It is a question of trust. Unless you are a proven writer or an expert in the field you are supposed to write about, you’ll just have to earn it. If you get a chance.
The problem is, you usually have to make a contact through an e-mail, social media message, or a writing of yours, some writing. Simply, based on this, your possible employer has to have a hunch that you will do a good job. Without any direct contact of some sort a seasoned employer is not bound to do that. To always remind you of this situation, you should have a video of your dog (or neighbour’s dog, doesn’t matter) chasing its tail playing regularly as your screensaver. It might inspire you to come up with something that will give your possible employers that hunch they need to take that perceived risk of theirs.
Simply, you just can’t stick only to your ‘expertise’. You might have your hands full at the moment, but what when the jobs in that field dry up, or competition (cheaper at that) ones up, or you simply get tired of writing about the ‘same old’? You have to try something else. Maybe you want to go back to that old office routine? I guess not.
Of course, giving up is not an option. As another reminder, you can from time to time play Leonard Cohen’s prophetic “The Future” - it can definitely be “murder”. So, relax and think what else is possible, how you can approach the suspicions that will be there, no matter what. Because, it is possible.
It seems that the two key words among the well-established professionals who give advice on content writing these days are specialisation and niche. For me, a a bilingual speaker, the word niche is associated with either a small closet where all the preserves and cakes were kept, usually under a key or Niš (same pronunciation), a city further down south in the Balkans.
Ok, I get it, to be able to land a more profitable writing job, you have to know (or learn?) a bit more about the subject you are to write about. It could give the person/company you are writing for a sense of security that you will know what you are talking about.
But then, isn’t your specialty writing itself? You will never know as much about IT as, for example, an IT online company that needs a press release or a brief. If it was only in presenting all they know about the subject, they wouldn’t need you as writer, would they?
Still, you cannot simply produce a rising template, and just simply replace software terminology with bread baking equipment terminology. You have to inform yourself, thoroughly, about the subject, even if you are under pressure of the set timing.
Of course, if you know more about Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy more than about Bill(y) Gates, you’ll aim to get to write about what you know better. But still, your key special ‘niche’ is writing and you should not shy away from subjects you are not so familiar words.
In essence, for me, the key is in establishing a balance between what you already know and what you have yet to learn. That balance should be the niche.
January 15, 2017
Writing this one, I put on the old Byrds (and rock as well) classic “So You Wanna Be A Rock’n’Roll Star”. Fits perfectly. Why, what? So you wanna be a modern (copy)writer, all the advice tells you to get heavily involved into social media - any and all of them - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest… should I go on? I probably even don’t know how many are there anyway.
You can resist as much as you want, be afraid of how much time you’ll have to ‘waste’ out there in the cold world of electronic media, get overwhelmed with all the information… the fact is, at some point you’ll have to do it, No ifs or buts about it.
The thing is, whether all your fears will come true or whether you will strike that electronic gold streak, basically depends solely on you. What are the chances of getting lost in social media? Infinite. What could be the possible benefits. Same answer.
The reason all lies on you is to know your reasons why (write it down, it is yet another practice) you’re getting out there and to pace yourself accordingly. Oh, and have your wallet close by, you’ll need it at some point.
When you start doing your research on how to approach this social media ‘thing’, expect your mailbox to be swarmed with all sorts and sizes from experts and ‘experts’. But, don’t be afraid, very soon you’ll know who stays and is read and who ends in trash the instant it is in.
Next, you’ll have to make a choice of the social media you want to start out with, based on what you want to achieve. More than three at a start and you’ll forget when was the last time you went to kitchen to grab something to eat. Of course, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are among the obvious choices.
Then, like any other work assignment you set yourself, you’ll have to set the times you want to check these media. Be prepared for thousands. of messages, pitches, ads…Very soon you’ll end up with thousands of bytes of info and you’ll have to start becoming picky, who’s your friend, follower, influencer, mover, shaker. The sooner you start doing that the better.
Then come the add-ons: specialised apps to follow the media themselves. These turn into a necessity almost a week after you dip in.
And then come the analytics - and so does the money, out of your pocket that is. Unfortunately, it seems to be the only way it will get into yours. So you have to be choosy and do all the trials and demos, so that you can stick to the best and cheapest (preferably free, if such exists) solution.
But all in all, it shows to be a necessity in which you can get lost unless you pace yourself properly. To remind you, you can always put “So You Wanna Be A Rock’n’Roll Star” on replay. Of,course, you will have to imagine that its title is "So You Wanna Be a (modern) Writer".
There should not be such a thing as a waste of time when you are a freelancer. Particularly a freelance writer.
Yes, I know, all freelance writers know. The waiting game is no game - you just have to make it useful time instead of a waste of time. Unless you get some form of a permanent contract. But then, ask yourself: why did you go freelance in the first place? Unless, of course, you had no other choice. Then it could turn into a real chore. With a lot of waiting.
If you think you’ve learned all you need to learn or that you’ve turned all the work sites in and out, you haven’t. Something new turns up every day. I know from personal experience.
Looking at sites and advice from other freelance authors is one way to make your time useful. You can always pick a new hint, place to look for new work, or any sort of useful information.
Ok, so most of those sites sell something, for real money or just for those clicks only Google, Alexa or whoever else is measuring can pick up. And yes, your mailbox will spill all over your computer, they all ask you to subscribe.
But then think of it this way - copywriting is a job of selling anyway, and we all have a level at which we can be reached to buy something. If we have the means to buy it. Or out think of it the way Frank Zappa responded (and recorded) his response to a person in a crowd at one of his concerts: “Everybody in this room is wearing an uniform, so don’t kid yourself”.
In the end there is one question you have to answer. Can you, and how much you can resist the selling pitch. At some point, you won’t, even if the money is short. But then, you will be gaining something. It can be a new knowledge, a tip, a site to seek more work or just a realization what your threshold of resistance to a sales pitch is. And that definitely does not fall within a waste of time.
To learn more about me, please check my LinkedIn page at www.linkedin.com/profile/preview?locale=en_US&trk=prof-0-sb-preview-primary-button.