With each monthly update we’ll add several new freelancer tips to the top of the list, while letting older updates gradually fall off the list as they fade from interest.
When you’re a freelancer, there never seems to be enough time in the day. From pitching and writing to revising and invoicing — your responsibilities never seem to end. Even with the stress and the uncertainties, though, many wouldn’t trade their freedom for a standard 9-5 job. However, setting goals for yourself and continuously challenging yourself to dig deeper into your industry will set you apart from the competition in your field or niche.
At ClearVoice, our blog aims to be a resource for independent wordsmiths who are proactive and hoping to grow their business. We provide helpful resources, fascinating — yet effective — advice and more than anything, are a reputable destination for questions, job opportunities and inspiration.
We also make the process of staying on top of news easier for you by providing need-to-know monthly updates on the latest trends and research within content marketing and development. Check back here each month for encouraging trends, thoughtful wisdom — and actionable how-to’s. We have you covered.The best of the best news in #freelancing content, #marketing and more! Here’s what we learned in January. Click To Tweet
Top freelancing news and tips to keep your career on track in content marketing:
1. Add content auditing to your skillset with this guide.
As competition within the content and marketing freelance industry becomes even stiffer, diversifying your offerings can help you stand out from the pack. One hire nearly all companies could use is a content audit. Whether it’s double (and triple)-checking for SEO best practices or updating a linking strategy, this ultimate guide from Search Engine Journal is a must-read.
2. The rise of the ghostwriter — and how you can tap in.
The demand for content has never been higher. And education around the value of content marketing, internet klout and social support has created a new market of opportunity for talented wordsmiths: ghostwriting. Truth be told? It’s not a new profession but it is one that’s predicted to serve up mega demand in the decade to come.
People want quality works of art under their name but they may not have the talent to execute. This post from Fiverr explores ghostwriting — and is probably something you’ll want to share with a potential lead who is on the fence.
3. Get inspired to prioritize creativity.
Especially when you have a full-time freelance business (and a full-time social life), resolutions tend to become less dreamy and more practical. But why not have both? Solopreneurs at their core are proficient on specific tasks and hone unique talents, hence why they are hired by a plethora of companies.
Creativity is one of those soft skills that sets the good freelancers apart from the great ones, and it’s worth your attention every month of the year. If you’re struggling with making aspirational goals, read through this list from Adobe’s blog from fellow creatives like you.
4. The future of media and entertainment is critical.
In a recent study conducted by Ernst & Young, 50 percent of media and entertainment professionals reported they no longer believe they can be successful with their traditional business models. In fact, 28 percent know their day-to-day structures need to change but they struggle with understanding what to do to get started. A whopping 34 percent admitted they weren’t sure if their companies would exist in five years.
Sure, this is negative (and scary) but there is lemonade to be made. By investing in technological skills — from video editing and data reporting — freelancers can become the go-to person that brands hire to remain competitive. Check out more info on The Drum.
5. You’re never too old for an internship.
The last time you were an intern? Well, let’s just say you didn’t even have a Blackberry yet. Though many freelancers feel confident in their professions, all too often, we become stagnant in our skills. This is troublesome since new generations can do what we do better — and probably for cheaper.
That’s why a blog on FlexJobs encourages solopreneurs to take on an internship, even if they’re far past the traditional age. How come? It’s an opportunity to expand your knowledge and become more competitive in an ever-evolving industry.
6. What Ernest Hemingway recommends for writing.
‘Tis the season to sit around the fireplace, sip on a hot toddy, sleep in and finally catch up on your reading. That is after you finish a dozen assignments, wrap up invoicing, figure out quarter one strategy and set a date for your taxes.
During the most hectic time of year, take a tip from one of the most legendary writers of all times, the one-and-only Ernest Hemingway. In this thoughtful — and fascinating — piece, a writer Brian Clark provides the essentials for penning captivating copy.
7. Here’s how to put customer feedback to good use.
Lately, we’ve been exploring the vast importance and benefit of customer stories. These narratives have a way of building a brand, developing trust and moving numbers. But how can you gather this information? And how can you use it effectively? In this guide from Search Engine Journal, the writer recommends various avenues for collecting captivating responses, and how to put them to effective use.
