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How to Get Organized and Create Outstanding Content: Guide for New Freelance Writers
Are You Thinking of Starting A Freelance Writing Career?
Are you new to Writing Online? If so, one of the best things you can do to break into the market is to take advice from Seasoned Published Authors.
Now I am not claiming to be an expert, but I have many hours of experience and have made my share of mistakes along the way.
In fact, I learn something new every single day and I rely on other writers for guidance and advice.
Many times I am inspired by a New Hubber and I frequently try to assess what makes certain articles successful.
The purpose of this article is to share what I have learned along my Journey as a Published Online Writer.
Taking Your Time and Being Patient Will Yield Beautiful Results!
If You Want To Be a Great Writer, First You Have To Learn To Read!
Do You Have The Desire To Learn...
One of the biggest factors that determine an Online Writers success is how eager they are to learn. If you come to a blank page thinking you know it all, you will not succeed. I find that the best writers online have certain traits that make them stand out from the crowd. Writers whose articles are well researched and put together well are easily recognized.
A desire to learn is the first step in writing online. Even if you are an expert on a topic, you will always learn something new while you are doing your research. Becoming a good writer is like any other skill; it doesn't happen over night!
The constant desire to learn and share what you have learned with others, is a foundation to becoming a great writer and your efforts will show through your writing.
Do You Have Patience?
Patience is a virtue, indeed! The patient writer does not miss an opportunity because haste makes waste!
Patience is very important to be a successful Online Writer if you want to succeed. You have to be patient to learn and understand that things don't happen overnight; rarely is there instant success!
Many times as a writer we get caught up in the idea that having many articles will increase our earnings. Although this is true, merely having a lot of articles does not mean ultimate success or earnings for an online writer.
The successful online writer understands that one of the keys to their success is having patience. The patience to complete thorough research and taking the time to edit and format their articles until they are at their best.
If you put in half an effort you will receive similar results. Having patience as a writer increases with experience. New writers should grasp this knowledge and be prepared for some articles to take a bit of time to perfect, even up to a week of researching and editing depending on the content and article length.
Learn How To Get Organized!
Being organized is one of the hardest and most important things a Writer can do. If you are a single parent or a parent with a full time job and little kids, staying organized and focused can be quite the task!
The key to staying organized is being consistent. Follow these guidelines for some ideas on how to get organized and stay organized so that you can make the best of your time and energy while maintaining a sane home life and hectic schedule!
Don't Be a Hoarder!
Organize Your Books!
Here are some tips on how to Get Organized and Stay Organized!
- Separate "Work" from Life. Dedicate a special area in your house exclusive to writing.
- Choose a Quiet Space (when possible!) even if it means working in the basement! (That's where this author does his work!)
- Create a Professional Environment: Having an "Office" will show others that you are serious and it will help you to define yourself as a professional.
- Keep a Schedule and Stick to It! Sometimes we can't always work when we plan to, but having a plan and a schedule makes you be more focused and allows you to set and follow through with your goals.
- Write Things Down! It has been said that a good writer can always be found with a pen, notebook and camera by their side at all times! You never know when the next idea or inspiration will come! Merely writing down an idea or concept is the beginning of the writing and creative process. You can get back to something later but if you don't write it down, you may forget it!
- Schedule a Regular Office Cleaning at least once a week. Start with your desk! Keeping a clean work area decreases stress and you know where things are and can find them quicker when you need them. Another reason to keep your office space clean is because you never know if your next client may be someone who regularly stops by. Your office will be their first impression of you so make it count!
- Get a Filing Cabinet and Bookcase. This will keep your documents organized and you can keep your research materials (books) close at hand and easily located.
- Have a Family Meeting and explain to the members of your family that when you are in your office, you are working and don't want unimportant interruptions.
- Maintain Transparency with your family in regard to your writing. Show them your goals and your progress and share with them the things you are learning while you are working.
- Schedule Time for Family and show them your progress. If you simply "disappear" into your office and ignore your family, they will doubt your work efforts and this can cause stress on family life. Family always comes first!
