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By Michelena Howl 

The key to success depends on these dos and don’ts.

A blank email canvas can be an exciting project, but also potentially an intimidating place to start. Your resources to conceptualize, strategize, write, design and deliver your campaigns can greatly impact your ability to succeed efficiently and understand the effectiveness of your program.

But email messaging is an important tactic to get right, given the impact it has on building customer relationships. According to our 2023 Consumer Trends Index, email remains the No. 1 format for driving sales, with 52% of consumers reporting making a purchase directly from an email. What’s more, email outperformed banner ads and SMS by 108%. With that said, email is a proven channel that shouldn’t be overlooked in any effective relationship marketing campaign.

So, it’s important to dig into email stats beyond campaign performance to see which subject lines, email copy, design and CTAs performed well … and understand why. There are a few key strategies every smart marketer should employ, based on the psychology behind what grabs readers’ attention — and the factors leading up to it.

Here are the dos and don’ts of email design and copywriting:

Do — Make branding a priority

It’s easy to overlook one of the most critical elements of design — your branding. Whether you’re a startup, a small business or a rapidly growing company, brand consistency is vital. If you don’t yet have formal brand guidelines, including key branding areas like colours, fonts, logos and tone-of-voice aligned with your brand, it’s time to make some.

Aligning and maintaining brand consistency in your email strategy alongside other media channels is important for readers to be able to easily identify your brand at first glance.

Don’t — Forget about good copywriting

Some people will try to tell you no one reads anymore, and with poorly written copy, that could be the case. The best marketing campaigns have clear and concise copy that grabs the attention of the reader and ignites a desire to take the action you have framed up.

If you fall into copywriting pitfalls like using passive voice in place of active, or compounding wordy sentences, you can create a disconnect between what you’re talking about and what you’re offering. Focus on the problem you’re solving for your audience and maintain your brand tone of voice in email marketing.

Do — Leverage psychology to influence action

Our subconscious mind is deeply involved in information processing and affects everything we think, say and do. Tapping into the subconscious mind with your email and marketing campaigns can have a big impact on your conversion rates.

Leveraging psychology to increase conversions and nudge your audience in a specific direction can pay off in a big way. A few impactful examples are:

  • Fear of missing out: Including offers that expire can motivate someone to do something immediately. For example, saying something like, “You only have 30 days!” makes the reader feel like they might miss out. However, communicating the same 30-day deadline as “You still have 30 days,” makes the expiration date seem further away.
  • Colour theory: The right colour contrast plays an important role in attracting attention — as long as it maintains readability. Make sure the colours in your email campaigns reflect your brand and drive urgency, but consider the accessibility of different colour combinations when making choices.
  • Emotional imagery: Select pictures that tell a story. Imagery helps crystalize concepts for customers. Email banners, icons and product images can positively reinforce your stories and break up blocks of text.

Don’t — Bury the lede

When you bury the lede, or, the most newsworthy part of the story, your reader misses critical information. As a result, they can easily lose interest completely. If you have something important to say or an action you want someone to take, don’t leave it for the end of your email.

Surface the most important information at the beginning of your email. Echo it in the subject line, the heading and introductory text. This doesn’t mean you need to build a big CTA button underneath your first sentence, however. Find a way to strike a nice balance between calling out the most important information, in a reasonable and appealing way for your readers.

Do — Use email templates to your advantage

The layout of your email should be easy on the eyes and optimized for desktops, mobile phones and tablets — which can be easier said than done if you’re a small team with limited resources.

A great first step is creating a set of email templates specific to your brand. These templates should be designed with the conversion you want to happen in mind. Sometimes the simplest design can be the most impactful. A one-or-two-column email that contains a branded graphic, copy sections that break up the content and a clear CTA button typically render well on any device.

Do — Practice dynamic personalization

Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen an email personalization go wrong. Maybe it was the classic personalization tag error where the intended first name displays as “{first name}” or a beautifully tailored email offer sent to the completely wrong person.

When incorrect, personalization can have the opposite effect of what you intended. A good email marketing platform will enable you to extend personalization beyond the typical mail merge fields we all grew to love 15 years ago. Dynamic personalization allows you to use data and insights to send the right message to the right person at the right time.

Don’t — Use typography the wrong way

There is an actual art and science to typography. Good typography enhances the experience, draws attention to the information you want to highlight and entices the consumer to learn more. Bad typography gives people headaches.

You don’t need to be a trained graphic designer to apply some typography strategies to your email designs. Make sure you stick with your brand fonts. A good rule of thumb is two, maybe three, fonts per email, in a font size that follows accessibility guidelines.

The best email marketing campaigns communicate offers clearly, with a consistent brand look and feel, and a snappy call to action draws readers in. As marketers, we want to make sure our outreach is accessible, relevant and created efficiently. Employing these key strategies will ensure your email marketing campaigns help convert readers to customers and will help you better understand the right levers to pull, and when.

