Tips from an Overachiever
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Are you worried about being late turning in writing assignments? Have you missed some deadlines, but still have more work ahead? All is not lost. This is the kind of experience I don't like to admit to. But hopefully my past mistakes will help someone else manage late or missed deadlines with more writing on the horizon.
Apologize and Explain but Don't Overdo it
Your client may need an apology and explanation for your tardiness. I say 'may' because some clients are more relaxed than others and would rather you just get it done without explanations. But if you don't know how your client will react or you know they are expecting the writing, they need an explanation. Don't tell them your whole sob story. A simple explanation that outlines why you were late and when they can expect the work is good enough. Some may not even want a why, but a definitive date they can count on is pertinent.
When you have a pile of wok due in a short time - or worse, past due, it is very easy to panic. But doing so could reduce your productivity. Instead of panicking about the late or missed deadlines, just relax and enjoy the writing as you would normally. Forcing it might show in your work. Many clients would rather have late work that is exactly what they wanted than on-time work that looks like a 5 year old produced it. If you simply cannot produce a quality product on time, don't panic. Explain and then relax and get it done.
Residual income is that which continues to pay after you've already completed the work. Writing evergreen content is one way to earn residual income on the web. There many ways to utilize your evergreen writing skills when looking to earn residuals.
Write for Content Sites
Many content sites offer performance-based or revenue share payments. This could be on top of an upfront payment or might be the only source of pay. Once a piece of content is published on that site, as long as it exists and the program is in place, that content can continue to earn money. This means that you do the work once and keep earning. If you focus on evergreen content, you have a greater chance of earning residuals for a lengthy amount of time.
Build a Blog and Post Often
Much like writing for content sites, you can also use blogs to build residual income. Place ads on the blog to earn profits. Linking from your blog posts to the articles you write for content sites can help you earn more in both places. Keep posting your original content regularly for the best results. Some choose to re-post articles they've written and still have rights to on their blogs. This can bring in some ad revenue. However, writing original posts and linking to those articles on the content sites can be more profitable.
Write for Other People's Blogs and/or Sites
Some sites or networks (like Write W.A.V.E. Media) have blogs or article categories they allow guests or members to post on. Benefits usually include linking back to your existing work or a byline. This is beneficial for drawing attention to your other writing that may earn from views. Some sites (such as ours) may also have earning options, like ad revenue or flat payments.
Use Article Marketing
Article marketing can also help increase residual income. Write articles and share them in one or more locations. The byline in the articles should link back to a central location (like your website or your profile on a content site) where readers can find more of your work. When allowed, you can also link back to other articles of yours within the article text. Blogging is one form of article marketing. But you can also share articles on more popular sites, using marketing techniques. When participating in article marketing, be sure to follow the terms and guidelines properly at each site. Getting banned for marketing improperly is not a good idea and can ruin your writing reputation.
Create Niche Blogs
Rather than having one blog for everything, try creating several niche blogs. For instance, if you know a great deal about exhaust fans, create a blog about them. Write about where to buy them, review various models, write about how they work, and more. If you also write articles for content sites, don't forget to write some on this topic. Link to them from the blog posts. Do the same for several blogs and several topics. Don't forget to put ads on your blogs to build that residual income. Niche blogs can get more attention from the search engines because everything on the page is relevant to the topic. If you post regularly, this shows the search engines that your blog is active. Activity combined with relevancy tells search engines your blog is the place to go for a specific topic.
Create Niche Sites
Much like niche blogs, niche websites also can be great for building residual income. With a website, you have even more versatility than a blog. It's also recommended to add a blog to your website to draw traffic and show that content is updated regularly. Here again, you'll need to display ads and link to any relevant content you have on the subject elsewhere on the web.
Use Social Media and Networking to Increase Exposure
Social media and networking help to spread the word about your content. Be it your website, blog, or article, you need to get it noticed. Good SEO can do the trick. But well-optimized content does even better when promoted through social media and networking. This helps to get your content out there and it also helps increase exposure to your name - your brand. The more places that people know you for your specific type of content, the better.
