As you might have guessed, I work as a freelance writer and content marketer, a service for small business owners who want to expand their brand’s presence online.
During the time that I have been providing these services, I learned many valuable lessons, some of which I’ll share in this article.
This Article is for Writers But Anyone Can Benefit From The Tips:
Keep in mind that I wrote this article from a freelance writer’s viewpoint but most of the tips can be applied to other service providers (substitute freelance writer with any other freelance service and the tips will be just as effective).
It’s been over 5 years now since I started writing articles for cash online, and even though there is still a lot for me to learn, I have reached a point where I’m quite satisfied with my progress and I have plenty of experience under me belt.
It’s been a long road, with a lot of ups and downs and many frustrating moments. Looking back, I realized that I haven’t made as much progress as other freelance writers, some writers go from earning peanuts to writing articles for major organizations in a matter of months.
I took a little longer. Nevertheless, I’m proud of the lessons that I learned…
Unfortunately, I lacked the drive, and remained stuck in the peanut-client zone, writing articles for content farms and search engine optimization companies, companies that preferred quantity over quality.
Looking back, I realize these clients stunted my growth as a freelance writer and made it difficult for me to improve my skills because they wanted to same low quality articles that would be submitted to article directories, with little emphasis on quality!
It wasn’t until later when I started writing articles for my own website and interacting with readers that I spotted some common trends, trends that gave me a deeper insight into the whole content creation business.
I’m here to share those lessons with you, so let’s begin.
1. Create a Valuable Service and You Will Have No Problem Acquiring Clients
It’s not all about the money; it’s about creating a valuable service or product regardless of the pay-check. Investing in improving your skills as a writer is probably the best thing that you can do for your business!
Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills:
- Write 1,000 words every single day!
- Read as many books as possible and pay attention to new words and grammar patterns.
- Create a blog and consistently contribute to it.
- Read books about copy-writing and sales.
- Write what you would want to read.
- Got more? Leave a comment!
This rule applies to any type of business; if your service is exceptional and you leave a pleasant feeling in every customer that crosses your path, there will never be a shortage of work for you and your business will experience explosive growth.
Also, if you’re business provides immense value people will not hesitate to hand over wads of cash because they recognize the value. I think this is one of the most important lessons that I learned when it comes to self-employment.
if you’re business provides immense value people will not hesitate to hand over wads of cash because they recognize the value.
Like most internet-marketing fans, I bought into a bunch of courses that charged an arm and a leg when the meat of the product lacks value. It definitely does not trigger a feeling of pleasure when you buy into a product only to realize it was nothing close to what you thought it would be.
That’s no way to conduct business, but unfortunately that’s how a lot of people go about it because they’re told to chase the cash instead of chasing the value. How many internet marketing courses have you seen with headlines that advertise income claims?
Most of them!
In order to provide a valuable content creation service, I had to learn how to write articles that are perfect for website owners and can help them reach their marketing objectives, even if the cash reward was obsolete.
2. Badly Formatted Articles are Painful to Read
This is a really important tip!
When I read an article or book that is not properly formatted, I feel physical pain; it hurts my eyes!
When writing an article, it’s important to double-check the text format and make sure that the article is easy to read, otherwise people will leave the website.
Internet surfers are becoming more and more lazy, if they don’t find the information that they need in a few seconds, they’ll click away and look for a different website.
So make it easy for them!
If you make your articles easy to read, your readers will reward you with social media shares, comments, and sales.
You’ll notice that articles on this website are always easy to read, that’s because I know that nobody wants to read massive chunks of text; it’s a burden on the eyes.
I write articles that I would like to read.
Thankfully, formatting articles is extremely easy (especially in WordPress) and all you really have to do is remember to include regular paragraph breaks, sub-headings, and bold important text (I like to include quotes, too).
Bold text attracts the eyes but it can also be a distraction if there’s too much!
I like to insert a paragraph break every 2-3 sentences.
But after one is okay too!
Most bloggers, even top-bloggers, fail to include regular line breaks, and that makes their articles difficult for readers to understand, especially speed readers.
You’ll want to highlight the main points of the article so that speed readers can absorb the most important points without having to read the entire article.
You have to accept that some people don’t want to scroll through the entire article, so make sure that the article accommodates fast readers as well.
I have to admit that I scan articles, sometimes I take it slow, but most of the time I scan through articles. I’m sure you do too!
