There has never been a better time for talented freelance writers. As the demand for quality content has exploded over the past decade due to the growth of the internet, companies are actively seeking professional creators in this field. 

Both major corporations and start-ups with limited budgets frequently prefer freelancers over regular employees since they can be employed on-demand, which is more cost-efficient than traditional employment. However, this also increases the competition as you have to meet customer expectations in order to get new orders and build loyalty.

In order to stand out from the crowd and succeed as a professional freelance writer, you need to acquire these 5 critical skills.

1. Editing skills

While writing is the core skill required to succeed as a freelance writer, you must also possess decent editing skills. Companies expect freelancers to submit quality content that is free of errors. Many customers cannot afford a separate editor proof-reading the texts submitted by freelance writers, especially if you charge high rates for your writing services. Editing includes checking the written content for mistakes, complying with the style requirements of the client, removing tautology, etc. 

In the case of freelance writing, self-editing is very important to constantly improve the quality of the produced content. The ability to distance oneself from the things written and edit them without being emotionally attached to your text is a key skill of a professional writer. 

Polished pieces of content generated through multiple edits impress clients and allow you to develop long-term business relationships with them. However, good editing skills can only be developed through constant practice. Completing a course on freelance editing and proofreading can be a good start for understanding the intricacies involved in this profession. Additionally, these competencies may be valuable for a freelance writer as a way to get new gigs as an editor and proofreader and diversify your sources of income.

2. Marketing skills

Marketing is the ultimate growth driver for any business. Freelance writers need to be good marketers in order to successfully promote their services and consistently find new clients. Some of the marketing skills essential in this sphere are:

a. Promotion

Multi-channel marketing communication via professional blogs, social media pages, and digital advertising media helps freelancers reach more prospective customers. 

b. Pricing

Finding the proper pricing is a fine art. While this may sound counter-intuitive, offering your services too cheap may avert prospective customers associating low rates with poor quality or fraud. To select the optimal price for your services, you need to study the marketing dynamics, client profiles, and competition levels in a specific market and point in time.

c. Customer Service

Establishing effective communication with your customers and helping them with their problems is highly relevant for developing long-term business relationships with them. A satisfied client is a loyal client returning with new orders time after time.

Marketing Tools for Freelance Writers

Successful freelance writers use the following marketing tools to promote their services:

A professional website making your portfolio easily accessible to clients

A well-managed blog that can showcase your writing skills 

Social media profiles to interact with existing as well as prospective clients

An email marketing tool to automate follow-up messages and marketing communication.

3. Business management skills

Freelancing is similar to a one-person business. Freelance writers do not get a fixed salary. Their monthly earnings may vary radically depending upon the quantum of work they manage to complete and the price they charge for their services. Developing business management capabilities will help you maximise your earnings by working smart and making optimal use of the resources available. Below you will find some skills that may be invaluable to freelance writers:

a. Accounting skills

Basic accounting skills allow you to execute customer invoices, maintain a personal profit and loss account, and calculate your tax liabilities.

b. Team management skills

Hiring a small team of assistants will allow you to handle more customer orders. High-earning freelancers usually have several assistants helping them with preliminary drafts and basic customer communication. 

c. Organisational skills

Organisational skills are useful for getting the best out of the time allotted for a specific project, meeting the deadlines set by your clients, and balancing multiple projects. The use of calendars, digital organisers and filing systems may help you rearrange the tasks you are currently working upon more efficiently. 

Business management skills may also help freelancers develop their customer base and start their own copywriting companies in the future.

4. Stylistic flexibility

Different clients require different writing styles. Since freelancers need to work with clients from multiple industries, they should build the awareness necessary to execute such orders effectively. Some of the common writing styles requested by clients are formal, casual, academic, and lifestyle. As a freelancer, you need to understand the differences between these approaches. 

However, some freelance writers just feel more comfortable when they are working on certain types of content. If this is your case, you may choose to adhere to a single format or style of writing. Since this decision may reduce your earning potential, you need to focus on your marketing skills and become a top performer in the selected niche in terms of content quality and productivity. The choice is up to you. 

Freelance writers seeking diversification also need to learn how to create specialised content such as long-form articles, speeches, and press releases. These text formats usually need special attention due to highly specific customer requirements. For example, writing long-form articles requires maintaining a consistent voice throughout the text and keeping the readers interested by including quality information. 

5. Personal development capabilities

Contrary to popular belief, the profession of a writer is not static. Freelance content creators need to constantly update their knowledge of the latest trends in their industry of choice. Since the growth of the internet has increased the global demand for written content, popular websites with international audiences usually require articles that are neutral in terms of tone and cultural references.

Internet users mostly share content they deem to be both entertaining and informative. Hence, freelancers need to develop the skills of creating such material in order to stay in demand. Following popular blogs and joining professional writing communities will help you keep up with the latest trends and update your skill set to match new customer requirements.

Freelancers also need to develop auxiliary skills to stay in demand. Basic digital marketing competencies are expected by many customers nowadays. These skills allow you to write Search-Engine-Optimised (SEO) articles, draft marketing emails, and publish engaging posts on social media. Other valuable competencies are the basic knowledge of web development and digital photo editing. Such skills could be learned by taking online courses or reading some quality books on those topics.

As the demand for quality content is expected to continue growing, the specialists developing multiple competencies in this field may capitalise on this trend. However, you need to constantly evolve as a professional and adapt to new market challenges in order to increase your earnings, build a sustainable online career, and ensure your long-term success as a freelance writer.

Author Bio

Steve is the owner behind the website Best Essay Writing Company. He is a retired Financial adviser who now helps students find the right support and tutoring services for them. He is passionate about education and learning.

To enter new markets and reach new audiences in the digital space, you need a professional content translation. However, for the internationalisation strategy to produce results in the form of conversion and sales, it is necessary to pay attention to the translation of the international SEO optimisation strategy in order not to harm the positioning of the entire site. 

SEO Translation or Localisation: Which of them do you really need?

Very often, the concepts of translation and localisation are used interchangeably. However, this isn’t precisely correct: Website localisation is the process of its transformation in such a way that the target audience perceives it as native. This means that it is necessary to take into account linguistic and cultural differences, further benefiting the users. Thus, localisation and translation for search engine optimisation are only related to a limited extent.

