Is there no end to the writing?
Say what you will about visuals, YouTube, and Flash, the ‘net is still a text-driven medium. We’re still looking for information, and for the most part, that means words. I once heard it say, “A picture may be worth a thousand words, but you still have to get them in the right order.”
This fact, coupled with the way that search engines access information, has led to an explosion of words. “Content, content, content” is the song web gurus are singing. As a result, a lot of sites are out looking for content, and many are willing to pay for you to create it.
Many bloggers have begun to see the value that good writing brings. Well-written articles draw viewers and links. As people come to their site, ads and affiliate links can turn clickthroughs into cash. In addition, for blogs that qualify, sites like Pay-Per-Post can actually turn product reviews and other sorts of bloggery into paying projects. Once you’ve signed up and qualified your blog, you can select writing “opportunities”. Writing up these items (with a link) can bring anywhere from $5 on up, paid by the destination site. For those that are concerned, PPP makes sure that bloggers comply with all full-disclosure rules.
Helium.com, on the surface, looks like many other articles directories, except that the interface appears to be a little bit better designed. But, on closer inspection, in the “Marketplace” links, there are a number of topics with a price tag next to them. If you write about the topic, and your article is accepted by that particular publisher, you get paid.
Here’s some helps to get you started as a freelance writer:
- Write a lot
If you hated writing in High School, and you struggle with even a basic introductory paragraph for your website, maybe this isn’t the avenue for you. On the other hand, if you like to write, then the best thing for you to do is do a lot of it. Journals, blogs, poems, lists. Write anything.
Not everything you write will be incredible. It doesn’t have to be. Simply the more you write, the better you’ll get at it, and the more ideas you’ll have to draw from.
- Read a lot
Ever hear of GIGO? It means “Garbage In – Garbage Out”. How can anyone expect to pull great writing out of their head if they don’t put great writing into it in the first place. I don’t mean you have to dive into the classics, although it’s not a bad idea. You can read the newspapers. Read other bloggers. Harry Potter. Anything. The more you read, the better your ear for “good language” will be, and the better your writing will be.
- Write about something you know about
While the world is full of freelance writers who can research topics, do interviews, and compile compelling articles, it’s much better to begin with things you already understand well, especially if you feel a certain amount of energy and passion for issues in that area. Part of what you’re trying to do is to establish yourself as a known and respected name in the subject, so it works much better if you know the subject well.
- Write as you speak
I know some people who have a tendency to speak in very friendly ways, but then when they write, turn more formal. In some cases, formality is correct. Academic, technical, and legal writing, for example, require a certain tone to carry the proper authority. On the other hand, when you’re writin’ to the masses, then keep it real, dude…
- Get an editor
That doesn’t mean, however, that you should abandon effective grammar, spelling, and punctuation. One of the reasons why those rules exist is to keep things clear. It’s important to have your material read over by someone else. No matter how good you are, you will miss many of your own mistakes.
A good editor will also help you in points of style and overall presentation. I admit, for example, that I have a tendency to get wordy, and blow on and on for endless pages, it seems. An editor can have an impact and say, “This article is only supposed to be 500 words. Cut it back.” Conversely, a good editor might encourage you to split a topic into a multi-article series. In any case, having an outside eye and ear can make your work better.
- Find outlets
Hit the web and look for places to place your articles. Look for people that would be interested in them. Look for sites that you could write for, and offer them your services. Offer to write press releases for companies. Get creative and see who might be willing to pay for your creative skills.
- Write an article about internet business and submit it to eShop-Talk!
Mark is the co-director of http://seotrafficmagnet.com, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome (http://clickincome.com). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.