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|Posted on August 22, 2013 at 1:15 PM||comments (0)|
This Writing Life - Planning for Success
10 Tips Freelance Writers Should Keep In Mind
If you have experience in marketing, you are already several steps ahead on your way to succeeding in the freelance marketplace. However, most writers are not salesmen and many have little or no marketing or sales experience. For the most part, writers are thinkers who are skilled at composing great pieces and enjoy doing it. That is so long as their flow of inspiration is not impeded by personal difficulties or external interference. Therefore, if you happen to be a good writer, but a lousy marketing artist, you can position yourself well enough to ensure that you can earn a living on your craft. It is a jungle out there, with thousands of freelance and struggling writers all looking for the next assignment. In order to achieve any degree of success in this crowded market, there are a few things you must do and others you should avoid. Here are ten of the "must-do's:"
1. Take steps to establish, and to promote your work, as a strong and reliable writer. Whether you are a topic writer, or you are versatile, meaning that you can write on multiple subjects in various styles, make sure to get acquainted with the subject matter and get the facts for each article you are writing.
2. Marketing is a time-consuming operation. Plan your marketing strategy over time, and work through your plan by trying to accomplish a task or two per day. Even more crucial, do not be discouraged by rejection, or by “your submission was declined” notices. Such notices may have little to do with your writing and more closely related to the company’s editorial guidelines, market share, and types of audience.
3. Evaluate your work regularly to identify areas that need improvement, toward making necessary adjustments to fit the demand of the market. Stay up-to-date on new trends, if not ahead of the curve. Acquire the necessary tools to facilitate your personal functionality and optimize your productivity in the trade.
4. Research areas where you lack the skills to profit from your writing. If you have poor marketing skills, and you cannot outsource that task, browse the web and read up on marketing strategies for content writers and freelancers. You will find hundreds of articles on the subject. Select a few strategies to focus on and make a plan to implement them consistently.
5. Be patient and determined. Writing is a creative process, and one that can bring frustration in and of itself. Do not be a perfectionist, or over-critical of your own writing. If you are not sure of a piece you wrote, or simply do not feel comfortable with it, that is not a reason to scrap it and start over. Review, rewrite, and edit your work until you are satisfied with it.
6. Submitting your articles on the wrong topics to the wrong channel can be a waste of your time. Few editors will tell you the exact reasons why your article was declined. As a result, a rejection email that may be associated with the topic of the article rather than your writing will contribute to negatively affecting your effort.
7. Select your titles carefully. You want your title to highlight the content of the article to the reader and to the editor. In addition, in today’s Google SEO environment, publishers are very keen on keyword attractive titles for search engines.
8. Plan your article with a short introduction that lets the reader know what to expect in the body of the piece. This should not start with “This article is about." Rather, your introduction should set up a problem in search of a solution, a theory to be proven, or a challenge to popular beliefs. In any event, introductions are meant to be thought- provoking, and they aim at creating anticipation and interest in the story. Successful writers use their introductory segment to draw in the reader, and then use the body of the text to captivate, and hold the reader’s attention.
9. Do not write for keywords or to sell your brand or products. Readers want information, and they can quickly flag infomercial and irrelevant self-serving articles. As a writer, your credibility is worth its price in gold, and you would not want to jeopardize it for the sake of self-promotion or shortcuts. Demonstrate knowledge and expertise in your writing, but avoid advertisement, exaggeration, and hyperbolas.
10. Avoid writing overly lengthy articles. However, do not raise issues or ask questions for which you have no answers or suggestions. Develop your topic to conclusion. This may require you to write a longer article, in which case, break up your article into segments with headings and sub-headings. Use bullets, numbers, and shorter paragraphs. You may not succeed in persuading your readers, but never leave them looking for the ending.
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|Posted on July 4, 2013 at 1:50 PM||comments (0)|
Optimize Your Content with Dynamic Writing
II. Where do you fall on this scale? Where you fall on this rating scale depends on the following:
a. How much skill you bring into the writing process
b. How you approach writing
c. How much effort you put into your writing
d. How you feel about writing
e. How you organize and develop your writing
III. Becoming the best writer that you can be
You do not have to be a master writer to write good content. But if any part of your operation or career is involved with writing or requires you to write, you will need to develop the necessary skills to produce content that can allow to successfully compete in the marketplace. Writing abilities can be improved and sharpened. For example, it is near to impossible to be a webmaster, a website operator, a blogger, or a website owner, without having to produce good content on a regular basis. Similarly, it is not possible to work in the fields of communication, management, business, or even marketing without some higher level of written communication skills. Most working and published documents, and in particular website content and blogs, require regular updating in order to be viable and be optimized for search engines. Readers and visitors will return to your sites, buy your books and magazines, subscribe to your newsletters, and follow your articles, only if they know that they can expect a gratifying experience and a return on their time investment.
