keep your sections as consistent as possible. Organization gives a better reading experience. It’s okay to have one section that uses bullets when another doesn’t. But be sure it’s done in a neat fashion. For instance, sections with a bolded heading should be about the same size and number of words each.
It's time to pay the bills but your freelance writing hasn't pulled in nearly what you need. Staring at the figures in black and white may make you cringe if you're a freelance writer who hasn't quite reached your ideal goal. Maybe you haven't even touched the surface. But don't give up hope. Perhaps you just need to change your strategy. If you have all the tools and talent, but still can't quite get there, try making your goals more attainable. It's easy to set goals and expectations too high or make the possible impossible by over analyzing. If you aren't meeting your goals in freelance writing, it's time do a complete overhaul of your strategy.
How high are your goals? It's good to set goals. But don't set them so high they are near impossible for you to reach. For instance, if the most you have ever written is 10 articles in a day, don;t commit yourself to writing 20 right away. Instead of saying "I am now going to write 20 articles every day," make your goal that of gradually increasing the amount of work you can handle. This makes the goal more attainable. You might even reach the initial number you had in mind. But you can do it with less stress and pressure.
Which numbers are you focusing on? When I first started out in freelance writing, I tried to figure out a workable income by making goals in terms of article numbers. While this can be logical if you make the same amount for every article, it makes no sense when it's variable. It can also get quite stressful for those who cannot produce a large number of articles every single day. In online writing, the amount made per article can vary significantly, depending on the venue, how pay is determined, and whether or not views will be calculated in the equation. To be sure my writing days are more productive, I had to change my daily goal strategy to make it more attainable.
Now instead of article numbers, I have a goal of how much money I should make in upfront payments each day. This keeps me on track and it also gives me some easy days with less articles to write when I have assignments that pay a little higher. Think about the way you make your freelance writing income and decide which numbers are the important ones to focus on. If what you are currently doing is something you consistently aren't reaching, think outside the box and adjust your focus.
Do your goals align with your schedule? It's easy to set a goal. But if that goal doesn't fit in anywhere it's going to be difficult to make it work. Determine goals not just by what you are able to do, but also by the time you have to get things done in. If you know that you have two free hours in the morning and four at night, break up your writing between those times. If you make goals that fit well with your schedule, they will be much more attainable.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
If you are in a bind and need to get large amounts of articles done quickly, what do you do? Perhaps this is a common thing for you and perhaps it is not. There are various things a writer can do when large numbers of articles need to be written quickly.
Sort by topic, rather than client. If some of your article topics are similar, write those sequentially or at the same time. Save them to separate folders for each client so you don't lose track. But you can do articles for various clients all at once. This is especially helpful if their deadlines are the same or close.
Do all your research first. Research your topics before writing. This makes it easier to just sit down and write. You get bonus points if you took notes in your article document during research. Medical info and other extensive topics can require a good amount of research for accuracy. Bullet point what you discover under subheadings. Then, when you write the article, you only need to turn those points into sentences.
Group by article type. If you have several list-type articles to do, it can help to do those first. Those may be easier than other formats. Articles with bullet or numbered points can go quickly as well. You also may wish to group them according to word count. When large numbers of articles are due quickly, it's a better strategy to get all the easiest ones out of the way first. This way, if you do fall behind your goal, it happens with less articles.
Write intros and subheadings first. Go through all your article files ahead of time and write all the intro paragraphs and subheadings. This way, you can run through and fill them in faster. If you already have the subheadings labeled, you pretty much know the points you need to make. You then only need to figure out how you're going to say it. This speeds productivity trick. I've written an article with this type of pre-outline in less than 3 minutes.
Write what you know. If the topics are up to you, avoid too much extra research and just write about what you already know. When writing topics you have firsthand knowledge of, it's easy to just spout off info quickly. This is extremely beneficial if you're also a fast typist. It may take a touch longer if you aren't, but it should still help considerably, compared to articles that require extensive research.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
As a mentor of my writing peers, I am often asked to discern the difference between a blog post and an article. When submitting work to clients and content sites, how do you know if your writeup should have gone to your blog instead? Blogs can certainly be professional and articles can definitely be conversational. However, even though you can publish an article on your blog, it's not very wise to submit something that should have been a blog as an article. In some cases, it may even hurt your career. So what's the difference?
