Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Finding Success as a Web Writer

I was once again visiting a favorite freelance writer's forum yesterday. I noticed a thread where the discussion involved a few writers saying they preferred not to deal with clients directly. These writers explained that they would much rather work with a middle man because it's a much less stressful situation than finding your own clients. I assumed from the discussion they were taking about writing for content providers. Right now there is so much demand for quality content I can't wrap my mind around why anyone would willingly choose to receive less money working through someone else when the opportunity exists to make more.

I've Been There Too
Before I get blasted, I just want to say that I started off my freelancing career writing part-time for a couple of small niche newspapers and magazines. I started writing copy for the web after finding out how much of a demand there was and how quickly writers could get paid. In the beginning, I wrote for a couple of popular content providers serving as the middle man for their clients. These companies supplied a steady stream of work, and the rate was fair. But as my freelance writing wings began spreading, and I started developing my own marketing campaign, I realized that I was paying a price for the leisure of just sitting back waiting for the work to roll in.

I was clearly receiving less money in my pocket. The company was taking a generous cut for finding me all of that work I'm sure – They are running a business after all. I was working one-on-one with a couple of copywriting clients during that time as well. I actually preferred having direct contact with the client. I started wondering, "Why aren't I marketing my services directly and earning more money for my hard work?"

Not Looking for a Fight
I suppose this topic could very easily turn into a debate much like the ongoing discussion among web writers about whether $3 and $5 articles are acceptable; or the debate over whether or not bidding sites are the devil incarnate. But that's not my intent. Honest.

Personally, I don't find marketing my own services directly to clients to be any more stressful than searching for the next content company to work for. I've done both, and the biggest difference to me is that I have more control over negotiating my rate and the terms of service to be provided.

I understand that if you are in a desperate financial situation some money is better than none. And there are some writers who find the idea of marketing intimidating. But if I can do it, so can you. Believe me, it works!

Help is on the Way…
Sometime in the next few weeks I will be sharing some very valuable resources for new and existing web writers looking to get more out of their web writing business. These resources can help you create a step by step plan. I'm currently reviewing one just to be absolutely sure about it before I suggest it to you. The other resource helped me redirect my own web writing efforts. In the mean time, I highly recommend Jennifer Mattern's blog for web writers to find lots of valuable advice. Stay tuned for more details!


Megan said...

Looking forward to it!

Devon Ellington said...

O agree with you one hundred percent. I'm very much against bidding sites in general, because they're not looking for the best writer, they're looking for the lowest bid. I haven't worked for a site provider as middle man because, frankly, I can't see the point.

Ultimately, I prefer to find companies whose mission intrigues me, do my research, and then convince them they can't live without me.

The money tends to be better, the relationships strong, and the work interesting.

The content providers whose ads I've read don't pay enough for what they want, in my opinion. I find it less stressful to get work that interests me and pays better on my own rather than having to worry about getting paid a fair rate by the middle man.

Also, it's like playing telephone -- the more people in the mix, the more likely it is there will be miscommunication.

Kimberly Ben said...

Thanks for stopping by, megan. I really believe these resources can help a lot of writers. I can't wait to share them!

Kimberly Ben said...

You've made some really good points, Devon. Everyone can certainly make their own choice abut it - some may never choose to put forth the effort to find clients on their own. But I just want people to know that they CAN find jobs well paying gigs that are well worth the effort.

Lori said...

Bravo, toots! I'm with you. It takes so little effort to search for more markets. Really. You know what you like to write - why not look in those areas, I say?

I'm looking forward to this series!

Kimberly Ben said...

Thanks, Lori, your comments really do mean a lot. I spent a good part of this past summer after discovering your blog reading it for inspiration to push forward building my own freelance writing business. You talked a lot about the importance of consistently marketing your services and the difference it was making in your work volume and income. You were absolutely right!

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