8. Avoid distractions with these measures.
No matter the month, it’s easy to get distracted when you’re filing deadlines from home. Or from a workspace. Or anywhere. And when the weather outside is frightful, and a Netflix binge seems so delightful? It’s even tougher. Luckily, Fiverr has you covered with these totally effective (and easy) ways to curb workflow distractions. After all, once you put in the hard work up front, you give yourself more time to enjoy the joy of the season.
9. You need to know about these SEO trends for 2020.
Successful freelancers know how important it is to vary your services and offerings. One of the biggest ticket items is understanding SEO best practices and strategies. Since this is an ever-evolving function of modern, digital marketing, staying tuned-in to the latest trends will keep you leading the competition. Here, MarTech Today identifies what’s ahead for SEO in the year — and decade — to come.
10. You can teach an old brand new tricks.
No matter if you’re tasked with re-writing website copy, building an SEO strategy or coming up with a gameplan, working from a heritage brand can be difficult. In addition to going up against dated mindsets and impressions from customers, many freelancers also have to convince long-standing employees to change with the times.
The goods news is there are smart, savvy steps to take to find success. Learn how to go from boring to brilliant at Marketing Tech & News.
Top freelancing tip: Join the ClearVoice Talent Network
Want to know one of the best freelancing tips? Join the ClearVoice Talent Network! Work with growing brands who need talent like you. Writers, editors, producers, designers and more.
11. You can’t sugarcoat the freelance life.
From the looks of your Instagram, being your own boss is pretty amazing. Waking up as you please, traveling as the mood strikes and working with engaging, interesting clients. However, those first few months — or let’s face it, years — are full of hard-knock learning lessons of adjusting to a new lifestyle.
Here, Freelancer News from the U.K. sets the record straight on the unfiltered reality of managing your own schedule, income and future as a solopreneur.
12. You can dust off old content.
When you’re carving out a strategic roadmap for your clients, many will ask about all of the content that was previously published. Does it just go to waste? Is it usable? How can you get the best SEO-bang for the buck?
Though there are many schools of thought on how to repurpose evergreen material, these concepts from Search Engine Journal are spot on. The next time you’re faced with this perplexity, turn to their advice.
13. You can make a realistic timeline super-fast.
When you’re a freelancer, you become a master at juggling various work streams. Time for pitching and bringing on new clients, working time with current contracts, invoicing, following-up and so on. In essence, this makes you a project manager — and that’s a stellar ‘skill’ to add to your repertoire.
Consider this six-step process to creating a project timeline that meets deadlines with this fun guide from Fiverr.
14. How to improve deliverability with emails
One of the most common freelance contracts companies outsource is email. Considering there are always many versions — current, potential and past customer — it’s usually the art of a skilled writer who can make all of these shine.
But how do you know if your newsletter strategy is effective — or missing the mark on deliverability? Marketing & Tech News has a guide to improving your campaigns with smart words and tools.
15. Why freelancers have to check-in with themselves
Think back to when you were fresh off the boat, wide-eyed and full of wonder: what was your writing like? And how about a few years into your tenure? And now? Most wordsmiths will be the first to share they always wanted to be writers… but few take a pause to actually consider how they’ve changed over the years.
In this thoughtful piece from Freelancer News in the UK, the author challenges our profession to think critically about progression and transformation over time. This way, you can change your offerings, recognize room for improvement and more.
16. Here’s how to come up with more ideas.
Though it’s often forgotten about in the creation process, ideation is at the core of every successful content marketer and writer’s skill set. Without the ability to drum up angles, perspectives and unique approaches, fully-fledged careers would never be possible.
After all, wordsmiths at their cores, are curious. But even successful writers run into a brick wall sometimes, and can’t seem to think of a single nugget of wisdom. Not to worry! Search Engine Journal has a laundry list of various resources for coming up with stellar, innovative pieces.Though it’s often forgotten about in the creation process, ideation is at the core of every successful #contentmarketer and writer’s skill set. #freelancing #creativity Click To Tweet
17. You should be using social media to find leads.
…like yesterday! In this interesting post from Fiverr, the writer shares all of the resources available via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites to build your business. Whether it’s editors who consistently tweet opportunities or communities within Zuckerberg’s homeland that foster freelance careers, don’t miss out on this low-hanging fruit.
