Wednesday Writers Wisdom: Content that Sells by Stephanie Ayers
What is Wednesday Writers Wisdom?
I’m glad you asked. I originally started this series to share writing advice with other writers, especially beginning writers. I know when I first started writing again in 2010, I needed a lot of help. So, thus WWW was born. You can expect to find writing advice shared by me, other #ourwriteside authors, and guest authors. Our emails are always available for question suggestions as well. I’d like to start the conversation and answer those questions you must have answers to. After all, this isn’t just OUR Write Side, but it’s Yours, too.
Our Wednesday Writers Wisdom comes to you today from Our Write Side’s CEO, Stephanie Ayers. She started blogging five years ago, found a writing community, and hasn’t looked back since. She sold her first freelance article last year, and discusses what has made her a successful paid content creator.
CONTENT THAT SELLS
I have a bad moniker. I call myself “just a writer,” but I have learned over the summer that I am actually much more than “just a writer.” I am a writer—of content, blogs, fiction, poetry, books, memoir, articles, columns. I am a graphic designer. I am a mother, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a daughter.
I wear far too many hats to be just anything.
In fact, after I had my first book published, a novella called Til Death Do Us Part, I had high hopes that it would bring in a little income. I really needed to learn marketing skills in order to make that happen, but it sent me on a quest to find ways to make a little money doing what I love best: writing.
As many of you know, A.L. Mabry and I have been writing partners for five years now. With much in common, she led me into the world of content writing. She used herself as a guinea pig for trial and error on the legit content mills, got a burned a time or two, then led me to Blogmutt.
Blogmutt is a legit content mill with decent pay, and set new policies this year that helps their writers not only increase their pay, but earn steady customers as well. (Sorry, I had to add a little promotion in there.) They work on levels, which you earn points towards with every post you write, sell, and so forth. You will only be successful with this if the content you write is good.
You may be thinking to yourself, I write on my blog every day. How hard can it be?
For starters, it is more than a blog post. You are writing for someone else so what you say has to meet their requirements, and they aren’t always nice with their comments. There are keywords you have to focus on, without coming across as selling. You have to pen engaging content that sometimes requires hours spent researching you won’t get credit for. It’s learning to self-edit so you don’t get a poor reputation. It can be a lucrative source of income, but only if you are willing to invest the time into it.
Now, we’ve gotten the basics out of the way. Let’s talk about the actual content now. I’ll use my experience writing for a travel blog as an example.
Mr. B added several one time keywords on a regular basis. This means he’s looking for something specific. Sometimes, that can also mean higher pay, so everyone wants to write them. Only one will be selected. For Mr. B, he wanted thorough work and research. He wanted each post to sound exciting, as if you have traveled there and speak from personal experience. He happened to be one of the clients who articulates his specifications so it can be edited to meet his expectations if he likes it enough.
Every day, I found myself researching vacation spots in other countries, dreaming of festivals far away, and yearning to be right there. I knew what he wanted, and I rose to the task. I didn’t just give him a list. I presented the facts of the festival or place, sometimes even listing places to stay within a budget, out of the way places to eat, or fun things to do off the beaten path.
- You can’t just write it. You have to be thorough. Research their competitors. Familiarize yourself with their market.
- You can’t be argumentative.
- You can’t let your personal opinions and beliefs become evident in your piece.
- Thorough research and presentation is the way to go.
- Mind your word count. Say all that needs to be said with as few words as possible. Most content mills want between 250 and 500 word articles.
- Mind your punctuation.
- Use proper grammar
- Site your sources
- Write original content
- Pay attention to the tone the clients use on their blogs. Take time to read through some previous accepted and rejected posts to get the feel for what they expect. This will save you lots of time and frustration in the long run.
- Run your work through an editing program like ProWritingAid before submitting. Share it with an honest friend.
Lastly? Pray. Yeah. I’m kidding, but those waiting days can drag on forever. Celebrate when you sell your first one and every one after that.
Feel free to come back to this post and brag about it.