Online Writing Tips: Putting Writing Samples Together
There are so many people who call or email me saying, “I can write – my friends used to tell me I wrote the most amazing letters.” I always know what is coming. This is usually a precursor to telling me they know I write for clients in the virtual world and would I please recommend their name to some client too? No, I don’t blame them – far from it. However, I do tell them that they need to write something so that the client can get a feel of their writing style. I don’t hear from most of them after that. The few who do take the trouble to put something together are the ones who a year later, are so busy writing, they very often don’t have the time to say Hi. There was one young stay-at-home mother who asked me the same question around two years ago – today she earns a lot more than I do and I’ve yet to meet someone who works so hard and loves what she does!
Where you can apply and how to find online writing work will be dealt with in another hub. This part needs to be addressed first because samples are so important. At the outset, let me warn you that there might be clients who ask you whether you really have written everything you sent in. This is not, I repeat, not the time to get offended. If you knew the number of scams that go on in cyberspace you would pity some of these clients. People send in samples that are just copy-pasted from articles on the Internet and then, when they get a project to do, they either farm it out or they give in rubbish. Very often after having got an advance. So bear with the client. Many clients like to be able to be able to chat with you on any of the chat sites. This is one way for the client to see if you really do write the way you claimed to write.
Now for the samples. A good number when you are sending in articles is 5. They should be around 500 words each and preferably cover five different topics. This will show the client how versatile you are. You should put the topics you are most interested in right on top. Say you like travel – then a travel article has to head the list. In case you do not like doing certain articles like those on hardware or software or anything else, do let the client know well in advance so he can make alternate arrangements if he has to give out those topics.
This sample folder should be enough in the beginning. Later on, you might want to make one folder for article samples, one for SEO or search engine optimization samples, one for blog post samples, etc. We could take a look at that once we’ve talked about what SEO is and how to do blog posts for clients. These five are a good place to start so put those articles together and you’re ready to start a career of writing on the Internet.
One of the problems in the virtual world is that there are so many scamsters who are faceless and very often can’t be traced. (I mean, who’s to tell where on earth to locate a person who calls himself ‘YoungNRestlessSEOSensei’ online?) So when you send in your samples, you might find that he takes them and uses them without paying you or acknowledging that you are the one who wrote it. It happens – all the time – so be warned. However, don’t let that deter you because there are ways to beat the scamsters at their own game.
You could join HubPages and put your five samples up online. Then, if anyone tries stealing your content, they will be penalized by Google. All you need to do is to give him the URL to your profile and he can go read your samples. So you’ve put your samples up for free and in time, you could start earning from them.
Remember to write a bit about yourself in your profile, especially if you are looking for online freelance work and you never know – some wonderful client might find you and you’ll be set for life!