Whether you consider yourself a new writer or a poor writer, there is absolutely no need to panic or to be afraid of writing. And you certainly should not worry about writer’s block, which has more to do with a mindset, attitude toward writing, and even sometimes physical and psychological causes, more than it relates directly to writing. It might help to know that experienced writers, too, face some of the same challenges that all of us faces when in the writing process. Whether you’re writing a creative piece or a non-fiction journalistic article, you can acquire the right set of skills that will allow you to write crisp, clear, and successful pages. Writing resources are readily available in various online, in libraries, and in various archives, and they can be easily learned and applied. There are rules that must be followed in all writing, but those rules are there to help make your writing readable and effective. Whatever the situation may be, do not give up, and do not be too hard on yourself. Be determined.
Some websites display little content, but this may be just right for their target audience. Others are outfitted with very poor content. In fact, I visited a professional and career-oriented website, which has dozens of pages, and the content on almost every page was an ad for the site written in very poor English and filled with typographical errors. What was most curious about this is that the lack of creativity, combined with the writing, caused the site operator to have repeated the same ad-like text over and over again on each subsequent page. The site in question is 13 years old, and an examination of the content reveals that there was no mystery in the fact that the site stood at 13 million in rank on the Alexa global traffic rating, with few visitors.
Writing is a process made of several steps. Any writing, whether an article, a blog, or a page, should not be so short as to be devoid of substance; It cannot be so long as to be rambling; It cannot be so spectacular as to be incredible, or so boring as to lack any attractiveness. So, how does the writer strike the necessary balance? If you are writing about something that you are not knowledgeable about, research the subject. You can be sure that someone else has already written about it. Do not steal other people’s text. Get inspiration and develop the topic taking another angle. If you decide to use quote from others’ writing, credit the author, and place the quoted text in block quotation marks ““. Do not lift whole pages or paragraphs from the work of another writer. Almost all writing is protected under copyright right laws. Work on making your own writing ready for debut. Write your content based on the following attributes:
· It should be convincing
· It should be substantive
· It should be credible
· It should be interesting
. It should be fluid
.It should be dynamic
.It should be seamless
IV. Writing Effective Content
Your writing will meet the criteria listed above if you pay attention to the following rules of grammar and composition, but even more important, you must apply them properly:
1. Pay attention to your Style of Writing: Your writing style is how you choose to write, and what format you put your writing in. Your content may be creative or fact-based, meaning that it may be from your own imaginative creation or it may non-fiction. But even non-fiction can reflect creativity. Your page can be light-hearted or serious. You can use big unusual words or write in common every language. But whatever you do, stay away from jargon, slang, offensive language, and profanity. In terms of formatting, you could decide, for instance, to indent your text; you can number lists; you might like to use bullets. And most of all, you might decide to wrap your text around images, tables, or videos. You might highlight or shade certain text areas, or embed boxes within the text. In other words, you can always be creative in your style.
2. Apply the rules of grammar: Grammar includes syntax. This is the order in which you arrange the words in your text, and whether or not you write sentences that are complete and contain a subject, a verb, and end short supplemental details. For example, we don’t say, “they was,” but “they were,” because the rules of grammar demand that our verbs agree with our subject. Now, “they were” is a full sentence, given that all we need to form a sentence is a subject and a verb. However, if we were to write or say “they were,” our reader or whoever we are talking to would ask or wonder, ‘they were what.’ This is why we add details to our sentences to make them more substantive and complete. The part that does this is called a complement. In complementing our sentences, meaning adding more details to them, we use what in grammar are known as the parts of speech. Those are adjectives to describe nouns, adverbs to describe verbs, and a whole series of smaller words, such as pronouns to replace the subject-noun, prepositions to connect words, and conjunction to connect words and sentences. Grammar also requires the use of punctuations. Without punctuations, such as colons, periods, and question marks, our writing would go on and on, and would be unintelligible.
3. Organize your Writing: Make sure to have a beginning, middle, and an end. Use the beginning to briefly introduce the purpose of your content. Then, move on to the middle where you will write what your content is about. Develop your ideas keeping in mind what the purpose of your writing. Give details, but focus on those things that are important. Be substantive and specific. You can do that by researching the topic you are writing about in order to provide useful and reliable information to your readers. Being knowledgeable in the subject matter will show, and it will add credibility to your writing. Do not be afraid to be funny or pointed in your writing. Once you feel that the middle of your text is adequate, you can conclude by stating the benefits that can be derived from what you just wrote, or by suggesting steps the reader can take, or offering advice and solutions.
4. Edit your Writing
Edit your text from beginning to end. Look for fat. Where you find extra wording, remove unnecessary words. If you come across misplaced words, move them, and replace misused words with others that are more appropriate. Go for quality over quantity. Look for repeat words and ideas written in other words. Redundancy in text is very offensive. If the content feels anemic, add more substance, by including more details by way of facts, figures, or clarification. Make grammatically corrections. Review your text for clarity, by identifying vague passages, and replacing them with specifics. Ask yourself if you would understand what you just wrote, had you not been the author. Finally, use check spell to correct misspelled words.
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