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How to Get Customers to Respond to Your E-Campaign

If you’ve ever done an e-campaign and received no response, maybe you overlooked one of the top four elements: timeliness, consistency, benefits and a call to action.

Timeliness: It’s the holidays. Do you have new, relevant products for the season? I know it appears that you’ll just be one of the herd, but there’s a reason Christmas is the shopping season. “But,” you opine, “I offer a service, not a product.” Then tie in your service with the season.

For example, holiday bookkeeping. Send a tip list of things that clients should be paying special attention to this time of year; offer the old standby – a seasonal discount; offer to help them “relax in the new year by getting their books up to snuff now!”

No matter your product or service, you can always find a slant to make it work with the season.

Consistency: In-boxes are full of hit and run advertisers this time of year (or any special occasion for that matter). As a small business owner, you should be in contact with your customers year round.

It’s human nature to patronize those establishments that you have done business with in the past. So, start building a relationship with your customers in January. Come December, it’ll be that much easier to make the sale.

Benefits: This has been said ad nauseam, but it bears repeating – sell the benefits of your product/service, not the features. In other words, tell the customer what’s in it for them. Too often, this point is overlooked.

Every time I sit down to write a postcard, newsletter, brochure, etc., I have to “switch” into a customer mindset. As the entity behind the product/service, you are too close to it. Take a mental break and approach it from the other side. The difference in your presentation will shine through.

Call to action: You’ve written a timely sales piece that proudly touts all the benefits to the customer – but, you forgot to tell them what to do. Call today, fax in your order for an additional discount, 48-hour special — all of these are calls to action.

Human nature is to put things off. Put a sense of urgency behind your piece. Let your customers know exactly what they need to do to take advantage of your wonderful offer. Otherwise, it may get filed away, never to be seen again.

Now, YOU can relax and enjoy the season.

Happy holidays!

NewsletterMarketingP.S.: Did you know that newsletter marketing is easy to do, and it costs practically nothing? In this ebook pullout, I give some first-hand insight on how I consistently earn four figures per month marketing via this medium. You can too!

Sincerely,
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
InkwellEditorial.com

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One of the Easiest Ways to Start Making Money as a Freelance Writer

I’m a huge believer in establishing a freelance writing niche. Not only because of my own personal success, but because many who make money online cite this is a key to their success as well. And you know what? It is one of the easiest ways to sell yourself as a freelance writer – and start making money almost immediately….

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Freelance Writing Fall Marketing Tutorial: How to Land More Writing Jobs

The kids are off to school, editors are back from vacation and ad spending is about to begin. What does this signal? Fall is almost here and everyone is turning their attention back to business. Thank goodness! If you’re a freelance writer, it’s time for you to gear up for the season.

If landing writing jobs has been slow going throughout the summer, now is the time to get the business flowing back in. To that end, following is a fall marketing tutorial for freelance writers that helps you hit the ground running now that potential clients are focused on work again.

FYI, the summer marketing tutorial gave some excellent suggestions that you can use this season as well. Now, on to fall . . .

Fall Marketing Tutorial for Freelance Writers: Focus on the Brand Called You

I was reading a book by the founder of 1-800-Flowers, Jim McCann, this week entitled Stop and Smell the Roses: Lessons from Business and Life. The book is a little outdated, but it’s been in my car for ages. I had some free time between running errands with a friend and I flipped through and landed on the chapter entitled The Brand Called “You”.

Boy, is it dead on for what I wanted to talk about in this tutorial. Even though the book was first published in 1998, one passage that still rings true to this day is, “The only career constant is change, change so fast it can give you whiplash.”

You may be thinking, “What the heck does this have to do with landing more writing gigs?” Well, quite simply, in order to accomplish some of the marketing tasks in the Fall Marketing Tutorial, you have to be open to shaking things up a bit.  

freelance-writing-fall-marketing-tutorial4 Things You Can Do to Land More Freelance Writing Jobs This Fall

1. Learn How Negotiate: One reason many freelance writers fail to make enough money to survive on is that they don’t know how to negotiate. In fact, one freelance writer wrote in asking me to answer this very question. She wanted to know specifically “how to negotiate higher rates.”

The first rule of negotiating is to choose a client base who can afford you. In the case of this freelancer, she already has some existing clients. If you’ve been charging a lower rate to a client, it can be hard to get them to pay more. Hence, negotiating may not help with existing clients. In the event that you are stuck negotiating though, following is my number one piece of advice:

Get Specific: Make sure that you and the client are on the same page about what is expected. Sometimes, clients don’t want to pay more because they’re thinking, “you only have to write 350 words,” for example.

But, if you point out that the articles are technical and that you have to spend some time researching in addition to writing, then that doubles the time you’ll have to spend on each article. When you lay out the specifics, then clients see how much work is really involved, hence you justify your higher rate.

