When getting started in the online freelance writing world, there are some very simple things to go for and avoid.
Here are ten dos and don'ts to keep in mind as you embark on your online writing odyssey!
- Develop strong writing skills: Don't assume you remember everything from your college English classes. Brush up on your grammar!
- Get honest feedback on your work: A little honest constructive criticism can go a long way. Find someone you trust (who has strong writing skills) and get his or her honest insights on your strengths and weaknesses.
- Start small with local gigs: This can help you build up references and skills that will land you bigger gigs later on.
- Build a word-of-mouth network through which you get business: Most online freelance writers I know (who get paid what they deserve for their work) get their best gigs through word of mouth references. Network, network, network!
- Develop a polished, public portfolio: Make samples of your content (ideally, search-friendly stand alone articles) available online and open to the public through your personal website or platforms like Blogger, WordPress, Squidoo, and HubPages. This enables all sorts of people to discover you through search results and reach out to you directly.
- Assume you are a good writer: We can always improve!
- Join a content farm: Though these can be good places to develop basic discipline and practice for a couple of months, content farms should not be seen as a long-term professional solution.
- Take on questionable jobs: If you don't believe in the content a client asks you to write, don't take on the job!!
- Lie about your credentials: This is the best way to ruin your own reputation- and those of your fellow online freelance writers. If you fail to deliver on what your credentials promise, you aren't going to be getting more work from a particular client, and you won't get good references either. As usual, honesty is the best policy.
- Get looped into writing SEO filler content and spam: Focus on creating high-quality content that is oriented toward readers (and worded to reflect common terms they may use when searching about the subjects you cover), and you'll be just fine. Don't try to game the system. Just... don't.