Why you should not only translate but also localise SEO

SEO optimisation provides a constant flow of visitors to your website and translation will assist this flow of web traffic. Let’s look at a few reasons how translation will benefit you:

  • Loyalty. Besides the fact that the translation of your site will help to expand your audience, it could also lead to a regular readership. These regular users may appreciate the convenience of working with localised content. But how do they find out about you in the first place? With the help of correctly translated SEO.
  • This is a chance to beat the competition. Translating site and its semantic core into several languages will also help to take high positions in search engines.
  • Duplicate content. The same content translated into different languages is not considered plagiarism. This could lead to a higher search engine ranking.
  • Evaluation and feedback. You may received feedback from visitors regarding content and product. Needless to say that you should listen to the opinions of your target audience in order to continue improving.

Let’s suppose you coped with the task of translating SEO. However, conversions for some reason do not grow, behavioural factors worsen, and bounce rate gives unthinkable indicators. One of the reasons why this may occur is becase the translation isn’t up to scratch. Your translation must be localised. But how do we do this?

Localisation of SEO should be the first task in the localisation of the entire site

Most freelancers would firstly localise their website and then begin to think: ‘how will our new target audience look for us on the net?’

You may find it is beneficial to first plan the optimisation for search engines, if you want the localisation process to be more efficient.

SEO optimisation is a one-time action with instant results. Well, it could end with no results at all. In fact, users are looking at you differently. But if you did everything right, SEO optimisation does all the work while you are busy with other tasks. 

You will receive initial results from SEO in as early as three months, when all the pages are indexed. While you localise content, insert subtitles in the video or create them anew. Organise your social network profiles. You will find that properly translated and localized SEO will already work for you.

You need to consider linguistic differences

For example, a certain keyword may be suitable in an English search engine, while it’s translation may not end up with the same results. Moreover, different variations of the same keyword in the English language may likely be more accurately synonymous in the translated language.

Very often the choice of keywords used to search for one product differs in each country. Even the British and Americans, will search for sports shoes using different keywords – a Brit would search ‘trainers’ while an American would search ‘sneakers’. 

That is why it is necessary to carry out keyword analysis for each additional language and, thus, to improve the compliance of the search queries of potential customers.

Take into account the optimization algorithm of different search engines

No two search engines use the same algorithm to produce the same organic results. The Chinese Baidu search engine algorithm may be quite different from Google algorithm. Companies that want to reach their target audience need expertise in not only the language but also the technical side of search engines.

This is an important reason why enterprises should adopt an integrated approach (ISEO) that defines the correct wording and creates consistent, relevant messages in ads, landing pages, social publications, media and search marketing. Thus, the use of an international SEO strategy allows the brand to attract high-quality traffic to a high-quality website specially adapted to the characteristics of each market, which also contributes to strengthening the brand’s position in each of the markets.

Outsource SEO translation to specialists

Many websites and online stores rely on the machine translation of content and semantic core, which creates incoherent texts and spelling errors that automatically spoil the brand’s reputation. When it comes to SEO optimisation, keywords and phrases are certainly very important.

Make sure and use professional help, for example, from the Word Point. Professional translators will be able to define complex points in the translation of the semantic core and come up with the most suitable words with the help of which foreign users are looking for certain services. 

 Anna likes writing from her university years. When she graduated from the Interpreters Department, she realized that translation was not so interesting, as writing was. She trains her skills now working as a freelance writer on different topics. Always she does her best in the posts and articles.

Read on about SEO: 10 SEO Commandments for content writers and copywriters

About the Author:

Anna is a specialist in different types of writing. She graduated from the Interpreters Department, but creative writing became her favorite type of work. Now she improves her skills while working as a freelance writer and translator for TheWordPoint and has free time for another work, as well. That is the reason she has so many unpublished articles.

By the year 2022, the ratio of freelancers will be increased significantly above 50 % in the United States. In the present era, there are about half of the millenary involved in freelance marketing both for the full time or as a side hustler.

Gone are the days when providing the freelancing services were taken as a form of being an unemployed person. Freelancing helps normal person such as a housewife, a retired person or a teenager to start any freelance business online. Freelancing is commonly referred to as a self-employment prospect where any person can start providing the services at which he or she is good at. For example, if a person is good at taking photos, then he can become a freelancer in providing photographic services to the customers over the globe via online platforms. 

In case a person needs to get hired as a freelancer, he or she needs to have certain skills in himself or herself. Let’s have a look at these set of skills which are in demand to become a successful freelancer in the coming years:

Tensor Flow

One should be aware of the open-source library of software applications for machine learning. TensorFlow is one of that software libraries. Developers who know the basics of this software are in great demand on the list of various employers in the coming days.  

Voice over artists 

Nowadays the voiceover artists are also in great demand. With the arrival of podcasts, narrative videos, and audiobooks where narrating holds great importance is good news for the story-telling or narrative artists. There are numerous hiring opportunities available on the websites nowadays relating to narrating the children’s storybooks, for a video letter or online learning tutorials. 

Blockchain services

Bitcoin transactions are in good demand in this era. A blockchain is a database which is based on Bitcoin Protocol. The database is shared by various participants taking part in it. In short, blockchain is the advancement where cryptocurrencies are produced. Not only technology experts demand blockchain freelancers but also various consultancies are also hiring the blockchain service providers. 

Subtitling skills 

Nowadays, there are tutorial videos available on every website online such as, makeup-related tutorial videos, travelling related videos, health-related or numerous other topics. So, this area needs both good writing skills as well as technical skills. So, this occupation is also in great need in this contemporary era. 

Augmented reality 

It’s the next fast-progressing job demand for freelancers. Augmented reality is a technological service that changes the user’s vision of the physical world with various audio or visual special effects. This employment is also on the list of various prospective employers in the coming years. 

Video Editing skills

Freelance video editors are also grabbing most of the attention of the employers. Thanks to the various video-oriented websites such as YouTube, Instagram or Facebook. The people who have good video-editing skills and are providing freelance services in this area, they can have the chance of hired back by most of the big business organizations.

Copywriting skills 

Copywriters are those who write content for various web pages. They are quite different from content writers. They specialize in writing the descriptions for a number of products and services for the webpage. The charges vary depending on the level of experience and skill of the freelance copywriter. 