By Michelena Howl 

Sourced from Entrepreneur

By Buster Benson

Changes are coming in August to the way we pay writers for great stories and which countries we support. Here’s what’s happening, why, and what it means for you.

Medium is committed to remaining an open platform where anyone and everyone can read and write stories in a beautiful, ad-free interface. Since 2017, we’ve had a revenue share in place — the Medium Partner Program — that allows writers to earn money for their stories. Now, we’re making changes to our Partner Program to take a stronger stance on distributing and rewarding the stories we feel most proud of bringing to our members.

Over the last few years, our members have told us in no uncertain terms that they are tired of clickbait and content mills, want ‘get rich quick’ siloed into a constrained area, don’t want stories that are generated by AI, and, in particular, want to read human stories that deliver actual human wisdom. The rest of the Internet is filled with cheap, attention grabbing content. We are most proud Medium can deliver our members something different. One of the keys to doing that is how we incentivize and reward the authors here.

We’ve also heard from many authors that they don’t like how the Internet incentivizes quantity over quality. They are tired of the creator treadmill. The changes to our incentives below are big, and we hope that they give authors an alternative to the opportunities they get on the rest of the Internet. Tell your story rather than churn out content. Take the time to go deeper, research longer, edit more. We will always be shifting our payment and distribution incentives for this type of writing.

This post is long, so it needs a table of contents

  • Why are we making changes to the Partner Program?
  • What are the changes? When will they happen?
  • Why all this talk about quality?
  • How exactly will my story earnings change?
  • Why are we sunsetting referral bonuses?
  • Takeaways

Why are we making changes to the Partner Program?

Let’s start by clarifying the purpose of the Partner Program:

  • We want to incentivize more original, high-quality personal stories, hidden life wisdom, and deep knowledge that’s locked up in our collective lives. This is ultimately what members tell us they have come to Medium to read about.
  • We don’t want to incentivize attention-grabbing clickbait, formulaic derivative or AI-generated writing, misinformation, hate, and other forms of polarizing negativity.

We want the incentives of the Partner Program to encourage writers to take that extra bit of time to weave more meaning into their stories, to tune those words, to land that ending, to ultimately make the story better for readers.

Here’s the main message: writing fewer stories with more heart and soul poured into them will perform significantly better than the strategy that tends to work on more attention-grabbing platforms (writing lots of stories that are cranked out based on formulas). Great writing is meant to do a lot more than merely grab attention.

What are the changes? When will they happen?

The following changes will roll out August 1, 2023, and the first pay-out reflecting the new changes will be at the beginning of September.

  • We’re opening up the Partner Program to 9 more countries, with more to come. We want to be as open as possible because everyone has a story to tell. Expanding to more countries has been, by far, the biggest requested change to the Partner Program and we’re very excited to finally be doing this. As of today, we currently support applicants in 33 countries. On August 1st, we are hoping expand the Partner Program to accept applications for these additional 9 countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malta, and the United Arab Emirates. In the coming months, we plan to open up to another 50 or so. (Oct 5 update: Support for additional countries has been delayed. Details here.)
  • We’re removing the 100 follower requirement. We initially instituted the 100 follower requirement as part of an effort to ensure member-only stories were written by writers that had some track record of writing to engaged audiences. We feel the changes we’re making today will do a much better job of that, without creating an artificial barrier that writers have to cross first.
  • Medium membership will now be a prerequisite for joining the Medium Partner Program. We believe it’s in everyone’s best interest when our writers participate in the member community they’re contributing stories to. The best way to get a feel for the kinds of stories that resonate with members is by being a member. In addition, this requirement creates a barrier for spam and AI-generated activities. Note: existing Partner Program writers will not be required to become members at this time, but if we do add this requirement at some future date, we’ll announce this intention with a generous grace period beforehand.
  • Earnings will be based on more meaningful metrics. We’re keeping member read/listening time in the calculation for earnings (which is the primary signal used in the Partner Program today) AND we’re now going to start including more engagement signals as well: claps, highlights, replies, and follows. For the purposes of earnings, only the first clap/highlight/reply/follow will be counted, and subsequent engagements by the same person won’t increase earnings. Our goal here is to get closer to identifying story quality by looking beyond its ability to grab attention. Sparking a discussion or inspiring highlights and claps are signs that it resonated with the reader in a deeper way. In the other direction, bouncing from a story before reading it for 30 seconds will prevent earnings from accruing from that member. We will also be taking measures to proactively identify and prevent fraud and attempts at gaming this system.
  • Getting Boosted results in both a distribution and earnings bonus. We are committed to incentivizing meaningful, original, constructive stories based on personal experience. Any story is eligible for Boost, regardless of number of followers, name recognition, topic category, or any other heuristic. You don’t have to be a Medium member or be enrolled in the Partner Program to get Boosted. However, when you are in the Partner Program, members-only stories that get Boosted will earn at a higher rate, in addition to receiving the usual distribution bonus. Read more about our Boost criteria here.
  • We’re discouraging clickbait by adjusting earnings based on read ratio. We use read ratio as a measure of how well a story delivers on the expectations of the reader. Going forward, reads and read ratio will be calculated differently than they have in the past. From now on, we will define it as people who read your story for 30 seconds or more divided by total views. You will most likely see your stories have higher read ratios after this update. High read ratios imply that the story’s title and preview accurately represented the content of the story. Low read ratios imply that the title and preview were perhaps a bit clickbaity. A story that gets 100 reads in a day with a 80% read ratio will earn more than a story that has 100 reads and a 20% read ratio, even though they had the same number of reads. We’ve tested the impact of this change on short-form writing (poems, comics, etc) to see if this 30-second constraint would negatively impact them, and the answer is that it doesn’t. If anything, the collective impact of these changes will increase earnings for short-form writing. The best way to maximize earnings here is to use titles, subtitles, and preview images that spark reader interest in a way that the story is able to fully deliver on.
  • Reads and engagements from followers will earn more. We believe that when authors feel connected to their readers, and vice versa, authors weave more nuance and care into a story, which sparks better discussions in the replies, and that all of this ultimately leads to deeper understanding and expression. To that end, we’re giving stories that are read by existing followers an extra bonus in earnings. We recently also added a distribution boost to stories from people you follow, to increase the chances that your stories will be seen by people who follow you.
  • We’re sunsetting the referral bonus program. The follower bonus described above will be replacing the referral bonus program. Over the last couple years we found that this program ended up degrading the reading experience and ultimately didn’t provide enough benefit to authors. More details on this change below.