Use RSS to Increase Exposure
A large part of making money with evergreen web content is ensuring people know it's there. Custom RSS feeds are an excellent way to do that. Many content sites provide writers with an RSS feed of their content. You can also create RSS feeds on your own site. Blogs are naturally equipped with RSS. Submit your RSS feeds to directories (submit to each one only once) and also place them on your sites and blogs so people can subscribe. Some services, like NewsGator allow people to email content directly from a feed widget. All of this increases the exposure to your content by outside parties, which helps to build residuals.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
While it’s true that writing often can lead to a successful web writing career, that isn’t the only way to success. In fact, your business strategy should involve more than being productive. You should also know how to make the most of your existing content. As a career freelance writer and advocate to fellow web writers, I have years of experience doing just that.
Submit non-exclusive work as often as possible.
The more rights to your content that you can keep, the better. While exclusive pieces can sometimes net you more upfront, you won’t always make the most from exclusive work in that piece’s lifetime. If done right, evergreen (ever-relevant) non-exclusive work can net you more over time.
Save all of your work in more than one place.
Always have more than one copy of everything you write. For instance, if you save it in an online word/drive program (like Google Drive), make sure you also save it to your computer and also to a flash drive. This ensures that if something happens in one of those places, you’ll still have your work stored in another place. It never hurts to over-store your writing. But it can often hurt to under-store it. Just because one thing is reliable does not mean it always will be. At the very least, have your work stored in two places. But I recommend more, if possible.
Re-use your non-exclusive submissions whenever possible.
The reason you want to submit your work as non-exclusive wherever possible is so that you can re-use that writing elsewhere. Many venues will accept work that has been previously published. This means that you can get more use out of one piece of content than if you had originally submitted it as exclusive. In fact, you can republish that content as many times as you wish if it isn’t exclusive to a particular venue or individual.
Keep your published content updated.
Generally, when you post content online, most of the time you’ll have access to keep it updated. This way, its “shelf-life” is longer. Links and information can get outdated. If you always keep your content as up-to-date as possible, readers will trust your work and you’ll be able to direct people to your content for longer periods of time. Many online venues pay per view. No one wants to look at stale content. But if your content stays updated, you can continue to promote it and keep people interested long after its original publication date.
Reference and promote your existing content often.
Don’t forget to link to existing content that is relevant to new things you publish. Also, when promoting new content, always remember to cycle promotion of your existing content as well. This keeps attention on your content for longer periods of time, which means more views and usually more money.
People often say “Work smarter, not harder”. I say “Work both smart and hard for the best results”. You still have to write often to keep people interested. But making the most of your existing work will help you earn more from each piece of web writing you produce.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
One very common mistake I often advise new writers about is the incorrect use of images with their written content. Many believe that if they search Google Images or Yahoo! Images for a photo, they can then use that photo and credit Google Images or Yahoo! Images as the source. This is incorrect usage and can get you into a large amount of trouble regarding copyright. Google Images and Yahoo! Images are search tools, not image sources.
Can I use images found via Google Images or Yahoo! Images?
You can likely use some of those images. But you will need to go to the original source and verify the licensing and usage rights. When using these images, you should not credit Google Images or Yahoo! Images as the source. Rather, you should credit the photo as outlined in the licensing terms at the original source. Yahoo! Images does make it easier by integrating Flickr photos and an advanced search option to find commercial use photos.
What are Yahoo! Images and Google Images for if not an Image Source?
These resources are merely tools to help you narrow down the search. They are not meant to be used as the original source, which is why the original source is always linked with each photo. This is so that the person searching can go to that original source for more information, including licensing information, if applicable.
How do I credit an image properly?
This depends on where you are posting the image, as well as the licensing terms. If you are displaying the image on content you will profit from, also make sure that the licensing rights include commercial use. Generally, you'll be listing the photographer's name, as well as the source and/or a link back to the original image. But again, the method of crediting the image may vary.
