The Writer's Resource: Tips, Tricks & Strategies for Becoming a Better Writer

How to Create Compelling Copy for Landing Pages

Posted by Don Musacchio

shutterstock_297897029A landing page is one of the fundamental components of content marketing. These tips for composing compelling copy for a landing page will help you to master this marketing tool.

What Is A Landing Page
The main goal of a landing page is to get visitors to take a specific action. When this happens, it is called a conversion. The action could be downloading a free ebook, subscribing to a newsletter, setting up a free consultation or making a purchase at a discounted price. Visitors land on this page by clicking on an advertisement, an opt-in button or an offer in an email.

For a marketing perspective, the landing page is the focal point - the bottom of the funnel. The reason content exists is to create the excitement and trust that will lead visitors to respond to an offer. That is why it is import to write compelling copy for the landing page. You don't want to drop the ball just as you are about to cross the goal line.

Tips for Compelling Copy
Now that you understand the importance of the landing page in content marketing, here are a few tips for writing compelling copy for these pages.

Be Clear

  • Confusing copy is a conversion killer. No one is going to respond if they cannot figure out what the offer is.

  • Use clear language that communicates your point. If you can be clever, that is a plus. But don't sacrifice clarity for cleverness.

  • Avoid using industry jargon that your reader may not understand.

  • Make sure that your copy is scan-able. People often don't carefully read text on a website, they just look at the headlines and bullet points. So make sure your headlines and bullets clearly explain the offer.

Be Engaging

  • Address the reader. Use the second person to engage the reader directly.

  • Use action-oriented words. Action verbs give clear instructions to your reader. They guide the reader to do something.

  • Create urgency by using words like "now" and "today." If the offer has a time limit, be sure to mention it to convey that the visitor should act now.

  • Unbounce's offer of a free course on landing pages is really clear and engaging. The benefits of taking the course are clear from the headline. Action-oriented verbs are used to engage the reader about the content of the course. The call-to-action expresses urgency, asking the reader to start the course now.

Add Value

  • Customers make decisions based on the perceived value of the offer. You must focus on the value that the customer will receive from the offer.

  • In other words, show how the offer will solve a problem for the customer. For example, pest control companies should not spell out the technical details of how their pest control system works. Consumers really want to know that the company will take care of their bug problem and preserve their home from damage.

  • The traditional copyrighting advice applies here: focus on benefits and not features. Describe the benefits and value that the visitor will get.

  • Check out the landing page for Freckle, a time management tool. The copy goes right to the pain point of many businesses: the difficulty of keeping track of time spent on projects. It then offers a set of benefits for users. They could have stronger headlines and more scan-able copy to improve the page. Notice the strong and clear CTA at the bottom of the page.

Use a Strong Call-To-Action

  • The call-to-action (CTA) is the point where you ask the visitor to respond. It is the moment of truth for a marketer.

  • The CTA should be clear and strong. Phrases like "Download Your Free eBook now!" or "Schedule Your Free Consultation Today!" are good examples.

  • Make sure that all CTAs on the page are the same. Don't include links to both a "contact us" page and a "schedule free consultation" page. Using different CTAs on the same page sends mixed messages.

  • The landing page for Webprofits, an Australian online marketing agency, has a strong offer with a solid CTA. They are offering an analysis of the visitor's website that is worth $197 for free. Note the urgency expressed in the final CTA where it says "Get a free analysis now." The text uses a lot of SEO jargon, so it may be confusing for the layman.

Armed with these tips, you are ready to start writing high-converting landing pages.


 


 

The Art of Writing a Conclusion

Posted by Robin Kastengren

shutterstock_138382064The conclusion may be the last part of a blog post or article, but that does not mean that it should be an afterthought. When you are creating custom content for your customers, the conclusion is your opportunity to tidy up any loose ends and to offer your readers an action to take. Stop wasting space at the bottom of your posts with lame endings or, worse, skipping the conclusion altogether. Use this 5-step process to exceed expectations with your endings.

