Simple Ways to Elevate Your Writing Skills

Simple Ways to Elevate Your Writing Skills

You have it in you to be a great writer. You also have it in your to have elevated writing skills. 

 

Sometimes it isn’t easy to realize that, especially when you start doubting your skills.

 

No matter how long you’ve been writing, sometimes, Mrs. Doubt likes to kick in and bring your self-confidence down.

 

Soon you find yourself googling how to improve your writing skills.  Or perhaps you doubt yourself so much you start looking for different job opportunities.

 

As a full-time freelance writer, I’ve had to realize that sometimes you get complacent with your work. Or, since I’m a freelancer, no one is around to say, “Hey girl, you’re killing it!”

 

That leads me into my research journey of how I can help you and me elevate our writing skills.

 

Cause let’s face it, sometimes you need a little boost. Plus, it’s fun to be reminded that you’re doing things RIGHT!

 

Right?

Writing Skills

Remember high school when you were worried about using commas? Did you use enough, are they used correctly, etc.

 

Well, get ready to feel the comma pressure once more. Even though many people have no idea how to use a comma it is wise to have a good basic grasp of English Grammar.

 

Why?

 

Believe it or not, there are readers, writers, and general public folks who know exactly what good grammar looks like.

 

You can practice your skills by checking out a few Grammar books, that spell out the tricky rules for you.

 

I like to use Grammar books every now and again just to reaffirm that I am doing something to write.

 

Some that I suggest are:

 

While I know it may seem daunting to review Grammar lessons, trust me, it makes a world of difference when trying to elevate your writing style.

 

There is nothing wrong with learning new or relearning things. I think it is highly recommended.

 

Even though I thought of myself as a wordsmith, I noticed I needed some help with my wordiness.

 

This is ok when you are working on a work of fiction, but when it comes to “getting to the point,” for say, selling something, wordiness is not the way to go.

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How to Elevate Your Writing Style

1. Write every day

One of the easiest ways to keep creative juices flowing so “writing every day” doesn’t feel so much like a chore is to use writing prompts.

 

Luckily there are many websites and books available to help you with your goals.

 

Some of my favorite books are:

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2. Plan Your Writing

When it comes to putting your ideas down on paper it takes time and requires some kind of planning. Create an outline to help keep your thoughts and ideas organized.

 

For me an outline is daunting but it is also everything. I use my outline to help me make sure that my plot is hashed out and tight.

 

The outline is also useful to show any flaws that may appear in the climax, plot, and character development. (Yes, my planning is very deep).

 

A sample of my outline is as follows:

 

Character: Using a notebook, yes a notebook because hey it gets convoluted and confusing sometimes.

 

And if you have a lot of characters as you see in books such as “Harry Potter” and “Twilight”, having a reference to their backstories is incredibly useful.

 

Write out all the characters you feel should be included in this story, and write one-line descriptions of each character. Then choose the main character.

 

I like to give myself free rein on how I hash out the details. Keeping in mind the who, what, when, why, and how.

 

You could just go for it for hours like I do until I feel empty or you could set a 15-20 minute timer.

 

Of course, you can add any details you like regarding your character, it is after all your book!

 

Example: In my WWII novel my main character is Sophie.

  • Role in Story:
  • Goal:
  • Physical Description:
  • Occupation:
  • Habits/mannerisms
  • Background: (examples birth date, age, family history, and much more.
  • Internal/external conflicts

 

 

 

For the actual story outline I include the following:

 

Setting

Situation: This is the What and the why of your story.

Beginning-Using the main character because it shows immediately what the story is about, and shows the world of the main character.

Try to highlight how the character lives and their personality traits. What are the character’s dreams, and goals?

What inciting event will forever change the Main Character.

Middle-  Trap your main character into a situation outside of their control. Force the Main characters’ goals far out of their reach. Give them new goals, what struggles and complications are coming to them?

What causes the main character to take charge and rush towards their goal?

In my WIP my main character doesn’t want anything to do with the Nazis or the Resistance. She thinks she can stay neutral.