What if the original source has no licensing info?
If no usage information is listed, don't use the picture. But can't I just say where it came from? No, you cannot. Not all photographers would like their images used and if there are no permissions specified, then you don't have the right or proper permissions to use the image. If there is contact information on the site, ask for permissions that way. However, it is much easier to prove granted permissions with a link to the licensing info online. So, I recommend sticking with images that prominently display such info.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there)
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
So you've decided to be a web writer. Now what? If you've done any writing besides your average day-to-day writing, then it will be easier to get started. Prior writing experience is helpful, but not a necessity. Although, writing skills or the ability to learn them is an absolute must. Getting started in web writing is not as hard as it may seem. It can be a simple way to make money for people who have a genuine love for writing and the talent that goes along with it.
Study, study, and study some more.
From print journalist to hobby writer, you'll still need to learn more to become successful at writing for the web. There are many aspects of web writing that just aren't present in other outlets. Style guides are a must for every writer, web or not. I find the Yahoo! Style Guide to be very helpful and essential for web writing. Potential web writers should study up on that, as well as other common style guides to help gain the most skills and insight into the field. Also, ask experienced web writers every question you have, small or complex. Gaining insight from experienced web writers can help you get started with better understanding of how the field works.
Decide on a platform.
What type of clients or venues do you want to write for? Will you be going for various independent contracting or are looking to get hired on full time? Do you need a structured environment or can you come up with your own ideas? Would you rather submit to individuals, online magazines, content sites, or something else. Figure out where your focus will be. If you'd like to write for individual websites, some have submission guidelines and procedures to follow. With others, you may have to contact the editor or watch for writing gig listings. Content sites will have a submission process to follow. Remember that you should never have to pay in order to write for someone. You should be the one getting paid.
Study that platform.
Once you know what type of venue or platform you'd like to submit to, study it well and learn the ropes before jumping in without a clue. You don't need to know everything about it, as some aspects will only be learned by doing. But at least learn the basics of what this potential client wants and needs before submitting work. If you are submitting to a an online mag, read articles and observe what the readers respond to. Pay attention to the style, length, and tone of the work. The same is true when submitting to content sites. Know the audience, as well as what type of content fits with that platform.
Submit your first work.
Now that you've learned a little about the company, write and submit your first content. If you get accepted, keep at it with that venue and even try others when you are comfortable doing so. If you get rejected, don't let that discourage you. Rejection is only a lesson on what to do next time around. Some waiting times will be longer than others when it comes to review. While you're waiting, learn more and submit more.
Learn and grow.
This is one of the most important aspects of web writing. Whether you are just getting started or are an expert, there is always something new to learn. Keep writing and consistently apply new knowledge to your work as you learn and grow. Before you know it, you may become a full time web writer and be able to help someone else get started.
I originally published this on Yahoo! Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Just discovered Yahoo! Contributor Network (YCN)? Perhaps you've been there a while and are ready to take it more seriously. The most common question I get as a writing peer mentor is "How much money can I make writing for Yahoo! Contributor Network?" The answer to that question depends on you and here's why.
What is your average upfront offer?
This will help you determine how many articles you should be writing per day to earn the figure you are looking for. You may want to start out with a low figure, such as $20 per day. As your skills increase, so should your earning amount per day. You may also find that within time, the number of articles you have to write to get to your daily goal decreases as your upfront offers go up. There are also assignments that come with higher upfront offers than unsolicited work. When those come along, it will take even less articles to get to your daily money goal.
How many articles can you write in a day?
Knowing the average number of articles you can produce daily can help you figure out what you should expect to earn as a Yahoo! contributor. Because payment will vary for each article, you may want to keep the number of articles you write in a day a little higher than what you think you need to write. If you can't handle writing the number you would need to in order to earn what you want to, you may not do very well at YCN or in article writing in general.
How well do your articles perform?