There is tons more that could be said on negotiating, but in all of my years as a freelance writer, a lot of the advice you’ll read just won’t work in this line of work. Why? Most freelance writing clients have concrete budgets that they’re working within. Also, there are other writers out there who will do it cheaper.

I’ve found that most clients don’t mind paying a bit more though – if you can point out to them what a project really entails. I do this in a number of ways.

Example: Just last week, a new client was referred to me by an old client. She wanted a rewrite of her web copy. Although it was only three pages, I quoted a project rate of $375, which she agreed to.

This client happens to have an MBA. I proved my worth to her by sending along a list of questions, asking about the demographics and psychographics of her target audience. Right then, she knew that I knew what I was doing – and that I was worth every penny she was going to pay. 

***Marketing Made Easy: 7 Ways to Find Unpublished Freelance Writing Jobs***

When you ask questions, lay out specifics and get very detailed, it proves to clients that you are no run-of-the-mill writer, but a professional who knows her trade. And, that costs.

2. Create a Project List: Last Friday, I revamped my professional profile on SEO-Article-Writer.com. Instead of just listing the types of writing I do, I created a list of recently completed projects.

This helps to bring in more work because it shows clients your depth and breadth of experience. If you haven’t updated your professional profile in a while, do so. Use specifics where possible, eg, “Blog posts for $500 million/year technology company,” and “Web copy for online $200 million/year sales & marketing firm.”

Getting across to clients that you have worked with large firms immediately says a lot about your abilities as a writer. And, it helps you to command/negotiate higher rates as well.

Funny Story: I actually had one prospect write back asking me if I was “real” because my rates didn’t reflect my abilities. He actually wrote me the following:

Your educational experience is impressive. . . .at $45 for 300-350 words of original content, I have to ask from what third world country are you drawing these writers? Surely someone such as yourself (if you’re no [sic] fictional) who’s a Masters candidate in expensive New York City would need higher rates than that to survive.

I replied:

Thanks for your interest in my services. I assure you, I’m a real person — and so are my writers. Many of the writers I use freelance either full-time or part-time. I used to own an editorial staffing agency in New York , and have been recruiting and outsourcing work to writers (and other creative freelancers) for years.

I don’t use third-world writers and if you know anything about SEO, then you know there are writers who will write for as little as $3 per article for 500 words (and many of them are not third world writers, just clueless newbies who are desperate for work).

My rates are not third-world rates — and neither is the copy. I just charge what I think is a fair rate for excellent copy — nothing more, nothing less.

While the first email was a little snarky, he had been burned before, writing:

Your rates just seemed too low to be true. I tried someone who wrote for about the same rate and had to rewrite all of her material. . . . I’d love to give you a shot at one of them [client projects] (and hopefully more thereafter if we’re happy with your work).

Because I kept my cool and proved to him that I am indeed “real,” I was able to turn what was initially a chilly reception into a warm one. But, apparently I’m still too cheap! Can’t win’em all. 🙂

No Projects to List? FYI, if you’re new and don’t have an extensive project list, just create some strong writing samples. And every time you complete a project, list it.

3. Create Effective Email Queries: I’m always sending out email queries. It’s how I land most of my new clients (I get a lot of referrals, which I’ll address in a minute). I have three or four that I use practically all the time – because they work.

If you’ve been sending out a lot of queries with little success, it’s time to change your marketing message. Most email queries are too long. They should be short and to the point, with links out to your website for more detail (you do have a website, don’t you?).

I target two groups with my queries – individual website owners and small/medium companies. I have email queries that address the pain points of each group. FYI, in marketing speak, a pain point is a client need that you can fulfill. For example, for my smaller clients, it’s time. So I may start off with a series of questions, eg:

When was the last time you updated your website?

Is it bringing in leads and orders like you had hoped?

Don’t have time to write copy that can drive traffic and increase sales?

If you’re not marketing online, you’re losing money, blah, blah, blah.

Here’s who I am (name), here’s what I do (list of services), contact me to get started today. This is my basic message. Hit a pain point, link to the services you provide that can relieve that pain, and move on.

***Marketing Emails that Land Freelance Writing Jobs***

4. Ask for Referrals: One thing that many freelance writers fail to do is actively seek referrals. A quick, simple email to your entire client database once a month or so can change this. Just a simple, “Do you know anyone who can use my services. I’d love to talk to them. Please send me their contact information, or forward mine to them.”

Inevitably, especially if you have provided good service to existing clients, they will refer you to others. I have one “client” who hasn’t even used me for his firm, but he’s referred me twice – and I landed the gig both times.

If you take the advice here, coupled with the more direct marketing strategies discussed in the summer marketing tutorial, you will be primed to bring in more business than you can handle.

Freelance Writing Questions from Readers

In the 8/28 blog post, I asked readers to write in with any questions they wanted me to answer for this tutorial. I received the following questions:

1. Pricing (e.g. what to charge for rush jobs, etc.): I rarely charge a rush fee because usually, I can’t fit in rush projects. But years ago, I used to charge 15% for rush projects. Now, make sure rush is clearly defined so clients don’t think you’re taking advantage of them. Usually, most clients can wait an extra day or two and avoid a rush fee. But, if they’re insistent, 15-20% is standard.

