The Internet is overflowing with content writing sites for freelance writers. While no one disputes that diversification is essential for writers and that we all need several colorful content “eggs” in our Easter baskets, not all sites are worthy of your time and talent. It’s important to bring wisdom and discernment to the selection process when looking for a new writing venue to call home, especially if you have a limited amount of time to devote to freelance writing in your week.
Know Thy Peers
Stalk the writers’ forums at the sites you are considering. Many writing sites are surprisingly low on written materials for writers! You’ll find the forums and message boards to be your primary source for navigating the nuances and idiosyncrasies of site operations while learning mega-bunches about the other writers. (Lurking without commenting is a great way to absorb helpful info while staying away from time sucking threads and the dysfunctional family dynamics these environments inevitably reflect!)
Know Thy Clients
You can learn a lot about the client mix of a platform from the forums and also from perusing the About Us and other marketing pages on the website. You’ll get a feel for the core industries for which you would be writing, perhaps travel, retail, healthcare, or legal. You can sense how much of the work is weighted in blog posts, product descriptions, lengthy research papers, or collateral marketing materials.
Know Thy Interests and Abilities
Are you a speed demon who can sit in one place and churn out content from the top of your extemporaneous head for hours, or do you excel at heavy doses of research thoughtfully compiled in a methodical manner? Is it fun for you to spin the same few ideas over and over into many small articles, or would you rather chew foil? Do you feel creatively inspired by the thought of cranking out dozens of cookie-cutter travel blogs on a weekly basis? Could you whip out a white paper on programmatic marketing trends in your sleep?
Often content sites have their own style guides, some more elaborate and tedious than others. And rarely do they agree with each other. If a site’s requirements feel burdensome up front, or if the type of content writing in which they specialize bores you, move on, regardless of how lucrative other writers claim the site to be for them.
Writer Know Thyself!
Here are five rules that I adhere to for maximizing my efficiency and sanity as a full-time freelance writer in training:
1) Write the most challenging pieces after the requisite two cups of coffee, first thing in the morning.
2) When brain drain hits, around 1pm or 2pm, take a walk, and then return to the Mac, sit right back down in walking gear, and finish up/start the next challenging piece while the mind is clear.
3) Never, ever, plan to compose anything worthwhile after 5pm because you know you are useless. Evenings may be used, however, for research culling. Maybe.
4) Never, ever, take a job that stresses you out while reading the description. Toss it back and don’t look back!
5) Never take a 24-hour turnaround unless you have nothing else to write and are certain you can handle it.
Laura W lurks around a lot.