by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
What does it take to make money in web writing? What's the formula to success? Throughout my career as a web writer and peer mentor, this is one of the most common questions people ask. One key component that I see in every web writer who stands the test of time is leadership. If you want to make yourself well known in the world of web writing, be a leader, not a follower.
But Mr. So-and-so does it this way. It's perfectly fine (and recommended) to learn from your peers. But never try to replicate exactly what they do. But why not, if it works? It's simple. Each writer has their own unique style, voice, and topical expertise. What works for one person may not work for another because there are too many variables.
Readers trust authenticity. If you want to be a true voice in the world of web writing, you need to actually keep that voice true. Leaders use their own style and voice in their work, not someone else's. When you see a fellow writer who seems to be miles ahead of you, it's natural to want that for yourself. But if you want to succeed, you need to stand out and that means you should figure out what works for you. Be yourself and people will notice that more than if you follow after everyone else.
Leaders are more visible to potential clients. If you want to be noticed, be a leader in your topics. Be unique by being yourself. Clients will more readily notice a writer who isn't like every other independent contractor out there. Give them something they can't refuse by staying on top of your expert subjects, as well as the latest style guidelines. Your leadership skills should be evident in every single piece of writing you put out there, even emails.
Mentoring your peers shows you know the field. Once I started learning the ropes, I began helping fellow writers simply because I knew what it felt like to be in their shoes. There's not a day that goes by that I am not answering questions, giving critiques, connecting people with potential clients, and so on. While I do this for the love of helping others, I discovered that it also shows current and potential clients that I know what I'm doing.
Leaders are more likely to move to the top quickly. Look at all the successful web writers you can think of -- that ones who have been at it for a long time. I can almost guarantee you that each one of them stands out for their individual talents and style. When looking for web writers, do you think the person who mimics another's style will get picked first for an important project if they both apply? Of course not. The leader with the proven track record and unique qualities is the one who will rise to the top.
*This content was originally published on Yahoo! Contributor Network by Lyn Lomasi.
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
I've said it before 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.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Are you targeting the right people with your writing? Who are you focusing on either intentionally or unintentionally? How do you know? As I am constantly telling my writing peers, knowing your audience is vital. During my career as a web writer, I've learned several ways to figure out what my potential audience wants and needs.
Consider the topic. What are people looking up your topic interested in? If you want to write parenting tips, think about common issues parents face and what you've done to solve those issues. If you want to write about writing, think about all the things you once looked up. Know what people into that topic are going to be interested in. Be very specific and gear your writing toward people who would be interested in that topic. For instance, if you are writing about dogs, don't veer off into talking about cats or mice. If someone clicks onto your dog article, they want to read about dogs.
Pay attention to reader comments in your niche areas. This will help you determine what people want to read. Readers may ask questions, express their disinterest in another topic, thank the writer for the info, and more. There is often much to learn just by reading the comments on your own articles, as well as others. What better way to learn what readers like than by looking straight to them for their thoughts? Another benefit to this gaining loyalty from regular readers. If they know that you actually care and pay attention to what they want, they'll interact more often.
Keep up with news and information changes regarding your topic. Staying on top of things helps readers trust what you say. It's also part of knowing who you're speaking to in your content. Don't write about a topic, unless you know what you are talking about because readers will call you out on it. On the other hand, if you do keep up with the latest in your niche area, readers notice that as well and will thank you instead. Periodically, I check my tutorial and how-to articles to make sure that the information is still accurate. If not, I will make edits where the venue permits it to reflect newer information. This helps give my audience what they want whether they access my article the day it publishes or months from then.
Study websites and blogs related to your topic. While it's beneficial to also study the venue where you are publishing, don't be afraid to also look outside that source. Take a look at how readers are responding to your niche topic elsewhere. Also, look at the methods each writer uses to interest the audience. See what you can learn from what other writers are doing. While you don't want to copy someone else, you can always learn from others and implement the lessons into your own style.
Pay attention to how your readers respond to what you write. Are readers responding negatively or positively to your work? How is it affecting the frequency of traffic on your articles? Do they blog about your work elsewhere? Are they asking you questions or sharing your work on social networks? If they're sharing, is it in a positive or negative light? These are all things you want to look at to see what your audience wants. When you can figure out what they respond to, you will have a better chance at reaching your intended audience.
***Note: I originally published this on Yahoo! Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Family, friends, and complete strangers telling you it isn't possible to make it in web writing? Is your faith in yourself beginning to fade away? Are you working too hard with what seems like no results? I've been there. I truly believe in the saying "Anything in life worth having is worth working for" (Andrew Carnegie). Even at your darkest hours, never give up on your dream. You may have to do other things while working toward your dream. But don't ever give up on it. I'm living proof that it's possible to make things happen if you have the drive and determination.
Take insults as inspiration to keep going. People you know may not support you. Complete strangers may insult you. Instead of letting what they say get to you, use it to boost yourself to the next level. You know what you can do. You know what your goals and dreams are. Make it happen and don't let anyone discourage you. When I first decided to make web writing my career, people thought I was crazy. "You can't make money doing that." "You're not good enough." Those people can keep laughing if they want to. I'll probably pass them by on my way to the bank.
Hold on to your inner reasons for writing. Remember the feeling you had when you first got into writing? Hold on to that passion and excitement and remember why you got started in the first place. Writing has always been a part of me. Deep inside, I always knew I'd do something with it. Although, I never actively pursued it until trying other things that just didn't work for me. For me, I write for many reasons. Some of the most prevalent include the fact that writing is a part of me, as well as the fact that it's a great way to support my family. It allows me to stay at home with my kids. But even if one day, the writing becomes more involved and I cannot stay at home anymore, it still enriches our lives daily. Writing helps people grow, both through hearing their own thoughts, as well as what they learn in the process.
Know and believe what you can do. "Don't you want to write books? Books make more money." Writing books is great (I've done that too and will likely do so in the future). But it's not the only way to make money and books are not necessarily where all the money is anymore. For me, the passion lies in providing content that can be enjoyed by a global audience. I want people to b able to access my content anytime, day or night. Knowing that someone may get their questions answered or an issue resolved because of something I wrote is an awesome feeling. Know and believe in your specific area of expertise..
Don't let hard work scare you away. Never give up on your dream, no matter how challenging things may seem. It's a scary world out there. But facing those challenges can take you to a place you've never even dreamed of before. When I first started writing for the web, I had no clue what I was doing or where it would take me. I have done so many things I never even thought of before. Was it easy? Not always. In fact, there have been times where it's been downright difficult and trying. But I didn't give up. Now I am going places and doing things I never knew or thought were possible. I now have my own network of sites, I provide content to the largest name in content, and have some other amazing things in the works. If I had given up back when the naysayers were hounding me and my faith was faltering, I'd never be where I am today.
Keep a mental image of why you work for yourself. Hate that past job? Love the freedom of being at home with your kids? Whatever your main reasons for becoming a web writer for in the beginning can be your inspiration to never give up on that dream. Do you really want to go back to having cranky bosses or kids who miss their mommy or daddy? Always picture what it was like before to keep you in check and keep yourself moving forward in your dream. Never, ever give up on your writing dreams. Anything is possible, regardless of whether someone else has done it before or not.
This article was originally published on Yahoo! Contributor Network.
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