Social media managing skills 

There is a massive opportunity for those who provide freelance social media managing services to established market brands and companies. The prominent companies and the corporate world always look for the authentic social media managers who can promote their products and services online and help them in generating remarkable profits for those. This is another occupation in demand for 2020 for the freelancers. 

Amazon Dynamo DB specializing skills 

Various corporates are looking for the freelancers who can work with Amazon’s NoSQL database platform. 

Art skills 

The design studios or the art employers look for freelance writing services in the art field also. Freelancer providing art services can also be hired by various art studios. 

Content management skills 

The people who provide freelance services in managing the blogs, podcasts, videos or other content on the internet in the most productive way, they will have the highest demand in the employment sector and also now these freelancers are in great demand. 

Microsoft Power BI specializing skills

The people who know how to use the Microsoft Power BI to create reports and dashboards and provide freelancer services related to that have higher chances of getting selected by the various Corporates worldwide in 2020. 

Media purchasing 

The freelancers who provide assistance in buying the media online from other companies have higher chances to get selected by the companies globally. Buying the media includes buying ads from other websites, newspapers, magazines, etc. 

Instagram API 

Instagram has recently launched Instagram API to secure the people’s information from the Facebook data breach and it is the highest freelance job service in demand nowadays and will rise in the coming years. 

Information security skills 

The companies are also seeking the information security specialists who can provide the information on how to back fit the privacy procedures and how to use EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is coming in the future. In general, the various cybersecurity experts are great in demand and the demand will rise in future for these experts. 

These are some of the jobs that the freelancers can acquire in the future. It has been estimated that in the future, all the digital market will be based on freelancing services. These freelance services will generate a higher amount of profits for prospective companies. 

Read more on Freelancing: Freelancing vs Agency Life: which one should you choose?

Author Bio:

I, Lucy Zara, A very keen content writer, loves writing articles and assignments on various niche. The students in Australia also ask for ‘write my essay’ as I also provide essay writing services to them.

As a freelancer, conducting a UX audit may be essential for improving your website. But what is a UX audit and how will you benefit from this? We gained some insider information from a professional UX designer who has kindly shared 5 pointers about a basic UX audit that may help you with improving your online presence.

Why do you need to do a UX audit?

The process, usually conducted by a UX designer, uses various methods to pinpoint areas of a digital product that need improvement, to help increase your users’ conversion rates. It usually involves the client, as well as the UX team, to come up with goals, generating reports, and creating action steps to improve a website, app, or software, to achieve a better return on investment (ROI).

Done right, even a basic UX audit can greatly improve user satisfaction and website navigation, among others.

1. Clearly define the goals

To start things off, you need to write down some goals that you want to set. This will help you set the KPIs and the timeline of your project. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Does the project have a purpose?
  2. What are the product’s goals?
  3. What is the ideal complete overview of the product?

Knowing the answer will help you out when getting started on the UX audit.

2. Set a timeline

Keep everything on track by setting a timeline. The sooner you finish the UX audit, the sooner you can reap the rewards but you don’t want to make careless mistakes. Set milestones for specific dates as well as individual timelines for the audit. Make sure that you set aside a couple of hours a day between your other projects and focus on completing the UX audit.

3. Know your target clients/users

Who will be using your website, application, or software? Who are your target clients/users? What are their goals? What are your goals? Knowing your target users and how they will use your product is one of the most important hacks to improve conversion. It will help skyrocket user satisfaction and achieve their goals.

Use various UX design tools to research the habits of your target users. Here’s a quick list of tools you can use:

Hotjar – This online tool will help to discover user behaviour. It will answer questions such as: which pages do your users visit on your website? Hotjar offers a free version but has limited functions. Pricing for this tool starts from USD89 to USD589 per month.

Mixpanel – Another tool that you can use is Mixpanel. It helps you collect accurate data, identify trends, and set goals based on user behaviour; so you can take the appropriate action to improve your website.

Google Analytics – One of the best free tools you can use to gain valuable data for your UX audit is Google Analytics. By applying its install code to your website, Google can track user behaviour for each page and give you a detailed report on page visits, bounce rates, and other key performance indicators (KPIs), to help you formulate a better website design.

By using these tools, you gain a better understanding of how your users navigate your website.

4. Note down your findings

You can obtain plenty of data from a simple UX audit that can help improve your website. The insights you gather can help improve the UX of your website for future updates.

Take time to note down any findings such as vulnerabilities, problems, and the strong points of your website, app, or software. If you don’t know how to make a report, HubSpot has a sample that you can take inspiration from.

5. Look for trends

Aside from reporting your findings, use the data to search for trends and tendencies that your target users are doing. This will help you come up with data-backed findings from which a strategy to optimize the UX can be made.

Use a heat map to find out which parts of your website each user has been clicking. Meanwhile, a scroll map will give an idea of how far down a page your user scrolled. Both of these will provide important insights and trends regarding search terms, visitor sources and other elements.

Clickheat – This is a downloadable tool that can show your visitor’s mouse activities. It can show you where the hot zones are, i.e. areas of a page with many clicks. It can also show the cold zone or areas of a page with fewer clicks.

Crazyegg – Founded by digital marketing expert Neil Patel, Crazyegg is an online tool that can show you a heat and scroll map. You can get a free 30-day trial upon sign-up. Paid packages start from USD29 to USD189 per month.

UX Check – This is a Google Chrome extension that helps UX designers spot usability issues through its comprehensive evaluation. UX Check identifies issues using Nielsen’s 10 heuristics or creates a custom list to identify issues within a website.

Continue reading articles on how to improve your website:

How would Aristotle have designed your website?

About the Author:

“I am a futurist who spends most of my time monitoring social behavior in search of new consumer trends. I use the information to create viral and useful content as part of the new media strategy. I’m interested in technology, market behavior, new media, environment, sustainability, futuristic scenarios, and businesses.” Kimberly Grimms

When I first delved into the professional world, most of my time went into deciding whether to opt for a fixed agency or choose to freelance. If you have just graduated from your University or planning to start working soon, then you too will have this same dilemma at some point in time. According to Forbes, 90% of companies hire freelancers. On the other hand, other sources indicate that there are almost 132.15 million full-time employees in the United States. Therefore, choosing either of them needs a close evaluation of all aspects. And that’s why I penned down this blog.