1. Give it a Heading

For blogs, articles, and other custom content for the web, you'll be breaking up your text with plenty of headings, bulleted lists, and numbered lists. Slice your conclusion off from the rest of the text by giving it a heading of its own. If you have an opinion or recommendation to offer based on the rest of the writing, you can even use the word "conclusion" for the heading. Otherwise, use a heading that suggests an action to take or offers some inspiration that goes along with the main body of your post.

2. Summarize (This is not synonymous with "repeat")

We are not writing five paragraph essays here, so the "tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em; tell 'em; tell 'em what you told 'em" formula does not work so well. Don't waste space in your summary by restating what you have already said or people will skip over it. Instead, summarize in no more than two sentences what the main takeaways should be from your post. This will help bring everything full-circle, and send any skimmers back up to the main body of the text to pick up anything they may have missed.

3. Inspire Action

Now that your readers have gathered some useful information from your content, give them something useful to do with it. What this should be depends on the customer and the audience. In most cases, when we are creating custom content our customers are looking for a call to action in the conclusion. Call now! Click here! Register today! In other cases, you only need to be a little inspirational. For example, if you are writing five ways for homeowners to boost their curb appeal, you can tell your readers to get out there and fancy up those frontsides!

4. Kindly Ask for Interaction

The purpose of most custom content is first to get the reader to like the company and to take an action. The second thing it should do is to spark a little interaction. Ask your readers to share this post with their friends on Facebook or to +1 it on Google+. Or, ask a question that relates to the information you provided to get the comments section rolling. 

5. Cut it In Half

If you have followed the first four steps, your conclusion is probably too long now. Go back and cut it in half. A conclusion should not be another two-paragraph section of your post. Instead, cut it down so that it is no more than four or five lines of easily-digestible text. If it is still looking too long and you don't want to cut anything else out, set your final question or request for interaction on a new line at the very bottom of the post. 

Go Forth and Conclude!

Conclusions should be a short synopsis of your main body along with a couple sentences that motivate your readers to do something because of what they read. They should help the reader feel like they have finished with the content and point them in the right direction moving forward. By following these five steps, you will be able to write hard-hitting conclusions that convert more readers and inspire more interaction with your custom content. 

What are your favorite ways to create killer conclusions?

Writing Long Form Content: Telling Your Story from Beginning to End

shutterstock_120673561Writing long-form content, whether it’s a blog post or white paper, can be an overwhelming and even confusing process if you don’t take steps to prepare before you start the writing process. To stay organized and better tell your story from beginning to end, put these long-form content creation tips and tricks to use:

Create an Outline

The most important aspect of any piece of long-form content is creating an outline. Your outline will help to keep you on track from the start and give you some direction when you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed as the actual writing process plays out. Your outline should act as a road map that walks you through each section of your piece and ensures that nothing important is overlooked when all is said and done.

You’ll want to include topics to cover and research to be done, as well as a guideline to the types of visuals, reports, resources, and statistics that need to be included in your content. When putting together your outline think of it as a checklist of everything that needs to be done, but break the outline up into sections as your content will be written so you can have an effective workflow to follow that allows you to focus on just one chunk of content at a time.

Brainstorm Bullet Points

Once your outline is created, brainstorm a set of bullet points for each section of your content that highlight the most important pieces of information you want your readers to learn. You can then work from these bulleted lists first to ensure all the essentials are there, and then fill out the rest of the content around your compiled information to help fill in the missing pieces.

Once you’ve built upon your bulleted lists, you may find that some of the other parts of your outline aren’t any longer needed, which saves you time and eliminates fluff. On the other hand you might find that your content needs more in depth information than initially planned, which only makes the reading richer and more valuable to readers.

Plan Your Format

While you’re creating your content, think about how you want to present it to your readers. If your content includes a lot of statistics or historical information, you may want to lead each section with a stunning photo or short educational video that makes your audience want to read the content to the end. If you’re creating a press release, you know that the information should be presented in a succinct and straight forward manner, but you can still plan a unique format that helps the content stand out from the crowd.

