Freelance Writing: 7 Errors that Will Set You Back

Posted on January 6, 2015 by Ryan H

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Most freelance writers find it necessary to work for a number of different companies. While each company is unique, there are some universal truths about all of them.

In order to help yourself, avoid the following 7 errors:

1) Do NOT Miss Deadlines – That is a universal sin, regardless of which company hires you. Irrespective of how well you write, you will be punished severely for missing deadlines. Rest assured, the best writers do not necessarily have the highest rating or ranking with content companies; the people that write adequately and make a point not to miss deadlines do.

2) Be Careful About What You Write in Company Forums – A common mistake people make is getting too comfortable in company forums. Being condescending to other writers, getting chippy about the company´s policies, airing your dirty laundry and the plethora of other probably-shouldn´t-share-in-a-thread subjects that seem all-too common in forums are rarely the things you are going to look back on and think to yourself, that was a really good idea!

3) Do Not Give Clients Personal Information, Another Universal – All of us writers are pretty certain that we put out better products than other writers. As a result, we often make the mistake of thinking that a company should allow us to poach their clients. The problem is, we do not find the clients. The companies write for did. If you want you own clients, find your own clients.

Poaching clients is stealing.

4) Do Not Complain About the Ethics of Ghost Writing – No, someone else taking credit for what you wrote is not plagiarism. No, you do not have intellectual property rights to what you write if you sell it. No, you are not the first to complain about it. No, you won´t be the last. And no, you aren´t fighting a winning battle if you do.

If you want your name on what you write, then do not agree to ghostwrite.

5) Do Not Plagiarize and Don´t Pretend Like You Don´t Know What It Is – There is just no gray area on this one. Poaching clients and plagiarizing will cause you to lose your writing permissions faster than anything else.

6) Do Not Ignore the Rules of Grammar – While blogs, texts, instant messages and forums give people the impression that the rules of grammar will soon be a thing of the past, they will not. More importantly, as more and more search engine algorithms begin segregating well written articles from poorly written ones, those writers that refuse to invest the time in learning the rules of grammar will be weeded out.

7) Do Not Neglect Your SEO Education – While we are getting paid to write, we are also getting paid to write content that boosts page and site rankings. One of the best ways to separate yourself from other writers is to have a working understanding of SEO trends and practices.

Ryan H is a full-time writer living in the high mountains of Costa Rica. When not behind the computer, he spends his time kayaking and guiding on the rivers in Central America. He boasts to be fluent in Spanish, but his Latina wife argues he can only speak “Ryan.”


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