Why all this talk about quality?

With the Boost Nomination Pilot, an increasingly diverse network of humans is nominating stories in their areas of expertise based on simple, and evolving, distribution guidelines oriented around quality. This Partner Program update builds on top of that by making each engagement on boosted stories earn more as well.

While it may seem like common sense to incentivize the good stuff — well-crafted, original, memorable, nuanced, deep storytelling, and knowledge-sharing — in this intentional way, in practice it’s not as simple as it seems. Many content platforms these days are incentivized to grab as many clicks, eyeballs, and moments of attention as they can. But grabbed attention is not a proxy for “the good stuff.”

Valuing grabbed attention makes sense when you’re in the business of selling as much attention as you can to advertisers. It’s not uncommon to hear this justified as: “It’s what the people want! Just look at the data!” However, we believe that’s a naïve and short-sighted perspective. Content platforms make thousands of decisions about what the algorithms are maximized for. But blaming an algorithm doesn’t absolve platforms from the consequences that this approach has had on the quality of our attention and, honestly, on our collective mental health over time. Our members have told us this in many ways: by email, in comments, in surveys, and in the way they vote with their dollars.

When we decided to double down on prioritizing quality above all else it became obvious to us that we need to supplement our algorithm with the discernment and nuance of human curation. Quality is subjective and context-dependent, and requires a deep reading of each specific story. At the same time, we’re also aware that curators often have very narrow, and highly personal, definitions of quality. Scaling curation comes with constraints and costs, and it’s easy to end up relying on a small number of taste-makers and gate-keepers to be the sole arbiters of what counts as “good”. This also isn’t ideal… because bias. To incentivize quality curation at scale the way we’d like to, we need a diverse representation of curators with different kinds of relevant experience.

For all these reasons, our Boost Nomination Pilot is made entirely of people in the Medium community, and is designed to reward topical specialization. We can’t get around bias in any one curator, but by having a wide variety and diversity of curators in every different topic area, we can get closer to representing a broad swath of different perspectives. This approach to curation and recommendations is unique on the Internet. Even in its earliest incarnation, it’s clear that our new approach is successfully delivering stories to our members in a way that they are appreciating, and is generating new opportunities for authors.

How exactly will my story earnings change?

There are four factors that go into earnings in the new system:

  1. Engagement points: This is calculated based on read/listening time, the number of people who clapped, highlighted, and replied to your story, as well as the number of people who followed you for the first time after reading your story.
  2. Follower bonus: A multiplier on top of the engagement points when the member reading your story currently follows you or the publication this story is published in.
  3. Boost bonus: A multiplier of engagement points when the story is Boosted.
  4. Read ratio adjustment: The % of people who read your story for 30 seconds or more on the given day will adjust the value of all the points earned either up or down.

Here’s the logic for calculating daily story earnings:

(Engagement points + Follower bonus + Boost bonus) x Read-through rate adjustment

In order to help illustrate exactly how earnings are calculated for each of those factors, we’ve published a new page in the Help Centre that will walk through, step-by-step, how earnings accrue. Read all about it here.

