Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How to Create an SEO Writing Niche: Question from a Reader

This week, I’ve received a few interesting inquiries from readers of this blog, so thought I’d answer them here the rest of the week, sharing feedback with all.

One freelancer has a question that would be of particular interest to beginners, while the other is wrestling with the dragon of success. Yet another has a blogging question, which I’ll cover tomorrow in my BloggingTips.com post.

Today’s Question from a Reader

QUESTION: Hi, Yuwanda: I recently purchased your E-book on SEO writing and I want to get started as an SEO writer. I have no professional writing experience or writing samples so I decided to go the the GAF (GetaFreelancer.com) website. I figured I might be able to gain some experience and write some material that I could use for samples.

One of the ads for a re-write included an actual article that they wanted re-written and submitted as a sample. The gentlemen contacted me, and said that my re-write was very good. I used that as a sample in a couple of other ads, one of whom also contacted me. So I’ve now written a few articles for $2 apiece and not making any money, but I’m learning a lot of things that I can use later when I’m ready to start marketing myself. I’m kind of stuck on creating a niche for myself.

My career has been primarily in accounting and purchasing, and I also have some non-professional experience with investing. I figured maybe if I marketed myself as a finance and investment expert. I’m not sure if purchasing for a government facility would have any marketability or not….do you have any ideas?? Also, where is the best place to find companies for a contact list? Do you just do searches on the internet for SEO companies?
Thanks, BL

ANSWER: Basically, this reader’s question has to do with defining a niche for herself.

I say go with what you know and/or feel comfortable with. So, BL, as you have experience in accounting and purchasing, and you feel comfortable covering investment topics, I see two strong markets here: accounting and investing. I would focus my marketing efforts on these, which happen to be in higher-paying niches.

Marketing Plan I Propose for BL

First, even though these two categories could be married, I would separate them. You’ll get more work that way. Now, as for your marketing plan, if I were you, I’d do the following:

1) Put up a simple website with three to five article samples under each category. My professional profile page can be found here. SEO Mary followed it and she’s now doing great (I’ll update you on her Friday). Notice how the samples are listed under categories.

Even if you don’t have previously published samples, as I tell you in the ebook, simply create them. Write 3-5, 400-600 word articles and use them as samples.

2) Create Service Offerings: Which services do you want to provide? SEO articles, press releases, blog posts, forum posting, etc. Again, feel free to copy my page if you want – I don’t mind.

3) Create a Pricing Structure: Decide what you want to charge. And, remember, in the beginning, you’re probably going to be spending an hour to an hour and a half on your articles.

Once you get the hang of it, you should be able to cut that time in half, at least. So, if you work full time, create a structure you can live with. Because let me tell you, if you luck up and get a 20, 30 or 40 article order (as I did last week), it’s no fun sitting there doing them for $$5-$10 a piece. I wouldn’t even think about going below $15. I charge $25 for basic articles. I charge up to $50 or more for more technical research-intensive topics.

If you decide to go with accounting and investing, you should get $25 pretty easily. Whatever your pricing structure, set one you can live with for a year or so. That way, you can get some experience under your belt and then raise rates accordingly. Clients don’t like it when you raise rates too quickly, or too often.

4) Create a Basic Email Query: Use an email similar to the one I outline in the ebook. I wouldn’t spend any money in offline advertising, as you allude to in your question. SEO is Search Engine Optimization, an online marketing technique. So do Google searches. Use the technique I outline in the ebook. That should net you all the prospects – and clients – you will ever need.

I haven’t spent a cent on offline marketing to get my SEO clients. It’s all been done online. I outline a complete marketing plan in the ebook, the exact one I followed. That’s truly all I did, no more, no less. Do the same.

5) Stay Away from Sites Like GAF: Don’t do one more article for peanuts. I’m glad you got your feet wet, but please stay away from sites like that. You don’t have to have SEO writing experience to get started in this business. I didn’t even know what it was when I started, and was able to make almost 2K my first month alone once I figured out things like keyword density.
SEO MARY Update Coming on Friday!

I hope this answers your question. Give me an update, a la SEO Mary. Don’t forget, I’m going to update you on her on Friday. She’s doing terrific, I’m excited to report. And, not a minute too soon – as you’ll learn on Friday.

I had a monster project to get off my desk today, so no time to snoop for freelance writing jobs leads. I’ll have some leads for you tomorrow. I’m off to the track (marathon training season is in full swing!)

Tomorrow's Post: A newbie writes in about how to build his freelance credentials via blogging -- should he, how, guest posts -- I'll cover it all.

Yuwanda Black, Publisher
How to Start a Successful Freelance Writing Career Newsletter
P.S: Want to learn how to make at least $250/day writing simple 500-word SEO articles? Read how here.
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angel said...

Hi Yuwanda, thanks for your great blogs. I found your page a few days ago and I cant tell you how excited I am about it.

I started freelancing about 6 months ago. I got one gig at Guru, one at GAF, and I'm doing pretty well over at Helium.

But being a newbie, I have so many questions and like magic you seem to answer them all right here on your blog. Thanks for all the excellent information and it's nice to see someone from the community doing so well.

take care

Yuwanda Black said...

Thanks Angel. You're an "Angel" for saying such sweet things. You have no idea how much it means to hear feedback like yours. Sometimes, even though I know I have readers out there, I feel like I'm blogging for the black hole that is the blogosphere.

I'm thrilled that you find this blog helpful and wish you continued good luck in your freelancing career. I'm glad to hear you're doing well at GAF and Guru, but please don't be working for pennies. There's real money to be made -- and it's made by contacting clients directly. So, don't be afraid to stray from online bidding and revenue-sharing sites.

Take care,