Category Archives: Content Job Boards

One Cannot Not Communicate- Is Silence Golden?

Maybe Mom Wasn’t Always Right

The first of Paul Watzlawick’s five axioms is simple- “One Cannot Not Communicate.” Wanterfall says,

Even when you think you are not sending any messages, that absence of messages is quite evident to any observer, and can itself constitute quite a significant message. Not only that, but we usually transmit quite a few non-verbal messages unconsciously, even when we think we are not sending any messages at all.

What do you, as a professional, communicate when you choose not to communicate?

Photo courtesy of Bonoz

Photo courtesy of Bonoz

Perhaps your mother used to say, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” When your new friend with long, braided hair entered your home, she bit her tongue.

Did her silence mean, “I wouldn’t let my son wear his hair that long, but since I have no association beyond his association with you, I’ll make you feel comfortable enough without offering approval?” Her tongue biting left wiggle room- both for your friend’s eventual haircut and her possible opinion change.

While the intent behind silence might be noble, its very form is deceiving – a mask for a mix of thoughts and emotions forming in the sender or else a sign of ignorance. Silence is golden because it buys the sender time and it offers the receiver little information- or so is the hope.

What are the Effects of Non-Responses in Digital Communications? 

One cannot not communicate with social media. Not following a customer or fan on Twitter or G+, for example, could be construed as a slight. You’re too busy, too important, to ignorant to use the tools to follow and interact. Not having your social media in order says a lot about the organization behind your organization. Your brand communicates that it does’t embrace or understand the mediums or struggles to find funds. The receiver never really knows why you’re silent- just that you are and the resulting message is up for interpretation.

Internet marketer, Jay Baer, suggests:

Further, 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. Is your company prepared to handle social media inquiries within the hour? A few are. Most are not, in my experience, which potentially creates a disillusionment gap between customers’ anticipated response time, and your actual ability to provide a response.

Having a workforce to handle your social media interactions could be just what you need to reduce the stress in your customer service department.

One cannot not communicate with blogs. You haven’t written a blog post in weeks. Maybe there isn’t a lot happening in your company or industry – yeah right. You’re too busy, too underfunded, too unorganized. You were in the hospital. Whatever the reason, a lack of action or words communicates a message. Is it the message you want your fans to receive?

Darren Rouse looks at blogging this way:

The more posts you publish over time, the more doorways you present readers with to enter your blog.

1 post a week means you’ve got 52 doorways at the end of the year – daily posts means 365 doorways at the end of the year. This means people are more likely to see your content in RSS readers, in search engines, on social media etc. Over time this adds up.

Contracting out some of your brand’s writing work to writers can keep opening doors verses closing them in silence.

One cannot not communicate with correspondences. Two candidates fly out to your company for second interviews. You extend an offer to one. The chosen candidate receives your full attention. The other doesn’t. The one who didn’t get the job sends an email to you. No reply. This happens once. Twice. Three times. Surely, not communicating is a soft let down, right?  According to Career Builder,

56 percent of employers admitted that they don’t respond to all candidates or acknowledge receipt of their applications; 33 percent said they don’t follow up with candidates they interviewed with to let them know they didn’t get the job.

What does a lack of response communicate? That from the top down, your company’s communication process isn’t clear or even rude when not in need of a person, service, or product. It communicates disorganization and incompetency in the HR department. Don’t think for a moment that the candidate won’t remember the lack of communication when they’re in a better position.  According to the HT Group:

If you’re guilty of this and other bad hiring habits, beware your actions could complicate your recruiting efforts and even damage your company’s overall reputation. Here’s how (according to the same study):

  • Job seekers who don’t hear back after applying for a job are less likely to continue buying products or services from that company.
  • Did a job seeker have a bad experience with you? Half will tell their friends about it.
  • An overwhelming 75 percent of job seekers use traditional networking such as word-of-mouth to gather more information about a company.
  • More than 60 percent will check out your company on social media to find out if what you’re telling them about your culture is true.
  • More than two-thirds of job seekers would accept a lower salary if the company had exceptionally positive reviews online.