However, she soon finds herself in a situation where she has to choose, either be a sympathizer or join the Resistance. 

It is when she witnesses the treatment of abandoned children and starving men and women that she decides to work with the resistance until she can run away to her family estate where she can be out of the politics/drama of the occupation. 

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Ending- Allow the main character’s insight to understand themselves, particularly their flaws.

 

The main character needs to see how they can become better in order to defeat the antagonist.

 

The character must overcome their mental and internal struggles before they can find the strength to defeat outside forces.

 

The character is beaten down, almost losing until the last transformation, where the main character bounces back and becomes the hero.

 

Force them to respond in unique ways. Finally, allow the character to reach their goal.

 

Maybe that goal has changed, or perhaps it has just expanded.

 

Maybe the goal turned out to be better than they imagined, or worse if you’re clever.

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Words to help Elevate Your Writing

Reading is a great way to build your vocabulary and introduce you to new ways to use words.

 

When you’re not writing you should be reading!

I know, where can you find the time to do all of this!

I find keeping a schedule helps out.

 

I know that I work best in the morning, mainly because my husband and children are still asleep. So I try to do my most tedious work before they get up.

 

When it comes to reading material you could stick to reading books that you find interesting and want to write.

 

For me, at the moment, I am reading a lot of period drama books and history books.

 

Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you read fiction, non-fiction or whatever, just as long as you read.

 

I personally feel reading helps keep my ideas fresh at the same time keeps me motivated.

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Final Thoughts

When it comes to elevating your writing style or keeping it fresh, remember to do what works for you. 

 

Keeping my writing fresh begins with reminding myself why I fell in love with writing in the first place. 

 

I love reading, and so I use my love for reading to help elevate my writing style while exposing me to different writing styles. 

 

 

I love a good planning sheet; I keep my novel background/outlines/character sheets in a binder for quick reference because it helps keep me focused. 

 

 

Writing takes a lot of energy and time, but it also takes creativity, and while sometimes creativity can dull, your heart and love for the craft are not. 

Now get to writing! 

4 Unknown Ways to Create a Writing Sample (from scratch)

4 Unknown Ways to Create a Writing Sample (from scratch)

Everyone needs a writing sample, and yet you don’t have one that is worthy or you don’t know where you should advertise your articles. 

Or maybe you need a writing sample but you have no clue where to start?  

Oh yes, we have all been there. 

Each writer, and by each I am clearly referring to myself, has thought that writing is an art that needs to be showcased through a grand opening.

You know very much like a red carpet event. 

I’m going to agree and disagree with myself. 

Yes, of course, your writing needs to be on display for the world to enjoy, and of course, I like to think of my writing as a Monet.

But regardless of how I feel about my work, it needs to demonstrate what I am capable of, and what might help me get that client. 

 

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Speaking of writing samples there are several places where you can display the work that doesn’t involve you having your own website, though eventually, you should have an author/writer website.

Having your very own online portfolio is everything. And super easy to share when you are sending out pitches or needing to send out samples that you are incredibly proud of.

And what is easier than having a link, full of your best work, to share?

When I began pitching, I was nervous because I didn’t have a portfolio.  I did however have a blog, and those articles were my portfolio.

Until I felt I had enough to share on a website, this website,  I began providing the link to my portfolio.

I’m so glad too, because giving one link, as opposed to several links (3), is way easier.

Traditional Writing Samples

Traditionally you can do a lot of things to get yourself some “published” writing samples but not all of them will bring the right kind of traffic or even provide you with what you are looking for.

Your “traditional” writing samples need to attract potential clients or where your potential clients like to visit.

For example: If you like to write about marketing, traditional business matters etc. you would want to pitch to a site such as Divvy.HQ.

Writing a Guest Post

There are a number of blogs out there that need writers, all you have to do is pitch.

An added benefit is traffic guest posts on high-traffic blogs that will be for free, you will be exposed to established blog clients you’ll be given a chance to demonstrate what you can do

And how well you can follow directions.

DivvyHQ for example likes to have their blog post formatted a certain way, complying with that is a great skill you should practice.