We’ve modelled this new approach to payment calculation across past months. Looking at earnings in June across all authors, the distribution of earnings across authors will not be changing significantly, even though the kinds of stories that earn the most will change significantly. If we look at all authors earning $10 or more, about 65% earned between $10 and $100, 29% earned between $100-$1000, and 6% earned over $1000. When the new Partner Program logic goes into effect, these breakdowns will remain pretty stable, moving only a percent or so in any given bucket.

Applying the new Partner Program logic to the month of June, some of the top earning stories would have been:

Of course, these three examples don’t paint the entire picture of how the new incentives work. But hopefully these examples give you concrete stories to think about.

The average read ratio for stories (using the new read ratio logic described above) is around 70%. Anything at or above 75% is exceptional — this is the average read ratio for the top 100 earnings stories. As a rule of thumb, stories with a read ratio below 65% might want to consider a new title, subtitle, or primary image in order to improve earnings.

We’ve been speaking with a set of writers about these changes over the last few months and showing them how their earnings would change under this new model. One of those writers,

Zulie Rane, had this to share, which encapsulates many of the ways we hope this new model encourages writers to do their best and most fulfilling work:

“I’m excited to be monetarily incentivized to write the kinds of stories that I want to write, that are interesting and fun for my existing audience. It looks like that means that my more crowd-pleasing, ‘viral’ ones will earn less, but those were never my favourite stories to write.”

Another writer,

Christopher Robin, had this to say:

“It’s encouraging that the new program emphasizes meaningful, quality stories many of us enjoy reading and writing. Embracing the humanity of writing and our unique perspectives can keep us connected in a world that seems more fractured all the time. Boosted stories will earn more, but so will non-Boosted stories that garner plenty of meaningful engagement.”

Why are we sunsetting referral bonuses?

We’re ending the referral bonus program and replacing it (in spirit) with the new follower bonus, outlined above. The primary reason for this change is simple: it didn’t work the way we’d anticipated (as a way of drawing new readers to Medium), and it made writing and reading on Medium harder, not easier. At the end of the day, very few people actually became members through these links. So we are repurposing that budget to incentivize authors to write for their followers.

All member referrals made up until September 1st, 2023 will continue to be honoured indefinitely. We will keep your custom referral pages up so that they don’t break your links in stories, but we will stop generating new referrals for members who sign up after September 1st.

Now that all story pages have the Author bio right after the story’s content, we recommend that you put any calls to action in there (links to your off-Medium properties, social profiles, etc), and that you remove the referral links from your stories sometime after September 1st.

Takeaways

We’re committed to being more transparent about the thinking that goes into designing the Partner Program, and listening to you about where we can continue to improve. Here are the main takeaways:

  • Stories that get Boosted based on these distribution standards — being original, constructive, memorable stories based on personal experience — will earn significantly more. The best way to guarantee that your earnings are strong is to spend more time on each story, even if it means posting less often.
  • Earnings will be higher for stories that are Boosted, read by your readers that follow you, and that have an above average read ratio. All stories will also earn more based on more explicit signals like claps, highlights, and replies.
  • The new application flow and eligibility criteria will launch on August 1st. If you’re already in the program, you won’t have to do anything new to stay in the program. If you are eligible and would like to apply to the Partner Program today, you can begin that process from here.
  • The new pay-out logic will also launch on August 1st, along with an updated Story Stats page that will help you break down your earnings on stories.
  • The first pay-out that uses the new logic will be at the beginning of September.
  • Referral bonuses will be honoured for all members referred prior to September 1st. No new referrals will be counted after that.

All of these changes will go into effect on August 1, 2023. They’re in service of encouraging more people to write around the world, and making Medium the best place for high-quality writing that deepens people’s understanding of the world. We will continue to iterate on this based on your feedback. Please share your thoughts and questions in the replies!

By Buster Benson

Sourced from Medium

By Dinistan Ajay

Do you want to make money blogging? Let’s get into it.

Here are the seven best ways.

So, the first idea is to

Put ads on your blog.

If you’re getting a lot of traffic to your site, there are pages that could earn a significant income from strategically placing ads on them. You could use a service like Ezoic, Mediavine, or Google AdSense.

This is the most passive way to earn income from your blog. If you build up traffic and keep it steady, you can earn thousands of dollars every month from ads alone.

The second idea is to

Sell a service.

First, you want to define your offer — what it is you can help people with and what people are willing to pay for. Then, spend some time creating content around your expertise. For example, if you’re a highly skilled divorce attorney with thousands of hours of experience, you can write about your personal experiences working with clients and how you’ve helped them.

By doing keyword research and writing about topics people are searching for, you’ll start to build an audience and become an authority on the topic. From there, you can offer your services and build up a client base purely from blog traffic. This can work in just about any field you have experience with.

The third idea, in my opinion, is the best way to monetize your blog

Affiliate marketing.

When done right, your income grows the more time you put in. Affiliate marketing is all around you, but you might not be aware of it. Let’s take TVs as an example. People often look up TV reviews and comparisons before making a purchase.

