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Archives for December 2006

Article Marketing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About It

Results of a 30-day Article Marketing Experiment

An E-Book Excerpt
[See all Inkwell Editorial Work-from-Home Titles Here]

Following are my findings from a month-long article marketing case study (conducted from October 18, 2006 through November 18, 2006). It is 41 pages long.

If you want to see if this form of marketing is worth your while, this info can help. If you determine that article marketing is something you want to invest in, get the ebook, What Is Article Marketing? A Simple Tutorial from an Article Marketing Pro Who’s Written Over 1,000 Articles.

x-click-but22 $.99 cents (Instant Download)

THE DETAILS – WHY I CONDUCTED THE STUDY

As an overworked freelancer, my goal was to create more passive income.

A little history: I’ve been in publishing since 1987, and have been a freelancer since 1993.  I kind of took freelancing as it came those first few years, never relying on it as my primary source of income.

Inkwell Editorial was formed in 1996 as an editorial outsource firm. The smartest thing I did as a manager was add staffing/recruiting to Inkwell’s list of services. That really got the company over the hump, as placement fees ranged from a low of 3K on up to around 12K.

NOTE: In general staffing fees are much higher, but in editorial, salaries are low, so recruiting fees are below what you’d make in another arena, eg, tech.

A handful of placements a year and a few temps on assignment, coupled with my freelance income provided me a very nice living.

Then came 9/11. The arena in which I staffed (editorial) crashed. Ad agencies and publishers cut back their output because no one was spending on ad campaigns, so no need to hire copy editors, creative directors, graphic designers, etc.

However, during the time we offered on-site temps, I built up a pretty good roster of clients and now get most of my work via referral.

Present Day: Having been a freelancer since 1993, I’ve reached the point where I want to “touch” projects less. So, my goal going into next year is to create more passive income. My hope is that within a couple of years, I can get by on just my product sales alone. Having reached 40, I want to work less and play more.

Now, on to the details!

NOTE: This e-book consists of a series of blog posts, a Q&A session and conclusions drawn from the experiment overall. I hope you find it useful.

WHAT DID THE STUDY CONSIST OF?

My goal was to submit one article a day for 30 days (excluding weekends) to 25 top-rated directories.

How did I choose which directories to submit to? I used their PR and Alexa rankings. What are PR and Alexa rankings.

What is a PR Ranking? What is an Alexa Rank?

PR Rank: First, PR stands for page rank. Impact-Direct.com defines page rank as:

A method developed and patented by Stanford University and Larry Page [cofounder of Google] to rank search engine results. Page Rank gives a unique ranking to every page on the internet. The ranking number is based on the number of quality inbound links pointing at a page and is represented on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the optimal rank.

In the article, “What Is Page Rank?” by Kimberly Bodane, she describes why page rank is important, as well as what you can do to improve yours.

You’ll also find a detailed article on problogger.net (“Google Page Rank Explained”) with helpful feedback from other readers. This is the link: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/07/16/google-page-rank-explained/

Alexa Rank: An article published by e3Server.com on thehostingnews.com, What is Alexa Ranking, describes Alexa rankings as “a very powerful tool of viewing and comparing web site traffic for one site to the rest of the web.”

Read full article here: http://www.thehostingnews.com/art-what-is-alexa-ranking.html

The lower the ranking, the better. Sites that rank 100,000 or lower are considered extremely popular.

To learn more, type “alexa ranking” in the search engine of your choice and do some reading. You’ll be able to get a full understanding by reading a few articles of detailed information.

To find out your site’s PR, go here: http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php

To find out your site’s Alexa’s ranking: Go here: http://www.Alexa.com.

Case Study Notes: I missed 3 days submitting. I also added and deleted approximately 4 directories from the list as I went along. Why? Because they either went offline (in one case), were not uploading articles in a timely manner, and/or were not suitable for the type of article I had written that day.

Overall, though, I consistently submitted and was able to glean some good findings, which will be discussed later.

x-click-but22 $.99 cents (Instant Download)

RE the free offer: This e-book was originally offered free to subscribers who signed up in December (2006). Their feedback helped to shape the info included.

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The 7 Highly Effective & Profitable Habits of Successful Freelance Writers

Previously Titled: The 7 Highly Effective & Profitable Habits of Successful Freelancers

Learn What Successful Freelancers Do — & What You Can Too to Achieve Success

I’ve been in publishing since 1987, have been a freelancer since 1993 and ran an editorial staffing agency in New York City from 1996 through 2004.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that successful freelancers, eg, those who make their living entirely from freelancing (writing, editing, copywriting, web design, etc.), have the following seven traits in common.

1. Write/design every day: Many freelancers are drawn to their particular career because they love it. They love to write, design, draw – whatever it is, they would do it for free. Once they decide to freelance full time, most work at it every day. They write articles, design sites, doodle illustrations, etc. In other words, they don’t stop working on their craft just because there is no paying client.