The thing is that both freelancers and agencies have a set of pros and cons. Therefore, I have made a list to clear your doubts, so that you make the best decision for your career. Let’s dive in.

The life of a freelancer:

pros and cons

Americans tend to spend more than a billion hours in freelancing per week in 2019. Thus, it proves that more and more companies are hiring freelancers to get their job done. Even Brian Greenberg, the CEO of True Blue Life Insurance, stated that he created nine businesses with the help of freelancers.

The perks of freelancing:
  • Better Earning Potential 

Freelancers earn more money than salaried employees. Fixed working teams in an agency usually earn 125$-250$ per hour, whereas freelancers charge approximately $35 for an hour. But, freelancers do not have to share their salaries with anyone. A team, on the other hand, consists of sales executives, managers, marketers, etc. Therefore, the individual members of the team receive comparatively less money.

  • Top-notch expertise in one person 

Freelancers are expected to have their own area of specialisation. Say you are a freelance paper help expert and you have been working in this field for over three years now. You can find jobs in your niche only by showing relevant samples of your work. No other qualifications required.

  • Flexible working hours and location 

Freelancers have the freedom to work whenever they want to. You don’t have to remain confined to a cubicle or stringent working hours. You can discuss the project with your clients and work as per your convenience. Your employers will not bother you as long as you deliver the work prior to the deadlines.

All that glitters is not gold, right? Similarly, as my experience and qualifications grew, I realised the cons of freelancing as well. Check them out.

The drawbacks of freelancing:
  • Sharp pangs of isolation 

Working from home or freelancing can be isolating. You do not get to interact with office staff or other employees. There will be no office games or after-office parties for you to attend. Eventually, it becomes a frustrating task to work all alone and the frustration can affect productivity.

  • No health insurance, 401K or vacation pay

Freelancing pays you as long as you work. If you don’t work for a day; you don’t get paid for that day. It is as simple as that. You don’t receive health insurance, 401K, employee funds and vacation pay like other salaried employees do.

  • Inconsistent workload and cash flow 

It is difficult to predict the workload and the income for freelancers. You as a freelancer will have your own share of lean and peak seasons. You can’t expect bonuses, employer recognition or other awards for your work as well.

The life of a freelancer is pretty easy if there is a consistent income from multiple clients. Studies have also shown that almost 51% of freelancers are most likely to enjoy the lifestyle they want. However, the above-mentioned pitfalls can make things go really wrong for a freelancer.

Agency Life: what are the pros and cons?

Working in an agency is more than just sitting in your cubicle and day-dreaming. It is about doing the things that you love without worrying about behind the scenes work. Say you are a graphic designer. You only need to focus on graphic designing and not on content writing, paperwork or SEO.

Perks of being a part of the agency life:
  • Job security 

The most important benefit of agency life is its job security. In this case, you know that you have a regular source of income. You don’t have to worry about specific clients or hourly work. You work in a team and have the liberty to share your workload in case of urgent deadlines.

  • The ‘Fun’ Factor

The ambience at the office is way livelier. You can talk, crack jokes and laugh with your colleagues to relieve the stress. You can also go to parties, movies and enjoy sports games or day trips with your office friends.

  • Rewards and health benefits 

Agencies usually tend to provide incentives or other forms of monetary benefits to employees who have outdone themselves. Benefits such as movie tickets, vacation pay, sick leaves and health insurances are provided. You can not only push yourselves in the creative field but also get rewards as signs of appreciation.

Disadvantages of working in an agency:
  • No flexibility 

Unlike freelancing, you don’t have the freedom of choosing to work only when you want to. You are bound to follow a strict 9-5 schedule from Monday to Friday in an agency. That means you can’t turn down a client just because you are not in the ‘mood’ to work.

  • Less control 

In an agency, you have to work under a boss who tells you what to do and what not to do. You may also have to get your work approved before the final submission. Thus, you will have less control over your work as compared to the freelancers. Things may not turn out that bad in an agency if you have a good boss who helps you rise higher in the ranks.

  • Involvement of office politics 

No matter how ignorant try to be, you can’t keep yourself out of office politics. It’s just some silly stuff that goes down in an office almost every day. Office politics can lead to a sharp decline in the sales and productivity of an organisation. It can also ruin your mental peace and prevent you from working in the agency with the utmost attention.

All in all, agency life is not that bad if you have your heart in the job. Working in an agency provides you with guaranteed income and other monetary rewards. I have already shared the odds of working in an agency. If you can beat the odds, then working in an agency may prove beneficial for you.

My Verdict

In my opinion, freelancing is best suited for people who are more interested in working under flexible working hours without the guarantee of a monthly salary. If you have a strong profile to grab the attention of your clients, freelancing might be the right career for you. However, if you haven’t gained enough experience yet, consider working in an agency as your career option. Agencies will teach you new concepts in your field of interest and you can explore your possibilities of creativity.

Read more on Freelancing: 10 Questions you should ask yourself before becoming a freelancer.

Author Bio:

John Mark is a part-time career consultant at a reputed firm in Australia. He also provides paper help to students at Allessaywriter. John likes to watch movies and listen to songs in her spare time.

Freelancing is a convenient career option for people who hate a 9-to-5 job. A freelancer is their own boss and can work from the comfort of their home or any other place-of-preference. Many freelancers earn a higher income than people who are employed full-time as they deal with the clients directly and have lower overhead costs. However, freelancing is a roller-coaster ride and those who have chosen this type of employment may find it difficult to earn a steady income. Many freelancers make mistakes that inhibit their progress in the long run. We’re going to bring to light the freelancer’s 7 deadly sins and suggestions to overcome them.

1. Compromising on productivity

Many freelancers risk a fall in their productivity due to procrastination. Freelancers tend to procrastinate when they have a longer timeline or if they become distracted by their surroundings. Unlike many full-time employees whose incomes are generally not impacted by their productivity, any reduction in efficiency for freelancers leads to a fall in their income. It may become a real challenge to remain productive during holiday months when everyone around you is enjoying a break. Nonetheless, do not procrastinate, follow your regular schedule but include more breaks and take extra days off. In doing this, you won’t feel too left out and you can still enjoy the holidays as well.