 

Example of how DivvyHQ requires guest post articles:

Post Headline/Title: Should be <h1> catchy, includes primary keywords

Opening paragraph(s)-open up with a story, or identify a question or problem you’re trying to solve. Readers should understand the “who”, “what”, and “why” after reading the introduction. 

Bolded sub-header (Main Point #1) should be <h2> Summarize your first main point, include key phrases, back up the main point with supporting points, either with bullets or a list. 

Bolded sub-header (Main Point #2) should be <h2> summarize your second main point. Possible to include lists, easy to read step-by step.

Bolded sub-header (Main Point #3) should be <h2> summarized the third main point using supportive research

Closing Paragraph should be<h2> wrap up the post summarizing what you covered

Call to action: provide clear directions as to what the reader should do next. 

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Simple Ways to Elevate your Writing 

Create your own blog

I know a lot of writers who would shake their heads at me or point a finger. Once upon a time, yes it is true many writers didn’t like the idea of blogging.

If fact there was once a time when blogging was considered a silly pastime, but hey times have changed. 

Now you can discover blogs that not only provide you with interesting insight into topics, but advice and much more. 

Blogging has become the “youtube” for struggling writing artists to get their work out there. 

A blog can be used to get you in front of your ideal audience and show them what you can do. 

Depending on what you are specializing in, your blog posts could discuss the process of how to launch, what to do if you are stuck, and much more. Think of it as a user’s guidebook. 

I am not sure why, I guess it was beneath them? I get it, blogging a few years ago was a bit laughable.

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Nontraditional Writing Samples

LinkedIn

Another way to create content for your portfolio is to start posting on LinkedIn.

This platform is meant for professionals to network, and what better way to reach the clients on your dream list than to directly reach them through social media.

Personally, I’ve gotten several jobs through LinkedIn, and the best part is they came to me! 

What could be better than that?

 

Medium.com

 Medium.com is a great place not only for you to showcase yourself in a different way but it is also a great place to find inspiration. 

Working/posting on Medium.com is free, but the best part is you are putting yourself in front of the audience. 

So there is no excuse as to why you’re not online, and you don’t have a blog! 

Easy to use, hardly any setup at all if you’re unable to put a theme on to WordPress this is ideal for you. 

 

Problogger

On this platform you can get great insights as to what the industry is looking for, you can also find a job listing for bloggers looking for guest writers. 

Working and writing on Problogger is a great way to not only practice your pitches but to also show case your writing skills. 

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Regularly Contribute as a Guest Blogger

 

If you have an amazing relationship with a blogger pitch to them about being a regular contributor. Demonstrate your value and how you can help them out with their content

. Not only will you have regular writing samples available for you to use, but you’ll be helping your blogger friend with their workload.

I work with several bloggers on a regular basis, and each one has taught me some valuable lessons. Trick and tips I would have never thought about.

Here is an example: white space is your friend.

Sounds silly but readers love white space.

 

Create PDFs of your amazing Writing Samples

 

What better way to “publish” your work than with a PDF? 

Easily attach what you have worked so hard on to your emails, allowing a potential client to see what you can do. 

Why a PDF? 

So they can not edit the document! And you can control the security and who gets to read it.

Plus it is easier for someone who doesn’t use your version of Word or has the same operating system as you.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Bottomline your need writing samples to “market” yourself to potential clients. The problem may be that you don’t have the funds for a blog or a website of your own.

Fear not, that is totally ok because you can create a writing portfolio in other creative ways.

Using these and other innovative ways to create your writing samples will not only teach you new skills about creating binge-worthy reading, but it will also provide you with the chance to work with different people on different topics.

So, now that you have a few ideas get to writing!

How to Successfully Pitch as a Freelance Writer

How to Successfully Pitch as a Freelance Writer

In my previous post, where I talked about my Marketing Planning packetUltimate Freelance Kit I shared my painful story of being pushed out of my job.

But what did I do afterward?

Well, I did a lot of thinking. I even made a pros and cons list.