Benefit to their career: These professionals always have a body of work to sell, show, update their portfolio with, etc. Beyond that, it keeps their skills fresh and allows them to work that much faster once they are being paid for a project.

As a personal example, when I first started to write articles to promote my business, it would take upwards of two hours to complete one. Now, I can knock one out in 30 minutes if I have to.

Side Note: I have run across more than a few freelancers who don’t exactly love what they do. BUT, because they like the life of freelancing, they discipline themselves to do what it takes, eg, (work at it steadily) to make a living at it.

2. Don’t wait for markets to come to them: Building on this first habit, when you are constantly churning out new material, you don’t have to wait for clients to come to you, you can pitch to them.

If you’ve written a great article on the benefits of yoga, why wait for a national exercise magazine to take months to get back to you. Pitch your local newspaper journalist who covers health. You’ll usually know within a week or two if they can use your story. Your neighborhood paper can’t use it? Pitch the neighboring county’s newspaper, a popular e-zine dedicated to women’s health, a new health website that needs fresh content, etc. Successful freelancers are this proactive.

When I was recruiting, I was constantly amazed at the type of assignments successful freelancers were able to ferret out for themselves. When I’d ask, “How did you get that assignment, come up with that idea?”, the comments ranged from, “I couldn’t sleep last night so I start doing some digging online because I just wrote this great article and wanted to get it published,” to “I was just doodling and came upon this great design; I knew it would make a great logo for this niche, so I put it on a t-shirt and pitched a few boutiques in my neighborhood …”

Successful freelancers are not only creative in their work, they’re creative in how they locate markets to sell their work.

3. Have more than one stream of income: By this, I do not mean that they have second jobs. Most successful freelancers do more than one thing. For example, a writer may design a line of themed t-shirts with their witticisms on them. Illustrators, in addition to creating logos, may sell paintings or drawings. Web designers may also create online games.

I don’t know how many more brain cells creative types use than the rest of the population, but editorial and creative professionals usually dibble and dabble in more than one sector – and quite successfully I might add.

4. Have a niche: While this may seem to contradict the previous habit, it doesn’t. Most successful freelancers do one thing – and do it very well. Eg, they are a medical writer, a direct mail copywriter, a web designer. This is because successful freelancers usually have a professional background in the discipline in which they freelance. Usually, they have built up a reputation and client list based on their expertise/experience.

Benefit to their career: This works well because once clients are comfortable with you on one level, you can approach them about doing other types of projects. In some cases, they will even approach you.

For example, if you are a web designer, you can approach a client about doing some logo design work. Most web designers are familiar with other tools of the trade like logo design software, that makes it easy for them to offer peripheral services to clients.

In the retail trade, this is known as upselling. BUT, you can only upsell if you have established a level of trust and professionalism in your base (niche) skill.

5. Have a website: Without fail, all successful freelancers have at least a basic website. They realize the need to present a professional image to clients and have invested in an online presence.

Every once in a while, I am still asked by those just starting out if they need a website. Invariably, I ask, “Would you do business without a telephone?” I think websites have progressed to this point.

Benefit to their career: Websites save freelancers time – which is at a premium if you are a successful freelancer. You can direct potential clients there to see samples of your work, get pricing info, your professional credentials, your client list, etc. Many times, this is how clients will find you to begin with.

So, is having a website a must to succeed as a freelancer? In my opinion, absolutely. And, it doesn’t have to be fancy and cost a fortune. Most web surfers are seeking information. A basic site will serve your purposes just fine. Just make sure it is professional looking, is easy to navigate, is free from grammatical errors and has your contact info on every page (or a “Contact Us” button on every page).

6. Are Savvy & Consistent Marketers: Revisiting habit three, successful freelancers are masters of marketing their services. They have to be.When you are a freelancer, you have to remain hungry – for the next assignment, the next gig. By being proactive and consistent marketers, successful freelancers don’t wait for one project to be done before looking for the next one.

To this end, these professionals use many marketing tools (free and paid) to get the word out about their business, eg, search engine optimization, article marketing, press releases, e-book giveaways, speaking engagements, seminars, workshops, etc. In other words, successful freelancers treat their careers like a start-up business – which is what freelancing really is.

7. Put in much more than 40 hours/week: Face it, you may be able to go to the grocery store at 2pm when everyone else is stuck in an office, but you probably didn’t log off until 2am, finishing up a project for a client who needed it at the last minute.

Freelancing is not a static career. Sometimes you will have weeks with nothing to do and then you will get slammed with three or four projects at one time. It’s some type of weird Murphy’s law at work. Projects never come when you want or need them too. They invariable come at the most inopportune time (eg, when your kid is sick, when YOU’RE sick, two days before vacation, on a Friday afternoon and needed by Monday).

So, while you may be able to work in your jammies – you may also not be able to go to the beach, hang out with your friends as much, take the afternoon off. Like anything it’s a trade-off (a worthwhile one in my opinion). Just know, while your time may be your own, it will be on an unconventional schedule.

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