2. Price negotiation- how to negotiate higher rates with existing clients without scaring them away. As I said earlier when discussing negotiation, sometimes, this is just not possible. Some clients will bolt at any price increase.

But to lessen the chances of them bolting, call it a “standard rate increase,” and give them a timeline as to when it will be implemented. In other words, don’t announce “effectively immediately our rates will change.”

I recently raised rates on one client for a series of blog posts I do for him. But, I gave him almost three months notice to adjust to it and/or to find another writer if he felt that he couldn’t afford it. His response, “I want to stay with you, but I’ll be ordering less.”

Bottom line: When it comes to rate, be prepared to lose the client, but also start targeting higher-paying markets where you don’t compete so much on rate.

3. Avoiding writer burnout (I think most SEO writers need help with this at one time or another). One of the ways to avoid writer burnout is to raise your rates. You will probably make more.

Since I raised my rates from $25 to $35-$50 per article, I’ve gotten fewer orders, but my income has remained steady. And as witnessed by the snarky email from the potential client above, you’d be surprised that you might be losing clients by charging too little because they don’t think you turn out quality work.

Besides raising rates (my first option for avoiding burnout), quote longer deadlines. I usually turn projects around in 2-3 days. But, I tell clients 3-5 days, depending on the project. Trust that most will wait for it, and many even expect it will take that long.

4. I received several, “what should I charge” questions from readers. These are impossible to answer concretely, as they depend on so many factors (eg, experience, niche, deadline, word count, research time, etc.).

So, I’ll just point you to a couple of articles where you can do some additional reading to figure out for yourself what to charge.

The Freelance Writing Rate Debate Rages On

Freelance Writers: How to Stop Competing on Rate & Win as Many Clients as You Can Handle

5. I’ve really enjoyed some of your recent articles – especially the creating passive income for retirement one (I’m in my 50s!). If I want to create a blog with the aim of making money from it, which blogging platforms would you recommend? With so many to choose from, I’m finding it hard to choose. Am I right in assuming that free sites like blogger.com are not suitable for monetizing?

I answered this question in the post I did for Meryl.net back in July entitled 7 Things You Must Know Before Moving Your Blog (see points 2 and 3).

As a quick recap though, I recommend getting your own website hosted on your own domain and designed by a professional designer. The reason is, if you’re going to monetize a site, then you can’t look amateurish. The web has advanced to a point where surfers expect professionalism – especially when you’re asking them to fork over money.

FYI, a blog is just a website. For more on this read What’s the Difference Between a Website and a Blog?

If you decide to go the free route, I recommend a wordpress blog over a blogger blog. I think they look more professional, and they have more interactive features (eg, most popular posts, latest post, related posts, etc.).

But, be careful. You can get booted for violating terms of service, which is what happened to me at wordpress. This is why I advise that if you’re going to monetize your web presence, register your own domain name and build your web presence there from the start.

Want a great host / domain name registration company? Read why I use HostGator.

Yuwanda
Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

P.S.: Submit a Guest Post: This site and its sister site, SeoWritingJobs.com, accepts guest posts.   Get the guest post submission guidelines.

make-money-on-backpageWant to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

Copyright © 2008: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).

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11 Reasons You’ll Never Succeed as a Freelance Writer

Freelance writing is a career many would love to have, but relatively few manage to carve out successfully. In my opinion, almost all who fail at this career choice can find the cause in one of the 11 reasons discussed in this freelance writing industry report….

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Freelance Writer Advice: 6 Ways to Increase Your Freelance Writing Income During the Slow Summer Months

Freelance writing is a cyclical industry. Many who have been freelanced for years may not even be aware of the problem. Why is it important to know this? Because you can increase your freelance writing income during the slow summer months by being proactive.

A Summer Marketing Tutorial for Freelance Writers

Following are six things you can do ensure that freelance writing jobs flow your way — now and right on into the busy fall season.

Specific Actions You Can Take to Increase Your Freelance Writing Income During the Summer & Beyond

 1. Review Pricing: One of the best ways to increase your income as a freelance writer is to review your freelance writing rates. summer-marketing-tutorialMany freelance writers overlook this an income booster because they’re afraid of losing clients.

But remember, you’re a business and if you haven’t raised rates in a while (eg, for two years), then it’s time to do so. While you do risk losing clients, if it’s an increase that’s long overdue and some clients bolt, then those are not the kinds of clients you want anyway.

 All businesses raise prices – as a freelance writer, you’re no different. 

2. Review Client Roster: Piggybacking on this last point, review your client roster to see if the client base you have is moving you closer to your financial and business goals, or further away.

For example, as an SEO writer, one of my goals is to narrow my client list to clients who outsource a certain dollar amount of content needs per month. My goal is to move away from what I call “hit and miss clients” to clients who have ongoing content needs.