18. Remote work is on the rise.
Want to work from Bali? Or your couch? Both can be a luxury when you don’t want to commute, and more companies are taking the opportunity to allow workers location freedom. In fact, a Gallup poll found 47 — nearly half! — of employed Americans spend at least some time at home, while U.S. Census data reported upwards of 5 percent are always remote.
In this Harvard Business Review analysis, they found that most of the time, professionals are more productive and this type of set-up can actually save time and cost for employers. Read more about this convincing argument to let your anchor client know you’ll now be taking meetings from your living room.
19. Monitoring fake news is more important than ever.
If you’ve been paying attention to the landslide of news from the current administration (does it ever end?), then you know they are considering regulating end-to-end encryption on U.S.-created messaging apps. This means your conversations on Facebook and other social media properties would be entirely private.
While this is good news in some cases, it could also be bad, especially if these messages couldn’t be scrutinized under law. In other words: someone could harass you after you write an article or work on a project, but you wouldn’t be able to press charges and use the messages in court.
Another setback it could pose, according to a report in Marketing Tech & News, is tied to the rise of fake news. To combat this real threat, non-profit Meedan has a new suite of tools that are aimed to help writers report on only the facts. While it’s always vital, it’s especially important as we head into a hectic election year.
20. Avoid these pivotal mistakes when working as a freelance writer.
The first few years of becoming a full-time freelance writer are exciting — and scary. Not only are you responsible for your paychecks and bills, but you must continuously drive clients and maintain relationships. It’s a tall order for anyone, and the road to success is ripe with trials. In a story for Entrepreneur, learn about the most common mistakes newbies make, and more importantly, how to overcome them.
21. How to not be a jerk in a co-working space.
Though some people can stick to a task from the comfort of their home, others aren’t as personally motivated. If you’re in the latter camp, don’t sweat it. But also don’t avoid the fact that you may need to invest in a different environment.
Especially as remote work becomes more common, so do co-working spaces, which offer the opportunity to leave your house, work alongside other freelancers and other benefits. Though arguably more laid-back than other ‘offices,’ there are still some faux-pas you don’t want to make. Here, Freelancer News in the U.K. gives the do’s and don’ts you need to know.
22. Submit your most glow-worthy creation.
Talented designers seek inspiration from all sorts of sources. And though being recognized isn’t always the goal, it’s nice sometimes. This month, Adobe has partnered with Pantone to challenge artists to use various glow techniques and the color coral to create beautiful masterpieces on Instagram. You can enter yourself to be highlighted on Adobe’s Instagram by using their hashtags. Learn more on Adobe’s blog.
23. Why we can’t stop thinking about Cambridge Analytica.
Since Netflix recently released a documentary on Cambridge Analytica, the crisis from a year ago is coming back into the limelight. And if you ask one writer at Marketing & Tech News, it needs to, since very few marketers have made changes in the past 12 months.
About 80 percent of people feel somewhat or very concerned over their data, yet few changes in content or marketing have taken place. Read more about your own privacy — and how you can explain the urgency to your clients — in this opinion piece.
24. Get hacks you need for all those emails.
As every freelancer knows — no matter if you’re a journalist, a content marketer, a designer or a combo of all — email is a major time-suck. Many of the world’s leading executives actually box out time to respond to all inquiries and close out for the rest of the day. That’s why we’re crushing on this amazing guide from HubSpot on how to create canned Gmail responses in less than a minute. Set up a handful of these and save yourself valuable billing hours.
25. You should care about feedback if you want to succeed.
Within the vast world of content development, there’s plenty to be said on the good and bad. Though most of the time, it’s purely objective, the ability to take customer reviews, editor comments and edits from other team players into consideration is vital to a prolonged career. In this guide from Marketing Land, you can learn how to take notes and criticism in stride, improving your ethic, your talent and building stronger, longer-lasting relationships. (7/8/19)
26. Grow your business with this tell-all.
Though as a writer you can’t discount the vast importance of staying in touch with editors, there is also value in networking. But this doesn’t mean you have to roll up your sleeves, grab a cocktail and chat up strangers at a happy hour. Instead, And Co suggests investing in these digital communities that offer a landslide of freelance writing opportunities. This exhaustive list has a little bit of everything — from content marketing to ghostwriting and beyond — and is a great link to forward to anyone who asks you ‘how to be a writer.’