- Take Time Off and Get Away Once and a While! Everybody needs a break once in a while. Make sure to schedule time for yourself, your family and your responsibilities. Don't let the house turn into a disaster! Getting away from your work from time to time allows you to relieve stress and when you get back to work, you will feel refreshed and inspired.
Successful Authors Do a lot of Research!
Useful Research Website Links
- A Newbie's Guide to Publishing
Writing Resources and Publishing Tips from a Best Selling Author.
Stay Up to Date on what's going on on the internet! Get great tips and news on current online events.
- U.S. Copyright Office
U.S. Copyright Office is an office of public record for copyright registration and deposit of copyright material. Everything you need to know about copyrighting all in one place!
- Author Tech Tips
Author Tech Tips is a blog dedicated to helping authors use technology to build their online platforms. The site is a project of Author Media.
- Online Thesaurus
Sick of using the same old words over and over? Check out this Online Thesaurus to incresse your word bank!
- Online Dictionary
This is an Online Dictionary and is very easy to use. If you are not sure of the meaning or a spelling of a word, click here and you can see examples of the word used in a sentence.
Do Your Research!
Research is one of the most important tools for any writer in any field. Ask a best selling book author how much research goes into their novels and you might be surprised at how much research goes into their work.
There are many ways to do research before writing and publishing an article or presentation. These days, most research is done online. Libraries still have something that the Internet doesn't: Hard-bound books with tons of useful information!
There is a lot to learn in a library and there are many reasons for visiting one over searching exclusively on the web to do your research.
- Doing Research in a Library offers a Different Environment that is quiet and well suited for learning.
- No Ad Promotions or "Bad Links" to worry about: Books Are Real!
- Multiple books in an area instead of reviewing one web page at a time allows for easy comparison of information on a topic.
- You can ask questions! Librarians are people in the "know" and can often times refer you to someone who specializes in the field you are researching.
There are many benefits for visiting a library and there are more than have been listed here. Try it out for yourself.
The next time you need to research something, visit the library and see what you come up with. Stay away from the computers in the library or you will be cheating!
You Can Research Right on Amazon! Learn How!
Become a Better Researcher and Get More Writing Jobs!
Put In the Effort!
If you are satisfied with mediocre work, your results will be the same! Lazy authors leave out important functions such as research, editing, and re-editing! A good author constantly reads and re-edits their articles and work.
Sometimes after a certain amount of time passes after publishing an article, the author needs to research the topic again and make adjustments to their work. This is true in many fields such as Science, Current Events and Politics, as information changes very often.
Don't expect to get excellent results with mediocre effort. Search Engines and readers alike will see if you didn't put in any effort and your traffic will not increase, and you may loose your reputation as a valuable source of information.
Don't worry about Quantity, focus more on Quality! Quantity comes in time and an experienced writer will only publish their work when it is up to their standards.
How Much Effort is Needed?
How Much Effort Do You Put Into Writing?
Choose What To Write About Wisely!
The "Golden Rule" that all Content Writers should follow is this:
- Do a Google Search on something you wish to write about.
- Look at the Top 3 Results of your search.
- Ask Yourself: Can I Do a Better Job Than This? Be Honest with your answer!
- If the Answer is "No", then Don't Waste Your Time! Pick something else to write about!
- If you think that you can write a better article than the ones at the top of a search query, then Get Writing and Master that Topic and Niche!
Many writers waste precious time by not properly researching what they want to write about and putting hours of effort into a topic that is already heavily covered. Don't fall into this trap!
You should also avoid writing about topics that you aren't interested in and have no prior knowledge of. Just because something is a "hot" topic of search, your experience, or lack of, will show through your work! Stick to what you know and don't be afraid to learn new things and extensively researching new topics.
Quality of Your Content
When I say Quality Content, I am not just referring to a 2,000 word article. There are many things that contribute to the quality of and article. Here are some of the most important elements that make an article stand out from the rest and increases the likelihood of showing up at the top of Searches:
Write About Evergreen Content!
What is Evergreen Content?