For example, you can create an article in the form of a FAQ sheet with questions used as headings and answers used to answer those questions. This is an engaging way to get the word out about a new product, a company’s grand opening, or a big event that provides all the information readers need to know in order to get involved.

Ditch the Redundancies

After you’ve created your outline and your bulleted ideas, go back through everything and weed out any ideas that overlap each other by combining them in some way. This will allow you to minimize the inclusion of redundancies and ensure that every piece of content you do include is relevant to the overall topic at hand.

You’ll want to repeat the process of weeding out irrelevant ideas and those that seem too repetitive after you’ve written the core of your content. After the “meat” of the piece has been completed, you will more than likely once again find that some of the ideas left to flesh out in your outline simply aren’t needed any longer. This will give you some extra space for visuals or to get more specific about the ideas that you’ve already written about.  

In addition to using these tips and tricks, it’s important to get to know your intended audience and put yourself in their shoes during your initial brainstorming session. Read competitor blogs and check out consumer or company forums to gain some insight into what your potential readers expect to learn when reading your content – this works for all kinds of content whether a blog piece, a white paper, or an email newsletter series. 

5 Tips for Setting and Meeting Client Content Expectations

shutterstock_148591781An important part of achieving success as a professional writer is setting expectations with your clients that you are sure you can meet. Taking the time to hash out an upcoming project with a client will help ensure that you both stay on the same page throughout the process, and that each of you have clear expectations about what the project will look like once it is complete. Here are five tips you can use for effectively setting and meeting client expectations:

Tip #1: Provide a Tentative Schedule

One of the most effective ways to make sure you and your clients are on the same page is to provide a tentative work schedule to each project manager you work with before starting a new project. This will help them understand what kind of workload you have on your plate, and provide them with timeline expectations that can be used to plan other aspects of the project you are working on together. You don’t have to provide specific details about projects or clients that might be on your docket at the time, but you can outline your anticipated work hours, and how many of those hours are already committed to other projects.

Tip #2: Offer Some Insight into Creation Technique

After reviewing the specs for an upcoming project, take the time to document some content creation techniques that you think will work best for the project and share your insight with the client you’re working with. This will give them an idea of things like the topics you want to cover and what style of writing they can expect the content to feature.

This will also give your client an opportunity to provide their own feedback about technique, and keep you both on the same page in terms of how the content takes shape as you create it.

Tip #3: Discuss Keyword Distribution

Keywords are just as important as topics, angles, and writing styles you incorporate into your content. The right keywords in place help to attract the right readers who are likely to already be interested in the products and services your content is ultimately promoting.

But keyword placement isn’t set in stone when it comes to content marketing – marketing agents employ a variety of keyword implementation methods, so you need to make sure that you understand how each individual client wants to get the job done before starting a project. If a client isn’t specific about how keywords should be used, let them know your intentions so they’ll know what to expect.

Tip #4: Verify Visual Necessities

Visual implementations are an essential component of quality content because it helps bring the words to life and it inspires website visitors to read through an entire piece before moving on to something else. If you’re expected to find photos or videos for a project, ask your client which sources they’d prefer you to use and how they want the sources credited.

Otherwise, you may find yourself having to search for the ownership and reuse rights of the photos after you turn the completed work in which may require extra time without any extra pay. Make sure clients know if you charge extra for sourcing and including photos before providing the service, as some may choose to simply find the visuals using their own time and resources. Clients should also know up front how many visual effects you are willing to provide for each piece of content you create, if any at all.

Tip #5: Submit an Overview

After you feel that you have all of the information necessary to complete a project for a client, put together a quick overview of the services you expect to provide so as to minimize disappointments once the content is created. You’ll find that submitting an overview and getting approval before starting a project helps to cut down on revision requests and financial disagreements. To be thorough you’ll want to include keyword usage, topics, subheading ideas, and photo placement in your overviews.