One cannot not communicate. What are the unintended messages you send just by choosing inaction or silence with your digital marketing strategies or relationships? From creating blog posts and social media posts to staying up with emails and correspondences silence is not usually golden.  Rethink if you’re clearly, consistently, and honestly, as well as tactfully communicating.

 

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Filed under Audience, Blog Writing Tips, Capturing Audience, Content Job Boards, Customer Profile, Leadership, Marketing, Project Management, Reputation Management, Resumes, Social Media

How do I Find and Hire a Great Web Writer?

How to Hire a Web WriterHiring a web writer may appear to be simple and straightforward, yet many people continue to make critical mistakes that cost their business both time and money. It requires a well thought out process to ensure you receive the best writing talent and results for your business.

Both online and in your local community, there’s a vast network of freelance writers ready for hire. Whether you’ve successfully navigated this process many times or this is your first attempt, there are some key things you need to know. Here are five steps you should take when hiring your web writer.

1. Make sure you’re ready for a writer

Is your business truly ready for professional writing help? There are a couple key points you should consider before hiring a web writer. Foremost, you should have a strategy for your content and be able to communicate this strategy to your writer. If you’re still in the “idea” phase, your project may not yet be ready for professional writing help. Additionally, you must have the bandwidth to manage writers. It will require your input and direction to make the project successful, so be sure you are ready to dedicate time to your web writer.  If time is sacred, hire a writing agency to oversee your content project. A dedicated content agency will assist you with all of the necessary details to make the content successful – including hiring and overseeing writers and editors.

2. Define your budget

Before you hire a web writer, you should be fully aware of the scope of the project and your budget to pay for it. There’s a broad range of rates for professional writing making it overwhelming to narrow down the best options. Knowing your budget will help guide you toward the writer that is the best fit for you. It will also allow you to fairly negotiate prices so that both parties are comfortable with the work arrangement.

3. Know where to look

When trying to find quality, freelance writers it can be challenging to even know where to begin. You can look at online networks for professional writers. These allow you to post your project and writers will bid for the work.  Sites to find individual writers include Elance, WriterAccess and oDesk.  Also, think local. Ask fellow business owners for word of mouth recommendations for writers or agencies they have already worked with or search the directory within your chamber of business. References and recommendations will give you that extra boost of confidence that you’re working with a respected professional.  If finding, interviewing, and vetting out writers and editors is a step you’d like to avoid, let a writing agency handle those details for you.  Unlike applicant banks, content agencies usually interact with their writers to make sure that the articles you receive meet or exceed industry standards.

4. Keep your expectations in check

Remember that you’re hiring the web writer to create quality content, not to magically triple your sales or to increase your bottom line. While good content can certainly enhance your web presence and marketing efforts, such results should not be expected solely from your web writer. Manage your expectations and place your focus on the scope of the project which you hired the web writer to complete.

5. It takes more than just a great writer

In addition to keeping your expectations in check, be sure to remember that the type of content you receive is also dependent upon how clearly you communicate with your web writer. Be as specific as possible with your needs and provide all the essential information to your writer. Remember, you know your business better than anyone else. For an outsider writer to convey this in their content, they need your insight and expertise. Aim to be a good project manager – just as you would with any other employee – and provide your web writer with the tools they need to succeed.

A web writer can be a valuable asset to your team. Before you hire professional writing help, be sure to consider these five steps to ensure a productive and enjoyable working relationship. ~Stephanie

Share your thoughts! What good or bad experiences have you had with hiring a web writer?

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Job Boards, Leadership, Project Management, Web Writers, Writing Careers

How Do I Become a Writer?

By My Web Writers

Photo by Virginia Hammer

Photo by Virginia Hammer

Ernest Hemingway allegedly quipped, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Writing is a hard, often frustrating processes. Nonetheless, for those with the talent and the desire to write, there isn’t much more rewarding. To become a writer, you’ll need more than talent and practice, you’ll also need to find your niche, join a community of writers, and train yourself in the craft of selling your writing to editors, publishers, and readers.