Review sites like ratings.com, TechRadar, and Tom’s Guide include links to each TV, and every link makes money whenever someone clicks through and makes a purchase.

Affiliate marketing has tremendous earning potential. Just look at NerdWallet, for example. Their main revenue source is affiliate marketing, and they made $379 million last year.

It’s the best way to build passive income in 2023.

The fourth way to make money blogging is by

Doing sponsored product reviews.

When you build up a sizable audience and get a decent amount of traffic, you become attractive to potential sponsors. Reach out to companies whose products align with your blog’s niche and share your traffic stats with them. Offer them the opportunity to be featured prominently in your content for a set monthly fee. Most companies will want that top spot because it generates the most visibility and influences purchase decisions.

Here is to go where the money is.

People often think of blogs as hobbies or online journals, but those people aren’t really making any money. If you want to turn your blog into a real source of income, think in terms of niches that make the most money. Avoid oversaturated niches or subjects that are not easy to monetize.

The most popular topics that make money include health, wealth, personal development, and dating. Create content around those topics and monetize them through services, digital products, physical products, and affiliate marketing.

Build an email list

Marketers often say that money is on the list, referring to an email list. To make money from blogging, you need to build a relationship with your readers.

Encourage visitors to sign up for your email list by providing multiple calls to action on your website. Building an email list ensures you always have a direct connection to your audience, allowing you to market to them whenever you have promotions or want to share new content.

Another way to monetize your blog is by

writing on Medium and earning money.

Medium is a popular online platform where you can publish your articles and reach a wide audience. It offers a Partner Program that allows writers to earn money based on the engagement their articles receive. When you join the program, your articles can be eligible for earnings based on member reading time and engagement, which includes claps and responses.

Writing on Medium provides an opportunity to showcase your expertise, connect with a community of readers, and earn income through your published content. Consider exploring Medium as a platform to expand your blogging endeavours and generate additional revenue.

By combining these strategies or selecting the ones that align best with your blog’s niche and target audience, you can create a diversified income stream and maximize your earning potential.

Remember, success in monetizing your blog requires dedication, consistency, and a commitment to providing valuable content that resonates with your readers. With determination and the implementation of these methods, you can transform your blog into a profitable venture and achieve financial success in the world of blogging.

Feature Image Credit: Photo by Rahabi Khan on Unsplash

By Dinistan Ajay

Sourced from Medium

By Jeff Bullas

How much content are we creating and publishing? Facebook users post 1.7 million pieces of content in 60 seconds, Instagram users share 95 million photos in 24 hours and Youtubers upload 720,000 hours of video.

That’s a lot of noise!

Why headlines matter

Because there is so much noise (content), capturing attention and holding reader engagement is a tough gig. And the importance of a great headline to capture eyeballs and clicks is more important than ever.

In a world of AI-driven content generation, the attention bar is going to get higher and harder and the content creation growth will be exponential.

Why are headlines important?

It’s simple.

The job of the headline is to get people to read the first line. The job of the second line is to get people to read the third line. And so on.

It’s all about holding engagement to realize the goals of the content and article.

The other reasons a headline is vital include the following:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Educating
  • To convert attention into a lead (a name and email address)
  • Or it could be to create trust and credibility
  • To start the journey to sell a product or a service
  • Or maybe just to entertain

Attention first and everything flows from that.

Next, you need to understand the power of using human emotions. Tap into the latest neuroscience and the psychology behind the art and science of headline writing.

Understanding the psychology of headlines

There are many emotions you need to use and experiment with when writing great headlines. Also, you need to understand that it is an imperfect science and you will need to have some fun and test and experiment.

As a writer, it is always satisfying to see the headline you write go viral. It is almost addictive and can lead to an almost obsessive attention-seeking behaviour.

Writing a great headline often involves tapping into fundamental emotional triggers that resonate with readers.

These triggers can spark curiosity, evoke emotions, and drive engagement.

7 key emotional triggers

Writing a great headline involves tapping into the following fundamental emotional triggers that resonate with readers:

  1. Curiosity: Curiosity is a powerful emotion that compels readers to click and learn more. Headlines that pose intriguing questions, tease a surprising revelation or offer a hint of the unknown can trigger curiosity and entice readers to engage further.
  2. Fear or Concern: Headlines that address readers’ fears or concerns can grab attention by tapping into their emotions. Highlighting potential risks, warning of common mistakes, or offering solutions to pressing problems can elicit a sense of urgency and prompt readers to seek answers.
  3. Desire for Improvement: People are constantly seeking ways to improve their lives, whether it’s achieving success, personal growth, or better relationships. Headlines that promise solutions, tips, or strategies for self-improvement appeal to the desire for progress and can attract readers who are actively seeking ways to enhance their lives.
  4. Emotional Appeal: Emotional triggers such as joy, awe, inspiration, or empathy can be highly effective in engaging readers. Headlines that evoke strong emotions by sharing heart-warming stories, inspirational achievements, or relatable experiences have a greater chance of capturing attention and resonating with readers on an emotional level.
  5. Exclusivity and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): People have a natural inclination to be a part of exclusive or limited opportunities. Headlines that convey a sense of exclusivity, scarcity, or urgency can generate interest and create a fear of missing out. This trigger prompts readers to take action to avoid feeling left out.
  6. Surprise or Shock: Headlines that promise unexpected or shocking information have the potential to capture attention. By defying expectations or challenging common beliefs, these headlines pique curiosity and compel readers to explore further.
  7. Social Validation: Humans are social beings who seek validation and affirmation from others. Headlines that leverage social proof, testimonials, or expert endorsements can attract attention by tapping into readers’ desire for validation and credibility.