This will help to: (i) stabilize my income more; (ii) stabilize my working schedule; and (iii) streamline my service offerings. When you cater to a particular type of client, you are better able to service their exact content needs.
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Read here how I routinely make $250+/day as an SEO writer – and you can too!
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3. Add New Services: If you’ve been meaning to expand your freelance writing service offerings, but literally haven’t had the breathing room to get it posted on your site, then summer is the perfect time to do so.

How to Make More Money with a Lower-Priced Service

For example, I recently added Meta Tag Writing to my list of SEO writing services. It’s been a big boost to my bottom line, as clients have really taken to the service.

The good thing about this has been that, even though meta tag writing pays less per project that some of my other SEO writing services, the projects are quicker and easier to complete, which means I make more per job than with some of my higher-priced services.

Now, which freelance writing service do you think I’ll be marketing to clients heavily throughout the summer and into the fall?

4. Reconnect with Old Clients: This is something most freelance writers – ie, small business owners in general – don’t do enough of. I know I’m guilty of it. We get so busy focusing on bringing in new business, that we forget to reconnect with old clients.

And, what better time to reconnect with them than when you’ve added a new service? I did this with some of my old clients when I added Meta Tag Writing to my list of SEO writing services.

Your old clients already know you, and if you believe the 80/20 rule of marketing, then this is one of the easiest ways to increase your freelance writing income, especially during the slow summer months.

What is the 80/20 rule of marketing?
Officially known as the Pareto Principle, this rule states that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your clients. More specifically it states:

While the rule is not an absolute, one should use it as a guide and reference point to ask whether or not they are truly focusing on the 20% (the Vital Few), or the 80% (The trivial many). True progress results from a consistent focus on the 20% most critical objectives. [Learn more about the Pareto Principle]

5. Market for New Clients: This is the flip side of the tip just above. One of the reasons many freelance writers fail to make a consistent living is that they don’t market for new work consistently. They get so bogged down with existing projects then one day they look up and – boom – work has dried up.

While staying in touch with existing clients is vital for long-term success as a freelance writer, marketing for new clients should always be on the agenda.

Would You Send Out 2 Emails a Day If It Meant Making $30,000 a Year?

It can be as simple as sending out two email queries a day to a new firm. That’s 40 per month (M-F); 480 per year. With even a 2% return, that’s almost 10 new clients a year that you will have picked up.

Depending on your freelance writing rates, if these new clients spent as little as $2,000 a year with you (a measly $167/month), that’s an extra $30,000/year added to your bottom line. This is the difference between being able to stay at home and work as a freelance writer, doing what you love – and having to go out and get a J-O-B.

Think you can find the time to send out two email queries a day based on these numbers?

Let me hammer this home with a personal example . . . when I first started SEO writing, I was sending out as many as 25 emails a day (sometimes even more). I landed gigs within the first few days. Now, I’m down to sending out between 5-10/week. Now that it’s summer and things are slow, I’m back up to trying to do 10 per day. Most days I don’t make it, but I try to make it up on the weekends.

6. Attend to Back-end Office Procedures: Unorganized or unimplemented back-end office procedures can increase or decrease your income as a freelance writer. How?

I’ll share my own sad tale as an example. I’ve been meaning to get my website (this one) redesigned for at least two years. I finally bit the bullet and started the procedure in May. Not having this done has prevented me from placing ads for my ebooks, accepting ads on the site (for which I’ve been approached on numerous occasions over the last year), and moving forward with publishing more ebooks.

While it’s taking much longer than I anticipated, I know that it’s an investment in my business that’s going to pay off big once it’s finally done.

Is Your Freelance Writing Business Losing Money? How to Tell

So if you don’t have an accounting system set up, a marketing plan in place, a list of freelancers to outsource to when you get too busy – all of these are back-end office procedures that can cost you money.

Once fall rolls around, it’s going to get hectic again. Use the slow summer months to position your freelance writing business to handle the gigs as they come in. The work will flow so much better – and you’ll see that reflected in your bottom line.

Yes, indeed, summertime is a great time to increase your freelance writing income – especially if you heed the advice listed here.

Yuwanda
P.S.: Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

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P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day?

Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

Copyright © 2008. Republished 2010: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).

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Article Marketing Tutorial: Put Your Article Marketing Efforts on Steroids — Generate More Traffic with SEO (Part II of III)

This is Part II of III of Inkwell Editorial’s article marketing tutorial. Read Parts I and III.

Article marketing works. There’s no debate about that. But, it can be much more effective if you use SEO (search engine optimization) techniques in your online marketing efforts. What do I mean by this?

Following are three things I do to make sure my article marketing efforts produce maximum search engine optimization results.

3 SEO Steps to Take to Ensure Maximum Results from Article Marketing

1. Start with a Keyword: One of the first things you should do is to make sure your article is written around a specific keyword phrase or two. This does not mean that you give in to bad writing. What it does mean is that you tweak your article so that they keywords flow naturally. This is the hallmark of a good SEO writer, which more online entrepreneurs should become if they want to make money online.