Finding Your Voice

If you study the lives of great writers, you’ll find that they all practiced their writing. A lot. Work on your writing every day, even if it’s only for a half an hour. As you produce more work, even if it’s not good, you’ll begin to notice the techniques you’re really good at and those that still need more practice. More importantly, you’ll begin to learn what your voice sounds like as a writer.

What type of writer you want to be will determine how you practice your writing. Different types of writing careers demand different conventions and styles. For example, if you want to write essays and articles for magazines, read the best magazines out there (The New Yorker, TIME, or major titles in your fields of interest) and study what makes a great article. Then practice. Do research, conduct interviews, and commit yourself to writing an article a week. That way you’ll train your voice and produce a solid portfolio of pieces to pitch to possible employers and editors.

If you want to write poems, books, or other literature, keep up with new titles and trends in contemporary publishing. Learn what is selling currently and consider how your unique voice fits in or fills a gap. Produce a poem, short story, or chapter a week and continue to revise.

Blogging can function as a way to practice and train these skills, too. Post new work to your blog at least on a weekly basis (the more frequently the better), network with other bloggers, and get feedback on your work. (Check out our tips about making your blog a brand.) Focus your blog on demonstrating your particular genre or style of writing. That way you can both work on your craft and on making a name for yourself.

Writers’ Communities

An essential part of developing a writing career is an active writers’ community. One of your most valuable resources is the feedback of other people. Other writers will be able to give you better insights than someone who isn’t thinking critically about writing (or someone who loves you, like your mom). Search your area for local workshop groups or find an online writing buddy. For those striving for a literary career, one of the best ways to really develop your writing is to enroll in an M.A. or M.F.A program in creative writing. These days many successful journalists also have a Master’s degree. Whether you’re already in school, or thinking about enrollment, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference is an excellent resource. Their annual conference draws thousands of writers from across the country to network, workshop, and have fun.

Find Your Audience: Writing is a Business Too

Though a lot about writing has changed since Hemingway sat down at his typewriter, the basic skills for turning your creative passion into a publication or a career continue to hinge on your ability to sell your writing. Writing is an art, but it’s also a business. In addition to daily practice of your writing, you’ll need to learn how to write a query letter in order to find an agent or a job. If your aim is a literary career, practice writing queries, synopsis, and sample chapters. Hand them out to writers in your workshop group and ask them if they’d buy the project you’re pitching. The Literary Marketplace is your guide to finding agents and places to publish. If your goal is a freelance or marketing career, check out our list of  Job Sites for Copy Writers. In the meantime, keep up with that blog to maintain your online presence.

To become a writer you’ll need to figure out how your voice contributes to the existing marketplace or field. What makes your writing worth reading? Continue to practice what makes your work unique as well as strengthening the areas where your writing is weak. Developing an awareness of what your writing offers is a key way to selling your writing in query letters and manuscripts. ~Kasey

Good luck!

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Filed under Content Job Boards, Editors, Resumes, Time Management, Web Writers, Women Writers, Writing Careers, Writing Contests

Ten Organizations for Women with Careers in Writing

Women in writing

Photo by Ed Yourdon.

By My Web Writers

Historically, writing has been a popular career for women, providing both flexible commitments, creative expression, and financial benefit. Writing, however, can be a hard career to break into and writers often rely on community to help develop their careers and find support. Today, there are plenty of organizations for women with careers in writing. Check out these organizations to find a writing community that fits your field and aspirations.

National Organizations

The International Women’s Writing Guild “is a network for the personal and professional empowerment of women through writing and open to all regardless of portfolio.” Since 1976, the organization has worked to support women’s writing through conferences, connections to journals and agents, and writer’s retreats.

The Contemporary Women’s Writing Association supports both the creative efforts of women writers as well as the academic study of women’s writing. The association publishes a journal featuring articles about women writers since the 1970s and holds an annual conference of women’s writers and academics.