After using these tips, the best way to make sure that you meet your client’s expectations is to schedule the workload into your personal calendar and make a commitment to review the project on a daily basis whether you plan to work on it at the time or not. 

Writing for a B2B Audience: 3 Key Points to Follow

Posted by Robin Kastengren

shutterstock_173040281Although writing for consumers may be more fun and light, the reality is that a lot of the content on the web is destined for a business audience. Even though one person can be both a consumer and a business person, when they are at work they want business solutions and content that speaks to their professional needs. Here is what you need to know to hit the right notes for a B2B audience.

1. Finding the Right Target

Content marketers know all about finding and targeting the right audience, but zeroing in on the right person for your B2B content takes a bit of extra insight. You need to know more than just the industry that you are writing for; you also have to know whether your content is destined for decision makers or those that influence decision makers, and how high up the ladder the reader is.

For example, if you are creating content for a software company that focuses on a new accounting program, you need to know whether you are writing for the CEO, the head of accounting, or an entry level software support specialist. While the head of accounting would want to know specific details of the program that will make her life easier, these concepts will probably be unfamiliar to the CEO who just wants to know the cost benefits, or to the support specialist who wants to know how this will work on their current network and desktop hardware. 

2. Language is Everything

Many of the concepts that you will discuss in B2B content is the same as content intended for consumers, but the wording is different and choosing the wrong words can set the wrong tone for your piece. For example, homeowners worry about electric bills while business owners worry about energy expenses. Homeowners want to keep a few more dollars in their pockets; business owners want to cut down on overhead. 

The ideas behind the words are the same, but in order for your ideas to resonate with B2B readers, you have to choose words that reflect their business surroundings. You also want to familiarize yourself with any industry lingo and determine the right time to use it. For the same accounting software piece, if you are addressing the head of accounting, you'll want to know how to use terms like "AP," "AR," and "closing the month," as these are all functions that accountants use software for every day.

3. Don't Forget the Fun

Even though the purpose of most B2B content is to establish the company as a leader in the industry or to provide insight into industry products or trends, it is still human beings that are consuming the content. The trick is to keep everything clean and neutral--business casual--so you can be entertaining without being unprofessional.

Think about the last time you had to sit through a meeting. If the whole thing was just slide after slide of a presentation, and the presenter simply read the information that was already on the slide, it probably will not take long for people to start doodling, checking their phones, and nodding off. On the other hand, if the presenter is lively and tosses out an occasional joke, slogging through hours of a presentation can become almost enjoyable.

Changing Gears

Writing B2B content does not have to be completely different from creating B2C content. As long as you are able to change gears and engage a few key components that B2B audiences want to see,  your messages will be well-received and do a better job of reaching their goals.

Do's and Don'ts of Writing With a Conversational Voice

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock_264494594The purpose of your content should be to develop a bond with your audience and encourage them to come back for more. For many topics and brands, a formal, informative tone drives readers away instead of pulling them in. In contrast, a conversational tone addresses your audience directly and allows them to become part of the message. Not every piece of content calls for conversational writing, but if you want your readers to be enthusiastic about your posts, bear these do's and don’ts in mind.

Do's

Write in the Second-Person Active Voice

The third-person and the passive voice distance you from your readers and can sometimes sound awkward. In contrast, using “you” and active phrases tells readers that you are addressing them and  inspires them to take action once they have read your post.

Use Contractions

Contractions give your writing a natural sound and feel as if you are conversing with your readers rather than informing them.

Keep It Simple

Your audience doesn't want to reach for the dictionary every few minutes just to get to the end of your content. Use everyday language, avoiding jargon, favoring short words over long ones, and explaining any complex terms readers may not understand.

Read Conversational Writing

A great way to feel more comfortable with conversational writing is to read as many (good) examples as you can find. Check out a variety of blogs to gain a better perspective of different writers' approaches and styles. This will allow you to see various techniques in action and will inspire your own content.

Break Some Rules

Your writing should create the sense that you are having a conversation. Starting some sentences with “and” or “but,” ending with prepositions, and using sentence fragments are a few examples suggested by Copyjuice.

