Want to become a professional writer? These days the online world offers you lots of opportunities, and the more expert you are in targeting those opportunities, the greater your chances of getting hired. Let’s look at four tips which will help you.
1. Rewrite the Ad to Which You’re Responding
If you’ve found a job ad online to which you want to respond, rewrite the ad. Why rewrite the ad? Because then you’ll know exactly what the advertiser wants, and you can tick off the points with which you’ve complied in your application. Editors and other buyers of writing won’t hire a writer who can’t follow instructions.
2. Choose a Specific Market, and Get Hired
The best writing jobs are never advertised, therefore if you want to get higher paying jobs, write proposals. If you’ve written for magazines, you know that you query magazine editors on an article you want to write. Your proposals are similar to query letters. You may be wondering: “What do I propose?”
That’s up to you. For example, consider that these days every website needs content. The web is huge, and growing. The environment is much more competitive than it was even six months ago. Therefore, if you can write an interesting proposal on writing content for a website, the chances are that you’ll get hired.
Many publications and sites need writers, but they’re too busy to advertise, and if you come to them with a fresh voice, you’ll get hired at best, and at worst, you’ll have made a useful contact.
3. Craft a Mission Statement, Brand, and Bio
Creating a mission statement sounds complex, but the statement you’ll create isn’t a jargon-filled, cynical mess of pointless verbiage as most businesses mission statements are. It’s your intention for your professional writing career.
Here’s how to create it. Write down in 250 words exactly what you intend with your writing career. Who do you want to write for? Why do you want to write for them? What skills and abilities do you have? Who can best use these skills and abilities? You create a mission statement so that you can get clear in your own mind on exactly what you offer. I promise you that if you devote half an hour to this it will do amazing things for you, simply because you’ll start targeting the appropriate markets for your writing.
Once you’ve written your mission statement, think about your brand. Do yourself a favor and “brand” your own name. I see many writers who think up cute names for their businesses and then attempt to brand that name. Or even worse, they brand themselves as an “article writer” or a “web writer” or whatever. Over time, the kinds of writing gigs you’ll accept will change. What happens to your “web writer” brand when you no longer do that? Once you’re known in an area, those kinds of jobs keep coming, even when you no longer want them.
Your own name never changes. Therefore brand your own name first, and then worry about creating other branding if and when you need to — most writers will never need to. Once you’ve completed your mission statement, and have considered branding, it’s time to create your bio. Your bio is simply 250 to 500 words about who you are and what you do. You can create a mini bio of around 25 words which you can use as part of your branding.
4. Brand You: Your Website Is Your Sales Person
Your website sells YOU 365 days a year. If you don’t have a site, create one. If you do have a site make sure it contains lots of information. If your site is currently a skimpy brochure-like site, it will be very difficult to get search engine traffic. Therefore, add more content and preferably add a blog as well.