Welcome to Freelance Friday! Each Friday, I’ll share something Freelance-y that I learned during the week that will help other freelancers or entertain cubicle-queens. Thanks for reading!
The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.
I’m happier when I’m completely honest in business, even if I struggle to figure out what’s appropriate and what’s helpful to hear. I think we’d all be happier as open books, with our value placed in what we do with information, rather than what information we hold.
With that in mind, here are my writing secrets that can help you freelance full time, write more and better, and be a valuable asset to your customer or client:
- If you blog regularly for a client, create a custom Google search engine for their website. You’ll be able to search their blog faster and more effectively to include internal links within the post. In fact…
- If you write about anything regularly, create a custom Google search engine of high-authority websites you link to frequently. You can do this by industry (social media, technology, etc) or by client (this client likes sites like Inc.com, this client prefers smaller specialist-blogs).
- Even if you hate them, use outlines. A good outline cuts down my work by half because it stays organized in my head for longer, leading to more succinct, on-topic sentences that move the topic forward. I use outlines for blog posts, resource guides, white papers, and sales pages. It helps you leave no holes. Start with the basic 5-paragraph essay (Introduction, Point, Point, Point, Conclusion) and tweak according to your topic. Start with short logical statements and then build out into narrative sentences.
- Work on that outline over 3-5 days. My best pieces get to cook a little bit. I do a superficial outline on day 1, I fill out the facts and logic on day 2, I add the narrative and stylistic choices on day 3, I let it sit on day 4, and I edit and submit it on day 5. Crunching the schedule crunches that sequence. I never skip any parts.
- Google Docs will make your life easier for many reasons. Despite my privacy concerns, I cannot count the ways in which I love Google Docs. I love the CTRL+K function to create a link that performs a Google search for your anchor test and often finds the link for you. I love quickly sharing documents with clients and stalking them a little to see when they look at it. I love the in-document chat feature and the flexible comment feature. And on and on…
- When you send an assignment via Google Docs, make the link pretty with Bitly. Install the Chrome short cut for a single-click pretty link function.
- Speaking of Google Docs, go ahead and install Gmail’s “Undo Send” lab feature (Gmail > Settings > Google Labs > Unsend). It’s saved me several typos and forgotten attachments.
- I’ve had writing chops since 4th grade, but I’ve had sales chops since Brandgasm. Brandgasm 101 helped me see how to use my words on behalf of a business to convert prospective customers. Sales copywriting and landing pages is one of my favorite things to do because it lets me take on a whole new attitude for each page. It’s kind of like being in drama without having to deal with stage fright. I got it from Brandgasm.
Now that the list is finished, I feel like I should have more secrets. (Though I did already share my organization secrets). Oops!