What is a blog post?
A blog post is written text on any subject or event and can be fact or fiction. Poetry can even be used as blog posts. There is generally no word count limit for a blog posts, unless specified by the blog owner. Some people use blogs to tell others about daily events in their own lives or in certain industries, sports, or causes. Others may use blogs as a form of self-expression. For instance, someone going through an illness may update the blog on their progress or their feelings throughout their journey. Another person might blog about their children or their favorite sports team. Personal blogs are often (but not always) based more on opinions then they are on facts. Business or professional blogs may read more like articles.
What is an article?
An article is a text writeup that is generally non-fiction. Although some styles can be fiction, such as a satire piece. Usually if an article is meant to be satire, it will be specified. People generally read articles as a trusted source of information. They also expect to find enough details to answer what the title implies. News stories are one form of article. How-to guides are another. In both cases, the information should be clear, to the point, and appropriately detailed. Articles are generally longer than blog posts, but not always. An article should be an appropriate length to get the point across without too much or too little information.
Can an article be a blog post and vice versa?
Some professional blogs read more like news articles. This is fine and even respected. However, blog posts should not be substituted for articles in most cases. For instance, your blog post about your terrible breakfast does not belong on an informational site. However, if you would like to give your blog a more professional feel, by all means, post articles instead of treating it like a personal journal.
What about personal experience articles?
Personal experience can bring a unique angle to an article - provided that's what the client wants. However, personal experience does not mean you have to dish on the latest family drama to get the point across. If you must do that, at least leave it to your blog. In an article, it's only necessary to share enough of the experience to get the point across. Share what adds to the informational aspect of the article. But don't share as much as you might tell your best friend.
Discerning whether to use your writeup as an article or blog post.
When making the decision whether to post your writing to your blog or to sell or publish it as an article, there are several things to consider. Does the article provide the reader with useful and unique information? Would you want to read it as a solution to an issue or a source of information? Is it factual without unnecessary rambling? While your blog readers may want to hear every minute detail, the average web reader would rather skip to the point. If people want a blog post, they visit a blog. But if they want facts, instructions, or info, they look for an article.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network.
10 Things Every Web Writer Should Know
Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Web writing can be like other forms of writing. But it also can be quite different. There are many things to learn if you want to succeed in this business. As an experienced online writer, I've learned a great deal about what works and what doesn't. Here are 10 things I feel every web writer should know.
People will talk negatively about you. Whether it's your neighbor, your significant other, or even one of your peers. Someone will have something to say. In order to succeed in online freelance writing, you need to grow a thick skin. Keep doing what you do best and prove your critics wrong. Rather than defending yourself with more hate speech, fight back through your work. Let it speak for itself.
Success in web writing takes work. Just because you can form a sentence does not mean you will instantly earn millions. Just like any other career - that's right, "career" - you need to put in effort to be successful. Some people will earn their way to the top faster, but regardless of speed, they all have to work in order to see results. The more you put into it, the more you get out if it. Taking shortcuts might seem to work at first, but it could all blow up in your face when you least expect it.
Online writing is not for everyone. Love to write? Good. Have talent? Good. That's part of the equation. But it's far from the entire puzzle. In order to make money, online writers need to be able to write just about every day. If it takes you weeks to get through one school paper, don't expect to immediately succeed in web writing. Some components are very similar. Can you produce quality journalism in a short time-frame? Do you enjoy the act? Then, you might be ready.
There's more to web writing than just writing. In online writing there is not always going to be an editor to look over and correct your work. Many times you will need to edit your own work. You also may need to promote yourself, be social with readers and fellow writers, and much more. Success in online writing comes from being flexible and having a variety of talents that complement each other.
Success comes from being unique. If you see another successful web writer, it's a good idea to study their techniques. However, it's bad idea to try to mimic their entire style. Why? They most likely succeeded because of being unique. If you are mimicking their style, you could be seen as a copycat, which will get you nowhere. Instead, follow their techniques and advice. Develop and apply your own style. Otherwise, the online world will chew you up and spit you out.