It’s important to use emotional triggers ethically and responsibly, ensuring that the content aligns with the promise made in the headline. Balancing emotional appeal with authenticity and value is key to creating compelling headlines that resonate with readers.

Crafting attention-grabbing headlines

So how do you start crafting these attention-grabbing headlines?

Well, we have already listed 7 emotional triggers. Now you need to find some words to help you create a strong hook to grab attention.

The words you need to have on your list for inspiration are called “Power Words”. You tap the emotional evoking powers that they elicit to get that initial attention.

What are “Power Words”?

In writing, the term “Power words” refers to words and phrases that carry strong emotional, persuasive, or attention-grabbing impact. These are words that evoke specific emotions, create vivid imagery, or convey a sense of urgency or importance.

Power words are carefully chosen to elicit a desired response from the reader and make the writing more compelling and engaging.

Here are 10 Power words to get you inspired:  

  1. Exclusive
  2. Sensational
  3. Revealing
  4. Proven
  5. Unveiled
  6. Unforgettable
  7. Ultimate
  8. Essential
  9. Surprising
  10. Revolutionary

Resources:

The importance of SEO in headline writing

We all love an instant hit of pleasure, and when headlines go viral that drives a ton of traffic in a short time.

But that is a short game.

If you can write an irresistible headline that is also optimized for search engines you can get traffic for years.

That’s the patience of a long game.

So…if you were wanting to follow just the logical and data-driven science of search engine optimization so that Google can find a keyword – then your headline could be very boring and lacking emotional triggers.

What is also needed is some spice to add to the science. That’s emotion.

What is the role of search engine optimization (SEO) in headline visibility?

To kick this off the answer is simple. You include the keyword in the headline and then wrap it in emotional triggers that tap human emotional drives, wants, and fears.

Let’s say we want to use the key search engine phrase “email marketing software” in a headline that still ticks the SEO technical requirements.

Here are some headlines that you could use that use emotion and the key phrase.

  • Unlock Success with Powerful Email Marketing Software Solutions
  • The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Software
  • The 10 Best Email Marketing Software Solutions to Boost Your Lead Generation

When conducting a search on Google the #1 ranked piece of content that came up in the first position was “The 6 Best Email Marketing Software of 2023

Something to keep in mind is that as well as being emotional Google does like “recency” and including an up-to-date piece of content is also a good SEO tactic that caters to Google’s algorithms.

How do you perform keyword research for headline optimization?

There are a few ways and it could be as simple as using ChatGPT to give you a good start and if you want to get more technical then platforms like SEMRush and AhRefs are two great tools that you could use.

What are some successful headline formulas that professionals use?

Headlines are one of the easiest marketing tactics to test. Over the decades they have been used in direct marketing, email marketing, viral headlines, YouTube videos, and on social media.

10 top headline formulas for your toolbox

  1. How-to Headline:
    • “How to [Achieve Desired Outcome] in [Specific Timeframe/Steps]”
  2. Listicle Headline:
    • “X [Benefit/Tip/Idea] to [Achieve Desired Outcome]”
  3. Question Headline:
    • “Are You [Desirable Outcome]? Here’s What You Need to Know”
  4. Problem-Solution Headline:
    • “Struggling with [Problem]? Discover the [Solution/Method] that Works”
  5. Secret/Revelation Headline:
    • “The Secret to [Desirable Outcome]: [Reveal/Discover] the [Method/Strategy]”
  6. Comparison Headline:
    • “[Option A] vs. [Option B]: Which is the Best for [Specific Outcome]?”
  7. Testimonial Headline:
    • “[Person/Brand] Shares How [Product/Service/Method] Transformed Their [Outcome]”
  8. Controversial Headline:
    • “The Shocking Truth About [Topic/Issue] Revealed”
  9. Curiosity Headline:
    • “Discover the [Number] Secrets to [Achieve Desired Outcome]”
  10. Command Headline:
    • “[Action Verb] Your Way to [Desirable Outcome]”

Examples of successful headlines and their underlying formulas

Case Study: “How I Made $100,000 in One Month: A Step-by-Step Guide”

Formula: It is a How-to Headline + Achievement + Specific Timeframe/Steps

Nothing like a headline combines the curiosity factor of a significant financial accomplishment (“$100,000”) with the promise of a detailed guide.