27. Can billionaires save journalism?
When you first dreamt of being a modern-day Lois Lane all of those years ago, you probably didn’t anticipate the industry to shift as dramatically as it has in the past decades. With countless publications folding or moving to a digital-only version, it’s a tough business to be in that requires hustle, flexibility and durability. In this investigative look at the future of newspapers and glossies, CNN shares how billionaires like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, are stepping in to rescue the fine art of journalism. (7/9/19)
28. Content marketing still has a long way to go.
The Drum recently conducted a survey to investigate the pulse of content marketing within companies. They compared this data to a similar study conducted six years ago. And while there are some silver linings and improvements, the industry still has a long way to go to make a major impact. They found that 2.7 percent of people feel content marketing is “not so effective,” but only 18.92 percent felt it “extremely effective.” They also shared that 50 percent believe their staff is on board with the need for content marketing, but 43 percent don’t understand the value. One way to change these figures is through relevant, digestible content that appeals not only to a catered audience but to changemakers within the organization. Learn more about their research and advice here. (7/10/19)
29. Make studying voice writing a priority.
You’ve mastered blogging. You can chug out an article in a few hours. You know how to pitch. You’re even great about quick revisions — and you can come up with a content plan in a hot second. How about voice writing?
While plenty of writers have expanded their services to include marketing-centric skills, the new opportunities from voice-recognition software provide wordsmiths with a new challenge: speech writing. As more companies look into apps for Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Siri and beyond, more opportunities will appear for talented writers. Search Engine Journal recently discussed the fact that 80 percent of voice-search answers are from three organic studies. This leaves major room for improvement from a data perspective — but also illustrates the importance of this marketable opportunity. Also see our guide: Writing for the Future Sound of Marketing.
30. Show your clients appreciation.
It may not be rocket science or breaking news, but in the hustle and bustle of building your business, have you paused to consider who makes it possible? Nope, not your trusty iPhone or that grammar-checking app. Rather, your clients. A recent post on AndCo iterates the importance of showing appreciation to your editors or the leaders who sign your paycheck. From sending a personalized note to checking-in about non-business related items that you remember from conversations, these gestures go a long way in cementing a relationship. Also see our post on Gifting for Gratitude on etiquette for thanking clients.
31. Improvements — and image forensics — in facial manipulation may be coming.
Designers and photographer rejoice: Industry leader Adobe is partnering with the University of California Berkeley to develop a method to detect edits to images, as well as improved facial recognition. This is a step forward in democratizing “image forensics” — or rather, being able to fully understand or know how an image was manipulated. As more companies hope to be transparent and accepting of all people – no matter race or size — this could be a huge leap in equalizing the playing field. You can learn more about what’s happening on Adobe’s blog.
32. Want to know if the news is fake? There’s an app for that.
Fake news is the battle of many journalists, especially in a turbulent political climate. As the general term for any type of reporting that can’t be verified or fact-checked, it’s important to fight against this type of journalism, since it can impact reader choices and opinions. In a fascinating article published on Tech Crunch, the writer explores Grover, an API company that’s working to end this trend. But to be able to understand if news is quality or not? It first had to learn how to write these bad stories.
33. Content marketers should think about hyper-personalization.
Think about all of the areas in your day-to-day life that are now catered specifically to you: Facebook ads, Netflix or Hulu recommendations, your vitamin subscription, and so on. Though sure, it may not seem relevant in your articles or in your marketing strategies, it’s actually quite contrary, according to a recent post in Marketing and Tech News. Here, the writer discusses how you can use these trendy best practices to up your game and make your offerings more robust. If the current generation wants everything tailored to their needs, shouldn’t your strategy reflect that?
34. More than half of brands don’t believe they’re delivering the right content.
More than ever, companies, entrepreneurs, executives and brands are concerned with the message they’re sending. Not only to their current customers but to perspective ones. However, most don’t believe they are delivering the right type of content, according to recent data from Vennli and the Content Marketing Institute. Instead of focusing on a holistic view of their content, 51% feel as if they are project-based — and lacking strategy. This is a huge opportunity for talented content marketers to pitch themselves as a resource who can answer questions, make a plan — and move numbers.
35. Here’s how to actually make money blogging.
Since the age of mommy bloggers in the early 90s, writers have been trying their luck at producing native content that results in dollars. While some are successful, others lack the expertise or the consistency to break through the competition and build an income. A recent article from ProBlogger has provided a 7-step process to not just write away — but to develop a business plan. From picking your topic to attracting your first sponsorships, this is a must-read for any blogger.
