By Joe Dyton
Well, hello! I couldn’t believe I’d let a week go by since my last post. That’s inexcusable to be honest. It’s not like I was away the last week or anything. Actually, most of my free time was spent tethered to my laptop as my girlfriend puts it. So, I definitely could have put up a couple of posts. The fact of the matter is I had spent most of my free time looking for companies to email about my writing services. At least my non-blogging time was spent looking for work, but I know I need to be more diligent documenting my quest to become a freelance writer here.
As for the title of the post, it’s what I realized I need to with my marketing if I want to get a good amount of work. I mean, I knew this before; the more I reach out to businesses, publications, etc., the more I increase my odds of landing gigs. I got a good reminder of this equation last week when I read this great post published by Yuwanda Black about an SEO writer who had a $1,000 day and already has $10,000 in work lined up for the year. The whole story was impressive, but one sentence really jumped out at me, “…up your marketing efforts. For example, if you’re used to sending out 50 emails and landing at least a couple of jobs, you may have to send out 150 to land the same number when times are slow.”
After I read that, I knew I had to step up my marketing efforts. I’ve been trying to get away with sending 10 to 15 emails out a day. That’s not bad if I had steady work, but since I’m still trying to build a client base, I probably should be aiming for 20 to 30 emails and/or calls a day. I got exhausted just writing that last sentence, but if I’m getting limited replies from what I’m doing now, I don’t see another option but to “take it up a notch.”
This isn’t to say, I’m getting no feedback. I got a very positive response the other day from a marketing firm who said it’s always looking for good writers. Someone from the firm sent me their general pricing guide to show what they charge customers and most of their rates were in line with what I’d charge someone for certain projects. Other rates were more than I currently charge. I am excited to hear back from them.
I got a couple other offers to write from sites. One was the sports blog I mentioned in my last post. I have a feeling I’m going to pass on that one; apparently my pay would be based how much ad revenue my post generates. I understand that if I work really hard and come up with stories that could bring in a lot of traffic, I could make out alright. My concern is what if i do all of this research, and submit a week’s worth of stories (the site requests at least seven posts a week during the season the team I’m covering is currently playing) and they don’t generate hardly any revenue? The earning potential could be great, but it could also be bad, and the latter concerns me. I’d much rather write for a moderate, flat per-post fee to be honest.
The other offer would give me that, but the pay isn’t great; $20 for a 500-word post, with the potential to get bumped up to $40. I have this some consideration; I thought it might be good to have a position like this in my back pocket where I could write when I feel up to it and make a little extra cash here and there. Then I read this story by Kristen Hicks about why us freelancers owe it to one another to start charging more. It was an insightful article that did a great job explaining how we can all benefit from helping businesses understand what our services are truly worth. I don’t think I’d be helping the cause by pumping out $20 500-word articles.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion though. If you think I’m crazy for turning away any kind of work, please tell me so in the comments section! I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this.
Thanks for reading!
I downloaded Sophie Lizard’s (FREE!) “The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs”. I can’t wait to read through it.
Jenn Mattern breaks down two freelance writing niches: Profits vs. Passion.
Shawndra Russell reveals the Table of Contents to her book, “How to Become a Freelance Writer in 30 Days”.
John Soares can help you get more freelance gigs for more money.
By Joe Dyton
Well, it’s been a few days since I’ve put up a post, so I thought I’d just do an overview of what I’ve been up to since my Hard Day’s Nights.
A lot of my quest to build my own writing business is spent marketing my services either through email, phone calls or snail mail. However, I’ve also spent a lot of time educating myself on what it takes to be a freelance writer. Over the last few months I’ve been reading The Freelancer’s Bible by Freelancers Union Sara Horowitz. This has been a great guide on all things freelance; how to look for clients, manage your business, get insurance, etc. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m also currently reading “How to Become a Freelance Writer in 30 Days” by Shawndra Russell. This book has been good for teaching me new things about becoming a freelance writer, but also refreshing my memory on others.
The last couple of days, I finally cracked open Tom Ewer’s “Successful Freelance Writing Online”. I had downloaded a few months ago, but hadn’t gotten a chance to read it until now. I’m about halfway through and I like how Ewer not only explains how to find clients, but also how to write solid blog posts.
Trust me, there’s a reason I’m rattling off my reading list. As you may remember, I recently had to write three (!) trial articles for this freelance web writing job I applied for. My articles were due last Friday, and I haven’t heard back from them yet, so I have to assume I didn’t get the gig. Anyway, after I started to read Ewer’s book, I realized there were some ways I could have made those trial articles stand out a little bit more. I could have come up with catchier headlines and rather than writing in standard paragraph form, I could have done a “5 Things You Need To Know About…” format. These are things I know already, but sometimes reading them reinforces it.
The point of all this is I think it’s important to never stop learning about this craft. As we get more experienced and get more and more work, it’s easy to think we know it all. I’ve been writing since 1999 and I know there are still things I can learn. I know it’s cliche that a great way to become a better writer is to read, but it’s true. I was reminded of that this week.
Horowitz presents The Freelancers Pyramid of Self-Acualization. What kind of freelancer are you?
David Geer explains how to approach each month to make more money writing.
Heather Lloyd-Martin offers 10 tips to keep you from writing for peanuts.
Kristen Fischer has four tips for wannabe freelance writers.
Joe Dyton (@dyton99) is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, DC. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Joe Dyton
Between my marketing efforts yesterday and waking up with a splitting headache this morning, I didn’t do too much with my writing business today. I didn’t want the whole day to go by without having done anything though, so I did the next step in the freelance writing book I’m currently reading; Shawndra Russell’s “How to Become a Freelance Writer in 30 Days”. I’m currently on Day 11, which calls for creating or updating your current Twitter account. I already have a Twitter account, so I updated my bio to read that I’m a freelance journalist and copywriter, author of this blog and co-host of The GD Podcast. It’s a great read, and I recommend it to anyone who’s looking to break into freelance writing.
Sorry I don’t have more to report today, but I feel I will this upcoming week when I dive into the call list I put together yesterday and hopefully start hearing back from the companies I have emailed recently. My hope with this blog is that it just won’t be “I emailed X companies or called Z publications” each day. My vision is to also talk about the assignments I get and tell tales of negotiating with potential clients when I do get work. I also hope to get questions and comments from you guys that I can incorporate into my posts, so please don’t be shy!
I plan to enter the 83rd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. How about you?
Need help launching your freelance writing business? Check out Peter Bowerman’s The Well-Fed Group Coaching Program.
Ed Gandia lists Seven Simple Success Strategies to Implement in 2014.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great week, everybody! Thanks for reading!
Joe Dyton is freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, DC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter @dyton99.