Don’ts

Don’t Break All the Rules

Your content sets an example for the quality consumers can expect from the brand. A conversational voice is far from an excuse for sloppy writing; you must still follow basic grammar, capitalization, and punctuation rules and stick to style guidelines.

Don’t Write Like You Speak

Writing conversation and writing conversationally are two very different things. If you listen closely to how people speak, perhaps by recording yourself in a conversation, you will realize that natural speech is often repetitive, lacking clarity, and filled with unnecessary words. All this makes for very poor writing. Conversational writing it much more eloquent and should be carefully crafted and designed to speak to your reader.

Don’t Use Long Sentences

Long, complex sentences require energy to follow and increase the formality of your content. If there is a shorter way of saying something, use it. Printwand recommends using sentences that are 35 words or less. But if it is not possible to split the sentence, make reading easier by using punctuation such as commas, semicolons, and dashes.

There are varying levels of formality possible for conversational writing. Some clients prefer an informal, chatty style, whereas others may want a professional tone that isn't too dry. Whatever the case, the above dos and don’ts always apply.

Persuasive not Pushy: The Art of Crafting Content That Speaks to the Reader

shutterstock_147922871When it comes to content marketing, it's important to get out of the sales mindset in order to reach a wide audience and create a genuine interest in the niche that you are promoting. Of course, your content should draw your readers in and make them want to invest their time or money into the products and services you're ultimately promoting. But the way to do it should always be through crafting interesting, entertaining, and thought provoking content.

So how exactly do you create content that speaks to your audience and makes them want to buy without making your words sound to "salesy" or pushy? Here are three effective concepts you can start implementing right away to start getting your clients the attention they need for success:

Start a Conversation

The truth is that your readers are not interested in reading about how fantastic the products and services you're promoting are. They want to gain insight into finding solutions to their everyday problems, and learning about new information and techniques that will help make their lives easier. You have to find a way to incorporate your clients' products and services into useful content that gives your readers something to take away and implement into their own lifestyles.

For example, if you're creating content for an HVAC company, you can create content that revolves around reducing wear and tear on air conditioners or how to minimize the need for heater repairs during cold winters. The idea is to create authority and become a trustworthy friend to readers so they're more likely to naturally look into the products and services associated with your content.

Create Involvement

Get your readers involved in your content with techniques such as inspiring them to ask questions of themselves that will help them work out their simple problems. Another method is to have them write down lists of goals, interests, and aspirations that they can use to increase different aspects of their lives.

Whether your content helps homeowners sell their homes more quickly, encourages people to adopt a healthier diet, or simply gets stay-at-home parents to think about how they're spending their free time, the point is that you're bringing something valuable and actionable to the table that keeps readers thinking about the companies you represent long after your words have been read.

Like writing in a conversational tone, creating involvement within your words will make your clients' products and services more desirable by readers because they can be used to complement the tools you provide them within your content. After all, who wouldn't want to invest in software that will help keep track of the goals you suggest to readers looking to lose weight?

Represent the Brand

An important aspect of creating successful marketing content is giving each piece a unique tone that mimics the brand of every individual client you work with. It's a good idea to read through the "about us" page of your clients and ask them to go in depth about the tone and personality they'd like to connect to their business. Every piece of content you create for a particular client should speak the same in terms of personality, style, and authority.

If a client is just starting out and has not yet created a voice for their brand, put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would want to be seen by clients when you're choosing a voice to craft your content with. Take a look at competitor sites not only to weed out topics that have already saturated the internet, but to get a feel for the other voices out there which should help you come up with something unique for your client.

With these tips and tricks in mind, you should be able to come up with something new and unique that draws readers into the brand you're representing and makes them want to keep coming back for more.

Does Your Content Only Scratch the Surface? Learn How to Make it More Interesting!