One thing stood out above all else.

Writing. 

I always wanted to be a writer but was too afraid to put myself out there. I blogged for a long time, but I never really “marketed” myself or the blog.

At the time I was living in Paris, you know, the 2nd most expensive city in the WORLD.

Oh, and my husband was still living in the States.

Needless to say, I was feeling the pressure.

 

 

christina q writes

Naturally, I gravitated toward writing. I have been working on a historical fiction novel for a while now, so why not do this for a living?

I mean, writing has ONLY been a passion of mine for like ever!

But first, I had to figure out what I wanted to write about. I mean, I would love to write nonstop about things I LIKE, but really, how much can I make off of that?

The first thing I had to do was think about what I would write about.

 

Niche or Specialty?

 

I don’t like choosing a niche, so I decided to “specialize” in many subjects or niches. I had many jobs before finishing college with my degree, so I have “expertise” in many areas.

I tried freelance writing job boards for a while, you know, where you “bid” on jobs, and the client chooses the one that “fits them.”

But unfortunately, I discovered that most of the jobs were given to those with higher ratings, making it almost impossible for a noob like myself to get noticed.

 It wasn’t until I attended a freelance writing course that I realized that I needed to try cold pitching.

christina q writes

Did your heart just jump into your throat? Or perhaps you busted out in a cold sweat?

I know I did when began pitching for the first time.

Of course, before I set out to write the perfect pitch I had to do some research.

I  read a lot of blog posts on how to cold pitch, and even as a writer I figured what’s the big deal this isn’t hard.

 

So, I tried it.

 

I started by collecting websites and names of people I wanted to work with. I put together a rather snazzy-looking spreadsheet and noted important things such as if they had updated their blogs or if they even had a blog.

 

A lot of my pitches were ignored. So of course, I had to figure out what the problem was.

Problem-solving is one of my skills.

 

 

 

 

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Sending a pitch to a potential client and being successful isn’t easy. But it is possible, and I am here to tell you that you can be successful!

Why pitch?

You have spent money on advertising; you are plowing through blog posts for others and yourself. You are making a name for yourself.

But….

You haven’t gotten that one client. You know the one. The big fish.

Why?

You haven’t, or you have sent a pitch, but it was not successful.

Throughout your freelance career, this is going to happen.

Sometimes you get a response and sometimes you’re ignored but that is ok.

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Craft an email!

A writer will send their ideas or pitch to an editor or business owner a brief description of an article idea.

What usually happens is the editor will respond to the article pitch, informing the writer if they are interested.

Sometimes, your email will fall on deaf ears, but that is not a reason to quit.

 

Why do you need to pitch anyway?

Pitching is how you look for work! Being able to craft a well-executed pitch in an email is how you are going to get that job, if you cannot find that magic pitch, then you may not get as many writing jobs as you would like.

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Tips for creating a pitch that is successful

As a freelance writer, you are looking for a job constantly. Your hustle is getting attention! Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your pitch is successful.

To the point and brief

Editors are busy, and they don’t want to spend all their time sifting through long emails. Get right to the point of your pitch/idea. Include your topic in the subject line and keep your idea short.

Grab the editor’s attention

As a writer you should always aim to get your readers’ attention! If your hook is interesting, causes curiosity or makes them say I want more!  then the audience will be curious as well.

For example: Pitch: My Dog isn’t as glorious as Pitch: How My Dog Healed my Anxiety

Be careful with how you target your pitch

Research. Research. Research. Look over your potential clients’ previous articles, and business. Learn as much as you can at how they present themselves. Know their audience.

As you create your pitch be sure to keep their audience and style in mind. Oh, and try to make sure they haven’t published the same article, and if they have, give a fresh perspective on the subject.

 

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Be an Expert!

Research. Research. Research. I cannot stress that enough. You will not be a pro at everything you write about but hey fake it tell you make it. Learn as much as you can about the topic/genre of the work you are pitching. The best stories you can pitch often involve a personal experience and specific knowledge, remember the experience and knowledge can be learned and experienced.

