Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why Freelance Writers May Be the Poorest Internet Entrepreneurs (Part I of II)

The war on poor freelance writers, that is.

Content, content, content – everyone wants it, but nobody wants to pay for it. And, freelance writers – poor suckers that we are – have thrown in the towel. How else do you explain ads like, “$2 for three 400-500 word SEO articles”?

This got me to wondering, “Are freelance writers the poorest “internet entrepreneurs?” And if so, how can we climb out of this mess?

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Why Freelance Writers May Be the Poorest Internet Entrepreneurs

1. Much of new technology is for tech people: It seems that every new piece of software that comes out is for tech people.

That's not to say that we as freelance writers can't take it and make it work for us. It's just that it's not invented with us in mind. Hence, we have to use "workarounds" to get maximum benefit.

Take social bookmarking sites like Digg. Many freelance writers use it as a marketing tool -- in one fashion or another. But, is there a category for freelance writers? No.

But, there is a category for technology, as well as science and gaming, among others. As a freelance writer, I get the feeling that I'm not welcome there UNLESS I'm writing on technology or gaming or science, for example. And, that's the freelance writer's workaround.

While I find many articles on Digg about freelance writing, it's not a main category. One has to Digg for the information -- pun fully intended.

Talking about Digg leads me to the next reason I think freelance writers may be the poorest internet entrepreneurs, free article directories.

2. Free article directories: This is only my opinion, but article marketing directories are a blessing and a curse for freelance writers.

They're a blessing in that it's a viable way for freelance writers to promote their products/services at no cost.

The flip side is that there is so much garbage in these directories that it's: (i) hard to get your message through to the masses; and (ii) even harder for potential customers to take you seriously if/when your message does get through.

Don't get me wrong, I think article marketing is a wonderful way to promote -- especially if you are just starting out and have little money. BUT, it's a patient marketing strategy.

Because many use these directories to promote junk, ie, Work 20 Minutes a Day & Make $200, most are skeptical about purchasing products promoted via free articles -- and rightly so.

So, how do you use these directories wisely? Look at it as a way to build your brand by submitting quality, in-depth material designed to help and/or inform the reader, not push a product/service.

If I read one more article that's only 400 words that tells me something I can find from 1,000 other articles on the internet, I'm going to scream!

This not only reflects poorly on you, the writer, but it does nothing to build customer loyalty and make prospects want to come back to your blog, website, and/or order your e-book, sign up to your newsletter or take your e-course.

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Tomorrow: Part II of this topic. We’ll continue the reasons why freelance writers may be the poorest internet entrepreneurs, and explore ways we can climb out of this mess. Stay tuned!
Yuwanda Black, Publisher

Photo Credit: Peter Holderness Photography
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Laura Spencer said...

This is a good topic and a good series! I definitely look forward to reading the rest of the posts.

Anonymous said...

I'm lucky because I'm a freelance writer plus I'm fairly tech savvy. I do feel that this gives me an advantage. I've also noticed that many directories and social networking sites fail to include categories that pertain to writing in any way -- let alone freelance writing specifically.

Thank you for addressing these issues. The Internet, in theory, should pose an insurmountable number of opportunities for writers, being that it consists mostly of text, all of which had to be composed by someone.

Maybe writers need to band together but alas, we are such a bunch of solo artists...

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