If you just can’t seem to accomplish this task, then by all means hire an SEO writer. The money spent will be well worth it years into the future as keyword articles drive traffic. And, isn’t this what article marketing is all about?

2. Check Keyword Traffic: As in, select those keywords that produce a decent amount of traffic in your niche. The last three words are italicized because you should always choose keywords that will drive relevant traffic to your site.

Getting back to traffic, don’t shoot for the top keywords in your niche – unless your niche is so small that it can be easily achieved. I’ve found that targeting numerous keyword phrases that get a decent amount of traffic in my niche is better than shooting for the most popular keywords in my niche because it brings a broader base of traffic.

I refer to this is the shotgun spray of SEO, rather than the laser shot. Why? For example, my niche is freelance writing. Rather than trying to optimize for popular phrases like “freelance writing jobs” and “editing jobs”, I optimize for less popular keyword phrases like “seo copywriting jobs,” “newsletter writers,” “article writers,” etc.

The rationale behind this is that when people search for something on the internet, the more specific they are in their choice of keyword phrase, the more serious they are about purchasing.

Think about it, if you already knew you wanted to be a freelance writer, but you really want to focus on being an SEO writer, you might search phrases like “seo writing jobs,” “article writing jobs,” and “seo copywriter jobs.”

Remember, choosing less popular keyword phrases may drive less traffic, but will drive more targeted traffic. This is maximizing your article marketing efforts.

3. Check Popular Articles: One thing I’ve started to do recently in my article marketing efforts is to check the number of page views of articles in my niche. I will go to a popular article marketing directory, do a cursory glance of 15, 20 or 25 articles and see if any jump out at me as getting a lot of reads.

If so, I’ll then write an article around that subject for my site. Remember, no idea under the sun is new, but all of our experiences are. All you’re doing is putting your spin on the article topic.  It goes without saying but never, ever plagiarize the work of others. Not only will it eventually be discovered, it can ruin your reputation on the web – even if you do it just one time.

Article marketing is about dispensing relevant information to a targeted niche. Do this – in conjunction with a little behind-the-scenes SEO work – and you’ll be well on your way to driving continuous traffic to your site.

“How long should an article be that I write to submit to article marketing directories?” I receive this question a lot. The following is my take given my experience working with many internet marketing firms.

Most articles submitted to article directories fall in the range of 350-500 words. Some may be 600-750 words long, but these are the exceptions.

Therefore, if you’re trying to achieve a keyword density of between 3-5% (which is somewhat of an industry-accepted standard) then you need to repeat your keyword phrase at least 10 times in a 500-word article, for example. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, just a measuring stick to be aware of as you’re writing.

The Importance of Organic Search in Article Marketing

Finally, not to get into too much depth here, but natural search (aka organic search) is starting to be just as important as keywords in search engine optimization. So for example, if your site is about freelance writing and you have a lot of content that is not “keyword rich” but is about freelance writing in general, your site may still rank high when surfers type in certain keywords that have to do with freelance writing. Why is this?

Because your site has been identified by search engines as an authority on that subject based on its overall content. No one knows the algorithms of search engines and how/why they return the results they do, but backlinks, navigational structure, type and breadth of content, etc. all tell search engines something about your site.

As you can see, knowing just a little about SEO can go a long way towards helping you to get the most out of your article marketing efforts.

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SEO Copywriting: How One Freelance Writer is Finding Success as an SEO Writer

Today’s update is on SEO Mary, which I’ve been promising practically all week. I’ve been so busy lately that I didn’t even query Mary. Sweet soul that she is, I think she’s come to feel some responsibility to readers of her foray into SEO writing, so she took it upon herself to email me. …

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Three Money-Making Reasons to Write for Sites Like Associated Content, eHow, Helium, etc.

I contribute to  AssociatedContent.com (AC) and  eHow on a pretty regular basis; I’ve posted a  couple of articles to Helium.

Regular readers of  my blog and newsletter may wonder why I contribute to sites like this when I  earn more from my SEO writing and other freelance writing  gigs. Well, there are three reasons. One sitting in my inbox when I logged on  this morning prompted this post.

Why I Write for  “Article Paying Sites” Like AssociatedContent.com, eHow, Helium, etc.

Special Assignments: This morning when I logged on, there was an email from an editor at AC offering  to pay $25 to write an article on How to Write a Small Business Plan.

As I’ve written  enough business plans in my life to do one in my sleep, this article will  probably take 30-45 minutes to complete. While it may seem paltry to some, when  you’re writing about what you know, it’s usually a breeze to knock out and it  doesn’t take any research. For me, these are the best kinds of assignments.

I’ve been writing  for AC since April 2006. To date, I’ve submitted well over 500 articles. The  bulk of them have been on the business of freelance writing. When I first  started to submit, I submitted a lot of content I’d written as press releases  from an old business I had. So, a lot of that content was business-focused, eg, How to Market Your Business Online.

