Welcome to a new year! The old has passed away, the new has arrived and many opportunities are before us as we press forward. Personally, I have always liked the switch from year to year as the transition allows me to reflect on my past accomplishments as I look forward to new ones. For freelance writers, the new year will continue to present some challenges as the economy continues it slow mend. Understanding the following facts can help you stand above the crowd this year, enabling you to set goals that are realistic and attainable.
1. Print is dead. Newspapers and magazines are still in business, but print media’s death is official. Unfortunately, not everyone has gotten the message.
Certainly, there are still some regional publications that still have a decent circulation, but those magazines are essentially leaning on website versions of the same to survive. Unless you are already a known quantity, contributing an article is very difficult and the pay scale has slipped in recent years. Don’t give up sounding out queries, but do keep your expectations in line with reality.
2. Specialization is important. Freelance writers are a jack of all writing trades and a master of none. Well, that is not true — there are areas of writing expertise where we truly shine.
This year, concentrating on what you write about is critically important. The reason? Time. We only have a limited amount of it and wasting time to spend endless hours researching the unfamiliar is counterproductive. Essentially, I plan to concentrate on three areas this year: automotive, business and career. These niches are the three where I thrive, have established contacts and grasp completely. Besides, my authority in each writing segment is firmly established.
3. Content is king. What a trite saying, isn’t it? Still, it is a true one. If you write primarily for web customers, you may have discovered that demand for new content is insatiable. Scour the Internet and the major websites are constantly being updated with fresh material.
Drill down deep within these sites and you will come across professionally written articles that are contributed by seasoned writers. I suspect that some articles are ghostwritten while others carry a byline that matches the writer’s work. This year can give you a great opportunity to approach a business about supplying articles. Skip the middleman and cut a deal directly to maximize your earnings. Alway opt for written contracts.
4. Your name is golden. By now, you may have learned that AuthorRank is Google’s way of gauging your reputation as a content producer. Your name is golden, except when it is not. It is golden when your content shines, but if you opt for quick, empty and pointless verbiage, your reputation will be weakened.
Yes, Google is now grading your content and those grades will follow you across the web. Better content means better PageRank and those authors producing top notch material will be the ones most sought after in coming years. Associate your name with spam and you are sunk.
So, how will you approach this year? Most definitely, outlining your goals and striving to reach them is of critical importance. When you know what you want, you will be better positioned to develop a framework for reaching your goals.
If you are not using a planner to help you outline your goals, then you may be wasting your time. Certainly, there are app planners available for your smart phone, but if you prefer to have everything laid out before you, there is nothing like having a yearly planner to help you stay focused. I began using Planner Pad in 2012 and have continued with it since. Planners help you to categorize, prioritize and schedule yourself, enabling you to make the best use of your time. For freelancers, your time is valuable and should be spent more on writing for pay above all else.