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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Long Reach Of Article Marketing

Finally, one of these things that I can write about legitimately. Do you know that one of my most read free article marketing articles on EzineArticles has to do with funeral flowers? I'm not making this up, I promise. Here's how it happened. About four years ago my husband got into a new financial venture, selling prepaid funeral plans in the UK market. He had a partner and things went swimmingly for a while. I did a website for them and it seemed to do the trick. It was simple (which was just as well given my skill level) and professional.

A few years later, they wanted to drum up some publicity, so I suggested article marketing. I took the original website content, most of which I had written or edited and (with their permission) turned it into eight articles relating to funerals and funeral plans. One of them is about planning your funeral, including thinking about flowers for saying goodbye, as Dotflowers mentions.

Even though those articles have nothing to do with my main business of freelance writing, ghostwriting and teaching, they're still out there working for me. The reason is that part of the deal was that in the three link resource box, one of the links pointed to my site. Depending on the search engine you use, you can find the article (called 'It's Your Funeral: Why Not Plan It Properly') at least a hundred times. That's a hundred inbound links to my site. OK, so some of them are probably not the best quality, but at least they are there.

My point? Even if you write about something like funeral flowers and even if the article is old, you can still get some benefit for the resources and sites you are promoting.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Freelance Writing Myths

Freelance writers hear a lot of things from their clients - and they shouldn't believe all of them. The things clients tell you, as a writer or ghostwriter, are often designed to get you to provide your best work at the lowest possible price, and to give them something to measure your work against if you don't hit their target.

Freelance Writing Myth 1 - There Is Lots Of Info On ...

Clients always say things like:'There is lots of information out there, so you shouldn't have any trouble with this' and 'I found lots of links on Google'. Clients who do this are often trying to lowball me or have been fooled by the 1 million links on Google. I must admit, when I hear this, I'm often tempted to say unkind things such as: 'if there's so much great info out there, why am I the one that's looking for it?' I don't, though, knowing better than to bite the hand that might feed me.

Because the thing about search engines is that one million web pages does not equal lots of good information, not in a research sense anyway. What you've got instead is the same information one million times - and you're the sap that has to make sense of it. So if you have to research something outside your niche and write more than a hundred articles and make them all sound different, that can be a tall order.

Freelance Writing Niches

Gracepub has been quite vocal about the benefits for freelance writers of finding and staying within your niche. When you do, you have knowledge at your fingertips and you can write fast and earn more money. When you don't, you can end up having wasted your time and be out of pocket. I write about UK finance and I've done this before, in a series on credit cards. All of the articles were different, though much of the information was the same. (By the way, I had a funny experience the other day when I was researching a subject and some of my own ghostwritten material came up). But with other subjects, it's not so easy. If you don't know the subject well enough, you can't always differentiate between the articles.

This happened to me with a project. OK, the client was picky, but he had a point - some of the articles were very samey. And the reason - there wasn't loads of information out there. When I looked into it, there were a few facts repeated ad nauseam. I tried my best, but I just couldn't make the articles different enough and I didn't have enough inside information to make the difference.

So now I've revised some of the articles and I'm playing a waiting game. If the revisions are OK, that's a quarter of the money I want to earn this month taken care of. If not, it's back to the drawing board and looking for another freelance writing job.

Related freelance writing information

It Shouldn't Happen To A Freelance Writer
Rejected? Don't Be Dejected
Five Questions Every Freelance Writer Should Ask

This is the first in an occasional series on freelance writing myths. Feel free to join in on your blog or to let me know of myths you've experienced in your job.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Freelance Writers Need Time Off Too

I am taking a day off today. I have been busy for months, and not just with freelance writing. In the last three months I have completed an international move and done more writing than I ever thought possible. I'm so busy that I have very little time to promote - and promotion is part of what has made me so busy. So why am I taking a day off?

It's simple. Every now and then you need to remind yourself of the reasons why you work at home. My reasons (in no particular order) include being able to set my own schedule, not having to dress up and spending time with my daughter and family. This week I've been particularly busy having done a panic acceptance of too much work the previous week. My daughter has been asking me to play and I promised that if she could be patient (as if!) I would play on Friday afternoon. So that's what I'll do when she gets home from school.

Before she gets home, I'm also going to do some stuff around the house, because we've still got a fair number of boxes everywhere and it's driving me crazy. And maybe I'll also go to the beach and go to my favourite coffee place with my husband. And maybe ... And maybe ...

Days off come so rarely that it's tempting to fill them with stuff. I've always been a hard worker, but I work harder now that I'm at home than I ever did as a lecturer - and that's saying something. The danger of that is that you could burn out, as a good friend warned me. So I'm taking some time to chill before that happens. WAHMs are high risk candidates for burnout because they never have any time off.

Yesterday, I sat at the computer from 8am till about 9pm, with only a couple of short breaks. When I got up my eyes were blurred and my wrists were aching, but I had met my deadlines. I'm only behind on one thing now (here's why) and I'm sure I can catch up over the next week. I've written three articles this morning (1500 words in total, which is just a warm-up) and now this freelance writer is out of here. Time to relax.