When writing articles, scan through the content and only read the sub-headings and bold text, does it still make sense?
So remember that badly formatted articles are a pain on the eyes!
3. Conversational Tone Beats Everything Else!
I read more often then I write, and as an avid reader, I know reading technical and scientific articles is not fun at all (unless you happen to be a scientist).
Most people are casual readers and are not interested in massive chunks of text littered with complicated words and confusing metaphors.
I know, as a writer you sometimes feel the need to demonstrate your writing skills and impress the reader with fancy words and neat phrases. Still, I have found that casual articles written in a conversational tone are much more effective than technical articles.
It’s simple; they’re easier to read and more people can understand the point that you’re trying to make. Not everyone has an extensive vocabulary!
So, once again, it’s imperative that you keep your reader in mind when you write articles. Make sure that your articles are written in a way that is easy for the average person to understand.
When writing articles, one tip that I found extremely useful is to imagine that you are having a conversation with your reader (hence the conversational tone).
Write how you speak. It’s a conversation not a debate. No need to use complicated words.
So, if you want to make a full-time income from your blog then it would benefit you to learn how to write awesome articles that are informative and entertaining to read (or if you don’t have the time, I can help out).
You’ll be rewarded with more comments, social media shares, and bonus traffic (that will convert into sales). This will in turn encourage you to create more articles and your website will expand until it’s a booming business.
For examples, check out any of the most popular internet marketing blogs and pay attention to how their articles are written, one of my favorite websites is Income Diary!
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Advice
As a freelance writer, it’s easy to assume that it’s a cut-throat marketplace and you have to keep all your clients secret and never interact with other writers. I used to avoid networking with other writers because I was afraid that they would steal my ideas or ruin my business (irrational fears, nothing like that I ever happened to me).
Once I put those fears aside and started networking with like-minded freelancers, I was able to learn a lot more and I made a lot of interesting connections. Not to mention that occasionally other freelancers need to outsource some of their work.
More importantly, I asked for advice. Sometimes all it takes is taking the courage to send a simple email to someone and ask for a little bit of advice. This also means investing in your skills, buying books, attending webinars, purchasing courses, etc.
Does the name Bamidele Onibalusi mean anything to you? It’s not a name that you hear often, but he’s the person behind the mega-successful website Writers in Charge, one of the largest websites dedicated to freelance writing tips and tricks.
Awhile back I bought one of his products, an eBook on how to find clients for your freelance writer business, and I wrote a detailed review. Check it out. It’s one of the most informative books that I read about freelance writing and I highly recommend it.
So, in a nutshell, if you come face to face with a problem, whether it’s a business problem or a personal issue, seek advice!
I’m also a huge fan of niche specific forums!
5. Network and Promote Your Services
In the previous article I wrote, I talked about how to promote articles on social media.
But social media is not so effective when you don’t have a lot of followers. You have to work on creating a presence on social media in order for it to become a powerful marketing tool, sometimes that takes a long time.
Therefore, it’s not the most effective marketing tool for people who are completely new to making cash online, whether their freelancers or not. For beginners, I suggest heading out and networking with similar website owners (so not really heading out).
Now, when you think about networking the first image that pops into your head is likely a seminar room full of people in business suits exchanging glossy business cards and describing their company’s and business ideas, shaking hands with a smile.
That’s one way to network, but I have found it difficult to find these magical events, and they’re are other ways to network too, that don’t force me to confront my fear of crowds.
You can network with people online just as easily as offline, and there’s no need to leave the comfort of your room!
How do you network with people? It’s simple, find their website, and do them a favor.
Leave an impression and you’ll pop-up on their radar!
Favors you can do for people online:
- Share their article on social media.
- Leave a comment on their articles.
- Send them a message and help them out with some free advice.
- Mention them in an article.
- Buy their products.
- Subscribe to their email lists.
- Write a positive but honest review about one of their products.
- And much more…
One of the best ways to get on someone’s radar is to buy their products.
Of course, not everyone has the cash to buy a product from every website they land on. Still, complete one of the above favors and you’ll notice that you just created a little relationship with that person, and they’ll likely return the favor in the future.
Sometimes, if you take the time to do something nice for someone, in the real world and online, they’ll repay the favor one hundred times over, and it will be more than worth it but remember sometimes they don’t, and that’s okay too.
If you want to create real relationships online, take the time to do small favors for website owners.