2. Missing deadlines

Meeting deadlines is very important for a freelancer. Clients don’t want you to miss a deadline as it can adversely impact their workflow. Frequently missing deadlines will reduce the credibility of a freelancer and may impact their online ratings. Many freelancers make the mistake of taking too many project. This may lead to requesting a deadline extension or even missing them all together. Avoid taking on too many projects at once and try to stick to a schedule. This will help you meet your deadlines and keep your client happy.

3. Failure to take care of your health

Freelancing offers freedom in life but it can also lead to lack of discipline. Not having a daily structure can impact the health of a freelancer. Working long hours, not getting adequate sleep, not maintaining a healthy diet are just a few examples of what a freelancer is known to do. It is very easy to work all hours of the day when you can work from home. To avoid these bad habits, set out a block of hours during the day for work and avoid working past those hours. Take regular breaks and include them in your work schedule. Take time to cook yourself a healthy meal and snack on fruit and vegetables – avoid the junk food.

4. Failure to communicate with clients

Freelancers work remotely, that’s why it is very important to communicate well with clients, regularly contacting them with updates. Client’s like to know the progress of the project so always keep them in the loop. An unhappy client may mean they won’t hire you again or even lead to a contract being pulled early. Do not wait for your clients to come to you asking questions. Instead, act proactively, stay in touch with them regularly, and deliver the work to a high standard.

5. Overpromising

Freelancers need to stick to their core competency and refrain from making empty promises while accepting new projects. Overpromising and under delivering may lead to a low quality outcome. Rather than trying to take on every project that comes their way, concentrate on working on the projects that you know you will excel at.

6. Failure to update skills

In an ever-changing world, freelancers need to learn a new skill. Freelancers should stay on top of industry developments in order to succeed. However, many freelancers fail to work on and expand their skill set to stay on top of the fast-paced industries. This may lead to a freelancer falling behind their peers, limiting their chances of winning a project. Moreover, the more skills you have to offer and the more advanced you are in those skills, the more eligible you are for a higher-paid job. Updating skills and improving the skills you already have should be undertaken constantly by investing time and other resources to stay relevant. Consider investing in workshops and online courses and learn from the professionals.

7. Over and under charging the client

Freelancers should charge their clients reasonably irrespective of their skills and experience. Overcharging is a sure way to lose clients in a hyper-competitive market. There are hundreds of freelancers in any given field competing for clients on every major freelancing website. However, undercharging clients is wrong as well since freelancers might earn less than their true potential. Freelancers should charge the average price quoted by their peers with a similar profile. Quoting the average price will keep their services affordable to a large number of clients and increase the number of projects available.

Read more on becoming a freelancer: 10 questions you should ask yourself before becoming a freelancer

Freelancing requires greater responsibility than a full time job. Many people who dream of becoming freelancers and leave their regular jobs end up suffering from mistakes made. These 7 deadly sins can help both new and experienced freelancers in staying committed to their work and delivering high-quality service to their clients. Excelling in what they do, updating skills regularly, and staying committed to their clients and the project at hand is a sure fire way to success.

Author bio

Ellie Richards is an online Marketing Manager for PhD Writing company Original PhD. She specialises in research, content and article writing on various topics, including Education, Marketing, and Technology.

Lawyers are professional writers. In fact, the average solicitor probably produces more words each day than any journalist, copywriter or novelist. But, while other professional writers are drilled in techniques to communicate their ideas simply and effectively, lawyers aren’t. (At least not always). Instead, they can end up alienating clients by sounding like, well, lawyers.

That’s why we’ve come up with this list of five simple tricks from the world of advertising copywriting which we think every lawyer should know.

Start with your audience 
The first thing any decent writer should think about is the person who’s going to read what they write. “If you can’t turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the ad writing business at all,” agency founder Leo Burnett once said.

Volkswagen and Mercedes might both be cars – and German ones at that – but the two brands target a completely different market. The message their advertisers present will be different. And, just as importantly, their language will be different too.

Lawyers should take the same approach. When you speak to a client in their words, they’re more likely to understand your advice and act on it. And that’s the ultimate goal of lawyering.

So who is your audience? Because it’s impossible to get inside the head of your client, the best answer is that you should write for the broadest audience possible. When you do, it always pays to remember a few things:

  • Your reader will probably be completely disinterested in the law unless it relates to their current situation. In other words, ditch the case names and legal technicalities (unless you really do need them).
  • Where a technical area of the law does need to be explained, explain it simply. (Think of how you’d feel about a doctor talking of tarsals, metatarsals and phalanges when they could be telling you about your feet and toes).
  • Get rid of words that aren’t part of normal English usage. No one I’ve ever met begins sentences with “Notwithstanding” or “Absent”. You shouldn’t either. (Using words like that won’t make you sound more learned, it’ll just make you sound pompous.) If you absolutely must use a legal term, also give a plain English explanation of what it means.
  • Use proper names or pronouns that normal people use. Ditch “appellant”, “respondent” and even “vendor” (“seller” works just as well).
  • Always remember the words of copywriting legend David Ogilvy: “If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.”

Put first things first 
Basic advertising follows a simple strategy. It hits you with a desire and then tells you how to satisfy it. (“Thirsty? Drink Coke”) Unfortunately, legal advices aren’t always so clear. Many advices read like thrillers. The writing takes several twists and turns before, right at the end, the moment is revealed – long after the client has given up.

Good legal writing follows a simple structure. The most important information (ie what to do) comes first; the information telling you why to do it follows.

To do this, you need to know what you’re saying before you actually say it. And that means planning. In fact, all good usually writing begins with two steps: the first involves coming up with ideas and the second involves organising those ideas into a narrative. (After that comes writing and editing.)

Thinking on the page won’t just deliver a worse product to your client; it will also ultimately create more work for you as you try to give coherence to your ramblings.

The end justifies the means
Many lawyers see themselves as the true guardians of the English language. This means they sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. It convinces them of the need to stick to fusty (often incorrect) rules of grammar, like not splitting their infinitives (to jolly well split an infinitive is every writer’s right). It leads them to abhor modern writing techniques like bullet points, headings and short paragraphs. Instead, they write in long paragraphs with subclauses.

If the goal of legal writing is to have your client understand and act on your advice, you should do whatever it takes to make sure they do. Introduce new concepts with a heading. Bullet-point your lists to make them easy to digest. Keep your sentences short. Use action words to start sentences when you want action to be taken.

Let sentences that really matter stand alone, so that they also stand out.

