Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10 Ways to Be the Best Freelance Writer

A freelance writer’s career is only as successful as the writer. Ill-informed articles, poor grammar or dull content are three things that will not only get your article rejected, but also give you a bad rap as a writer. Take a few tips to improve your writing and your overall writer profile.

Research any article before you write it. This goes for web content, articles, advice and even blogs. Never write an article that you have not recently researched, even if you are an expert in the field. Even experts need research to back them up.

Use Personality
Show a little personality in what you write. Don’t write boring drab after boring drab and expect readers to stay interested in what you have to say. No matter the topic, there is always a little wiggle room for personality. Find your personality and flaunt it in in anyway you can within the article content...even if you are writing about garden slugs.

Be Authoritative
A writer that writes like a student is not one that is respected. Write each and ever piece like you are an expert in the field. Take action, take authority and show you expertise, even if you had to research the article in order to get it.

Capture with Intro’s
A boring introduction leaves the rest unread 90 percent of the time. After all, the intro is a reader’s quick peek at what the rest of the article will be like. Therefore, an introduction should capture attention of the reader and make them crave to read more.

Update Your Resume
With each job you complete, it should go straight to your writer’s resume. Even if you only wrote one article for a company, it still goes on your resume. A writer’s resume is an important tool, especially when you begin branching out into more respected writing positions. So update, update, update.

Branch Out
Never be a one-trick-pony. If you have expertise in gardening, write about it, but not only it. Branch out into other fields such as home improvement, food or perhaps fashion. The more topics you have experience with, the more marketable you are to other companies. After all, what restaurant will hire a writer to do food descriptions if all they have done in the past is write about dental offices?

Market Yourself
As a freelance writer, you have to find the work -- it doesn’t find you. Therefore, you have to sell yourself. If you are not confident in yourself, then employers are not going to be confident enough to hire you. Market yourself, be your biggest fan and sell yourself like you are selling a car. A successful freelance writer is truly a sales person in disguise.

Get Feedback
After each job, article or content is said and done, ask for feedback. Ask about your quality, your voice and anything you can improve on. Not only do employers respect this from freelancers, most will hire you again. This gives you an edge on the market as well because you know what employers are looking for and have already improved your weaknesses.

Use the Feedback
There is no point in asking for feedback if you don't apply it. When an employer tells you you need to learn to find better research references, then start looking into more authoritative and reputable sources to plant in your arsenal. If an employer says your introductions are dull, then read and educate yourself on how to write a captivating introduction. A book I found helpful for writing introductions: Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates

Educate Yourself
The best freelancers are constantly educating and reeducating themselves. Start reading and constantly update your resource library with new editions of style books, new writing guides and improving your overall writing quality. The more educated you are, the higher up on the pay scale you will go. Writing is like a canoe trip -- paddle your way to the end or just sit and float.

Suggested Reading: The Freelance Writer's Bible -- Something ever freelance writer should own.

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