3 Things Freelance Writer Must Know About Online Writing

by Anne Wayman

writing onlineI get three types of questions about online freelance writing:

“What is the difference between freelance online writing and writing for print?”
“How to I find online writing gigs?”
“How do I actually land an online writing once I find one?”

Writing online vs. print

The biggest difference between writing for the online world and the print world is that reading online requires a screen.

Not only that, sometimes the screen is closer in size to a 3×5 card than even an 8-1/2×11 piece of paper. When you write online you’re not only writing for computer monitors, but for cell phones as well. Although screens get better and better, it still isn’t as comfortable to read onscreen as it is on paper.

The best way to improve on screen readability is to write short paragraphs.

Here’s why:

  • Since we know readers tend to scan, writing short paragraphs creates white space and makes comprehension in a hurry easier.
  • Making use of headings, subheads and bulleted or numbered points also helps break up the writing to make it easier to read.

Online writing has many things in common with print, at least the best of it does. One way to think of the difference is recognizing that the presentation is different.

Finding online writing jobs

You find online writing jobs the way you find any writing gig really. You can:

  • Search writing job lists like the one here.
  • Market yourself by telephone and/or email.
  • Networking and referrals.

If there’s any secret to finding writing jobs it’s to do whatever you’re going to do consistently, day after day after day.

Actually, probably the very best ways to find those great online writing jobs is to use a combination of all three.

Landing those online writing jobs

Getting an online writing job is partly a matter of timing and partly skill.

Timing seems to be a quirk of fate or luck.

But as has been said, we often make our own luck. In this case if you market yourself over and over again you’re apt to land a gig. It’s that kind of persistence that puts you in the way of luck as it were. For example, if you do a brief search with your favorite lists daily, and perhaps a more thorough search once ¬†or twice a week, you increase your odds of getting hired.

The skill part of the equation is recognizing that your job is to solve the client’s problem. When you demonstrate you can do that you’re more likely to get hired – you certainly won’t get hired if you don’t convince them you can.

You demonstrate this by reading and responding to ads as carefully and completely as possible. When you’re talking with a potential client, you need to listen deeply and question adroitly so you understand their problem and then offer a solution you can perform, or point them in a direction that is truly helpful if you can’t. Of course, this skill isn’t automatic and it takes some time to develop your version of it – but it’s worth the effort.

What else do you think you need to know to be successful writing online?

Write well and often,

annesig

 

 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine James April 18, 2014 at 8:54 am

Freelancers need to be tenacious about following up to the point (but not past) of being almost pushy.

You have to keep calling and following up until you get a reply of either yes or no. Don’t send out a pitch or idea and accept silence as an answer.
Katherine James recently posted..How To Blast Through Writers BlockMy Profile

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Cheryl Bryan April 17, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Really good practical advice, Anne.

What else do I need to know? Mostly deciding where to start, I guess.

I’ve never tried a job board before, so I’m thinking I should add that to my list of approaches. Just from first glance, though, I can see that I probably should limit my time on the job board sites.

Any suggestions about how to approach it in a focused way so the time I spend there is used well?

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annew April 18, 2014 at 6:52 am

Cheryl I think it’s way more important that you start… however you do it, the sooner the better. Re the job boards… the first time or two through plan on spending an hour or more… just to get acquainted as it were. Apply only for those you really qualify for, even if only you know it. Take a bit of time with each application… some days there are none, others no more, usually than three or four. After you’ve done this a couple of times you’ll have a better sense of it.

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Steve Maurer April 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Excellent insights once again, Ms. Anne.

If I may answer your question, here are some other things a writer should have:

1. a LinkedIn profile, filled out as completely as possible.

2. A Google+ account to start building authority.

3. Either guest blog posts or create good quality posts on your own site and them promote the daylights out of them on whatever social media networks you uses.

Thanks again for the sage advice!
Steve Maurer
Steve Maurer recently posted..Do You Really Need a Website for Success?My Profile

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Xerxes Aga April 17, 2014 at 11:10 pm

I agree entirely with what Steve Maurer has said. All I would like to add is to write as often as you can and read, read, read what successful writers have written.

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annew April 18, 2014 at 6:52 am

Read, read, read is right, Xerxes, thanks.

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annew April 18, 2014 at 6:49 am

Thanks, Steve… good additions… guest blog posting has become a bit of a problem where google is concerned… I’ve stopped calling it that and now treat submissions I use as a I would in a printed magazine… showing the author, usually at the top, and a brief bio at the end.

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