And ditch the hesitation about not starting sentences with “And”, “So”, “But” or “Because’. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of these words. (Just don’t go overboard, it will affect your style.)

In short, do whatever it takes to get your point across so that your clients act in their own best interests. Or, as Bill Bernbach (founder of ad agency DDB) put it, elevate yourself beyond the role of mere writer to that of communicator:

“It is insight into human nature that is the key to the communicator’s skill. For whereas the writer is concerned with what he puts into his writings, the communicator is concerned with what the reader gets out of it. He therefore becomes a student of how people read or listen.”

Not everything matters 
Given that their content literally is money, both copywriters and journalists have strict word limits imposed on them. Every word on the page matters; if it doesn’t advance the story, it’s out. Lawyers don’t always have the same mindset. Perhaps they’re driven by the fear of being sued if they leave something out; perhaps it’s because there is no word limit to an advice. (The cynic might say it’s easier to justify a high fee with more words on the page.) Either way, there’s nothing more certain to distract a client than unnecessary information.

Ogilvy famously said that nothing needed to be longer than two pages. We’re not quite as ruthless. But remember, the longer something is, the less likely it is to be read.

Read 
Our final piece of advice is this: as a professional writer you should be paying as much attention as possible to how other people write. That doesn’t mean reading judgment after judgment. Writing expert Professor James C Raymond says that the problem with judges is that they usually write for an audience of lawyers. You’re writing for your clients.

Instead, to write well, make a habit of reading good writing from outside of the law. As Mary Wells Lawrence from Wells Rich Green – creator of famous campaigns like “I Love New York,” – said, you need to stretch yourself:

“You can’t just be you. You have to double yourself. You have to read books on subjects you know nothing about. You have to travel to places you never thought of traveling. You have to meet every kind of person and endlessly stretch what you know.”

 

About the author: Ralph Grayden

photo

I’m Ralph, owner @AntelopeMedia, sometime author, lover of history and (most) sports and very amateur brewer of beer.

This article was first published by Ralph Grayden

Q: “What legal forms (e.g. retainers, contracts) do freelance copywriters need?” – Brittany, USA

I think it’s fair to say that many of us don’t bother too much with freelance contracts because they’re just so pleased to get the work and don’t want to complicate things. But, as a freelancer, you are a small business and should be entitled to the legal protection that any other company enjoys. And, given the often precarious nature of a freelancer’s finances, it makes very good sense to protect yourself from unscrupulous (= non-paying) clients.

Perhaps for small, one off, ad-hoc jobs you’ll do the work on the fly because it’s simply not worth the bother to draw up a contract. But for those jobs where you are investing a lot of your valuable time and effort on behalf of a client who you don’t know well it would be crazy not to. Similarly with a retainer: often there’s no need but sometimes it is actually beneficial to both you and the client to formalise a working arrangement as a way of clarifying each other’s expectations while delivering financial benefits to both parties at the same time.

WHAT IS A CONTRACT?

A contract is basically a way of putting in black and white what you are going to do, when and for how much. But it’s more than that. It also sets down your expectations of the client – what does s/he need to do or provide for you to complete the work? And what happens if they don’t fulfil their side of the bargain?

Generally there are seven parts to a contract:

Description of the job (the brief)
Here you detail all the basics of what the job is about. Most importantly you need to define what ‘completion’ means so that the client can’t drag a project out endlessly. Clearly outline how many revision stages there will be before you start charging extra.
Timings
Put down not only the final deadline but also key milestones during a project such as first, second and final drafts. Also highlight what the client is obliged to provide at key stages – and what will happen if they don’t deliver on time. Basically, if they don’t give you the reference materials (or whatever) they promised on time then you won’t be able to deliver the final draft on time.Money issues
Here you need to set out how much you’re being paid, when you’ll be paid and how. It might be an hourly rate or, more likely for a big project, a fixed fee. It’s standard practice to have a deposit paid at the beginning of a job which commits both parties to its completion. And then state exactly when final payment should be made (e.g. on approval of final draft). The ‘how’ means will it be paid direct to your bank account (hopefully!) but also, in some cases, which currency it will be paid in. As with timings, you should state clearly what the consequences will be if the agreed payments are not made.Delivery details
This isn’t so much ‘where to deliver to’ (although that’s important!) but what exactly should be delivered and how. Specifically what file format should the job be provided in, e.g. Word, pdf, XML, etc.Cancellation clause (‘kill clause’)
This is so important! What happens if the client pulls the plug on the job half way through? You need to include a ‘kill clause’ stating a fixed fee that will be payable in this situation. The standard amount is 25% but you may want to have a graded tariff depending on how near the project is to completion at the time of cancellation.Copyright protection
Make it clear that your work is yours until it’s been paid for.Signatures
Obvious but worth mentioning, both you and the client need to sign and date the documents – one for you and one for them. Ideally, each page should be initialled as well to make it that little bit more watertight.
THE PROS AND CONS OF A CONTRACT: LEGAL COVERAGE FOR FREELANCE COPYWRITERS

The pros are:

  • It brings clarity to a project and cuts out unnecessary misunderstandings. It clarifies expectations on both sides and will help avoid disputes at a later date.

 

  • It provides legal protection to you both. In the event of a dispute you have something in writing that clearly sets out the terms of your relationship.

 

  • It gives you control by preventing projects ballooning out of control. In wars it’s called ‘mission creep’, in advertising ‘project creep’ as the client tries to add more and more things that weren’t there at the outset.

 

  • It makes you look good if you have a professional looking contract and inspires confidence in the client that you’re going to do a good job.

And the cons?

  • Hassle. It can be a bit of a faff to put one together and may not be suitable for very small jobs or for a job with a client you know and trust.

 

  • Occasionally a client might say No when asked to sign a contract. They’re probably the type of client you should avoid anyway!

 

  • It may cause a slight delay to the beginning of a project while you’re waiting for signatures. Then again, it could save so much time and heartache in the long run.
WHAT IS A RETAINER?

If you do the same kind of work repeatedly for the same client – such as writing for a newsletter or blog – a retainer might make sense for both you and your client. The client agrees to pay you a fixed fee each month for an defined amount of work (e.g. “write six articles” or something). Generally that fee is paid up front, at the beginning of the month. A retainer might also put you ‘on standby’ for a client so that s/he can always count on your availability for a certain number of hours each month. So, if and when they call you should be willing to drop everything to help them out.

