Online Writing and Beyond: Writers Will Lead the Content Revolution Written by Melissa Brewer
It is often thrown around loosely on web that "Content is king."
If content is king, then what is a content writer?
Good writers are already gifted in using a voice that reaches their audience clearly and effectively. Content writers work behind scenes to help websites retain and expand their readership, sales, and visits by offering articles, sales copy, email outreach, and other types of writing to enhance a web site's overall "stickiness". The basic premise behind content writing is that without content, a website creates no reason for a customer to return. And it's much easier to get a customer to return than to visit site in first place. The web is still referred to as "information superhighway", and millions of users expect their information for free.
Where Writers Fit In
Ultimately, it is not "Content is King." As readers adapt and change their uses and needs on web, it is clear that really, users are king and queen. Providing fresh and interactive content is simply role content writers undertake. This is similar to role of jesters, caterers, tutors, and playhouses to our royal readers. (Online books have failed thus far primarily for this reason; much of content isn't uniquely informing and format doesn't make an enjoyable read. How can somebody enjoy reading over 50 pages of boring, painful-to-read Adobe- Acrobat text?)
Content writers entertain, refresh, inform, educate and expand world of their readers through writing. Those of us who write and love writing understand that essence of writing is invoke emotion, take your reader "another world", inform them or prompt them to action. Combine passion for writing with need for content on web, and a writer can have it all. Not only can a writer fulfill these needs, but also web writer can achieve a coveted, long-lasting goal for every website; compel reader to interact.
Writers Engaging Readers
As more forms of entertainment move online, more unique ways of fulfilling their goals will surface. Some of most popular websites today begin with a little content and build a community. Community-based websites not only have online writers, but also provide a forum for their users to interact to content. Building conflict and community can engage your readers in such a way that they no longer feel like readers, but an audience. Members of an audience can applaud, converse, heckle and cheer when appropriate. By encouraging use of a message board or other interactive media, readers return to see what next day, week, or month will bring. They "get in on a piece of action".
Freelance Writers: How to Partner with Your CompetitionWritten by Melissa Brewer
Freelance writing is an unstable occupation sometimes. We already have to struggle with dividing our time between marketing our skills, writing queries, and seeking out new clientele. Sometimes there's not enough time; sometimes there's not enough money.
With current economy, many freelance writers wonder if it's time to return to a "steady paycheck." This has always been my personal "backup plan", but at same time, it isn't very logical. The current economy is creating MORE freelancers, and fewer opportunities for full-time staff positions and W-2 paychecks. Many of my dot-com clients are probably at unemployment office or working for "the man" right now. Small businesses have tightened their budgets, and are trying to do as much in-house production as possible.
So much for steady paycheck, right?
Not necessarily. There are hundreds of corporations and government agencies that award large contracts to agencies and groups every year. They don't hire freelancers because their project needs typically require a mixture of graphic design, desktop publishing, editing, and long-term communication strategies. Corporations and government entities typically have a budget and a regular contract with an agency for marketing, PR, and other communications that MUST get used by end of fiscal year, or it will be allocated to another area. This is great for vendors that they hire; last minute projects are thrown in their laps with bigger-than-anticipated budgets. And usually, they need to outsource to pick up pace...
So how does a freelancer gain access to these opportunities? The key to success in these areas is a little research and a lot of networking. There are many types of contracts that you, as a freelancer, can join forces and gain access to. Here are three of most lucrative:
1. Government RFP and RFQ's
Government Requests for Proposals (RFP) and Requests for Quotes (RFQ) are typically published in "Public Notices" section of daily newspapers. Honestly, descriptions of these services are usually vague -- if you want to bid on these projects, you'll need to contact government entity and ask them for their specifications, then write up a lengthy proposal incorporating all of these specs. This can be time-consuming and complicated. You'll also have to fill out paperwork to be considered for all future posted projects.
How can you skip these steps and get in on action? Find your state's Business Registrar's office and keep track of who is winning these RFP's. They typically post a "Notice of Award" for every contract issued on their website. You can also find out information about Federal Agency contracts awarded by visiting their office of procurement's website.
Keep track of who is winning communications contracts. When you see a project awarded, you can pitch your freelance writing services to company that won. Congratulate them in your letter, send samples of your writing or your resume, and express interest in that specific contract. You can also offer to help pick up other work while they focus on their new projects. Even if they don't need you now, be sure to follow up and keep track of their accomplishments by visiting their website. If government agency is happy with their work, they'll most likely be regularly contracted to in future. If you can establish a repertoire with a government contractor, you'll have a client relationship you can rely on. (At least until next election, when government department heads may change!)