Are your articles getting a good amount of views? If not, study up on SEO skills to increase your performance bonus. Some people like to add this in the equation when calculating their monthly earnings. I prefer not to count it so that it ends up being a bonus. However, if you want to use this as part of the earnings potential equation, look at the average amount you earn each month and add that to your total from upfronts.
Can you be consistent?
This is extremely vital if you want to make money writing for YCN. If writing articles is not something you can do all the time, then you cannot make a living doing it. You've likely heard people say that article writing is an easy way to make money. It is -- if writing is easy for you. If not, then you may need to look elsewhere or learn to adapt real quick.
What are people searching for at the moment?
This falls in line with the performance equation. If you write about big blue bunnies and it happens to be a popular topic at that moment, you will likely receive more views (thus make more money) than you would if you write about tiny yellow chicks when no one is interested in that at the moment. That said there are also timeless topics, which most web writers refer to as 'evergreen' topics. Those are the common things people search for all the time, like puppy care tips or household hints.
How are your writing skills?
If you don't have writing skills, you are not going to make much, if any, money writing for YCN. You need to have decent grammar and spelling skills in order to expect decent upfront payments. If you want readers and staff to take you seriously, you better be able to form sentences that make sense. Otherwise, you are not going to earn top dollar for your thoughts. If your writing skills are especially bad, expect to receive rejections until you can learn how to pull it together. The Yahoo! Style Guide is a great resource for basic grammar and style guidelines. But if you need more than the basics, grammar and writing classes will be very beneficial to your writing career.
Earnings are up to you.
Because there are a variety of ways to earn at YCN, it's hard to give people an exact figure. However, the fact that exact earnings per article are not set in stone also leaves earning limits up to the writer. That's you. The limit to your earnings is determined by what you are willing and able to do. One person may be able to write ten articles per day and another may only be able to write one. Of course, both may still make a similar amount if that one article gets more views and/or a better offer than the ten.
I originally published this content on Yahoo Voices:
I also published it here:
*Note: Author is currently a staff member at Yahoo Contributor Network, but was not at the time of this writing.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
"Please subscribe to my work. I promise I will read yours too." Those are words many web writers hear on a daily basis. But should those words be put to rest? In mentoring fellow writers, I often get asked about promotion. Many times people ask me what to do. Now I'm going to tell you what NOT to do. Here are 5 of the many marketing no-nos for web writers.
Don't blast the same links on twitter all day long.
Not only is this annoying, it is considered spamming and can get you banned from twitter. It makes me cringe when I see fellow writers sharing the exact same article link every hour all day long. If you want to reshare an article, wait for another day or share it elsewhere, not continuously in the same space. The same goes for when you're sharing on other social networks or anywhere else you promote your links. Oversharing could be a TOS violation. When you violate one thing, readers and clients may question your ethics.
Don't use social networks purely for link posting.
If you join a social site, then be social. Posting only links is not considered being social. Even if you click on links others post, you still aren't being social. Have conversations. Participate in the community. If you aren't going to do anything but post links, then you are probably promoting to dead air space because that's considered spamming.
Don't demand reciprocation.
If you follow another writer's work, don't expect them to follow yours. Sure, they might want to return the favor or they might like your work. But just because you read their work does not mean they are required to read yours. Think about it from their perspective. How do you feel when people expect you to do something? It's not a fair way to treat people. Instead of asking for or demanding reciprocation, leave people to make their own decisions about your writing.
Don't expect family and friends to read everything you write.
This is something many web writers will deal with. It's definitely a good feeling when family members and friends want to read your work. But don't make them feel as if they have to. Not everyone is going to understand your passion for writing. That doesn't mean they don;t support you. They may just have other interests. It's one thing to drop a quick link on facebook where everyone you know can see it. It's quite another to repeatedly email the same links to family members and friends.
Don't use shady promotional tactics.