- The information is something that will be searched for Year-Round, for many years to come. (ex. recipes, how-to-do-something, specific techniques, etc.)
- The information is not limited to a specific time period. Writing about your 21st Birthday Party and how much fun you had will fade away very quickly. If you write about "How To Throw the Best 21st Birthday Party", that would make it Evergreen!
- Although writing about Holidays will tend to generate traffic for a short period of time (around the holiday), Holidays are "Evergreen" if they occur on an annual basis and you don't include specific dates (ex. "Christmas Party 2012).
- Evergreen Content is often not something that is recent (in the news, hot trends, fashion, etc.)
- Over time, Search Engines will rank Evergreen Content higher as it gets more traffic because it is recognized as a Reputable Source.
- Choosing an Evergreen Title for your article is the first step in making the article Evergreen!
Article Appearance and Presentation
Does Your Article Draw in Readers and Get Them To Stay for the Entire Article?
The Basic Elements of a Good Article Presentation are:
Format: Article Length, Aesthetics and Design
Images and Multi-Media
Take A Quiz, Smarty Pants!
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1. Proper Format for A Standout Article
Does your article look attractive to the reader?
Is your article one long paragraph of information with mismatched photos and random Ads? If so, you really aught to think about creating an easy-flowing format to your article.
Breaking Up your Text into Multiple Text Capsules allows readers to breathe in between the points you are trying to make. This is also good for several other reasons including proper Ad Placement in your Articles and more places to effectively add additional media. Breaking up individual paragraphs is also a great practice if you want your articles to look "Clean".
A typical article should be no less than 500 words. Longer articles (1500+ words) tend to do better in search results as they are rated as "authoritative" content over shorter articles on the same subject. An individual article will rank higher over time based on the amount of traffic it receives as well as where that traffic comes from.
The more information an article provides, the better the search ranking. Avoid "Stuffing" keywords and repetitive text and fill your article with in-depth information on the subject you are writing about.
Adding a Chart or Table is a great way to make a list of information or to compare things side by side. Adding charts you your articles adds to the content and value of your article.
Adding Maps to show where an event takes place is great! Often times when people are searching for information about an event, they want times, prices and directions! Providing a Map along with all the other types of media on your article will make your article the "One Stop Shop" and readers will have all the information they need to make the decision they are trying to reach. Why send them to Google Maps or YouTube? Embed the content in your Hub Article and they may even share your article as a trusted source!
Using Bullets and Numbers within your text has the following effects:
- Brings Special Attention to Important Points you want to make
- Allows the reader to easily remember your points
- Using Numbers can Show Information in a Step-by-Step Format. Using numbers is effective when you need to make a list or offer instructions:
- Use Numbers
- For Making a List
- Or to Show Step by Step Instructions!
- If you write How-To or Recipe Articles, using Numbers and Bullets could make the difference on whether or not your article will be ranked higher than similar articles of the same subject.
Using Original Photos Effectively will make your article stand out. No one wants to sit in front of a 1,000 word article that is written in a single paragraph with no photos. Just as you would break up your text into several text boxes, adding photos below, above, or aligned with your text in multiple patterns will make your article look fresh and clean!
Adding Videos to your articles is similar to adding great photos but they take it a step further. Adding an educational video to a how-to article is priceless. Now that HubPages has added the New Video Hub Feature, adding video content to your articles has never been easier!
Interaction With Your Reader is great because it draws in the reader similar to photos and videos and will ensure that your reader stays on your page longer. Adding Quizzes and Polls as well as Comments is a great way for your reader to interact with you as the author.
Let's look a little deeper into each of these Appearance and Presentation Guidelines:
Beautiful Orchards: Pleasing to the Eye, Like a Great Article!
Use Images and Photos From Your Real Life Experiences!
2. The Proper Use of Images and Video
Even if you don't consider yourself a photographer, you should have a decent Digital Camera and you should carry it wherever you go. You may see "Breaking News" when you go out to the store or the most beautiful flower you have ever seen. It's only in your head unless you can capture it in a photo!
