Storytelling Communications

Insider Scoop: 6 Freelance Writing Tips From Skywriter Angela Tague


You asked, and now I’m here to answer. Yes, I’m one of you. I’m a freelancer juggling multiple clients, deadlines, and projects. As Skyword’s High Flyer of the Year, I’m happy to share my freelance writing tips and tricks to survive this crazy, creative career choice.

The following questions were submitted on the Skywriting Twitter and Facebook feeds using the hashtag #AskSkyword.

1. Do you have any advice on making articles more SEO friendly?
When I’m drafting something for the web, I focus on not using my keyword(s) too much. When thinking about SEO, more isn’t always better. Using a keyword once every 100-150 words is usually enough. You don’t want to get penalized by search engines for keyword stuffing, which is the blatant overuse of your keyword.

I also brainstorm a list of secondary keywords and insert those throughout the article too. For example, for an article titled “6 Gluten-Free Healthy Snacks,” my keyword might be “gluten-free,” but I will also make sure to use the phrase “healthy snacks” every 150 words to reach people looking for both gluten-free food ideas and healthy food options.

2. What’s the best way to use #hashtags when tweeting your work?
Since hashtags are used to search for content by topic, I use hashtags on most nouns in my tweets. Then, to spice things up a bit, I might add a funny hashtag to the end of the tweet. For example, when sharing a blog post for a cake recipe, I once used the hashtag #mmmmcake. After all, we’ve all had that cake-craving moment, right? This type of hashtag shows I’m human — just like you! Also, don’t use too many hashtags in a tweet. I think more than three can make the text tough to read.

3. How long on average do you spend working on an article?
This varies quite a bit depending on the type of content I’m writing. A short, first-person beauty tip blog post may take only 20 minutes, since I’m very familiar with the subject and am writing from personal experience. An article requiring an interview and several resources may take three hours. But, on average, I’d say I spend anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half on most of my 400-word posts.

4. Do you save and archive all your articles?
Yes! I write all articles in a word processing program, then cut and paste into the Skyword template. If for some reason there’s a glitch, I don’t lose my work. Plus, if I need to complete a rewrite, I can go back to my original document and see my list of sources, outline, or other ideas that I brainstormed and maybe didn’t use. At the end of the year, I back up everything on a CD or DVD.

5. Do you submit proposals more or less than claiming topics?
I do both. I tend to claim keywords first since I know those are topics the client definitely wants covered. However, when keywords are looking slim, I have no problem creating a quick proposal. I’m glad Skyword offers the proposal system for when the keywords don’t match my interests or when I have an idea burning in my head that I’d love to write about.

6. How do you come up with topics/keywords to propose?
I generally propose topics that relate to my everyday life. For example, if a friend asks me a question about how I maintain a gluten-free diet or what it’s like to be vegetarian, I keep those questions in the back of my head and think that readers might also like to hear my answers. Everyday conversation and interactions on social media are truly the basis for my topic proposals. Writing about what you care about and know well makes your articles more informative and authoritative.

Still wondering how I balance it all? I’m a chatterbox on social media and love to talk about being my own boss, freelance writing tips, and making money from being creative. Tweet me @AngelaTague or send me a message on Facebook. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.

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