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