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.