Want to sell your writing? You can. It’s a simple formula, based on three activities. They’re three activities you can perform every day; you don’t even need to be at your computer. You can write anywhere you are, on any device.
An aside: try out Penflip, my newest discovery for writing anywhere, and collaborating with others too.
We’ve discussed why you’re not making the freelance income you want:
Clare, one of my writing students, built up a full calendar of writing jobs within three weeks. I asked her how she did it. She said: “I talked to people – that’s all. My hairdresser gave me the idea when she asked me about creating a blog. So, I thought, if a hairdresser in a very small town knows about blogging, and wants a blog, others do too.”
The key, as Clare discovered, is talking to people. We’ll see why that’s important in a moment. “Talking” to people has never been more important, both in person, and on social media.
Here’s the formula:
- Write – you need to be seen as a WRITER;
- Promote your writing. Someone once said that if you don’t want to promote your writing, there’s a solution. Write in your diary. Professional writers act professionally: they promote;
- Engage with others – ask for writing gigs, and inspire others too.
Let’s look at the formula in more detail.
1. Write: be seen as a writer
Writers write. Publicly. In days gone by, writers were relatively private. They amassed a collection of writing clips, and approached individual markets. As the quality of a writer’s clips improved, he moved up the hierarchy of markets, eventually reaching the top tier.
Writing “privately” isn’t possible these days because markets have changed. Newspapers have closed, as have magazines. Overall, magazines no longer pay as well as they did, nor do they use as much editorial content.
If you want to be well paid as a writer, you need to write for business, as well as writing for publications. You also need to consider writing for the Kindle. Even if you sell few ebooks, you’re seen as an author.
Be seen on Google
So, where you do write “publicly”? On your own website, and on your own and others’ blogs. In 2013 and beyond, your blog is the hub of your social media activities, which we’ll discuss in steps 3 and 4.
Anyone looking to hire you will type your name into Google, or into one of the other search engines. Try it now. Go to Google.com and type your name. What comes up?
You need to make sure that when someone types your name into Google, you’re seen to be a writer.
The following two steps circle back to this step – being seen as a writer. Everything you do is important. We talked about Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm.
As Ammon Johns points out:
Google is trying to get away from exact wording to understanding the concepts. So no matter how verbose or roundabout your search for pizza restaurant in Denver may be, the search it runs is exactly the same as “Denver Pizza Restaurant”, “Pizza Restaurant Denver”, etc.
Google is applying the semantics and conceptualization to the search itself, the actual query, not to the pages.
In summary: you need to be seen as a writer, publicly, on Google and elsewhere online.
2. Promote your writing
These days, promotion is all about content. There are the two main reasons:
- Advertising is less effective than it used to be, and when it is effective, it’s expensive;
- Content is cost-effective.
Remember our first step, and “be seen on Google?” Google’s gone social in a big way, so you need to promote on social media. What do you promote? Your content.
Choose a couple of social media networks. It doesn’t matter which you choose – BUT include Google+: Hummingbird, remember? Once you’re on Google+, you’ll see that your Google+ material is indexed in Google almost instantly.
My other primary network is Twitter; I like it.
3. Engage: ask and inspire
Now let’s look at step 3.
You’re creating content, you’re seen as a writer, and you’re on social media. It’s time to ASK and inspire:
Let’s say you want to write for Magazine X. You could comment on stories, tweet about stories, tweet their writers, mention the editor, respond to a post they made on Google+, or on their Facebook page… It’s up to you.
Thank people who mention you, or like something you’ve posted. Ask questions. Respond to people who mention you, or message you.
Three easy steps get results
If you’re a new freelance writer, I’m sure you’re thinking: “easy? The woman’s totally mad…”
You’ll find that the formula is experiential – use it and see.
Here’s what to do:
- Take steps, 1, 2 and 3;
- Repeat them.
Does it sound confusing? It’s not. Remember, we said that you’ll make money writing for businesses. That’s where the money is. Businesses large and small need your writing services, but they’re busy. They’d rather put off looking for a writer. You need to be PUBLIC so that they find you. Have fun. 🙂
Join Angela on Google+, and on Twitter: @angee
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