36. The difference between quality and quantity in content.
In every freelancer’s career, there are ebbs and flows. Some months and quarters, you can barely see straight with the vast amount of deadlines. And others? Well, as the saying goes, it’s crickets. Though the busy times are definitely exciting — it also provides a challenge to writers to slow down and ensure they are producing quality content. That is easier said than done — but perhaps, a little smoother when you read these tips from the Content Marketing Institute. Simple to digest, provoking to consider and challenging for all wordsmiths, grab a cup of Joe and see how many of these your writing checks off.
37. Expert tips for managing your income.
You dreamt of being a writer because you love words. You became a journalist to report the truth. You decided to shift into a marketer role because you want a long-term career. But finances? And um, accounting? They may not be your sweet spot.
But since you’re not only the captain of your pen but of your bank account, understanding the smartest ways to invest, save, track expenses and file invoices is essential to your success. AndCo provides essential tips for staying on top of what’s coming and going out, giving you more time to focus on the creative part of your gig that you love.
38. The A-to-Z guide for writing headlines.
Writing a stellar headline could be the key to attracting more readers to your content, but do you know what makes a great headline? There is no single magic bullet, so Barry Feldman from Feldman Creative developed a list of 26 items(one for every letter of the alphabet) to help you when writing headlines. Check out the article for the full list, which includes items such as:
- Ask — Posing questions is one of the best ways to engage a reader.
- Benefits — Rather than bore readers with features, put the benefits for readers to see in the headline.
- Colons — Begin your headline with a topical keyword phrase, then use a colon to follow it with a question or statement.
39. Five secrets of great storytellers.
It may seem that great storytellers have an innate gift to capture an audience, but while some storytellers are blessed with a natural talent, other storytellers have finely honed their craft through practice and study over an extended period of time. Kim Moutsos provides great detail about each of these five secrets in an article for Content Marketing Institute. For those who want a sneak peek, the five secrets include:
- Tell unique stories or give old ones a new twist.
- Use questions to keep people hooked.
- Lead readers to make a conclusion; don’t tell them what to believe.
- Focus on action, but make it add up to something.
- Don’t leave them hanging.
See this piece from Britt Skrabanek to get some ideas on how to infuse better storytelling into your professional social media work.
40. Achieve more while doing less.
The concept of achieving more while doing less sounds like a false promise, but author Michael Hyatt told host Amy Porterfield on the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast that achieving more while doing less is a true principle. During the podcast, Hyatt speaks about how it is focus — not busy-ness — that should drive our personal and business lives. He also discusses how focus brings with it freedom for individuals to be able to accomplish that which is most important. Hyatt claims you should formulate a vision of what a more productive future looks like, then evaluate the work you are doing. Additionally, you should always find time to rejuvenate to stay fresh.
More notable freelancer tips and news:
41. You’re great at writing assignments and briefs for brands — but what about for yourself? Here, a no-brainer guide to start blogging.
42. If you’re on the fence about going full-time as a boss of one (you!), perhaps these reasons from freelancers will push you over the edge.
43. Writing lessons from Dr. Seuss. Believe it or not, one of the world’s best-known freelancers has plenty to share about writing. Here, what we can learn about being a modern-day content creator from one of the greats.
44. Four essential mental health tips for freelancers. Freelancing can be a lonely gig. But there are ways to make it better, with a few lifestyle hacks here-and-there. Take these mental health tips from Forbes to beat winter blues.
45. Sometimes you can’t wait to sit by your screen and scribble away. Other times, you lack creativity and productivity. The key is making writing a more enjoyable experience. Follow these tips from blogger Darren Rowse to improve the process.
46. Not all content will be the best ever created. However, when you produce something, your hope is that it gets people to click and learn. That’s why this helpful guide from the Content Marketing Institute about readability is um, a must-read!
47. If you aren’t on top of your tax game, it’s time to prioritize this all-too-important part of your business. From understanding loop holes and areas to save, this article in Bustle gives the need-to-know information.
48. Some people are cut out for the freelance lifestyle — and others would be anxious 24/7. Remote, unpredictable work isn’t for everyone, and if you aren’t sure about taking the leap full-time, read this solid advice from Entrepreneur.