How To Create A Professional Image And Get Paid More

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.

Getting Paid More

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.

Finding Higher-Paying Jobs

There are several ways to earn more for your writing.

  1. Write well with few edits. Many writing publications will increase pay for writers who can submit quality articles that don’t require many edits.
  2. Leverage your certifications or degrees. Health writers tend to earn more because they’re required to have specialized education in medicine, nursing, nutrition, fitness, or other related health fields. Business and law also pay more on average. Find websites related to your field, certification, or degree and see if they hire writers.
  3. Ask for more. If you’ve written several good articles with little to no editing, ask about getting paid a higher rate.
  4. Search the writing job sites for better jobs. You can use the resources provided in Appendix C to find jobs.
  5. Contact websites directly about writing opportunities. Writers read. When you’re reading online for work or pleasure, see if the site hires freelance writers. For example, if you love trains, know a lot about trains, and visit train websites, email the sites and ask if they use freelance writers.
  6. Join LinkedIn. When it comes to finding work, a great place to network is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is all about work, networking, referrals, and expanding your career.

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.

Creating A Professional Image Through A Website Or Blog

creating a professional writer's image

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

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.

  1. Log in to your WordPress account. Click on Settings and Reading.
  2. Toggle the Static Page option and indicate what page or post you want visitors to see when they arrive at your site. The page needs to be already created to choose it from the list.
  3. Click Save.

You might want to read how to install and customize wordpress.

Other Freelance Writing Opportunities

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.

Copywriting

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:

  • Sales pages
  • Press Releases
  • Ads – i.e. pay-per-click ads
  • Item descriptions – for example, an online store might want someone to write descriptions of their products for their online catalog
  • Social media posts
  • Email messages
  • Blog posts
  • Advertising scripts
  • White Papers and other business writing

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

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.

Editing

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.

Checklist for Creating a Professional Writer’s Image
  • Seek higher-paying writing gigs.
  • Create a profile and network on LinkedIn.
  • Build a writer website to show off and promote your services.
  • Consider offering other writing-related services.

That is it for today. I hope you have learned how to create a professional writer image and get paid more.