Learn while you earn. There is no one person who knows every single thing about online writing. Successful web writers learn something new daily. Study often and apply the knowledge, both in the beginning and throughout your career. You can never know too much. Things are always changing and evolving, especially in online writing.
Online writing is not the same thing as print writing. While both industries require quality, that definition varies for each. Web readers like to look up a topic and read something in simple terms to quickly answer their issue or interest. It takes great skill to simplify writing for easy scanning. This does not mean you need to sound uneducated. But it does mean you need to make your text easy on the eyes and easy to find. Think of the phrases you use when you search for similar things online. Obviously, you are more likely to search "homeschool tips" than "advisement for home educators". Your content should read the way you would search combined with what makes it easier for people to read.
You're obligated to your client, not the other way around. When working with others, especially long-time clients, it may be easy to feel like they owe you certain things. But the truth is, the client hired you. Their only obligation to you is proper payment for your dedication and hard work. Hopefully, they will also be respectful. But don't ask your client for extra privileges. Your client is not obligated to please you. If they want to give you something extra, that's perfectly fine. But, don't expect it and certainly don't ask for it.
You are a trusted source of information. Do your research. When people read articles that contain the information they need, they expect them to be accurate. If you can't do the proper research, don't take the assignment. If you continually provide accurate and detailed info, your readers will respect you more. On the other hand, if you do not, you can completely damage your online writing career.
Web writing is a career. While some may enjoy this as a hobby, it can indeed be a career and many people, like me, do this for a living. If you want to succeed, treat it like the career that it is. Not doing so can lead to failure very quickly. Be sure to also make it clear to family and friends that this is your career.
So, you've just joined a content site and need some tips on commenting etiquette? Maybe you've been around a while and just need a refresher. Whether you're new to the game or an old-timer like me, you may be reading and commenting on the works of fellow writers frequently. Here are some of the rules I practice and recommend when it comes to commenting on the works of others.
What should I say?
Say whatever the writer's article makes you feel - provided it is not threatening or slandering in nature. There is no exact way to comment, as long as you are not violating the TOU (or TOS) of the site or breaking the law. However, it is nice to leave a comment that signifies to the writer how you felt about the piece or the subject matter.
Think about the author and readers.
Some may be offended by certain comments or those that read "PV love" or other similar statements. Even if it may not be your intention, some may feel you are only reading the article for reciprocal views. Also, outside readers may not understand the meaning behind such comments. There is nothing wrong with helping out fellow writers. But, putting some thought into your words may be appreciated even more.
Just be you.
This is something I am very adamant about in everything I do online and off. Be yourself. Allow your personality to shine through in your comments. There's no need to be reserved if that's not you. If you're reading an article, but don't know much about the topic other than what your reading, don't be afraid to admit it. The author will be glad to know you appreciate the lesson.
Share personal experiences, but in moderation.
If you feel like it, go ahead and share your life in comments. That can be a great addition to an article. But, think before you speak - or rather, type. There are some things that you just don't tell everyone. If the writer is a friend of yours, you might send a private message instead. A good rule of thumb: if you are not alright with everyone you know reading it, don't say it. You never know who might come across what on the internet. Also potential employers or clients might Google your name to see what you're up to.
Don't have expectations.
If you leave a comment on someone else's article, they may choose to reciprocate. However, don't assume they will or expect them to. Also, remember that just because someone does not leave a comment does not mean they did not read your work. Speaking for myself, because my days are busy, I do not leave a comment on many of the articles I read.
Be considerate of other people's time and choices.
Ever received a message from someone asking you to read an article you've already read because you hadn't left a comment? Please don't send such messages. If someone wants to read your article, they will - and they may not always leave a comment. No one should feel obligated to leave a comment on every article they read - or to read every article from their favorites or followers. When would there be time to write or spend time with our families? Instead, simply leave comments when you are able and appreciate the comments you receive as well. Bonus: Less stress from worrying about whether you or someone else has commented or not.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
WRITING TIPS JOURNAL
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
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