In my last post we covered how I chose my domain name, WordPress theme and selected a website host. This time around, in More Tips for New Freelance Writers we’ll talk about some of the “extras” and resource materials that I purchased for launching writing business.
New Freelance Writers Need a Bio!
So what is a biography for anyway? What should a freelance writer’s bio include? If you are an experienced writer with published works that you can point to, that’s fine and dandy. If you are a newcomer to the freelance writing world, you can fill the bill by writing a kick-ass bio that showcases your knowledge and experience.
Writing your writer’s bio is probably one of the very first tasks that you will do as a freelancer that’ll have you staring at a blank page with high anxiety. At least that’s how it was for me! I felt like my biography was going to be a deal breaker. After all, my bio was my introduction to the online world!
If you’re stuck in panic mode when it comes to your bio, take a deep breath. Remember, the beauty of being an entrepreneur, especially an entrepreneur who is a new freelance writer, is that you are the boss! The boss gets to change things! So get on with it. You won’t be stuck with your bio. The worst that can happen is … crickets.
Trust me, no bio police will come knocking on your door.
Identify Your Freelance Writing Clients
A great place to start is visualizing your perfect client. Who are you selling your services to? How old is your target client? What stage of life or business are they in?
Most importantly, what problem do they have that you will solve? Keep that in mind while you are drafting your bio. Describe affirmatively what you have to offer prospective clients.
Don’t try to be all things to all people, or you’ll end up with a very generic bio that will not catch anyone’s attention.
Your Headshot – A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
Have you quest posted yet? Bet they asked for a headshot to go with your bio!
Choosing a photograph to grace the home page of your website and use as a headshot is a big deal. Think about it. How many times have you made a choice between service providers based on a picture? Some business coaches, like Melinda Emerson, recommend updating your business photos each year!
Before you snap a quick selfie to send as your headshot, consider your target client. What characteristics do you think will attract your client? For example, if my ideal clients are 20-something fitness freaks, a studio photo in a suit and pearls just doesn’t jive.
My freelance writing niche is in the legal field and business management, where a more formal photograph works.
I admit, this is where I invested a chunk of money. It was money well spent. If you are in the DC metro area, you be sure to check out amazing photographer Virgina Rose Hodges.
I invested in having a professional photo shoot, including professional hair and makeup for my business headshot. Lucky for me, I happen to know an amazing celebrity photographer, Virginia Rose Hodges, a passionate artist and businesswoman.
Presentation does matter! But, it doesn’t have to break your budget. Don’t go into debt to have professional photos! Use the best camera you have (or can borrow) and just be mindful of your setting.
Your picture is an important part of your brand, so do the best you can with what you have, and plan for the professional shots later.
Useful Resources for Writers
Writers love books, and I’m no exception. I’ve have a particular penchant for resource materials that I recommend to new freelance writers.
In addition to a couple journalism textbooks from college, back when print newspapers still flourished, here’s a short list of my bookshelf favorites for freelance writers:
Yahoo Style Guide – The last version published was 2010, but this book is still recommended for information on writing for the Internet!
Strunk & White’s Elements of Style – I consider this a must read for any aspiring writer. This short and sweet little book discusses the importance of cutting out the fluff from your writing.
AP Style Guide – I will always keep the most recent edition of this guide on my shelf. In my very brief stint as an author for a content mill, this book was indispensable. It is the often the used as gold standard for accurate, technically correct writing.
Planning and Calendaring Your Content
So, you picked your name for your business, develop your brand, and customized your WordPress theme. Time to get busy writing and posting your blog articles.
Conventional wisdom says it’s optimal to publish new blog content 3 to 5 times a week. That’s terrific, if you can do it consistently. The trick is to consistently produce quality content on a regular schedule, whether it is every day or once a week. Because I have a full-time schedule already, I was careful not to bite off more than I could chew in my editorial schedule.
Plan ahead for your editorial calendar! If you have an idea, or a series of ideas for your blog, using your calendar will maximize the effectiveness of your content.
Your calendar will keep you accountable, whether it is an electronic version or a paper planner. Get in the habit of writing your blog articles in advance. You can make sure that you always have great content available for publication. No scrambling when the holidays roll around, the baby is sick, or you will be on vacation!
What are your essential resources for freelance writers? How often do you publish new blog posts? Would you like to see more tips for new freelance writers? Please leave your questions and comments below!