Something as simple as re-tweeting an article can put you on someone’s radar. Most people will receive an email notification when someone re-tweets a link on Twitter and they’ll check out that person’s Twitter account, and if your Twitter account accurately describes your skills, they’ll take note.
I know because that’s how I configured my Twitter notifications, and I have found some pretty interesting individuals just from interactions on Twitter!
6. Guest Posts Work Wonders
Contrary to what you might think, writing and publish new articles every day is one of the slowest ways to generate traffic for a website.
I know of a few writers that only have a simple writer’s website but they have a never-ending supply of clients because they continuously write guest posts for other websites.
Publishing articles regularly is kind of like making a speech in a room that’s full of empty chairs. It might sound contradictory to what you have been told but it’s the truth. Creating articles and publishing them to a blog does not guarantee traffic.
You have to actually promote the articles!
Now, this applies to people who are not freelancers, even small business owners will benefit from guests posts. Search for websites in your niche and email them asking for their guest post guidelines. It won’t be difficult to find a list of website’s that allow you to contribute guest posts.
Before I started writing articles for my blog on this website, I was focusing on getting articles published on other websites with a link back to my services. It’s also another way to network with other blog owners!
So, don’t be afraid to write guest posts, in fact, I suggest that you actively search for guest post opportunities.
Find a website that is fairly popular and pitch them a guest post idea. You can even have the article pre-written and send the full article in the pitch (that’s actually a content marketing strategy that I recommend to clients).
Soon enough people those empty chairs will start to fill up and you’ll have someone who listens to your speeches!
Even though I think that publishing articles and hoping for traffic is not the most effective strategy to building an online business, it’s a good idea for freelance writers to create a blog where they can demonstrate their skills.
Next time you send a pitch to a potential client, include the link to your blog instead of listing all your previous work, it’s easier and quite effective.
7. Your Services are a Work of Art.
This is similar to the first point that I mentioned, but I thought I would expand on the subject.
Your work should be a work of art, artists don’t feel satisfied unless their job is complete and they are proud of their work.
In other words, take steps to guarantee that your website looks it’s best and your content makes sense, scan for grammar mistakes and edit typos.
Different people have different philosophies when it comes to their projects, some people like to create content as fast as possible and get it out there as fast as possible, while others will perfect their work and then release it to the public.
I’m sure that you noticed some websites publish article every single day but most of the articles are short and are not very in-depth.
Similarly, there are other websites that publish massive guides once or twice a month but those articles have a massive impact and are shared thousands of times on social media, bringing in waves and waves of traffic.
I’m not here to debate which method is superior because I believe everyone has their unique preferences and tastes. I like to work on an article for a week or more before I send it out into the world, but that’s just me. What works for me might not work for you.
Regardless, the principle still stands, whatever you choose to publish should be polished as much as possible.
You have to hold your work to a higher standard, not only will this force you to create the habit of only delivering the best quality work but you’ll also impress clients, and they’ll in turn reward you with referrals, and that means a more successful business for you.
For further reading check out this article.
Like I mentioned earlier, most people chase the cash and want to find the fastest ways to provide a service and make fast cash. I like to take my time with my work, even if that means sinking in a few extra hours, the quality difference is worth it.
Look at it from this perspective, if everyone is rushing to deliver fast and low quality results, the person who delivers quality results will stand out from the crowd, and he’ll be able to charge a premium for his services because he knows his services are better than everyone else’s (and clients know this too).
So, once again, when it comes to providing a service, it’s imperative that you over-deliver and create the best results possible, even if that means spending a few more extra hours on the project.
Summarizing What We Learned:
Well, I shared a lot of valuable lessons in this article, and I hope that you remember them and use them to take your business further.
I broke the main points down into bite-sized chunks for your convenience.
- Value attracts clients. Focus on the value.
- Write articles with a conversational tone, whether for your website or for a client.
- Seek out advice and ways to improve your skills.
- Network as much as possible, do free favors for other website owners to pop-up on their radar.
- The best way to get on someone’s radar is to buy one of their products.
- Write guest posts to increase traffic and get the word out. You can’t create a successful business without traffic.
- Treat your work as you would a painting and don’t release anything that does not fill you with a sense of pride.
- Lastly, be consistent, and solve problems.
So that’s it.
Congratulations on reading the entire article!
You might think that the information in this article is a little overwhelming but the truth is that we barely scratched the surface of online business.
But that’s okay!
More articles are due in the future!