THE PROS AND CONS OF RETAINERS

The pros

  • It gives you some financial security. Being able to count on a fixed amount of money coming in every month smooths out some of the ups and downs of a freelancer’s finances.

 

  • Under the terms of some retainer agreements you could even get paid for doing nothing. It might be worth it to the client just knowing that you’re available at the drop of a hat even if they don’t actually use you every month. Sweet.

 

  • It helps you to plan better. Knowing that you have so many hours each month for a particular client means you can allocate the rest of your time more efficiently.

 

  • It can also be a way of ‘up-selling’ yourself. Once you get a portion of guaranteed work think of ways that you could add further value for the client. If the original job was writing articles for a blog you could move up the value chain by offering to put the newsletter on line for them each month, respond to reader comments or become an editor who commissions articles from outside.

 

  • It’s good for the client as well, by the way. In return for the guaranteed work you might offer them a reduced rate. And they also get the benefit of a responsive service and the peace of mind that you are always there for them.

 

The con

  • The retainer ties you down because you always have to be available for the client. Even if you get a big project in or you’re suddenly swamped with work you still must find time to meet your obligations each month. And if you’re thinking of swanning off on holiday on a whim remember that you will still have to do what you promised to do.

 

WHAT TO THINK ABOUT WHEN DRAWING UP A RETAINER

Most importantly you need to define exactly what you’re offering. It should be absolutely clear what you are and what you’re not offering for that fixed fee. You could also draw up a price list of options for your client. Above all, put everything down in writing. As with the contract you need to cover things like: payments, key dates, the nature of work required, what you expect from the client and how to end the agreement. Best to make the retainer valid for a year at a time and then you can always review your prices annually.

AND FINALLY, SOME EXAMPLES

Here are a couple of downloadable forms – a contract template and a retainer. The language is very formal but the content is good so you could use them as a starting point for developing your own agreement. (Thanks to the nice people at docracy.com)

The project contract: www.docracy.com/8054/work-for-hire-freelance-writing-agreement

If the client doesn’t want to go to the bother of a full blown contract at least put in writing what you see as the parameters of the job. In the event of a dispute, it’s better than nothing: www.docracy.com/10zhh99vdi/freelance-writer-assignment

And here’s the retainer agreement: www.docracy.com/9jsoij4itk/retainer-agreement

OTHER RESOURCES

www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/11/26/the-bare-bones-that-every-freelance-contract-should-have/

www.contractorcalculator.co.uk/charging_clients_retainer_how_they_work.aspx

freelancefolder.com/do-you-need-a-contract-for-freelance-work/

freelanceswitch.com/the-business-of-freelancing/offering-services-on-retainer/

thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2012/10/14/you-need-these-must-have-clauses-in-your-freelance-contracts/

freelancefolder.com/13-serious-mistakes-no-freelancer-should-ever-make/

www.contractorcalculator.co.uk/charging_clients_retainer_how_they_work.aspx

 

 

 

Have you got any questions you’d like Agony Ant to take a look at? Please just write your question below.

How buyers buy – the lessons for companies and copywriters

One of the great things about being a copywriter is learning from your clients. The following was shared with me by Cindy Barnes at Futurecurve. It explains the process buyers go through when they’re deciding what to buy and – crucially from a copywriting perspective – what influences them at each stage.

This information can help copywriters guide clients through the materials they need to convince their customers. It’s also helpful for copywriters, when considering how to persuade potential clients to use our services.

WHAT BUYING DECISIONS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

This model doesn’t apply to all buying decisions. One of the big trends in recent years is that selling has polarised into two types – transactional and consultative.

TRANSACTIONAL SELLING

With transactional selling, customers already know what they want. All they need to do is decide who to buy from, which will come down to price, speed of delivery, convenience and similar factors. Most retailing is built on transactional selling.

CONSULTATIVE SELLING

Consultative selling is appropriate when the decision to buy is more complex. Buyers have a need but they might not know how to fulfil it. They might not even be certain that the right product or service exists. The seller therefore acts as a consultant, explaining the buyer’s options and, in the process, setting out the case that the customer should buy from them. This is the process described below.

HOW BUYERS BUY

 

ASSESSING NEEDS

At the start of the process, buyers are trying to figure out what’s available and whether it will solve their problem. The company’s job is to educate them, so customers feel sufficiently informed to move to the next stage.

The company’s website is the obvious place to do this, giving plenty of space to guide customers through the options and the chance to mix copy with video, graphics and pictures.

White papers are another excellent way to inform customers and to demonstrate expertise, without being overtly ‘salesy’. They allow you to address current issues or to go into more depth for the buyer who is hungry for detail.

Blog posts can work in the same way: I know that posts I’ve written on how to get the most from a copywriterhave helped me to win business. Good case studies are also invaluable for showing how your products or services work in practice.

Ultimately, the volume and type of information you provide will depend on how much education your customers need. Know your customer, as always, is the basic rule.

EVALUATING OPTIONS

This is the differentiation phase – why customers should choose you instead of the alternatives.

The alternatives include both direct competitors and other uses to which customers can put their money. It’s obvious that your sales training course will compete with other training courses but your customer could instead choose to invest in new salespeople, new software or a complete overhaul of its website and marketing collateral. Why is your product the right choice?

This is where benefits-led copy comes into its own. There’s a vast amount of good advice about how to do this, which I’m not going to repeat here. What’s important, though, is to realise that the benefits you believe your product offers may not be the same as the benefits your customers perceive.

This is the second key thing I learned from Cindy. Customers’ perceptions of value have three elements – rational, emotional and social/political. These elements determine how people choose what to buy, even in B2B markets.

Most companies only focus on the rational element, answering the buyer’s obvious questions, such as:

  • Does the product work?
  • Will it save me time?
  • Will it cut my costs?
  • Will it make me money?

This ignores the fact that buyers also have an emotional response (‘How will buying this product make me feel?’) and a social/political response (‘How will it make me look to other people?’). Buyers may not even be aware that they are having these responses but they are an inevitable part of the way we make purchasing decisions.