For example, I’ve never done radio, but I listen to it. The more I can learn about it the more I can be an expert on the subject and use my experience in learning about radio to engage my audience.

Put your writing skills on display.

Make sure you proofread/edit your pitches. Your pitch is the FIRST impression you are giving to the editor. Your writing style is what could separate you from another pitch. So keep it clear, focused, and interesting. Do not forget to add links to previous works you have had published or work you have done on other blog posts.

Always network

When creating your pitch and crafting the perfect email be sure to be respectful. Use real words not slang or abbreviations. You’re not texting your discussing a prospect with a future employer.

Use the editor’s name, make sure you research on who you need to contact. Even if your pitch isn’t accepted, build a relationship by being polite in any follow-ups and be graceful when rejected. Don’t let it ruin your day! BTW pitching for magazines is difficult, so keep trying!

Follow up

As mentioned before editors get a ton of emails and things do get lost or forgotten. So have that follow up email ready to go. Just as with your pitch, be respectful when asking if they have reviewed your pitch. If you still don’t get a response, try placing a phone call but be aware that many editors choose email as their primary communication.

If you still do not get a reply, just know they passed on your pitch and move on.

 

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Create a Template

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to come up with something to say. Sometimes coming up with something to say to a stranger is even harder.

When you have a template, you are able to keep your emails organized and ready when you need them.

Pitching to clients does take time, with all the research and brainstorming so having a template will help you save time.

 

Here are examples:

 

For a company that doesn’t update their blog regularly

 

Subject: Content at (company name)

Hello, (Company name)

 

I am reaching out to see if you are in need of some content for your blog. I know how time-consuming blogs can be, which is why I offer blog management plackets in addition to one time blog posts.

 

Regardless of you weekly content needs or quick monthly updates, I can work with you to find a solution that works for your company and budget.

 

A little about me; My name is (Your Name). Describe your experience, Example “I’m a freelance B2B copywriter with over seven years of experience. I have been writing copy, articles, and blogs for B2B industries for three years. My clients include midsize to large companies. You can read a few of my articles that I am most proud of here:

List three articles you want them to check out.

 

Additionally, I write email newsletters, web pages, product descriptions, whitepapers, or any other content you need.

 

I am more than happy to discuss my experience and how I can be of help to your company.

 

Best.

(Your Name)

christina q writes

 

For a publication

Subject Line: Freelance Pitch: (Catchy Article Headline)

 

Hello (name of editor)

 

(Catchy interesting/lead sentence or hook of your story) ie: College leads to job security, but what about vocational schools? Which one should you attend?

 

1-2 paragraphs that provide supporting facts about the idea.

 

Provide a proposed headline and sum up what the article would tell readers. Ie: In my proposed article, ‘Which is worth the money, college, or vocational school?’ readers would learn how to best use their money for their career choice, as well as if a higher education is worth the trouble.

writing service, freelance business

Additional details on what the article would provide the readers and possible interviews.

 

Information that shows knowledge of the publication

 

Describe why readers would want to read this topic at this time.

 

Short bio: I’m a French-based freelance writer and creator of women freelance launches. My work has appeared in Redbook, Forbes, and other publications. (If you have something to mention. -you could also include your website portfolio link)

 

Thanks so much for considering my pitch, (Editor’s Name)! I look forward to working with you and providing quality content for (Name of Publication).

Best,

(Your Name)

 

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Keep track of who you’re pitching!

You will want to create a spreadsheet or some kind of document that you can use to track your pitches.

Why?

In order for you to follow up on your pitches you need to know how long ago you pitched.

Keeping track of your pitches will keep you on top of following up with potential clients.

Also, use the spreadsheet to make notes, and keep other important information that could help you in the future with that editor/business owner.

Final Thoughts:

 

Crafting the perfect pitch doesn’t have to be complicated to be successful.

Freelance writing in any niche or genre is all about pitching and having a few templates to help you craft those emails is super important.

Your pitches will be successful if you do your research, make sure your pitches are reflective of your “perfect” writing style, are well crafted, and be ready to learn.