You don't have to be a professional to take decent photos. Most new digital cameras work with an automatic feature and can capture stunning photos and video. You don't have to spend a fortune either! Many decent camera models are available from about $60-$200 USD. It is definitely worth the investment!
Remember that we are creative writers! Not every single photo we use in our articles has to be directly related to the content. Now I don't suggest that you use photos to mislead potential readers because they won't stay on your page very long. Adding unique photos with interesting or humorous captions will make the reader want to read more and continue through your article.
Adding "random" photos can be a great asset to the aesthetics and look of your article. It makes your article stand out as original and unique. As long as you can somehow tie the photo into your text and content, the sky for image use is infinite! Use photos to create outstanding articles with pictures that engage the reader.
If you take your camera with you everywhere, the world is your canvas. Take pictures of the most simplest things, animate or inanimate and store them on your computer. Build up a library of photos in neatly organized folders and you will have the perfect photo for any situation. Holiday Celebrations, Parties, Cooking and Vacations make perfect Photo Opportunities for you to add to your library!
Use Original Videos in Your Hub Articles!
Be a Hero! Interact With Your Audience!
3. Reader Interaction: Engage Your Reader!
How do you engage your reader? There are several things you can add to your articles to make them interactive and to allow the reader to actively take part of your work. Adding these forms of interaction adds to the quality and look of your article.
Here are some Suggestions for Engaging Your Reader:
- Add Polls to your Hub Articles. Adding a Poll allows the reader to voice their opinion anonymously. Although some people may not want to comment on an article, they can express their opinion by voting in one of your original polls.
- Add an Interactive Quiz: Adding Custom Quizzes to your articles allows the reader to test their knowledge on a topic or on what they read in your article. Quizzes can be serious or humorous depending on how you design them, and readers will spend more time on your site if they can interact.
- Allow Comments and Respond to Them. Allowing Comments on your articles is the best way to interact with your readers. They get to ask the author questions directly, make suggestions and corrections, and offer praise for your efforts and hard work! You can set up your comments in the settings area (click the highlighted link above) so that comments don't appear on your Hubs until you approve them. You can deny and delete comments or flag them as Spam when necessary.
- Strategically Place Ads Within Your Content. Often times a reader will find your article through a search engine. If so, this is a good indication that the searcher is looking to buy something related to their search query. If you write and article on "How To Wash Your Car", you may want to add Ads from Amazon and eBay related to car washing products (sponges, soaps, towels, etc.) Strategically placing Ads with your content allows the reader to buy directly from your site without having to go to a store. If you use eBay, there is an additional benefit of "Real Time Bidding" (RTB) and the reader can bid on eBay products right from your Hubs. Remember: We Get Paid when readers click on our Ads! Make the best of this earning opportunity!
Making Money Online Takes Time and Patience!
Quick List for Article Success:
Write at least 500+ Words per article
Break up text into Multiple Text Capsules
Add Original Photos and Video to your Articles
Properly Cite the Rightful Owners of Legally Used Images!
Do Plenty of Research on the Topic you wish to Write About
Edit Articles for Spelling and Grammar Before Publishing
Come back to Older Articles periodically and Re-Edit them and Add More Content
Get and Stay Organized!
Engage Your Reader to Interact by Adding Polls, Quizzes and Comments
Answer Your Comments Regularly to Build Relationships with your Readers
Be Patient! Success is a Journey and Takes Time!
These are some of the things that this author has found to be valuable during his experiences publishing articles online. Remember that writing online is a journey filled with pot holes and lots of trials and errors! There will be ups and downs and a Seasoned Author knows how to deal with these trials and how to turn Problems into Opportunities.
Having Patience, Getting Organized and Creating Top Quality Content is the best way to lead the path to success as an online writer. Learn from other writers and use their criticism constructively. Do your research and produce high quality original content and you will begin to see the fruits of your writing. Last and most important, remember that the writing process should be fun! If you don't enjoy what you are doing and are always frustrated with writing, you may be in the wrong field of work! Go have some fun!
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