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How to Find Freelance Writing Clients

“When starting off as a freelance writer, it can be difficult to find well-paying clients. You won’t be able to put food on your table only scouring job boards, content farms, or Craigslist, unless your table is inside McDonalds.

Instead of joining the freelancing rat race and competing with people who only write as a hobby, you need to be proactive and use different tactics to secure clients. Here are some tips from successful freelance writers that’ll help you grow your portfolio and your bank account.” – thefreelancestrategist.com

  • Reach out to fellow writers
  • Get LinkedIn
  • Know who you’re pitching
  • Reach out to your connections

Now for #TheBuildUp: The article cited above elaborates on each bullet, attributing freelance writers who use these tactics. I’d like to offer a few more of my best practices that have increased my personal and company’s revenue, reach and portfolio in various industries. After reading the post, I’d love to know your best practices for finding freelance writing clients, so please share!

  • Search local - In 2012, I set out to get new writing clients, where I could share my personal thoughts on culture, arts, entertainment and humanity. I searched Twitter for local sites, using artists in my network as the research tool by seeing who had published them before. I came across a new site at the time – onstage-dc.com. I searched the site, noted the voids in their content and sent an email with samples of my work and proof of my knowledge and position in the communities they wanted to reach. What resulted was a paid, weekly column, “Sophisticated Sunday” written by yours truly, and also an opportunity to serve as a major strategist for the site.
  • Stalk CraigsList - Don’t underestimate the power of CraigsList, as they do in the quote above. Each day dozens of new postings for writers, editors, marketers and more are posted. Also look in the “non-profit sector”. Writing and communications gems are hidden there and often they are out-of-office consultant positions, like one I just seized with the Humanities Council of Washington, DC.  I found this position on CraigsList on a humbug and it’s turned out to be absolutely perfect given my love for the arts, culture, humanities and people.
  • Register with staffing agencies - This simple tip can actually change your entire life and social status in less than a month. If you don’t mind short-term 9 to 5 positions, you’ll be great at this. I’ve worked with several staffing agencies geared specifically toward marketers and they’ve all been rewarding experiences, landing me short-term contracts in fields that I hadn’t previously considered such as manufacturing, engineering and the wonderful world of associations.
  • Pitch with article excerpts - If you’re one of those writers whose head is buzzing with ideas, or perhaps your electronic or composition notebook has evergreen or feature articles that would fit certain publications, depending on the publication, it may not hurt to pitch an editor (after you engage and connect of course) with an excerpt from your article along with a great cover letter. Unsolicited manuscripts are often not accepted, but today – given the free-range, less traditional society that we live in, it’s not hard to spark conversations via social media, engage and connect on a level where you will feel comfortable sending a short DM asking for permission to pitch an article, especially if you’re sure it will fit a publication’s readership perfectly.
  • Contact managing editors of associations - While on assignment with an association I learned that many of them outsource for their publications management, meaning a small writing and editing firm feeds freelance assignments to writers that he/she knows. This can be a way to add another revenue stream, simply by customizing one perfect pitch letter per editor.

My suggestion is to integrate all of the above tactics into the business development plan of your freelance writing business, also write regularly on your own blog or web site. No one method will allow you to eat like royalty, but implemented in unison, you might spark a ton of new clients and leads.

Happy Building!

-Natasha Brand Builder. 

Be sure to join me @NBrownINK on Twitter and Instagram and my new Facebook page.  

 

Creative Routines

ThinkBrownINK:

Creative Routines. Compare yours to the masters.

Originally posted on Info We Trust:

“We all have the same 24 hours that Beyoncé has” and its various iterations took the web by storm in late 2013 as the megastar became the figurehead of not only having it all, but being able to somehow do it all too.

How do creatives – composers, painters, writers, scientists, philosophers – find the time to produce their opus? Mason Currey investigated the rigid Daily Rituals that hundreds of creatives practiced in order to carve out time, every day, to work their craft. Some kept to the same disciplined regimen for decades while others locked in patterns only while working on specific works.

Creative Routines Poster

There are enough data to visualize a portion of the hundreds of creative lifestyles. Click the poster to discover:
Gustave Flaubert
Ludwig Van Beethoven
W.A. Mozart
Thomas Mann
Sigmund Freud
Immanuel Kant
Maya Angelou
John Milton
Honore de Balzac
Victor Hugo
Charles Dickens
W.H. Auden
Charles Darwin

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#TheBuildUp Branding: Compelling Content is the Royal Court (Infographic)

Content is king, but compelling content is the royal court. I say this often to clients and my social media community, but today I want to provide a blueprint for exactly how to begin creating your royal court and increasing more engagement, which will ultimately enhance your brand.

Begin with an idea that you want to deliver. Create the key messages. Identify the audiences. Determine your tools. Match specific messages with audiences and tools that are most appropriate for each audience. 

