Archives for June 2012

Blogging Tips: How to Write a Blog Bio That Turns Casual Surfers into Loyal Readers

The following is a guest post from Chris Peterson of Straight North, a Chicago Web Design Company.

And you thought writing actual blog posts was daunting. Try writing a blog bio! …

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Opportunities in Freelance Writing: Realistically, How Much Should You Expect to Earn as a FT Freelance Writer Your First Year

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’re probably aware of the fact that I’ve been in publishing since 1987 and embarked on a freelance writing career in 1993. When I stop to think about it, I can’t believe I’ve been in the editorial industry this long. So, what does that have to do with the title of this post? …

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Freelance Writers: 7 Ways to Use the Slow Summer Months to Make More Money

In yesterday’s post on my SEO writing blog, I promised to dispense some ideas about how to use the slow summer months to make more money as a freelance writer when the busy fall season rolls around. So here goes . . .

I. Revise Your Freelance Writing Rates: At least once a year, you should assess you freelance writing rates. The slow summer months are as good a time as any to do this.

Freelance Writing Rate Tip: Summer is a good time to bundle services “for one low price,” rather than say, outright raise our rates. Why? Because clients are primed for rate increases at certain times (eg, the New Year). But, during summer when things may already be a little slow, it can be hard to drum up more business if you increase rates.

But if you bundle services — eg, offer a monthly package that consists of a weekly blog post and an article “for only $XX” — then this can do the trick.

See what I mean?

II. Add New Services: Been meaning to add social media management to your list of freelance writing services, but never seem to have time to write the sales page? Been wanting to offer article distribution to clients, but haven’t had time to research what to charge?

There’s no better time than when it’s slow than to knock projects like this out. Usually, all it takes is dedicating a day or two to the task in order to get it up and running.

Adding New Services Tip: Add services that: (i) complement your existing services; (ii) that clients have been asking for but you’ve never had the time to pull together; and/or (iii) that you can bundle with existing services to increase the dollar value of each invoice.

Freelance Writing Tips on How to Earn MoreIII. Start a Weekly Newsletter/Blog: In my opinion, every freelance writer should produce content that promotes their products/services/overall business on a regular basis – in order to start building a subscriber list, for this is veritable gold online. One of the best ways to do this is to blog and/or publish a weekly newsletter.

Why do I believe this? Because it works. For example, I blog (this site and at SeoWritingJobs.com) and distribute the posts in a newsletter format (Aweber). About 90% of my ebook sales come from my newsletter marketing. That’s because Inkwell Editorial’s products are constantly in front of prospects, so it’s much easier to make a sale if/when prospects are looking for the type of info the ebooks here dispense.

There’s a lot of competition out there and you MUST stay top of mind to make consistent sales.

Starting a Newsletter/Blog Tip: Make sure you clearly define your target audience. For example, my target market is other freelancers (mostly newbies). If I started a newsletter for my SEO writing company, I’d fill it with content that speaks to businesses (eg, B2B prospects) because the goal would be to land content writing gigs, not dispense info on “how to freelance, etc.,” which is what I talk about in my posts here and on SeoWritingJobs.com.

IV. Devise an Annual Editorial Calendar: Piggybacking on the last point, if you decide to start blogging / publish a newsletter on a regular basis, create an editorial calendar. In case you don’t know, all this means is to plan posts in advance, eg, what your posts will be about, how long will they be, when will they be published, etc. This way, you won’t be stumped when you sit down to write.

To use my businesses as an example, I regularly write content for two sites that have to do with freelancing; this one and SeoWritingJobs.com.

Usually, I publish a new post on this site on Tuesday (yeah, I know today’s Thursday; I’ve been travelling so am a little behind); and a new post on SeoWritingJobs.com on Wednesday. It’s been this way for going on two years now. It’s important to stick to a schedule to grow your readership. So devise an editorial calendar and stick to a pre-determined schedule as much as you can.

Planning an Editorial Calendar Tip: Always try to keep at least two posts in the can, so to speak. Pre-schedule them so that if you’re busy, you won’t have to worry about missing a publishing date because once you miss one, it’s so easy to miss another, then another. Before you know it, you won’t have updated your site in two months – which means it’ll be hard to grow your readership (and your income).

V. Create a Weekly Marketing Plan: I’m a big believer in “marketing success by the numbers.” What I mean by this is, if you make a certain number of touches – no matter what kind of touches they are – you will land freelance writing jobs.

Cold calling, email marketing, social media (yeah, it’s beginning to be effective – if it’s targeted), etc. all work. Some techniques work better than others (eg, cold calling). The point is to have a marketing plan that you adhere to week in and week out.  While almost every freelance writer will experience dry spells, if you market – consistently – there will be fewer of them if you’re constantly marketing.

Weekly Marketing Plan Tip: It’s much easier to send out a few queries a day than to do a week’s worth at one time. So if your goal is to reach out to 50 new prospects per week, you are much more likely to reach your goal if you make 10 contacts per day, instead of saying something like, “I’ll do 50 on Tuesdays.”

Why is this?

Because when Tuesday passes and you haven’t done it, it’s so much easier to push it to the next week. Right there, you’ve missed a whole week of marketing. But, if you make 10 contacts per day, even if you miss one or two days, at least you will have made 30 or 40 in one week and you can make up the other 10 or 20 the next week.

See what I mean?

VI. Get Training: One of the easiest ways to earn more as a freelance writer is to add to your skill set. So if there’s a type of writing you’ve been wanting to break into (eg, medical writing, case studies, white papers, etc.), or service you’ve been wanting to offer, then find a class or book and get to learning.

Learning SEO is one of the best things I ever did as a freelance writer. I didn’t take a class; I’m self-taught. But, I did have to take the time to learn the ins and outs. It’s paid off big time because I not only added a whole new client base to my existing freelance writing business, I also learned how to better sell my ebooks and e-classes online. I wouldn’t be half as successful promoting my stuff online had I not learned what search engine optimization was all about.

Get Training Tip: Push the envelope; train in something that will allow you to land higher-paying clients (eg, how to write white papers) and/or that can add another revenue stream to your business (eg, how to set up/manage social media accounts for new and existing clients).

VII. Chill: There’s nothing to rejuvenate the soul like downtime. Have some good ole fun! This can be anything from vacationing in the Caribbean, to curling up in your favorite chair at home with a good book.

 The important thing is to take a break from work to relax, relate and release.

Chillin’ Tip: Just do it!

How do you use downtime to increase your freelance writing income? Anything you’ve been meaning to do that you’ll use the slow summer months to get to so that you earn more come fall? Please share in the comments section below.

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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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A New Freelance Writer Asks, “What Should I Put on a Website to Attract More Clients?”

About a week ago, I received the following email from a new freelance writer about what to put on her website. She wrote: …

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