If you haven’t been hired or sold an article yet, keep plugging away. I’ve discovered that freelance writing, like many work-at-home options, takes time to get up and running, but once you have a system, work will start coming in. Then you have to learn to manage your work and your time.
For many writers, their first jobs and article sales don’t pay very well, and that’s okay. You need to start somewhere, especially if you have no experience or clips. But writing is one of those skills that improve the more you do it, and as a result you should strive to earn more per piece.
Writing often involves a catch-22: You can’t get work without clips, but you can’t get clips without work. Writing online solves this problem because you can get low-paying writing jobs to get the experience and clips you need. With experience and clips, you have what you need to seek higher-paying gigs.
There are several ways to earn more for your writing.
When seeking higher-paying jobs, submit the same high quality resume, application, and samples, but this time also include your clips. If you’re writing a lot, don’t be afraid to tell potential employers the number of articles you’ve written. For example, I’ve written over 300 articles for LIVESTRONG. Of course, I’m not going to give a link to all 300, but sometimes I like to mention it because it sounds impressive, especially if I want to write health and fitness articles for another source.
The same is true with clips. If you only have a couple of clips, list them all. But if you have more than five, pick the ones with topics that match the media source you want to write for and are your best writing samples. For example, if I’m applying to a small business writing job, I provide clips of my small business articles for Lenovo or Chron.com, but not LIVESTRONG. Here are some more tips on how to make money online.
There is nothing that says professional writer more than a website or blog. A website/blog becomes the hub of your writing career. It’s where potential clients can go to learn about you, see your portfolio, and contact you. Do you absolutely need a website? No. Will it make a difference in your career? I believe it will.
I’m going to confess that when it comes to building an online presence, I’m a WordPress snob. WordPress is an online content management program that can be used for a website, blog, or both. Nearly all my websites are run on WordPress.
If you’re new to being online or are not very technical, it might seem overwhelming to set up a website or blog, but WordPress is like any other program (i.e., Word) in that once you learn it, you’ve got it. WordPress has periodic updates, but for the most part, nothing changes in how you use it.
Using WordPress As A Website
Out of the box, WordPress is set up to work like a blog, where you write regular posts that update on the site. However, you have the option of running WordPress like a website, in which a page you select appears as the home page every time someone visits your site.
If you don’t plan to blog, I would suggest setting WordPress to a static page that focuses on your services. Here’s how:
Decide what page you want visitors to land on when they visit your site. You can create a special page or use your About or Services page.
You might want to read how to install and customize wordpress.
At this point, you’ve learned all the basics you need to get started as an online freelance article writer. However, there are other ways to make a living writing online. Some even pay better than article writing.
Of all the types of writing jobs, copywriting is probably the most lucrative. In fact, many freelance article writers online and off also write copy.
Copywriting involves using words to entice a reader to action. The most common forms of online copywriting include:
You don’t need a degree in advertising to write copy, but you do need to understand how to write persuasively to attract people into action (i.e., buy now). There are several good books on copywriting such as The Elements of Copywriting by Gary Blake and Robert Bly.
You can find copywriting work in many of the same places you can find article writing work. If you decide to expand to copywriting, you’ll want to include a Services page on your website to let potential clients what you offer.
Ghostwriting can be lucrative, depending on the work. Ghostwriting involves writing books, reports, and even blog posts for someone else whose name appears as the writer. Celebrities and professionals use ghostwriters to help them flesh out their ideas and get them on the page. Some professionals with websites hire ghostwriters to take care of their blog content. For example, I was recently asked by a Realtor if I could write his blog posts for him. The challenge of ghostwriting is being able to write in the style of the person who will appear as the author of the book or blog.
Credit in ghost writing is sometimes given, but usually, it’s not. After all, the purpose of ghostwriting is to write on behalf of someone else. That means your name won’t appear on the work, and you may not be able to include the work in your portfolio. With that said, you can negotiate a way to use the person as a reference for other writing projects.
You can find ghostwriting work in the same places you find other writing gigs.
Not all writers are good editors. I’m not. But for those of you who have the knack for seeing errors and beefing up blah writing, there is a demand for editors. Some editing jobs are like writing jobs, in that you can find places that have lots of work, but pay very little. These options might be a good choice if you don’t have any experience or references.
That is it for today. I hope you have learned how to create a professional writer image and get paid more.