Let’s consider an example: If your goal is to saturate your target market with the thought that more laws are needed to control gun violence, you might have several different audiences including:

1. Media 2. Families of Gun Violence Victims  3. Organizations with Similar Missions  4. Parents

5. Domestic Violence Victims

You’ll then determine that statistics and facts might be the hook to capture media attention; heartfelt stories of death and crime will likely move your victim audiences and the bandwagon approach (join us and other organizations fighting gun violence) will be the best approach to reach audience #3 above, like-minded organizations. Determining which messages to reach your audiences is only step one. Afterwards, you’ll want to apply the tools such as newsletters, press releases, articles, editorials, Twitter chats, compelling videos and photos for Instagram and other social media, events, podcasts, etc.

So you see, your topic may be a noble cause, however when you add content that is not only noble but also compelling, you’ll find yourself with a royal court.

The infographic below will provide you with more ideas for creating content. In the coming weeks, I’ll be addressing branding with content more in detail. Shoot me and email if you have a need for content creation or a content marketing and branding strategy.

Click on image for full size.

content-and-branding-large

 

 

326136_10150286532506006_1572285346_o-1Personal Note: This week I begin working with a new client, an online community. I’m excited to work with this organization, because I’m strictly implementing a content marketing and engagement plan, which didn’t take long to develop at all. I realized that the organization’s main problem, retention of users, was stemming from a lack of strategy to keep users in the community once they joined. If your organization struggles with this problem, simply analyze how many times and the frequency you’re touching your community with communication that enriches their lives. When I worked in development we had a rule — don’t make an ask (for money or resources) until we touched our community members at least seven times. I like to use this approach in most membership/sales and development programs. It can also provide a basis for creating a plan to retain and engage new members of your community. Compelling content is always the royal court! 

Be sure to join me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

-Natasha Brand Builder 

5 reasons women are effective PR leaders

This is a summary of a post by Christine Pietryla | Posted: March 24, 2014 to PRDaily.

Our industry is missing out on an untapped resource.

An Open Forum study comparing growth of firms led by men and women revealed that women-owned companies have been more successful than their male counter parts, growing at nearly double the rate in the last several years. A separate Catalyst study showed that companies with the most women in senior management had higher returns on equities—by more than a third.

Why are women such effective leaders?

1. Women are active listeners. Women know when it’s time to listen and tend to be more empathetic than men. We’re able to more clearly understand the needs of others because we connect on a deeper level. This enables us to be more attuned to client’s needs and more sincere in the delivery of language, creating the possibility for satisfied, long-term customers.

2. Women tend to be more social. Studies show that women are more social than men, leading to higher rates of effective collaboration and creativity within a business. We’re also extremely social with technology. A recent study by Moosylvania revealed that women are more likely to use smartphones and tablets than men to seek interaction. Women are comfortable making connections with both acquaintances and strangers, which can be a huge driver for new business.

3. Women are plugged into current events. Women are more likely to stay up-to-date with the news and apply it to clients and workplace issues. While men have better special capacity for mental rotation, women outperform men in spatial memory and executing multiple tasks as once, such as scrolling the news, answering a phone, and reflecting on a problem. This also makes women effective at strategizing solutions.

4. Women are more effective in group settings. Women aren’t afraid to speak with others about issues and stress. We’re better connectors. Although there isn’t a direct link between IQs of members on a team, a recent Harvard Business Review study found that a group including women tends to have a higher collective intelligence. Our natural ability to communicate allows us to better paint a picture of the future.

5. The “big picture” is more in-focus for women leaders. While men typically focus on money and larger gains, women tend to focus on the bigger picture and be more risk averse. A recentAccenture survey shows women are likely to care about work-life balance over money, fostering an environment for overall success at a company.

This article sparked quite a debate in our offices—and we’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments. We don’t judge a person’s competence by his or her gender, but even in our office we have more men in leadership positions than women despite the staff being largely female. No one could pinpoint why, but we agreed the PR industry would benefit by better leveraging the strength of women in leadership positions.

Christine Pietryla is the senior vice president of public relations at Walker Sands Communications

This story first appeared on PR Daily in March 2013.

Repeat after me: “Still I Rise”

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with Still I Rise, Maryland, a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive support to survivors of domestic violence. So, tonight I decided to refresh my memory with this classic poem by Dr. Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise.” I pray that you too will find strength in these words. I know I did.  - Natasha
IMG_20140330_230758

 

Be sure to join me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Build Back to Basics to Propel your Brand

“Back to basics” is a general life phrase people utter when something doesn’t work out, when it’s time to get back to square one and start fresh. In this short post, I want to offer a different way to think about the concept “back to the basics” when it comes to building your personal or company brand.

By definition, “basics” means a statement of fundamental facts or principles from which other truths can be derived. In short, it’s your foundation – a basic platform from which you can build. Often, as our business grows, or we advance in our careers or professions, we acquire new knowledge, skills, passions, interests. Many people build themselves up so far in their careers that they forget what got them in the door– the small little spark that led to everything else. This can often lead to misguided focuses, pursuing dreams that aren’t our own and working in areas that we aren’t passionate about only to look up and wonder, “How did I get here?”