Don’t believe it? Ask Phil and Kirstie

Anyone who doubts this only needs to watch Location, Location, Location. Buying a house is almost always our most important financial commitment and a decision where rationality really should rule. On this programme, almost any of the houses would satisfy the buyers’ rational criteria – they’re in the right town, with the right number of bedrooms, the right amount of off-street parking and so on. The buyers, however, are driven to a huge extent by how the houses make them feel and how they imagine their friends and family would perceive them if they lived there. It’s exactly the same – although less overt – for other purchases, even in a corporate setting.

It therefore stands to reason that copywriting that taps into these emotional and social responses will have added power. There is another trap to avoid, though, which is assuming that everyone thinks, feels and acts like you. The only way to know your customers’ responses is to ask them.

RESOLVING CONCERNS

Now your buyer is almost convinced to buy from you. Humans are naturally risk averse, however, and our brains are wired so that the pain we feel from a loss is much greater than our pleasure from a similar-sized gain. Companies therefore need to overcome their customers’ fears and take as much risk as possible out of the buying decision.

Obvious ways to do this include case studies and testimonials. Buyers naturally feel more confident if they can see that previous customers were happy with what they got. My own experience shows this: the portfolioandtestimonials pages are among the most visited on my website.

This phase can be time consuming, especially for public sector customers, which are typically more risk averse, and large organisation where numerous people need to sign off. Customers may also need to construct a business case or estimate their return on investment. Anything that shortens the process is welcome.

NEGOTIATING

The final stage is about making sure the deal stacks up, from both a price and contractual perspective. Having clearly articulated the value you offer and taken as much risk as possible out of the buying decision, your customers should already be convinced that your product or service is worth what you’re asking for it.

THE LESSONS FOR COPYWRITERS

There are two clear lessons for copywriters:

  1. By understanding how buyers buy, we can help clients cover all the bases, whether they need white papers to educate their clients or a new set of case studies to reduce the risk of buying from them.
  2. Everything here applies equally to how we sell our own services. Simple things like gathering client testimonials or writing case studies about successful projects can be powerful persuaders.

 

About the Author: Richard Hollins
richard hollins

I’m a copywriter, based in London. I specialise in financial copywriting (in particular corporate reporting and copywriting for financial services) and business copywriting, helping companies and other organisations to communicate with their customers and staff.

Join me on www.richardhollins.com/blog/

Click here to view the original post by Richard Hollins

After graduating, we have all thought, ‘Okay, now what?’

As they say, ‘Now you are entering real life’ (as if what I was doing before was not real). But we all know what that means: more responsibility, less freedom, a more serious job that will pay your bills…

When I moved to Lyon, France for my Master’s degree, I had no idea I would end up doing a freelance job, travelling around Europe and not giving up on my freedom. But the decision to go freelance was not an easy one to make. When I graduated, I started applying for various positions (in order to land a job in France, you need to apply for at least 15 a day) but I realized that most of the jobs I was applying for were not something I wanted to do in my life.

So I started looking for what motivated me and what I really aspired to do. I talked to some friends who had had a career transition at one point in their life, and one thing they all mentioned was that they were not using their strengths in their old jobs. This eventually led to dissatisfaction with their job. In pursuit of a perfect job, I tried a couple of personality tests until I came across a free Strengths Finder that helped me understand what my top 5 strengths were. It would appear that people who know their strengths tend to make better career choices.

Guess what? Not liking to be told what to do, appreciating one’s freedom of choice, not feeling comfortable doing a routine job were some of the traits that came up when I dug into my own strengths. A month later I found myself applying for various freelance jobs where I could use what I was strong at and what I really felt fit my personality.

Today, I am a freelance content marketing manager, still in France, still doing what I like and still travelling around Europe to find inspiration for writing (and, of course, eating croissant and pain au chocolat).

With this in mind, I decided to come up with a small guide for finding freelance jobs in France as a copywriter (remember: first things first).

 

1. GET YOUR PAPERWORK DONE EARLY.

Once you decide you want to become a freelance copywriter in France, the simplest option is to get your social status of micro-entrepreneur or auto-entrepreneur which basically means you are someone who has created an individual company and has opted for the micro-enterprise tax system. You can do it online through the official portal for liberal professions like a copywriter, or by visiting Centre de Formalité des Entreprises (CFE) (“Business Formality Center”).

The main advantage of this social status is that it is simple to create and manage, there are very few charges and almost no accounting to do. When you exceed the revenue cap for micro-entrepreneurs, you might need to look at other social statuses.

Quick tip: If you are not currently in France, you should get your profession libérale visa in the nearest French Consulate. If you want everything to go smoothly, all your documents should be in French.

 

 

 

2. REGISTER ON THE MOST FAMOUS FREELANCE JOB PLATFORMS.

There are numerous freelance job platforms for copywriters, but I suggest Hopwork (France’s 1st freelance platform) and Ouishare. If you are not fluent in French, you might want to take a look at Freelance in France(for English-speakers) and Twago (the largest marketplace for European freelancers).

Quick tip: When you start contacting French employers, remember to keep it professional. The initial business contact in France is quite formal and polite.

 

 

3. NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK!

Do not forget about the 2 types of networking that are crucial to your success: online networking and offline networking. While the online networking seems easy (LinkedIn is widely used in France; you can also use Facebook groups as well), the offline networking requires some effort. One way of doing offline networking is working from coworking spaces. They can be expensive depending on the city, but it is a good opportunity to meet other freelancers).

Quick tip: You will be successful if you combine both types of networking. Once you have contacted a prospect, asked about their company and the type of work they do, suggest grabbing a coffee together. If they accept, prepare a good pitch and be ready to stand out.

 

 

 

4. YOUR FREELANCE JOB IS YOUR BUSINESS.

When you start treating your freelance job as your business, you will only become more successful. It will mean spending less time on things that do not earn you money and concentrating on things that will eventually pay your bills. Do not forget to include in your resume and portfolio of all the relevant skills and projects you have worked on.

Quick tip: You might not have a 9-to-5 job or staff meetings to attend, but you still have some responsibility as regards to your work, so do first things first.

 

 

Whether you like busy cities like Paris, or a cozy village in the French Alps, or even a seaside city like Nice, France has a lot to offer to freelance copywriters. So what are you waiting for?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Anatoli Chernyaev is a content marketing manager born in Armenia and currently residing in Lyon, France. He writes about various topics such as self-awareness, positive thinking, personal development, and career advice.