Be flexible when you hear nothing or if you are rejected. Learn from that, and learn what times are best to send your pitches.

I learned the best time to send cold pitches is during working hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Having said that I live in France, and therefor I deal with a large time difference.

I mainly send my pitches at times that work for me. If I am not buried in work, I will schedule pitches to go out during the “peak” times.

Now get to pitching and for templates get our Freelance Pitch Pack

How to Create the Perfect Portfolio Without Experience

How to Create the Perfect Portfolio Without Experience

So you think you’re a writer do ya? 

Do you have samples? 

Can I look at them? 

As a  writer, you are super excited about beginning, and I’m not going to lie, starting is intense. Think of it as though you’re learning how to ride a bike without training wheels for the first time.

At least, that is how I felt.

But as you approach potential clients you realize you don’t have a portfolio to share and demonstrate your skills.

Wait!

Let me explain.

First of all, you need a portfolio that looks professional and demonstrates your skills, but more importantly demonstrates you know what you’re doing.

You can create a portfolio without experience, and it’s super easy.

As I began to create my first few pitches, I used blog posts from my former blog “Thoughts From a French Girl”, in addition to those I created posts on Medium.com as another platform to share.

I found this was enough to get me a few guest postings, and even a couple of paid projects.

But there was something else I discovered.

SEO Content

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Aside from creating content in the form of articles and blog posts you can create something called Spec Ads.

 

What are spec ads?

Spec ads are faux ads for you to use to demonstrate your skill. They are a cost-efficient, and simple solution to pad your portfolio and add more depth to your samples.

Research the internet for sample advertisements that you want to recreate.

Some examples include; emails, newsletters, banner ads, press releases, and much more. 

 

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As you create your spec ad, remember to treat the project as though it were a real paying project.

Depending on the type of project you want to work on, you may need to include a designer.

Why?

If you try to do the design yourself it could come out looking as though an amateur completed it, and you want to put your BEST work on your portfolio.

Plus this is a great time to get used to working with designers.

Draft a creative brief and use that brief to help guide your project for you and your designer. (should you use one).

Should you choose to use a designer for a specific project you can find a freelance designer on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. 

 

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Wait, what is a creative brief?

 

A creative brief is almost like an outline that helps you understand what the client needs help with and what is the focus of the project.

Using a Creative brief is important for any project because it helps to keep you aware of the problem you are trying to solve for the client.

Not sure about your writing? Feel as though you may need a boost? Be sure to read How to Elevate your writing before working on your next creative brief.

But more about that in a minute.

 

Regardless of the type of spec ad you decide to create for your portfolio, treat the project as a real project.

 

Begin your research with a real company.  Check out their website or magazine ads and make sure to examine their voice and copy style.

 

 

Get a feel for the brand.

 

 

Using your creative brief, I will provide you with a template below, answer the questions and get as much information as you can.

 

If this were a real client, you want to appear professional, so ask as much as you can about the company, so you don’t have to constantly ask for follow-ups.

 

 

The creative brief is your best friend.

 

 

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Some things to remember to include in your spec ad.

 

1. Treat the project as though it is real-do your research 

2. Set a deadline for when the project should be completed, keep track of your time that way you have a good sense of how long it takes to complete specific projects. 

3. What problem are you trying to solve for this brand with this ad or content? How have you solved it? Provided the reader with value? 

4. What words describe this brand’s voice? Can the same words be used to describe the voice in your writing? 

5. Who is the target audience? What is their need/challenge/pain? 

6. Have you clearly conveyed the benefit of the product/service to the target audience? 

7. Can you include more emotion in the content? Ad? 

 

8. Keep in mind that every project is solving a problem for the client. Did you help them with that? (example: get more followers, inform clients of sales, get more sign ups, etc)

9. The first part of your copy or content should be a description of the target audience’s needs. Provide a short recap of that problem

10. Present your solution immediately no hiding it.  The solution you provide should solve the challenge. 

 

Spec Ad Example-Email

Subject Line:    Here’s $40 on US

Snippet:
Tell us all about your favorite fragrance. Take our short survey and get a $40 credit.

