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Storytelling Communications

Dream On! Become a Freelance Writer for the Web in 5 Steps

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In their 1966 hit “Paperback Writer,” The Beatles sang about a man struggling to become a published author; he wanted to make money and to have his work recognized. Unfortunately, due to the competitive nature of the field, some writers believe their dreams will never come to fruition.

Never give up on your dreams—become a freelance writer on the web! A surge in content marketing is providing writers with more opportunities to do what they love and get paid for it. Not only that, but freelancing online offers flexibility and variety.

Are you ready to share your skills and passions with the world? Here are five tips to become a freelance writer on the web:

1.) Find writing opportunities: You can find writing opportunities by using search engines like Google and Bing, social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and job boards like Mediabistro and Craigslist.

You can also find a variety of paid opportunities through the Skyword platform. Sign up for a Skyword account, and you can search our marketplace of freelance writing gigs. New ones are added on a regular basis, which means you can spend less time looking for opportunities and spend more time on your craft.

2.) Understand SEO: SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” but what exactly does it mean? SEO is a series of practices that allow you to maximize the effectiveness of a web page or website. Having a basic understanding of this skill will make you stand out from other freelancers vying for the same writing opportunity. Additionally, the use of SEO in your articles will enable your content to appear higher up in search results.

3.) Create effective headlines: Ever heard the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? It happens; therefore, it’s important to create an interesting title or cover to draw in potential readers. This same practice should be used with web content writing. Time and effort must be put into your headlines so that your content stands out from your competition in search results.

4.) Use social media: Chances are, you have a LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, or StumbleUpon account. These sites aren’t just for socializing. They’re effective tools to help you promote your content and grow your readership.

Keep in mind that audiences on these sites don’t like to follow shameless promoters—if you talk only about yourself, you could lose readers. To become more effective on these platforms, balance your time between sharing your own content, sharing others’ relevant content, and engaging with other users—ask questions, join conversations, and provide feedback.

5.) Meet deadlines and guidelines: While freelance writing offers flexibility in the form of telecommuting and setting your own hours, there are guidelines and deadlines to meet.

Enter a new writing experience with an open mind and a willingness to learn your clients’ needs. An ability to adapt to new situations—learning new style guides, understanding search engine standards, et cetera—will broaden your skill set and can make you a marketable candidate for new writing opportunities.

Follow these tips and, before you know it, you’ll no longer be singing, “I need a break, and I want to be a paperback writer.” Instead you’ll change your tune to, “I have a gig, and now I’m a read and recognized online writer.”

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