It appeals to readers looking for a specific outcome (“making money”) and provides a clear structure by offering a step-by-step approach.

Case Study: 20 Secrets to Living a Happier Life

Formula: Listicle Headline + Benefit/Idea + Desired Outcome

The power of a numbered list (“20 Secrets”) is always a link clicker.

It promises a positive emotional outcome (“happier life”) and taps into the desire for self-improvement. The headline format offers a clear structure and signals easy-to-digest content.

Case Study: “6 Weight Loss Myths — and What Really Works to Drop Pounds

Formula: Controversial Headline + Topic/Issue + Revealing/Debunking

Grabbing attention by challenging common beliefs (“The Truth About Weight Loss”) is a headline that should be used often.

It appeals to readers interested in weight loss and offers a promise of debunking myths. By creating controversy around a popular topic, this headline generates curiosity and prompts readers to engage.

Case Study: “How New Balance Drove 200% More Sales at Half the Cost Using Unbounce

Formula: Case Study/Testimonial Headline + Achievement + Product/Method

Leveraging the power of social proof and success by showcasing a specific achievement is a headline winner that taps emotional triggers.

It incorporates a real-life example to inspire readers and positions the featured product/method as the solution to achieving similar results.

Case Study: “The Surprising Link Between Sleep And Mental Health

Formula: Curiosity Headline + Surprising Link/Connection + Benefit/Outcome

This headline piques curiosity by highlighting a surprising connection between two seemingly unrelated topics (“Sleep and Productivity”). It suggests a valuable insight that can potentially improve readers’ lives and offers a compelling reason to explore further.

These case studies demonstrate how different headline formulas can be applied effectively to grab attention, generate curiosity, and provide value to the target audience.

Remember to adapt these formulas to your specific content and audience, and always ensure the headline accurately represents the underlying content.

Headlines for different media and content types

In the world before online video (pre-YouTube) and images (pre-Instagram) all we had to worry about was writing headlines for articles. Now we need to create headlines for different media.

This includes books, blog posts, and social media.

Here are five examples of potential great headlines for different types of content:

  1. Book Headline: “Unleashing the Power Within: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Personal Transformation”. This headline evokes curiosity and promises a transformative experience, enticing readers to explore the book’s contents.
  2. Blog Post Headline: “10 Proven Strategies to Boost Your Productivity and Conquer Your To-Do List”. This headline offers a clear benefit to the reader by promising practical strategies to enhance productivity, making it highly clickable.
  3. Social Media Content Headline: “Discover the Secrets of Mindful Living: Embrace Balance and Find Inner Peace” This headline appeals to the desire for personal growth and introduces the concept of mindfulness, generating interest and engagement on social media platforms.
  4. YouTube Video Headline: “Epic Travel Adventure: Exploring the Hidden Gems of [Destination]” This headline sparks excitement and curiosity, promising viewers an extraordinary travel experience while highlighting the specific destination.
  5. Another YouTube Video Headline: “Master the Art of Photography: Essential Tips for Capturing Breath-taking Moments” This headline offers valuable expertise and promises to enhance viewers’ photography skills, making it appealing to photography enthusiasts.

Remember, great headlines are tailored to the target audience, highlight a benefit or promise, and evoke emotions or curiosity.

Headline toolbox

ChatGPT uses Artificial intelligence and it is a good tool for writing headlines but it tends to be a bit too formulaic and predictable. It can be used but use it mainly for inspiration rather than as your “go-to” tool.

So…when I started writing headlines I kept a range of headline tools and resources at my fingertips to inspire me and sharpen my skills. It might seem overwhelming at first, but as you practice and learn they will start to become part of your writing fabric and skillset.

7 tools and resources for your headline toolbox

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer: This tool analyses your headline and provides feedback on its quality, word balance, length, and emotional appeal. It offers suggestions for improvement.

Portent’s Content Idea Generator: Generate some catchy and creative headline ideas based on a keyword or topic. It helps spark inspiration and offers unique headline suggestions.

BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo allows you to research popular headlines in your niche or industry. By analysing the most shared content, you can gain insights into headline trends and find inspiration for your own headlines.

Headline Smasher: Headline Smasher generates variations of your original headline, providing different phrasings and word choices to enhance its impact and effectiveness.

Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer: This tool evaluates your headline’s emotional appeal and rates it based on the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score. It helps gauge how likely your headline is to resonate with readers on an emotional level.

HubSpot Blog Topic Generator: While primarily focused on generating blog post ideas, this tool can also provide headline suggestions. Just input a few relevant keywords, and it will generate topic ideas and headline prompts.

Copyblogger’s Magnetic Headlines: This resource provides a comprehensive guide to headline writing. It covers various headline formulas, techniques, and examples to help you craft compelling headlines.