If you want readers and clients to take you seriously, avoid certain marketing tactics. Selling traffic traffic clicks, using pyramid schemes, and other such promotional tactics may sound tempting at first. But these type of marketing campaigns are often frowned upon and are even against the TOS of many content sites and publications. Keep the trust of your clients and readers by only using trusted promotional techniques. Your clients will trust your work ethics when your traffic is verifiable and your readers will trust what you say if you are ethical in all your actions.
*I originally published this content on Yahoo! Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Do you actually make money with your writing? It's just for fun or because you're bored, right? How do you pay your bills when you just play on the computer all day? These are the types of questions I get from people interested in learning how to make the most money in web writing. Often they are skeptical, thinking that a decent income is impossible in this business.
You need a website.
Some will tell you this isn't necessary. But, I repeat: All web writers need a website. While you can definitely make money writing online without having your own website, you're likely to earn more money if you do. Sometimes my clients find me via the various companies I publish with but they tend to visit my website even if they find me elsewhere. Your website should be a place where clients can learn more about what you do, find out your rates, and contact you for services. Without a website, that's more questions they will need to ask you and some will skip over authors they can't research more readily. You can even place an easy to reference online resume page on your website to save your potential clients more time.
Query, submit, query, submit..
To keep your name out there, you need to be actively querying new outlets, as well as submitting to existing clients. For instance, if you have signed up with two sites that allow freelancers to submit work, keep those sites active. But in addition, query for other work and sign up for additional sites as often as possible. It is always better to have an overload of opportunities you can pass on to your writer friends than to have none at all.
Publish, publish, publish.
Like querying and submitting, do what you can to make sure you are publishing as often as possible. The more your name gets seen in writing, the more potential clients will see you. If one venue is not publishing your submissions as fast as they say they will, don't be afraid to pull them for publication elsewhere if beneficial.
Always have multiple clients and venues available.
It is perfectly valid to post the most often with the venue or client that will publish your writing most often. Just be sure you do still have some variety where possible, as variety keeps your name spread around and keeps you learning varied experiences. To make the most money in online writing, you need to be sure that if things are slow or undesirable with one venue or client, you still have other revenue possibilities.
When you see a successful writer, it is easy to fall into line and try to mimic what they are doing. There is only one of each individual. The better strategy is to use some of their techniques and apply them to yourself. Be smart, but also be original and unique. Be you. If you think about the people you look up to in web writing, most likely you will be able to say that there is no one quite like them. The writers that are honest with and about themselves -- and in their experience are most likely to succeed. Copycats will eventually show their true colors -- usually in their work.
Be flexible and choose appropriate work.
Clients can sometimes be particular about what they want. It is normal to make suggestions you feel will be helpful. But the end result should always be something your clients are satisfied with. To avoid conflicts in this area, choose topics and workloads suited to your personal experience and preferences and leave the other work for someone else.
The world of web writing can be largely unpredictable as far as what works at the moment. Smart web writers stay prepared for changes to occur and adapt with the changes instead of running from them. Because the world and the web are ever-changing, it is important to stay up to date with the best current strategies and marketable skills. Those writers who are willing to go the extra mile in preparation are the ones that will continue to succeed now and into the future.
Why all Web Writers Need a Website:
Why all Web Writers Need an Online Resume Page:
I originally published this content on Article Writer For Hire:
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
You work hard on a project only to have it rejected by several publishers. Most writers have been there before -- times over. Producing content can also produce rejections by the handful at times. One of the hard lessons of staying successful in web writing is learning how to deal with rejection. When your work is rejected for publication, how do you react?
Use the rejection to gain knowledge.
Is there a reason the venue wouldn't publish your work? Did you gear it toward their audience and follow all of their guidelines? Is your grammar and spelling up to par? Does the content work for the web? Have too many people written on the topic from the same angle? These questions and more are some of the things you can ask yourself to figure out where you may have gone wrong with the content. There is something to be learned from every rejection. Sometimes it can be applied right away to a resubmission and other times you'll have to use it for future reference.
One rejection is not the end.