Posted by Laura Holton

more_interestingWriting shallow, generic content is easy, requires minimal research, and demands little prior knowledge of the subject — all of which are selling points for content writers. However, clients are looking to stand out from their competitors and demonstrate to their audience why they are the right choice; readers are looking to be informed or entertained with something new; and Google ranks unique content high in search results. Content that just scratches the surface fails to please all three.

The problem is that there is a huge amount of content already on the web, making it difficult for writers to create something completely original. However, by taking a different approach to content creation, you can intrigue your readers and provide value to your audience. Here are a few ideas how to avoid being generic and go deeper into your subject matter.

1. Write from a Different Angle

You can turn even what may at first seem like an uninteresting subject matter into an exciting piece of content when you consider how you feel about the issue.

Most Creative People recommends sticking to topics in which you already have some interest; however, we understand that this is not always possible. In the case you do have to write on a subject you find boring for a B2B company, never allow your audience to feel your despair. Liven up the content by finding aspects that make the subject compelling, taking an angle never tried before. You may not be an expert on the subject matter, but this has no bearing. In fact, limited knowledge can often be beneficial, as you are even more likely to have some fresh ideas that your client's readers had never considered.

2. Infuse Pieces with Your Personality

Nothing makes for more shallow content than facts presented in a bland, dry tone. Your content may be completely free from grammatical or comprehensive errors, but this does not necessarily mean it is well-written.

Enhance your content by allowing your personality to shine through. Pay attention to your choice of vocabulary, style, and structure to ensure your writing reflects who you are, while still taking an appropriate tone and voice to meet your clients’ requirements.

3. Experiment with Various Formats

Mix things up by trying out a variety of formats for your content. For instance, if search results on your subject are turning up many pieces in data analysis form, try a Q&A, opinion piece, or how-to instead. Simply by presenting the information differently can be inspiring and may lead you to coming up with a range of new ideas or penetrating the subject in greater depth.

Whether you are tackling a completely new issue or returning to a topic that you have covered many times before, it is always possible to put a new spin on the subject. Keep your clients happy, encourage their readers to come back for more, and improve search engine rankings all by creating something fresh and thoughtful.

Leave the Hard Sell at the Door: Reaching People the Right Way with Great Sales Copy

shutterstock_124546999Copywriting requires a writer to wear a variety of hats.  Sometimes your writing will focus on delivering information and other times you'll find yourself describing a particular item and attempting to motivate the reader to buy it.  Creating great sales copy can often be a challenge because you need to find a way to pitch a product, idea, or service without suffocating the reader in a blatant sales pitch.

The many trends and predictions for 2015 and beyond include a heightened focus on strengthening the interaction between businesses and their potential consumers.  Copywriting has always been used to create a connection, but in the past it's primarily been focused upon offering the sale rather than building a relationship.  When the copywriting remains strictly business, consumers feel like they are being herded toward a company's marketing funnel rather than being gently encouraged to go that direction.

Some individuals seem to have a natural talent for creating great copy, and they can often be the envy of struggling writers everywhere, simply because they have the ability to pitch anything to anyone and get desired results.  It almost seems like they could sell ice to Eskimos without really trying!  You might be surprised to know that the ability to write great sales copy isn't necessarily one that can be taught, and many successful copywriters actually have very little formal education in the art of writing, if any at all.

Great writing, and writing great sales copy, is a talent that manifests itself more through being able to talk to people.  While communicating ideas in writing is naturally different from doing so verbally, the basic premise is the same - you have to know how to reach someone and motivate them to take action.  If you can do it face-to-face, you can do it on paper (or on your computer screen).

One of the most important aspects of talking to people, whether you're doing it verbally or in writing, is demonstrating a passion for what you're talking about and communicating that passion through your words, written or spoken.  If your audience can see that you feel and believe something strongly, it's infinitely easier to evoke those same strong emotions from them, as well, and when you are able to provide information that resonates with your reader's emotions, you've successfully tackled one of the biggest obstacles in marketing - making people feel.