A Room of Her Own, inspired by the pivotal Virginia Woolf book, the organization strives to “ build a community of moral support and practical resources designed to inspire, facilitate, and encourage women writers and artists.” AROHO offers grants and awards for women writers as well as an annual retreat and conference for women writers to network and take a break to revive their creative energy.

Academic Societies

If you’re interested in the study of women writers, there are also many academic organizations that celebrate female authors and artists. You can visit conferences to learn more about the herstory of women’s writing and become involved by writing your own articles for presentation too. The British Women’s Writers Conference focuses on writers from across the pond while the Society for the Study of American Women Writers engages with the writing of women in the States. The conference meets annually, promotes new publications, and is “committed to diversity in the study of American women writers — racial, ethnic, gender, class, sexual orientation, region, and era — as well as of scholars participating in the Society.” Additionally, many other academic conferences have divisions for discussing the writing of women.

Online Communities

There are also many organizations online for women writers to find community and resources for continuing to work on their careers.

She Writes offers webinars, forums, and resources for women writers to network with one another and form writers’ communities to work on their writing and pursue publication. The organization also includes a press to support the self-publication of women writers. She writes is an especially strong platform for women from various careers and levels of achievement to connect with one another, making it a strong tool for networking and self-education.

Women Writers, Women, Books is an online literary journal dedicated to promoting the work of contemporary women writers. In addition to publishing the journal, the site also features new books by women writers and features about how to get published.

Wow! Women on Writing is an e-zine that focuses on writing careers and women writers. The site offers a plethora of articles about writing as well as on-line seminars about different writing careers and techniques.

The Smart Women’s Institute also offers courses on starting a writing career. The organization, touted by Woman Entrepreneur, NPR, CBS, and other national outlets, the site provides free tools, books, and coaching to help women launch successful careers in writing.

Look Locally

Many communities have workshops and associations for writers. Check your area for a writer’s community you could join. You might have a long-standing organization right in your back yard. For example, over the last thirty years, the Madwomen in the Attic workshop series has been providing a forum for women in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to share their writing and get feedback and support from one another. The workshop also provides opportunities for writers to do public readings of their work.

My Web Writers is a woman-owned company that features the work of many female writers. Use your local resources to find out what companies in your area might also promote the work of women in the field of writing.

If you’re a woman writer looking to start or continue to develop a career, you might also be interested in our tips on how to manage your writing career or information on different careers for word lovers. You can turn your hobby into a career while continuing to hone your craft. ~Kasey

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Filed under Conferences, Content Job Boards, Editors, Leadership, Resumes, Women Writers, Writing Careers, Writing Contests

How Do I Make Money Writing Online?

By My Web Writers

MacBook writing courtesy of Håkan Dahlström

In today’s job market, many people look to supplement their income with a second job. Writing online can provide wordsmiths a way to make money doing something they love from the comfort of their own home. Getting started making money writing online can be tricky, but you can do it with some persistence and awareness of the marketplace. First off, you have to be aware that many of the opportunities available are scams. If it seems too easy or too good to be true, it probably is. Even a post I found on LinkedIn lead me to a scam page. Be diligent in looking into the opportunity before you make contact. You’re trying to make money, not get scammed out of it.

Monetize Your Blog

A common way to make money on the internet is to make your blog a profit generator. Monetizing a blog works best if you already have a niche or an audience. (If you don’t, My Web Writers has plenty of tips to increase traffic to your blog.) You can generate revenue through your blog by supporting ads or becoming a member of an affiliate program. Google Affiliate Ads or AdSense are both easy to use ad programs that can generate a small commission for each link or ad clicked on your site. Be sure to check if your blogging platform supports ads, as not all do. An affiliate program such as Amazon Associates allows you to include product ideas in your blog posts or sidebars. You then earn a small commission if a reader buys the product. For example, if you blog about films, you could link to DVDs. A cooking blogger could link readers to the kitchen tools he or she uses. The trick is to make the products fit seamlessly into your posts so that they enhance the content, not dominate it. Often, bloggers are most successful when they are part of a popular blogging genre (mommy blogs, cooking blogs, etc.) or a blogging community such as Blogher. These support systems help you sustain traffic and determine which ads are best for your readers.