So, over time, I’ve  established myself as somewhat of a small business expert. And, this is probably  why this special assignment came my way (I have no way of knowing how/why I was  chosen for this assignment).

The Direct Benefit  for You: As large sites like AC build out, they hand out special assignments  that pay more to proven contributors who write well (let’s not forget this  part).

Residual Income: Most of the articles I submit to AC are posts from my blog that I’m simply recycling. After all, I’ve written it, so why not pick up a few bucks for it.

I usually receive  anywhere from $4.50 to $6.50 for these. It’s an extra $20 to $30 week. Or, the  way I like to look at it, an extra $80-$120/month (I look at income in terms of  how it adds to my bottom line in a given month).

This, for me, is  residual income. Because I update my blog, ostensibly for no pay, to be able to  turn these posts into cash makes it residual income. And, not to mention, sites  like AC, Helium and eHow all use some type of pay-per-click (PPC model) that can  have you earning money for years on every article you write.

For example, on AC,  they pay you $1.50 for every 1,000 page views. I usually earn anywhere from $20  to $35/month just from residual income on the articles I’ve submitted to AC. A  king’s ransom? Certainly not. But again, when looked at monthly, that’s another  column I can add to my monthly income streams.

The Direct Benefit  for You: Over time, these little bits add up, especially when they’re little  bits you don’t have to do anything for. I sometimes joke to myself that if  Social Security isn’t around when I retire, I can count on my residual income  from sites like AC to take up the slack. 🙂

Exposure: Now, this is obvious, but I wanted to point out how it’s worked for me.  Obviously, you’re exposed to a wide market when you contribute to heavily  marketed sites like AC, eHow, etc.

Clients:  I’ve been approached at least half a dozen times about work because someone came  across one of my articles on AC or some other site. They would remark that they  were impressed with my article (usually a business article) and wanted to know  how much I would charge to write X for them.

Ebook Sales:  I don’t exactly how many ebook sales I’ve made because of my articles on AC,  eHow, etc., but I do know that in the last two years, I’ve gotten a pretty good  flow of email from readers on those sites asking me questions. A few have  written me directly, telling me that they bought my ebook and enjoy my articles  on AC, et al.

I have 90  subscribers on AC, meaning that every time I publish an article there, there are  90 readers who are so interested in my content that they’ve taken the time to  subscribe (never underestimate what it means when someone subscribes to your  newsletter, blog, etc.).

This was a number I  never used to pay attention to, until I looked up one day and saw that I had 84.  I couldn’t believe it. I was humbled.

NOTE: Most  purchasers will not email to let you know how/when they came across your work;  they’ll just buy.

The Direct Benefit  for You: This type of continuous exposure allows you to keep your name  constantly in front of your target market. These are leads you don’t have to pay  for, chase, beg or plead to – they’re easily accessible.

So, the next time  you wonder why so many so-called “successful” freelance writers contribute to  sites like AC, et al, keep these reasons in mind. Overall, it’s just smart  marketing – and it keeps those writing skills honed.

Best,
Yuwanda

coverP.S.: Get the freelance writing opportunity that allowed me to be financially secure enough to travel, live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life!”

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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A $15 Per Article Writing Gig: The Ins & Outs of Writing for eHow (aka Demand Studios)

Article Updated on 5/23/2011

I recently started writing for eHow.com. It’s a community site similar to AssociatedContent.com, another site I also contribute to. I like writing for both sites, because they each offer something unique.

Earn $63,000 to $125,000/year writing simple articles

And yeah, I know $15 per article is peanuts for some, but when you consider that you can write about basically anything you want and that it takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to write an article, that works out to $30 to $60/hour. OR, looked at another way, earning almost $63K to $125K/year writing simple articles. I’ll take it every time.

So, how did I happen upon this gig?

How I Got the eHow Article Writing Gig

I obviously applied because I got a response notifying me that they wanted me to start contributing articles in my specialty. The ad probably looked something like the one found [link to no-longer-live Craigslist post was given]. They ask for different specialties in each ad.

Note: I apply to a lot of stuff and don’t remember every company. Also, many have corporate identities different from the names the general public may know them by (eg, eHow’s corporate identity is Demand Studios).

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At any rate, they sent me a welcome email and an offer to write 10 articles for $15/each. Now, I wasn’t thrilled, but once I learned that I could write on anything I wanted in my niche (freelance writing, small business), anything I wanted, I was like, “Let’s try it for one assignment and see how it goes.”

The thing that originally put me off writing for eHow are the attachments they send along with the welcome email. It is a copy of their style manual, invoice submission form and W9 Form. Also, I had to learn the ins and outs of uploading an article to their site.

As a side note, the thing that will cause me to procrastinate forever on a new project is getting through the procedure. I abhor learning new procedures. But usually, it’s not nearly as bad as I make it out to be. 

