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.Freelancers, catch up on info to help you improve your craft and business. | #Freelancing | #WritersLife | #ContentRadar Click To Tweet
Top freelancing tips and news to keep your career on track in content marketing:
1. You can beat writer’s block in three hours.
You slept fine. You woke up energized. That first sip of coffee had your juices flowing — and bam! You sit down to a blank page and can’t seem to string a single sentence together. Ugh.
Even the most successful and dedicated wordsmiths struggle with an inevitable writer’s block occasionally. But according to Copyblogger, it doesn’t have to be a career-ending death sentence. Rather, there are some productivity and focusing strategies you can utilize three hours a day to help you beat it.Beat #writersblock in three hours with these productivity and focusing strategies from @Copyblogger. #freelancing #freelancelife Click To Tweet
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. How to know if your ideas are forgettable
There’s the story you really want to write — and the one that you should. There’s also the topic that you geek out over — and the ones that other people will want to read.
If you’re struggling with weeding through your many ideas to pinpoint the ones that will get assigned, consider this helpful guide from Copyblogger. Here, the writer discusses various avenues to seek inspiration and important questions to ask yourself before you hit ‘send.’
8. 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.
9. 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
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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. Discover what else you need to know here.
13. How — and why — to use ‘fascinations’ in your writing.
Scratching your head trying to define ‘fascinations’? We were too until we read this — no pun intended — fascinating read from Copyblogger. As defined, this is a copywriting technique where you make bullet points appear more special, thus making them more compelling and clickable.
Not only applicable within journalism stories that are meaty and robust, but also as a tool in content marketing writing. Or, in B2B copywriting to drive subscriptions or trigger action.Learn what 'fascinations' are and how using this technique can make your blog posts more interesting and drive more conversions. #contentmarketing #freelancing #writing Click To Tweet
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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)
20. 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.’
21. 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)
22. 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)
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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?
28. 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.
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. 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.
32. 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.
33. 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.
34. 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.
35. The top reasons workers choose to freelance.
If you are teetering between a full-time job and a freelance career, you may be considering if you should make the jump to becoming a full-time freelancer. An article published this month by Flex Jobs details recent survey results that shed some light on why people choose to freelance rather than work full-time jobs for a single employer.
- A full 70 percent of survey respondents answered that they choose to freelance in an effort to attain a better work-life balance.
- Nearly 2/3 of respondents answered that they choose to freelance because they can choose when they work. This flexibility in work schedules was the second-most popular response.
- More than half of respondents (55 percent) said they choose to freelance because it affords them the opportunity to choose where they work and gives them the freedom to move without changing jobs. Read here if you want to learn more about the ups and downs in the lives of digital nomads.
36. Four essential mental health tips for freelancers.
A recent survey of freelancers found that nearly half of those surveyed found freelancing to be sometimes lonely. Likewise, more than 45 percent claimed freelancing can be an isolating experience. For sure, there are advantages to working as a freelancer—but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the pitfalls. A Forbes article this month explored 4 mental health tips for freelancers.
- Learn how to negotiate with yourself. Celebrate your accomplishments and don’t be overly critical when you fail.
- Socialize beyond your niche. Socializing only with fellow freelancers may not allow you to see ways to overcome problems and obstacles. Keep in contact with those in other careers for a fresh perspective.
- Budget for more expensive forms of self-care. Splurge every once in a while on a comfortable chair, a new desk, comfy socks, etc. Investing in yourself is investing in your business.
- Learn how to handle rejection. Make a daily list of things you have done well.
37. Writing lessons from Dr. Seuss.
March marks the 115th anniversary of the birth of one of the world’s best-known freelancers — Dr. Seuss. Content strategist Lisa Shomo shared a few lessons content creators can learn from Dr. Seuss’ tactics and creative works.
- Rhyming helps solidify memory. It is appropriate to toil over your text — but a main goal should always be to produce content that is memorable. A rhyme here or there in your text can help you accomplish this.
- Repeat sounds to create rhythm. You may not be able to repeat words or phrases over and over in the copy you create, but even repeating a key line once or twice could make an impact.
- Infuse your copy with life. Dr. Seuss kept his word selection simple. In fact, ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ only includes 50 different words. However, his copy was anything but dull. Use concrete nouns and vivid verbs to show — not tell.
38. Writing a blog post: a step-by-step process.
Nothing can be as daunting for a freelancer as a blank screen and a cursor menacingly blinking, daring you to type something — anything. Sure, writing will always be a mentally strenuous activity, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. If you establish a process similar to what is suggested in this article by blogger Darren Rowse, writing can quickly become a more pleasant experience.
- Think of the reader. Imagine the reader’s situation. What do you want his or her experience to be while reading the blog? Having a reader persona can be helpful.
- Brainstorm and outline the post. Outlining a post can be especially helpful as it allows you to map out what you want to say and determine how much attention you want to give to different sections.
More notable tips and news for freelancers:
39. 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.
40. 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!
41. 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.
42. 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.
43. These tools make SEO writing a breeze. A lucrative — and often fascinating — branch of wordsmither-y is search engine optimization writing. However, with many rules to follow and nuances to consider, it can become super-technical, super-fast. Luckily, these tools will help.
44. What you need to know about New York’s freelance law. New York City recently took note of this issue and passed the Freelance Isn’t Free Act. If you’re based in the Big Apple, AndCo provides everything you need to know about your rights.
45. Here’s how to raise your freelance rates. Much like a standard employee, with killer performance comes a rise in income. Everyone can be a little shaky in asking for what you deserve, but these solid tips from AndCo make it easier.
See more monthly roundups to be a better freelancer for content marketing clients:
- Content Marketing Trends to Know (With Examples): Monthly Roundup
- Top 25+ Content Marketing Research and Studies in 2019
- Social Media Marketing News: Monthly Rolling Roundup