I want to encourage anyone reading to build back to basics to propel your brand, meaning, determine if you’re still using your most promising gifts and skills to advance your career or company. The questions below can assist you.

Back to Basics Branding Building Quiz 

1. What inspires you most in your career? 

2. Why did you start this? 

3. What experiences shaped your thinking and beliefs? 

4. Who did you influence when you started? Do you still touch these audiences? 

5. Who do you influence now? Do you enjoy engaging with them? 

6. List your best God-given gifts and skills. 

7. What are your ultimate career/company goals, and is what you’re doing for 70-80% of your time aligning with them? [Will these activities get you there?]

Really think about the answer to these questions, especially those that tap into your skills and core beliefs. If you find that you aren’t using the skills and gifts that come naturally to you (for instance, maybe you are an amazing event-planner who has been sucked into mainly event marketing work) simply figure out how to begin incorporating your core/basic skills back into your everyday work. If you are still building from the basic skills that you have, you’re on a great path! It’s great to be able to do a lot of things well, but your bread and butter will always fall back to those core qualities and gifts that make you awesome. Assess your God-given gifts, make sure you’re applying them to your everyday work and don’t stop until your work aligns with what you’re great at and passionate about.

I’m glad to be back building with you. It’s been a while. :)

Natasha T. Brown BrandBuilder

Follow me @NBrownINK on Twitter.

 

Personal Not326136_10150286532506006_1572285346_o-1e: After building my company for five years, straying away from the 9 to 5 world and my core skill, writing, as my primary bread and butter, I recently began to focus much more on this. I’ve since begun to think more creatively and get offered more contracts and even some full-time positions that are fundamentally focused on writing and corporate communications. I learned that by not maximizing my basic skills for so long, I was actually hindering my build up. I am now looking at more areas in my life in which I can “build back to basics.” 

An Exercise in Constructing your own Universe

We can consciously construct the universe in which we want to operate. The four steps below are just the beginning: It all starts in the mind.
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Poll: Only 31 Percent of Americans Work 40-Hour Week

Originally posted on CBS DC:

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) - A recent report suggests that just 31 percent of people throughout the United States put in 40 hours of work per week.

The study, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, found that 40 percent of Americans work more than 40 hours, with 9 percent of people working more than 50 hours every week.

Conversely, 28 percent of the American populace works less than 40 hours a week, and 20 percent work, on average, less than 20 hours per week.

The majority of respondents told researchers that they felt they maintained a steady balance between work and the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile, the number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits rose 68,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000 last week. It’s the biggest increase in first-time applications in more than a year, a troubling sign if the trend lasts. But the increase likely reflects the difficulty adjusting for delays…

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Send Private Messages With Instagram Direct

ThinkBrownINK:

Instagram announced Instagram Direct, a new way to send photo and video messages to friends. When you open Instagram, you’ll now see a new icon in the top right corner of your home feed.

Originally posted on 92 Q:

what is instagram direct

[ione_facebook_like_box url_segment=92QJamsBaltimore]

Instagram announced Instagram Direct, a new way to send photo and video messages to friends. When you open Instagram, you’ll now see a new icon in the top right corner of your home feed. Tap it to open your inbox where you’ll see photos and videos that people have sent to you. To send a photo or video to specific people, tap the camera button to enter the same simple photo or video capture and editing screens. At the top of the share screen, you’ll see the option to share with your followers (“Followers”) or to send to specific people (“Direct”). To send using Direct, tap the names of the people you want to send your photo or video to, write your caption, tap “send” and you’re done.

instagram dm

After sending, you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video, see who’s liked it and…

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How your business can be part of the Pinterest experience

How your business can be part of the Pinner experience

Pinterest is a tool that people use to plan their future— from what they’ll make for dinner this week to the someday vacation of their dreams. To use Pinterest successfully for your brand, think about the interests your business has in common with your customers. For a food company, it might be cooking. For a travel company, it might be vacation planning. For an outdoor goods brand, it’s likely helping people discover and go on great hikes.
Whatever the interest, people tend to pursue them through four stages: aspiration, anticipation, participation and reflection. Read more about how your business can be part of each of these stages on the Pinterest blog.

1. Aspiration: the moment you get inspired to pursue a specific interest (say, taking up golf) 

2. Anticipation: the phase where people look into the interest and start prepping to actually do it (like, researching golf clubs).

3. Participation: (this is the fun part!) when people actually participate in the interest they’ve decided to pursue (like, playing nine holes at a local course)

4. Reflection: where people reflect on the activity, maybe by taking a photo and framing it or sharing it on a social network

— Kevin Knight, currently Pinning to Fly Fishing

Pinterest is most often used in the first three stages, and the most successful businesses on our service help people along the journey. They create and curate inspiring content, make it easy to add inspirational and useful Pins from their website and write thoughtful Pin and board descriptions so people can find what they’re looking fo

-Pinterest Partner Team
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