It seemed overwhelming to have to absorb all of this for $15/article. But, like most things, it appeared more monstrous than it was. It took me about 45 minutes to go through and grasp an understanding of everything.

Once this was complete, I wrote the 10 articles. It took me about five hours to write and upload them. The actual uploading took about an hour, because I kept playing around with category choices and going back and editing them. So, it could have been shorter.

My articles are much longer than many on the site. They have to be a minimum of 400 words, with the optimum being 400-600 words. My articles tend to be 500-1,000 words (I like to give value, not snippets).

How to Get Paid from eHow

Once the articles were submitted, I sent my invoice to the editor assigned to me, and within two weeks, had a check in had for $150. On the website, they say they only pay via PayPal (which I prefer). But, I got paid via check. I don’t know if they reserve the checks for writers they invite to write for them, or not.

They do have a Writer’s Compensation program where you earn money via revenue sharing. So, maybe that’s what the PayPal payments are for. I don’t know. I haven’t earned enough for a payout via the revenue sharing model (my articles have earned almost a dollar). The minimum payout is $10, which is good because it’s low. Most sites make you earn $25 or even $50 before they’ll pay out.  For more on writing for eHow for pay, click here.

Getting Continuous $15 Article Writing Assignments

Once I turned in my first assignment, about a week later, the editor who initially contacted me sent me a second assignment – this time for 20 articles (at $15/each). He gave me a week to turn these in.

I just completed that last Monday. I wrote all articles in one day, which was the most I’d ever written in one day. A $300 day for pretty easy work.

Why I Like Writing for eHow

I like writing for eHow because (i) I can write what I want; (ii) because of this, the assignments go faster; (iii) there’s little to no research required; and (iv) the possibility of repeat work.

Also, it’s kind of nice to have assignments that don’t require you to think, think, think so much. For example, when I write sales copy, I have to do research, come up with an angle, research keywords, etc. This is draining. Comparatively, writing articles for eHow is “easy, breezy” work.

I contacted my editor, asking him for more bulk assignments and letting him know all of the different genres I write across (interior decorating, staffing/HR, real estate, online marketing, small business, mortgages and crafts). He said he would keep it in mind, as they have several sites they might be able to contract with me for and that he’d pass my name along to anyone else in the company he knew of who could use my services.

And, about a few days after that, he dropped me a line, letting me know that he had given my contact info to someone else in the company who may need my services. This person didn’t contact me (my editor had told me that there was a chance that his colleague may have already found someone).

BUT, I’m convinced that he passed my name along because of the quality of my work.  Some of the articles on eHow are pretty cheesy and basic, barely breaking 400 words (I don’t think some of them even are 400 words). I could have turned in work of this quality, but I didn’t want to.

Number one, every time someone reads one of my articles, I want them to come away with a sense of understanding – like they learned something. And number two, it’s a pride thing. I value my work and don’t want to clog up the web with anything less than my best on any given day. Face it, we all fall short, but there’s a bar that must be met at all times. I’m aware of the bar I’ve set for myself.

So, the next time you run across an ad similar to the one mentioned above, apply. It’s the real deal. For feedback from others, click here to go to AbsoluteWrite.com’s forum which discusses writing for eHow. You can complete eHow’s online application here.

All of my eHow articles are listed below. FYI, eHow only accepts original material (unlike AssociatedContent.com, which accepts previously published material), so you haven’t read any of this before.

Note about Article Rate: I read in some forums that some writers were offered $10/article. I don’t know how eHow decides who to pay what. I only know that I was offered $15/article. Following are my articles on the site.

How to Find Freelance Work as an Article Writer

How to Find Forum Posting Jobs

How to Leverage Existing Clients to Get More Freelance Writing Work

How to Put Together a Basic Freelance Writing Proposal

How to Bundle Ebooks for Sale

How to Create an Ebook to Promote Your Freelance Writing Business

How to Write a Sales Letter to Promote Your Ebook

How to Hire Freelance Writers from CraigsList

How to Interview Experts for Your Freelance Writing Newsletter

How to Publish a Freelance Writing Newsletter

How to Create an Online Writing Profile

How to Sell Ebooks on PayDotCom.com

How to to Determine When to Test for a Freelance Writing Job

How to Decide Which Freelance Writing Services to Offer

How to Maximize Your Online Writing Time

How to Keep Subscribers on Your Freelance Writing List

How to Use Your Blog to Get Writing Jobs

How to Create an Online Writing Portfolio in 2 Days

How to Negotiate the Best Rate for a Freelance Writing Assignment

How to Sell Evergreen Content to Website Owners

How to Make Money as a Freelance Abstract Writer

How to Spot and Take Advantage of Freelance Writing Trends

How to Tell if a Freelance Writing Job is Right for You

How to Get Freelance Writing Work via Old Job Ads

How to Promote Your Freelance Writing Business Online

How to Promote Your Freelance Writing Business Offline

How to Write an Effective Email Signature

How to Advertise Your Ebook on the Front Page of IdeaMarketers.com

coverP.S.: Want to write and sell ebooks online for a living? You can! Get the guide that shows you how to start a successful self-publishing career — start immediately.

