The Importance of Authenticity and Being You

The Importance of Authenticity and Being You

Most projects require a team.

For me, it’s content strategists, content marketers, editors, publishers and illustrators who breathe the initial life into my content marketing articles and blog posts.

But, ultimately your business, brand or byline is seen as an individual. The end product is what your readers or consumers identify with and build a loyalty to.

So, are you authentic? Personable? Real? This is something I strive for daily. When you work online, it’s incredibly easy to automate and share links. But that’s not always what your readers want.

They want to know you.

I was thinking today about why people are so addicted to browsing their Facebook feed. I took off my marketing hat and boiled it down to entertainment, relaxation and quick information. Posts about in-depth studies and overly complicated theories don’t belong on social media. Save those for your blog or e-book.


Each time you post to your business-based social media accounts, blog or newsletter, are you speaking in a tone that you’d stop and listen to? Is the message catchy? Inspiring? Fun? Sharable?

I’ve noticed a trend over the past two years. Businesses are becoming more informal. They’re showing you behind-the-scenes looks at what they do, introducing you to the worker bees, showing outtakes and asking their readers what they want to see.

Have you started a conversation with your readers today? Be authentic and you’ll notice an upswing in consumer loyalty.

With that, I’m off to post another yoga selfie on Instagram or my latest writing snafu on Facebook. Why? Because I’m a real person behind this blog post.

Never miss another post from Web Writing Advice. Get email updates once a week by subscribing. As a bonus, I’ll send you my free e-book, “18 Ways to Increase Online Writing Productivity and Earnings”. Click HERE.
 

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Posted in Social Media for Writers, Uncategorized, Work-Life Balance, Writing Tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Dark Truths: 5 Ways Freelance Writers Get Screwed Over

The Dark Truths: 5 Ways Freelance Writers Get Screwed Over

No job is perfect. Being a freelance writer has perks, but there are several challenges we face each day. Today I’m taking off the rose-colored glasses and getting real. If you own a small writing business or are a business-of-one, be aware of these downfalls (that can sometimes be avoided!)

1. People will steal your pitches and ideas.

Whether you’re discussing the perfect article idea with a colleague or you formally pitched a publisher, at some point in your writing career, expect your ideas to be snatched out from underneath you. More than once, I’ve lamented about an idea I’ve had brewing, then saw a similar headline published in the next day or two. Hmmm, I wonder where they came up with that topic?

Guard your ideas closely and don’t give away too many details. If you’re pitching a publisher, be sure they tell you the process for pitching. Are you simply sharing ideas, or are they guaranteeing you will be the one to get to write from the pitch? There is a difference!

2. Sources will disappear mid-conversation.

I can’t count how many times I’ve reached out to experts to comment for an article, and they agree with enthusiasm. They love the free mention online! We chat for a bit via email, and all of a sudden they stop replying. Some come back later with legitimate reasons for their online absence, while others are just gone. This makes it tough to finish a piece or hit your deadline.

Always have backup sources ready to go. I like to use HARO and Source Bottle to locate subject experts on short notice. Or, I call on local resources, such as my dietician, veterinarian or doctor for a quick quote. They’re usually more than happy to help out.

3. Payments will go missing.

Getting paid as a freelancer can be tough. Most publishers and marketing agencies have a system in place to pay their contractors. But, if you’re working with an individual who promises to cut you a check, you have to go with your gut and hope they stick to their contract with you. If something seems off, step away.

I’ve had well-respected publishers buy articles, publish them, then submit a PayPal refund request. What? It’s already been published! There’s not much you can do unless you have the money and time to pursue legal action. And most of the time, it’s not worth spending the money and time to get a payment of a few hundred dollars.

4. Clients will disappear overnight.

In the early days of my freelance writing career, I would write articles on spec, and hope to sell them to clients who would bid on them. It was a way to get my name out there and earn some side cash. One website went offline overnight. I had built up an account of several hundred dollars that never did get paid. Despite tracking down the website owners elsewhere online, my requests always fell on deaf ears.

The moral here? Now I only work with established, reputable companies that would lose a lot of credibility (and sales!) if they were here one day and gone the next. Pick your clients carefully.

5. Guidelines will change after you sign a contract.

Nothing is set in stone, so to say. After you sign a contract for work, be ready for the client to throw you curve balls. The deadline gets shortened. They want more sources. They need an additional sidebar of information for no extra pay. Oh, and now they want you to take original, high-quality photos to accompany the article.

If a publisher asks for so many changes, ask for a revised contract. Or, work out each new detail as you go. I’ve successfully asked for an increase in pay after itemizing the additional work requested, and approximate time it would take me to complete it. I don’t work for free, and neither should you.

What challenges have you faced as a freelancer? Chat about it in the comments below using Facebook or the comment form!

Never miss another post from Web Writing Advice. Get email updates once a week by subscribing. As a bonus, I’ll send you my free e-book, “18 Ways to Increase Online Writing Productivity and Earnings”. Click HERE.

 

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Posted in Landing Writing Jobs, Small Business Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How I’m Growing My Business in 2017

How I'm Growing My Business in 2017

Here we go again. It’s a new year and everyone is thinking about goals. Of course, when you’re a small business person the ultimate wishes are to grow your business, increase profits and boost your visibility in your industry.

But to make those things happen, you have to take action. Each year I review what my goals were for the previous year, decide if they were met, and brainstorm what the upcoming months should look like to get where I want to be.

So, today I’m sharing a few snippets of my 2017 business goals and tips that helped me become a successful full-time independent contractor.

5 Actionable Tips to Drive Your Business Forward

1. Ease up on automation and be yourself. So much social media interaction is via pre-scheduled posts. I’m not saying I don’t use those services too, but you’ll also find me tweeting, posting on Facebook and gramming about daily life to help relate to my audience. Warning: There are ample pictures of yoga, pets and food on my Instagram account!


2. Evaluate your most profitable work tasks. Then, make them a priority. I’m slowly making this happen by juggling my freelance writing clients. I’m sending more pitches to the editors who handle writing assignments that I find the most enjoyable and give me the biggest return on my time investment. In the end, work smarter, not longer, to pad the bank account.

3. Make time for yourself. It takes an incredibly long (unprofitable) time to dig yourself out of a burnout situation and get your business back on track. Instead, make a little time each day to enjoy nature, read a book that’s not related to work, go to the gym, play with a pet or share a homemade dinner with someone you love. The happiness and energy from self-care will propel you forward both in your personal and professional endeavors.

4. Put everything on your schedule. I use Google Calendar faithfully to map out each work task. I schedule writing assignments, invoicing, processing payroll, marketing tasks — and yes — writing for my own website. If it’s not visible and on a list, things tend to get pushed aside. Give your business tasks the attention they deserve. Sloppy entrepreneurs don’t thrive!

5. Be ready to make changes. As I move forward, I’m trying to take note of what works best for my business, not what should work in general. For example, my Instagram account gets more love than Facebook. So, I’m going to be spending more time there in the future, despite the general popularity of Facebook. Hang out where your fans and customers are, not where you think you should be!

What are you working on to improve your business? Tweet me or comment below!

Note: This post was updated on January 2, 2017.

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Posted in Small Business Tips, Uncategorized, Writing Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment