by Kim Niemi
If you’ve been a working freelance writer for a while, you realize that you need to dip your pen in a lot of inkwells to make ends meet (if that sounds dirty, it’s you, not me). Nowadays, that means more than just being a good writer.
All the regular stuff is still important: grammar, spelling, tone… but the digital age requires writers to also be proficient at a variety of new skills. Let’s break them down one by one.
EDITING/PROOFREADING: These skills have always been important and necessary, but now they are even more so, as many sites that accept outside authors may have a “what you send is what we’ll post” policy, meaning no one on their staff is giving your piece that extra critical eye you might expect. On the one hand, mistakes may be attributed to the site by the general public, but those in the know (i.e., those looking for writers to hire) will put the blame where it belongs, and it might lower you in their esteem.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: Tweets don’t write themselves, kids. And in a lot of cases, even the named person attached to the tweets isn’t writing them. If you’re the one chosen for the job of Tweetmaster General, you’re going to need to understand what content works best – for Twitter, and for all other social network options your client may wish to use. You’ll also need to be able to adapt to varying audiences, as each social network has differing age and gender ranges comprising its members.
SEO & KEYWORDS: If you’re doing any sort of writing online (and if you’re not, then you are a rare and elusive beast akin to the chupacabra or Bigfoot), you probably already know a fair bit about taking search engine optimization into consideration and using keywords in your work. Then again, if you’re just blogging for yourself, you may not have taken the plunge. Dig in and learn, because it’s going to make your writing more visible and more valuable – which will get you hired over anyone else who is stubbornly holding out. Google has an excellent overview here. And we are also happy to help you with the ins and outs.
Of course, none of these skills take the place of writing solid content first and foremost, but adding these skills to your arsenal will certainly make you a more viable option for many looking to hire their next freelancer or ghostwriter.
Need more individualized help? Reach out to us and we can teach you all you need to know.