Headline:
Get $40 to tell us about your favorite fragrance

Subhead
Welcome Back! We have two quick questions for you.

Body
Would you please fill out our petite short survey? It will only take two minutes of your time, bring you tons of good energy-oh, and a $40 credit towards your next purchase.

CTA
(take the Survey)

Creative Briefs

A creative brief is where you gather information about the company and what its focus is for the project.

With every project, it is a good idea to create a creative brief. Use the brief as your guide to keep focused,  understand deeper the voice and tone of the brand, and determine who the target audience is.

 

The way you complete the creative brief can be done either during a meeting or have the client begin the process prior to the meeting.

 

Below is a sample outline of a Creative Brief that you can use, should you like to purchase a customizable creative brief, get one in our Christina Q Resource Shop.

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Creative Brief Template

Below I’m including basic questions you should have in your creative brief, but don’t be afraid to add something else as you need.

 

 

               Project title                                  Creative Review date

Today’s date                                  Launch Date

 

Objectives:

Who are you communicating with? Is this the contact person? What is their contact information? What do you know about them?

 

What is the ONE main thing we want our audience to do?

 

What is the benefit for the audience if they do this? (What are they getting out of this?)

 

What other actions would you like the audience to take?

 

What are the business’s goals for this project? What are the measurements? Example: more views or get more sign ups

 

 

What is the tone of this project? (Circle the tone that applies)

Serious

Lighthearted

Fun

Practical

Serious

Friendly

 

Business-like

Excited

Promotional

Straightforward

Educational

Sincere

Other

 

 

What are the deliverables?

Email

Landing page

Site page

Confirmation page

Banner ad

Newsletter

Other :

 

 

(Optional) what size do you need?

 

Do you want to test versions? How many times would you like to test?

 

Are there any elements that are necessary, mandatory, or required?

 

Have you done anything similar before? What was the outcome? (If possible, include screenshots)

 

Who are your competitors?

 

Have they done anything similar? What was their results? (If possible include screenshots)

 

Anything else you feel needs to be included for this project?

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Content writing for your portfolio

Another way to add your portfolio is to provide content in different forms on many platforms.

 

I’m talking about social media, blog posts, etc. You could even write a script for a video or podcast.

 

Include something like this on your website portfolio (that is based on a subject close to your niche)

If you don’t have writing samples to show off, don’t fret. Read about creating writing samples from scratch to help you get started.

 

Difference between copy and content

Copy persuades an audience, but content provides entertainment via stories, information, guides, and inspiration.

The backbone essentially is to make a connection with the audience and get them to take action.

Content adds value to the company site and further benefits the consumer.

 

If the content on the business’s site is useful and enjoyable, the client will return, especially if they find it useful/helpful but also fun to read.

 

This, in turn, will convert the reader into a subscriber and follower, which will then allow the company to be “marketed” organically through its followers.

 

When you create your spec content, you want to make sure that, fake or not, you create meaningful information that improves the readers’ life, not the company.

 

Tip:

Use a test audience, discover their likes, needs and wants, challenges, and how you can help them.

 

Decide if the audience wants to be inspired? Educated? Entertained?

Final Thoughts

Whether you are just beginning your freelance writing career, or you’ve been doing it for a while now, a portfolio is how you get your foot in the door.

 

The portfolio is your resume!

 

Use the spec ads and spec content to create a professional-looking online portfolio that you can be proud of and also attract potential clients.

 

If you’re not sure if the content you created is up to snuff, ask for feedback from communities on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn in exchange for feedback.

 

So, don’t be afraid or think you have no samples to show off, because you do.

Now get to writing!

 

Are You Charging What You’re Worth?

Are You Charging What You’re Worth?

Charging for your services doesn’t have to be complicated until you run into a client.

You should charge what you are worth, and you are worth a lot.

As you meet a new client and they provide you with the details of their content needs, you complete what we call a New Client Intake questionnaire.  

Template coming soon!