Web Content Writing

As SEO demands continue to evolve and influence e-commerce, may companies are hiring web content writers or outsourcing their writing to specialists outside their office—that could be you. According to InkWell Editorial, an experienced copywriter could earn between $30,000 and $50,000 a year. To get to that point you’ll have to build a pretty solid portfolio and client base. First you have to get your foot in the door. Keep track of the changes in SEO and web marketing so that you can use the techniques necessary to do a great job and talk to possible employers intelligently about what you have to offer. You can find web content writing work through credible job searches such as LinkedIn and JobTarget. Again, there are a lot of scam sites out there, so be aware of who you’re working with. Check out our list of credible SEO companies for places to start looking.

Writing web content and doing SEO work is usually on a by-contract basis. That means that your income may vary, as will the workload. These jobs are great for people who can diligently pace their work and self-motivate to meet a deadline, similar to a more traditional freelance job. Though the internet has created a larger variety of freelance writing opportunities, the basics of starting a writing career haven’t really changed. Brush up on writing query letters, update your resume, and prepare to contact many companies before you get a job offer.

E-Book Publishing

Finally, if your passion is writing books, the internet has made self-publishing easier and more cost-effective than ever. Through services such as the Kindle, or even a simple PDF, you can create an e-book and sell your novel, self-help book, or other manuscript online. Many popular blogs, such as Zen Habits,  have gone this route to taking their writing to the next level. ~Kasey

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, Content Job Boards, Web Writers, Women Writers, Writing Careers

How Do You Find Good Content Writers and How Much Do These Writers Cost?

by My Web Writers

Finding knowledgeable writers who are versed in your subject matter, the craft of writing, and search engine optimization is not as simple as it would seem.  Schools produce excellent writers, but many lack foundations in marketing or search engine optimization.  Copy can completely miss the mark when there’s a lack of marketing finesse.  Conversely, salesmen rarely have time to write and might lack spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills. Many writers burn out writing about the same topic over and over again.  So where do you find great writers and how much should you pay them?

Hire Content Production Companies

There are several benefits of working with content production companies.  You’ll often receive quotes in advance for your projects.  You don’t have to waste hours and dollars finding and screening writers.  Content creation companies choose skilled writers and edit their work before sending it to you.  You don’t have to juggle and manage a variety of writers and their idiosyncrasies.  The company makes sure that your project is received on time and without hassles.  Content production companies often cost more, but then the savings in your management time and editing can be well worth what seems like a greater expense.  Content companies usually charge between $50 – $150 per 500-word article (or an average of 25 cents per word).   You’ll find companies that charge as low as 5 cents per word, but often their writers don’t have college educations, content writing experience, or native, English skills.

Find Writers on Social Media

Turn to social media to find excellent writers.  You can perform a Twitter search to find writers in your topic area.  Type in the hash tag #engineering and you’ll eventually find an engineer who might know a colleague who can write.  Place a Facebook ad for writers with an interest in your industry and you’ll soon receive resumes that specifically fit your needs.   There are several hash tags that writers use including #writers. You might find decent writers for $15 – $30 per 500-word article this way, but plan to offer several projects before you understand each writer’s intellectual capacity, writing depth, work ethic, need for editing, and pay requirements.  You’ll also want to make sure that you secure rights to the work each writer produces for you.  Also, use a service like Copyscape, after you receive content, to double-check that it’s all original.

Find Writers at Universities and Community Colleges

Partner with a college internship coordinator to discover budding talent.  You’ll find a variety of writers at universities for the price of your time to train them.  You’ll need to fill out paperwork and meet with the interns to orient them and to provide feedback.  This assumes, of course, that you know something about writing.  If you don’t, you might want to hire an editor to review each intern’s articles.  Working with college students could eventually lead to a well-trained staff of homegrown writers at each semester’s end.

