As I sit here looking through writer portfolios and resumes online, I am starting notice that there are several things that freelance writers do online that actually hurt their career and promotions. If you’re like me, you browse writing sites daily for new markets, writers for hire, and readers. But, there is one major problem with all of this. Most freelancers have no idea what to do when promoting their services online. Take the following tips into consideration the next time you go online to promote your writing services. If you avoid these common pitfalls you will see more assignments and viewers come your way almost instantly.
Of course, simply avoiding these mistakes is not going to make you rich and may not even bring you work, but from an editors point of view it certainly will get you noticed more if you correct your errors. When I am looking for new writers for upcoming projects, it is easy to see from a single glance if your profile or resume is worth giving read. I quickly pass over the ones that are unfinished, don’t include contact information, or are not updated. I’m sure most of the writers I don’t choose are exceptional writers but I will never know because I figure, if you can’t take the time to get your advertising right than what can you do for me?
Just taking a little pride in what you do will push your freelance writing career ahead in leaps and bounds. When promoting your services online it is most important that you don’t forget why you are writing. The following mistakes should be avoided at all costs because they can sabotage any freelance writing career, and people will not take you seriously.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Not Including Contact Information – This is one of the most irritating mistakes that freelance writers make when promoting their services online. After taking the time to read your complete portfolio or ad, an editor or publisher wants to be able to contact you. More often than not, freelancers forget (or just don’t include) their contact information. If there is no way to reach you how do you expect to get work?
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Incorrect or Misleading Information – When you are writing online ads to promote your writing services be as truthful as possible. Don’t tell lies. If you say you wrote for a publication you better be able to back it up. Phone numbers and email addresses should also be in working order. It may seem like a surprise, but 5 out of 6 freelance ads are likely to have wrong or disconnected phone numbers, non-working email addresses, and broken links.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Not Stating Your Pen Name – If you write under a pen name, be sure to include it in your freelance portfolio or online ads. If you post an advertisement under your real name and forget to include you pen name publishers and editors may not be able to find any of your work because they will be looking for the wrong name. Make sure that your real name (for payment) and pen name are both identified when posting ads or adding to your freelance writing portfolio. Many publishers need your real name in order to verify your payments. Most companies will not send a check or payment to a person or company that cannot be verified as real.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Not Updating Your Information – This seems to mainly be a problem with freelance writer online resumes and portfolio’s. Unlike ads that are deleted once expired online resumes and portfolios will exist until you physically delete or edit them yourself. If you posted your resume on a website go back and update it every month to two months. No one wants to see what you did 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago. We want to see that you are working now and continuously writing, even if it is unpaid.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Not Using Your Name – When searching resumes and writer ads online I always skip over ones that have no name or abbreviated names like J.C. or R.J. I will never hire a writer that doesn’t take the time to introduce them self, first and last name. If you can’t type in your name, with capitals, then don’t bother.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Ads and Resumes Without Punctuation and Capitals – This is one of the worst mistakes that you can make as a freelance writer. When you don’t take the time to use capitals at the beginning of your sentences, or commas, exclamation points, or periods it doesn’t say much for your writing skills. Always use capitals at the beginning of sentences, and don’t forget to use correct punctuation and grammar.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Speaking as if You Were in Online Chat – LOL, seriously not funny. When writing your online portfolio, resume, or advertising make sure that you use proper English. Take the time to completely spell out each word. Don’t use abbreviations that are not commonly used like ppl for people, or TTYL for talk to you later. Using these “short cuts” only shows how unprofessional you are and will not get you very far. Save the small talk for chat.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Ads and Resumes with Inappropriate Pictures and Graphics – When creating a photo or graphic icon for your online advertising or resume it is important not to draw attention from your skills. Post a recent picture or logo that is clear, and conservative. Unless of course you write about obscure material, than just submit what ever seems fitting. If you are posting a professional ad or resume for your writing services do not add pictures of you with friends or your dog, or anything that even remotely looks sexual. If using a photograph of yourself, dress conservatively and keep your hair out of your eyes for the picture. Try to stay away from childish icons and graphics, as well as overly flashy or extreme visuals. Keep it clean and simple, just as you would on paper.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Not Stating Your Talents and Skills – If I have seen one, I have seen a thousand ads that state something along the lines of this, “Freelance Writer For Hire – I can do it all! Call Writer Joe at 555-0987”. Being non descriptive is not going to get you any freelance work. After all, that’s what writing is about; being descriptive. Instead of being so broad and saying you can do it all, focus on a specific market niche that you are well educated upon. If you write for magazines say so, if you write online content say so, and if you write books – say so! Each editor and publisher is always looking for something different. If you focus on a target area of the market you will be more likely to succeed.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Posting your Ad or Resume to the Wrong Category or Website – This one may be the worst of all for freelance writers trying to promote their work or services. Before you post make sure that it is on the right website or in the correct category. There are many freelance writing websites and each one offers something different. Some are for film and screen writers, or book writers, poets, and technological writers. Just make sure you are in the right place before you post. Posting in the wrong place not only severely limits the amount of exposure you will get, but on some blogs your ad or profile may be deleted by the community if it is in the wrong place.