One venue is rejecting your work and you're ready to give up? Seriously? If I had given up on my first rejection, I'd probably still be working some dead-end job in retail, as that's where I have much of my work experience. There's nothing wrong with those positions but they are no longer for me. If you want to succeed in web writing, you can't let a tiny rejection distract you. They will happen -- and if you write often, they will happen often. It doesn't always mean you suck as a writer. It can mean that, but most of the time, it just means you need to either learn how to provide your client's needs or find another client (or several) that would be better suited to your writing style.
Content is not universal.
Just because one venue is not interested does not mean that no one will be. Your work is not necessarily crap because it doesn't fit in with one web publisher's ideal. Again, it might be crap. But if you know in your heart that it isn't, don't stop trying. If you enjoy the work and find it to be something of quality for the web world, chances are there is someone else who feels the same. If all else fails, publish it yourself, such as on a blog. No, this is not a last resort or a place to throw crap. If you comprise your blog of quality content, it will be seen as a quality blog.
Use the rejection as motivation.
Once you see what can be learned from the rejection and decide what you wish to do with the web content, get it done. Prove that your work truly is worth publishing and make it happen. This is not so much to get revenge on those who didn't publish you (their reasons could be valid and have nothing to do with you). This is to motivate yourself to do what you know you can do. Use all that frustration energy and put it into making your writing work for you.
Photo Credit: Tilemahos Efthimiadis via Flickr.com
I originally published this content on Article Writer For Hire:
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Web writing can be both zany and serious. Knowing which one you should choose can sometimes be a tough call. Some topics could use a little humor to spice them up. But at the same time, how far is too far? Are there certain topics you just shouldn't go there with? While mentoring fellow writers, I often get asked if being a little zany is okay, even with serious topics. Should your next article be zany or serious?
Consider the venue. Where are you publishing this piece of content? If it's going in a medical journal database, your best bet is to remain serious at all times. No one is going to trust a medical journal that it isn't strictly professional and serious. On the other hand, if you're writing an article for a quirky women's online mag, be as zany as you want to be, within their guidelines.
Consider the topic. Much like considering the venue, topic choice plays an important role in this also. If you're writing a news story about a missing child, you should state straightforward facts and be serious. But if you're writing about a person who robbed a grocery store for 50 bananas, being zany helps to illustrate the story to readers. It can be great to joke a little with certain serious topics. Just be careful how and when it's done.
Know your audience. Think about the type of people who are likely to read your work. What do you think their reaction would be? Gear the tone of your article toward your most common audience. If your readers are interested in your work for business reasons, you may not want to get too zany. This is not to say that business people don't want to joke about things. But there are going to be certain topics where people will not be amused if you get too lax on seriousness.
Be aware of your purpose. What is it that you want readers to gain from reading the content? Are you trying to give people a good laugh or are you trying to instill a fact? Purpose should be thought about long before you start writing. This will help you stay on track with what it is you are trying to convey to your audience. When you write with a specific purpose in mind, it's easier to decipher which articles should stay serious and which ones could use a comedy boost.
*This article was originally published on Yahoo! Contributor Network
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, Staff Writer
Do you know what it takes to get noticed? Unsure how to get more attention? It's as simple as being unique and innovative. People with fresh, new ideas get more readers, more clients, and more opportunities. Their quality is often impeccable all-around. Why? Because they keep learning and growing all the time. This is one of the very first lessons I learned as an experienced web writer.
Readers want something different. Think about it. When you look up information, do you want to hear what you have already heard a thousand times over? No, of course not. You want information that you can apply to your existing knowledge about the topic. That's how your readers think as well. Give them something they can actually think about and apply soon after reading your work. Sure, the basics may pay for a while. But if you want to stay successful and keep people interested, you need to give them what they want and that involves being different from the crowd.
Just because Jane did it doesn't mean you should. This is one point I constantly try to make with my writing peers. People will ask me for my exact formula. The problem with that is there is no formula. My way of doing things works for me. Jane's way of doing things works for her. Jack's way of doing things works for him. Learn from others, but don't try to duplicate their success because each person operates differently and writes to different audiences. Make your own success by discovering what works for you and being innovative.