Introduce Yourself to Writer Groups

You can find writers in your community through your local library, church, or even PTA.  Plug in to find the writer who is at home with children, but would like to work part-time.  You’ll find many professionals in these places who appreciate stimulating challenges, but need flexibility.  Writer groups often meet in libraries to discuss the books and articles they are writing.  Some may be willing to take on side projects, too.  Plan to pay wages ranging from $10 – $50 per hour, depending on the complexity of your topic and the writer’s ability.  You’ll also want to clarify in your contract if revisions are included and the maximum amount of hours you’re willing to pay for each project.

Some companies develop lists of part-time writers and ask them to pitch topics or to write their articles in advance for consideration of purchase.  Your top talent won’t have time to waste on these types of activities, so pay fair wages if you need a job done yesterday.

Inquire with SEO Companies about their Content Services

Most SEO companies offer content creation in addition to SEO software, design, or consulting services.  If you need an entire website package in a one-stop shop, working with an SEO company is the way to go.  They’ll manage the writers and the site navigation for you, as well as link-building, and other needs.  Expect to pay $100 – $300 per hour for services with the average 500-word web page billed at 3 hours to write.  SEO companies may seem expensive, but then you’re paying for the search engine optimization expertise that reputable, SEO companies offer.  We recently profiled some of the best SEO companies in the Midwest.

Place an Ad for Writers

You can always place an ad, looking for writers, in your local paper.  There are many online, job sites for copywriters that will bring resumes your way, as well.

Writer Salaries

Since content was declared “king” by Google via the first Panda update February 23, 2011, the need for web writers has dramatically increased.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, the median pay for writers was $55,420 per year or $26.64 per hour.

In 2012, Writers USA 2012 published the results of 371 respondents to a global survey. These readers range from staff writers to documentation specialists to technical writing managers and branch heads.  The results indicate significant jumps in pay.  The median content-oriented salary in 2012 is $78,614 with salaries ranging from $15,000 to $170,000.  These ranges do not include benefits. The overall average hourly wage is $41.

Choose Your Writer

Don’t overlook writing the content yourself.  If you can present a solid draft, an editor should be able to groom the typical 500-word blog post in an hour or less and that could save money.  Then, again, how much is your time worth?  If you have too many plates spinning that only you can spin, then outsource.

If you find skilled writers that you enjoy working with, then keep them and pay them well.  If you don’t want to manage the variance of personalities and skills, hire content companies, advertising firms, or SEO firms to complete your projects.  A good content writer or company can be your best asset.

~Jean

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Job Boards, Project Management, Time Management, Web Writers, Writing Careers

A Quick Look Back on C3NY

By My Web Writers

Conductor Hosts a Search Conference in New York

I wistfully look back on Conductor’s C3NY 2012 conference last week.   Even if you know how to tweet, post, and adjust to Pandas and Penguins you still would have found new insights at this conference.  Put September 17, 18, and 19 on your C3 2013 calendar.

Meet Other SEO Professionals

If you read Search Engine Watch (Jonathan Allen), or are versed in The Art of SEO by Stephan Spencer, you would have enjoyed discussing strategies with them or asking questions with catered responses.

Meet Representatives from Google and Bing

If you work with Google’s and Bing’s webmaster tools, then Duane Forrester‘s suggestion that Google ought to call its next update “the loon” would have given you a chuckle, too.

Putting a face on a name and personality breathes life into those quiet days behind the computer.  Our favorite quote of the conference came from Forrester, “Compelling and unique content still wins the day.”  He suggests that we find our audience’s “hooks” – the ego hook, the humor hook.  Whatever our audience responds to, “amplify it.”

~Jean


Other Posts:

How do I write content based on buyer personas?

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Prioritize Your Social Media Channels

10 Content Tips for ZMOT Experts

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases for E-commerce Content

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Filed under Business Strategy, Conferences, Content Job Boards, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Women Writers, Writing Careers, ZMOT