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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Starting a Freelance SEO Writing Career: The Case Study of SEO Mary Continued

Today we check in on SEO Mary. Who is she? What’s she all about? …

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Freelance Writing Advice: The Saga of the $25 Press Release Client

In Friday’s post, I promised to tell you the story of the client who tried to pay $25 for a press release, instead of $125. Here goes

This client called me on a weekend. I specifically remember it was a Sunday because I was coming back from the grocery store and was preparing to take groceries out of the car.

The Grocery Story is My Good Luck Charm for Landing Freelance Writing Jobs

As an aside, I seem to get called a lot in the grocery store. The first serious inquiry I ever got for SEO writing was a client who called me while I was grocery shopping in WalMart. We spent a good 10 minutes talking, and I had to tell him to excuse the announcement for sale items coming over the loud speaker. He chuckled at that and right then, I knew he was going to be cool to work with. That’s proven to be the case.

But, I digress . . . back to this, the $25 press release client. 

So I’m getting ready to step out of my car to unload bags and my phone rings. I did deep in the recesses of my purse, and finally locate my phone. I answer it and am surprised because it’s a potential client – calling on a Sunday. Not many do this.

Cold Emailing Works!

He tells me he got my email (I cold email a lot) and was impressed with my credentials, yadda, yadda, yadda. He owns an internet marketing firm and needs me to do some press releases for his clients. He tells me he’ll start me off with one first, to see how it goes. And, if all goes well, he’ll be using me for other stuff as well, eg, article writing, etc.

I’m psyched, of course.

NOTE: We don’t discuss price, because I assume he’s viewed my site from the link I sent him and knows what it costs (this will come back to haunt me).

Later on that evening, I log on to see if he sent the project, but nothing. I’m not worried though. As he called on a Sunday and seemed in a bit of a rush, I just assumed that he would send it.

He sends it the next day, and gives me a couple of days to get it back to him.

If you’ll remember from Friday’s post, I told you the reason he wanted me to write the release is because the company sold a product for the home construction industry. They sent me two versions of the press release they wanted me to revise. One was written by them (it was too long), and the other was written by their client (it was too technical and too long).

Typical Press Release Writing Problems from Clients That You’ll Be Called on To Fix

So, my job was to revise it, accomplishing the following:

(i) make it relevant so it had a good chance of being picked up by the media;

(ii) make it reader friendly (as opposed to technical jargon, make it so the average reader could understand it); and

(iii) make it the proper length (one page).

It took me a good four hours to accomplish the above.

After I turned it in, the client raved about how great it was and wanted to know what my availability was for other projects. I also gave her (the partner to the first person to contact me) a couple of more marketing ideas to present to her client.

We had lots of back and forth refining the ideas she could present to her client – things she had never even thought of (in tomorrow’s post I’ll expand upon how to know when a client is a good candidate to upsell quickly).

I felt pretty confident that I’d be more work from this company. Well, what I call the “work killing angel” had other thoughts in mind. “Not so fast missy,” she said.

The Problem w/ My Invoice

When I presented the invoice for the press release a couple of days later, do you know what the client called me and said, “We got your invoice for the press release. I thought it was $25, but the invoice is for $125?”

It was said as a question, not a statement. Almost as if he expected me to say it had been a misprint.

I said, “Yes, is there a problem.”

He said, “I thought it was $25.”

I said, “What made you think that?”

He said, “It says on your site that an article is only $25.”

I said, “An article is different from a press release. The rate card on my site lists both, and one is $25 and the other is $125.”

When You’re Dealing with a Client Who Doesn’t “Get It”

He said, “I don’t understand the difference. Both are just one page.”

And this is where clarity sank in. I realized that he didn’t get it, ie, he didn’t know very much about marketing. This astounded me as they market themselves as an web marketing firm. They have a very slick site and if you came across it, you’d think they are a multi-million dollar company.

So, I gave him a very in-depth explanation, pointing out the differences between the two. He mumbled something to the effect of, “Oh, I see and said, “I don’t know if we’re going to be able to afford you going forward.”

I explained to him the going rate for press releases and told him that I understood and to keep me in mind for other work.

I haven’t heard from them again.

The moral of the story: Make sure your clients know what they’re getting – and for what price.

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coverP.S.: Get the freelance writing opportunity that allowed me to be financially secure enough to travel, live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life!”

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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How to Start an SEO Writing Career with No Experience: One Freelancer’s Success Story! (Part V of V)

This post is an update on “SEO Mary.” Mary recently landed her first SEO writing client, less than a week after she started to market. FYI, Mary is a freelance writer who has been allowing us an inside peek into how she’s starting her SEO writing career. She has agreed to give me periodic updates. Hence, at some point in the future, I’ll give an update on her story….

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