 This worksheet helps give you an idea of what is needed and how much you should charge.

Regardless of what the client believes, writing worthy content takes time, research, and writing.

Don’t be like some clients and undervalue yourself or your writing. Charge what you are worth.

writing services

Standard Market Value:

An easy way to see what the market value is of freelance writing you should do a little research on websites such as the Editorial Freelancer’s Association.

You should think about your experience, what you can offer and what you think people will pay.

Now is a great time to check what your competition is charging.

According to the Editorial Freelancer’s Association, an average “non specified” writer charges anywhere from $0.20 to $2.00 a word per writing assignment.

Those with more experience charge more.

If you did a little math, you would see the “average writer” would make ($2.00 X 800 words) $200.

At first glance, $200 is a good start for 800 words.

Please take a minute to think about this; let’s dig deep.

 

 

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What you do as you write for a client:

research, become an expert in what you are writing (learning as you’re going), edit, proofread format, etc.

On average most freelance writers will charge anywhere from $500-$800 per blog post.

 

Why?

 Because of what I just mentioned, you have to understand what is involved in a blog post BEFORE you tell them your fees.

This way, you are getting paid what you are worth.

Charging or lowballing is a knee-jerk reaction, but you’ll underpay yourself.

$200 does sound great, but it is not paying you what you’re worth when you think about the work put into the project. 

One issue with clients is they believe you’re a writer there, for you can write on a whim.

That isn’t true, and a blog post, although simple, does take longer than five minutes.

Especially when you want fantastic content.  

Create Your Fee Schedule

Take your time and decide what your freelance writing is worth and what you are worth.

As a newbie who is just starting, consider that.

You will need to charge a bit less due to your experience but not that much.

 

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For instance, you would not charge $800 right away as a starting price for a blog post.

Who are you?

Think about charging anywhere from $350-600 per blog post.

But remember to think about the scope of work; use your questionnaire or creative brief to help you determine how much of your time you need to put into the job before you shout out a price.

marketing services

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Don’t create prices as you go

Everyone is guilty of this, and it is easy to do so; no judgment here. You don’t want to be caught off guard if someone approaches you regarding your services.

 

Choose how much you believe you should charge for your services based on how much time, research, and work you need to put into each content creation.

 

From there, determine your experience.

 

Do this all before you sign on a client. Sit down and work through the fair rates not only for you but also for the client.

Write them down, and create a document with what you offer your service.

Such as blog post: $500

  • Research
  • Formatting
  • Outlining/writing
  • Proofreading/editing

 

Related: Should you know about S.M.A.R.T Goals? (+Free Worksheet!)

 

Break down your rates and projects by task.

One thing that helped me determine the rates I wanted to charge was how much my competition was charging.

Again, I took how much experience I have, which is a lot to me but not so much to others.

I have been writing all my life, blogging for about seven years, etc.

I do not charge by the hour or by word. I charge by the amount of work involved.

I have a range of rates, as with a blog post, from $300-$700, depending on the complexity of the topic.

I found this critical when providing estimates to clients, which has served me well.

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Be firm with your Rates!

Clients will try to get you to lower your rates, but you should stand firm.

Yes, you risk losing your client, but in the long run, think about what it is worth to you.

If you get the job and have to do more work than it is worth, what did that do for you?

The amount of work and effort you put into your job, which is a lot of hard work, should be rewarded.

As a business owner:

  • You set the rates
  • You set the operational hours
  • You decide the tools and the software you want to use
  • You decide who you want to work with

 

As with any other business, unless it is a car lot, you cannot walk in and begin negotiating prices.  It is not for the client to tell you how much you should charge.

Again, clients think all you have to do is write a few sentences in a couple of hours, and then you’re done. Easy…..right….

 

Related: In-demand Freelance Skills

copywriting services

Your services are up to you, as are your rates. The services you provide to your client can be proved when they receive good turnaround (ROI) in increased traffic, Better conversions, and great content.

 

Setting a rate isn’t just putting a price on your writing skills, time, and experience. You are an expert, a writer, and the whole package.

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