Potential clients notice innovative people. Readers look for innovation. It's also one of the key components many clients look for when seeking out new writers for gigs. Who wants to hire someone who will give their target audience common information they likely already know? Not me. In addition to my steady writing career, I also own a network of niche websites. Do you think I publish every submission I receive? Of course not. I pick the ones readers will enjoy, largely based on their unique qualities. Writers who think outside the box will have the most luck in any venue that cares about their audience.
Those with newer ideas may get better pay and opportunities. Some sites base pay on a variety of factors, such as quality. In that type of model, unique content is more likely to receive a higher than payment than information that is more common. The same goes true with flat rates. Clients are more likely to choose submissions that offer their readers something new and innovative. Overdone ideas will quickly get tossed to the side. Looking to move up in a client's company? That's not going to happen unless you set yourself apart from the rest.
Thinking outside the box improves your writing overall. Besides increasing opportunities and readership, being innovative helps you improve as a writer. The more you learn and apply, the better your writing will get in time. There is always something new to learn in the world of web writing. On person cannot possibly know all there is to know. Things also change and grow. Be the person with the new ideas if you want to stay ahead of the game instead of falling off the cart while the horse leaves you in the dust.
*This content was originally published at 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
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.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
The quality of your work can make or break a second order. Don't expect a new client (or even an existing one) to continue ordering from you if your content doesn't make the grade. Over the years, I have learned that doing certain things at the last minute before I send in the work can be very helpful.
Proofread one last time. Always, always proofread again right before you turn in your writing project. Even if you have proofread several times, one more time before submitting is essential. Sometimes that one last time at the very last minute can catch those minor issues you missed before, like spelling "too" as "to" or misspelling someone's name.
Is your content web-friendly? Print writing and web writing are very different. Hopefully, if you are writing for the web, you are aware of this. Beware of run-on sentences, unnecessary modifiers, and other things that can clutter web content. Web writing should be clear and concise. It should also be optimized for search, as well as eye-tracking.
Numbers count. On the web, there is a such thing as too lengthy. How many words did your client request? Did you stick to that plan? If you went over, you need to shorten it up. Don't forget to proofread and count your words again if you revise. In fact, you should still do another word count even if you didn't revise. Did your client recommend a length that you feel is not appropriate for the intended purpose? If it's at the last minute that you made this revelation, submit the content as requested. Include a note with a promise to revise if they wish.
"I am a freelance writer. I provide content to some of the most popular websites" "But what do you do? What's your job?" "That is my job -- well, career actually." "But you're not a real writer. You don't have a best-selling novel and you're not employed with a newspaper." Does this conversation sound familiar? You are not alone. So how do you deal with this misinformation and stereotype?
Show Me The Money
So, freelance writers don't make that much money, correct? Wrong. As someone who has been freelancing for years, I can personally attest to the possibilities in earnings. The earning limit is only based on the writer's own limitations. According to PayScale, the average income for an author starts at $14,220 and caps at about $84,783. Newspaper writers are estimated to make up to $51,288 per year. Surely freelance writers can't top either of those. Wrong again. Freelance writers are estimated to make up to $114,400. I personally know of freelance writers who make much more than that. Either way, freelance writers top both of the writing careers typically looked at as "real writers" by many others. Hmmm.
Fight Back With Actions, Not Arguments
For every 10 people who inquire about my freelance writing, 9-10 generally have a first impression of me as a lazy person who does nothing all day long. Those who know what goes into my work will laugh hard at that one. But people will think what they think and rather than argue, you can prove them wrong by letting them see what you do in action. Invite them over on a work day and if they are willing, let them try to do some of what you do in the process. Compare what they get done to what you get done and break down for them how much they would have earned and how much you did earn. Some people need more than words to understand how something works.