Regardless of the logic we believe we put into our everyday decisions, including buying choices and shopping habits, we are still creatures that are driven by emotion.  You can attempt to sell, sell, sell all day long with the technical aspects and benefits of any product or service and you may see marginal positive results, but if you are able to motivate an individual to want or need something based on emotional responses, the results will be significantly more positive.

How can you evoke emotions from your readers and convince them with your copywriting that they should take action?  While it may appear to be easier said than done, it's not that difficult when you identify a few key questions that have answers with emotional roots.

  • What do you want?
  • What do you need?
  • What is your question?
  • What is your problem, dilemma, or issue?
  • What solution are you seeking?
  • What would make something easier?

One or more of those six questions are almost always the driving force behind a consumer's decision to purchase something, and more often than not their decision is motivated by several of those questions combined.  Consumers are looking for things that fulfill wants or needs, answer questions, solve problems, or make their lives more efficient, convenient, or hassle-free.  It's up to you, as the writer, to create sales copy that tells them how those six questions will be answered and do so in a way that leaves the hard sell at the door.

Developing a Successful Writing Business

shutterstock_158416370One of the first challenges you will face when you set off on your quest to become a successful freelance writer is to resist the temptation to immediately quit your “day job” and throw yourself into writing on a full-time basis as your sole means of financial support. You should find a market for your writing first and start producing work on a gradually increasing basis, to make sure you'll be able to create content that will sell.

Finding Jobs

You've already found the perfect platform for connecting with clients who are seeking quality writers, right here at Zerys. One of the primary keys to success is to ensure that your profile and expertise categories are as informative and complete as possible. Some clients who use our content marketing platform choose writers based solely on the information provided in the writer's bio, while some use other factors like ratings or areas of expertise.

When you accept an assignment, whether it's one that you've chosen from a list of those available to you or it was a direct offer from a specific client, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your writing skill. You should always strive to provide the highest quality work possible. This will open up more doors for additional writing jobs and give you greater opportunities for finding work.

Time Management

Being able to effectively manage your time is a hurdle that many freelance writers face, regardless of where they find their writing jobs. Whether you are working with one-at-a-time selections from an open list of jobs or you have a steady stream of projects assigned to you personally, you still have to be able to manage your time in a way that allows you to complete your writing projects within specific time frames. You also need to allow yourself time for personal activities; after all, when you're punching a clock and working in an office, you still have breaks and you get to go home at the end of your work day.

Balancing Workloads

Similar to time management, you need to be able to balance your workload in a way that doesn't leave you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or burned out with your writing tasks. This is especially true for freelance writers who are writing as a second job or using their writing as a way of supplementing a primary income.  Achieving a balanced workload incorporates time management as part of the basic strategy; you should be able to create a daily or weekly schedule that gives you time to effectively and efficiently manage or take care of all your personal and professional activities.

Intangible Assets Are Critical

Some of the most critical assets a successful writer can possess are those that are intangible - - excellent spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills, an ability to effectively proofread and edit, and a firm grasp of language usage and sentence construction skills. It can be extremely frustrating for a client to have to thoroughly proofread and possibly re-write or excessively correct typographical errors that could have been avoided by simply reviewing the work prior to submission.

Many successful writers will quickly admit that one of the most important keys to their own success is that they are also their own harshest critic. While you should never devalue your work - after all, your client thinks it is valuable and is willing to pay for it - you should be able to objectively review your own writing to identify possible errors or other deficiencies. If you don't have someone available to edit your work or you feel that you cannot be sufficiently objective, check online for help. There are several web-based tools and applications that provide free evaluations of your writing to check for punctuation errors and identify improperly constructed sentences; some even provide you with a readability rating.

As your writing side job becomes more prolific and your earning power escalates, you'll be able to determine if writing full-time as your sole occupation is an endeavor that you are able to achieve and which will provide you with the monetary compensation your budget demands.  When you reach the point where, when asked what you do for a living, your answer is "professional writer," you'll be rewarded with a sense of satisfaction, knowing that you're doing what you love and that you have achieved your goal.