The "Real Writer" Test
While this is not a be-all end-all test, the following questions can help in determining whether you are a real writer or not. If you can answer yes to at least one, you're a real writer. If you can answer yes to more than one, writing is probably your career. If you can answer yes to all of them, you are most likely a real writer - a successful one at that.
1) Do you write articles, poems, stories, or other pieces of content?
2) Do you get paid for producing said content?
3) Do you pay taxes based on your pay for said content?
4) Do you make at least minimum wage for said content?
5) Do you make more than minimum wage for said content?
It's All in Your Own Attitude
Some of the reason people tend to be biased about freelance writing comes from the writers themselves. Yep, I said it. If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, then take yourself seriously. Stop going around with an apologetic tone about your writing career. You know what I'm talking about if you do this: "Oh I just write things for websites. Its not like a real job but I do make some money" (said with your head hanging in shame). Be proud of what you do and stand up for yourself and your career. When I got my current job, I had been freelancing for years prior to that. So the reaction from people was "Oh, so you finally have a real job now?" To which my response was "No. Now I have a second career that I enjoy as much as the freelance writing. I am and will always be a freelancer because it's what I like and it's where the money is." Do you see the difference? Be proud of your career. You know how lucrative this business can be. So act like it and forget what others say. At the end of the day, your bank account speaks louder than the misconceptions.
What? They Still Can't Deal? More on this topic:
Things Friends and Family of Online Writers Need to Remember
Doubt. All freelancers have it from time to time. The freelance writing business is a tough one. It has many great rewards. But because of the nature of this business, sometimes writers can doubt themselves.
For the most part, freelance writers do not have a set amount they can rely on. We may have steady gigs with certain clients. But we never truly know for sure how much money we will make in any given month. For some, this can lead to doubt.
But don't let that doubt take over your life. Believe in yourself and the clients will believe in you too. Know that you can accomplish your writing and income goals. Doubt can only stand in the way f we let it. We need to be careful not to because that doubt can show in our writing and in the way we relate to potential clients.
Freelance writers need to sell their service. But if even you doubt your service, why would a client want to hire you?
Don't let doubt take over.
Overcome it today and forever. Believe in your writing. Be what you dream to be. If you dream it, it's already there just waiting for you to let it come out.
As I always say:
"Don't just dream and hope it. Make it happen and make it awesome!" ~Lyn Lomasi
You can quote (and test) me on that. I live what I say.
Tirelessly, you search Yahoo!, Craigslist, or Google for job postings and finally something promising comes up. But wait, why are they asking you for money or to write for free? Maybe they are offering to pay you instead, but the offer seems too good be true. If it sounds too promising, it might be a scam.
The world of freelancing can be a lucrative one. But it can also be wrought with scammers. Before you jump on 'the next big thing,' do your research to make sure the company and offer is legit.
There are thousands upon thousands of gigs out there for freelance writers. Always proceed with caution when choosing which gigs to go with and which contracts to sign. Only give the amount of info needed to receive payment. I recommend using PayPal for all transactions and invoices. This way, there is no need for you to give out bank information and certain other info that scammers can use. It also puts all transactions and agreements on record, especially if you send out the invoice outlining the agreement before the work is completed.
You cannot prevent every single instance of someone trying to con you. But when you proceed with caution, it does make being scammed less likely.
Are you authentic in your writing? I'm not talking about facts here. Hopefully, you can answer yes to that. But are you true to yourself in your writing?
Do you write with passion or do you just write anything?
Own each piece of work you write by making it authentic. For instance, don't claim to be an expert on a topic you know nothing about just to get paid. It's one thing to write a well-researched piece or a piece with personal experience. But it's a whole other ball game to wrote something you have absolutely zero knowledge or experience in.
You may be able to slide past the radar with that at times. But it will eventually catch up to you and ruin your entire writing career. Instead, write what you know through studies or experience. Your clients will appreciate your authenticity. Readers can see right through writing that lacks connection from the writer. On the other side of the coin, they also value and feel content that contains the writer's authentic knowledge and experiences.
Be authentic. Be you. Be hired. Be read.
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