Remember to use these tools and resources as aids in your headline creation process, but also rely on your own creativity and understanding of your target audience to develop unique and engaging headlines.

Action steps

Headlines are your biggest source of attention whether you are posting on social media, creating Youtube videos, launching a book, or trying to get some leads and build your email list.

Use the headline formulas, take some of the examples, and have some fun experimenting and testing headlines.

So, keep creating, publishing, and sharing your headlines. But most importantly, have some fun!

By Jeff Bullas

He is the owner of jeffbullas.com. Forbes calls him a top influencer of Chief Marketing Officers and the world’s top social marketing talent. Entrepreneur lists him among 50 online marketing influencers to watch. Inc.com has him on the list of 20 digital marketing experts to follow on Twitter. Oanalytica named him #1 Global Content Marketing Influencer. BizHUMM ranks him as the world’s #1 business blogger.

By Ashley Simpson

Do you have a knack for writing that you want to harness into a really cool business model that earns substantial cash? A newsletter side hustle might be just the thing to put those writing skills to the test and move beyond basic email marketing.

You can encourage subscribers and scale your income off of minimal time invested.

If you have been thinking about what you could do to earn a little (or a lot of) extra cash, here is what you need to know about this growing trend and business model.

Let’s dive right in!

Why Do You Need to Start a Newsletter Side Hustle?

Before we can get into the nuts and bolts of starting a newsletter side hustle, let’s take a quick minute to define what the business model is. A paid newsletter is one where you create exclusive content for your audience in exchange for a monthly subscription fee.

You only need to write the newsletter once, but you can send it to an infinite number of your subscribers.

Paid newsletters don’t require you to run paid ads within the content, though this can improve your overall income even further. Unlike social media and other forms of advertising, you have complete control over what you write about and how many people see it.

So why start a newsletter side hustle?

The easy answer here is that you invest a certain number of hours in creating content on a weekly or monthly basis. No matter how many subscribers you have, you spend the same time investment. It makes for some seriously scalable income that will line your pockets – if you’re able to create content that people care enough about.

Tips for Creating Paid Newsletters

With that out of the way, it’s time to turn our attention to how you can create a paid newsletter in just a few simple steps.

1. Define Your Niche

Similar to starting a blog or a personal website, you need to know what you want to write about. You should pick a niche that you know a lot about or covers something you are passionate about.

For some people, this might be personal finance, while for others, it could be writing tips or productivity hacks.

If you need a little help finding your niche, it is very similar to finding a topic you are excited about when it comes to blogging. See our full guide on how to find a blog niche here.

2. Creating Exclusive Content for Paid Subscribers

With some email marketing, you might send out reminder emails each time you post a new blog article. While this type of marketing is important, you need something exclusive for an audience that is paying to hear from you.

Your target audience wants relevant content, and they want it for a reasonable fee.

What kind of content could you put together for premium subscribers?

Take a look at some of the possibilities found here:

  • Interviews with industry experts or exclusive podcast content
  • Worksheets, habit trackers, and other tools to help them grow
  • Video updates about a project that you’re working on
  • Access to a private Discord server or Slack channel
  • Ask me anything sessions
  • Events just for subscribers
  • Early access to new product sales

3. Setting a Schedule and Expectations

One of the first things you’ll need to do to make more money with your newsletter side hustle is to determine your schedule. How often will you release new content to your audience, and when can they expect it?

When someone is paying for access to you, they want to know what they can reasonably expect to get in exchange.

You should know how often you’ll send out a new edition, what day you’ll send it out, and even what time your audience can expect to receive it. Many people will wait anxiously by their email inbox, waiting for your deliverable. Make sure you don’t disappoint them by missing a promised arrival.

4. Create a Simple Landing Page

Landing pages are important for finding an audience for your paid newsletter and connecting with your target audience. This is where people will find you, and it isn’t as simple as just setting up a YouTube channel.

You’ll need to write persuasive copy that tells people exactly why they want to subscribe to your newsletter. Why should they trust you, and what will they actually receive?

This is also a great place to display reviews and testimonials from your existing audience. Any form of social proof that you can offer puts you one step closer to cashing in on the free money that your audience will give you in exchange for your written content.

As a bonus, you might take out paid ads to direct people to this page. It gets you more eyeballs on your paid content and makes you more visible in the search engines. It may not be as great as finding free subscribers, but it’s a great way to jumpstart your newsletter.

5. Focus on Building Your Email Marketing List

When it comes to a paid newsletter, some people might want a taste of what they’ll be getting before they part with their credit card information. Your email marketing list is a great way to reach more people and start to earn more money.

If you can build your email marketing list, you will have a captive audience already warmed up to you, your brand, and what you have to offer. They are one step closer to actually paying for your exclusive newsletter subscriptions.

6. Tracking Metrics for Success

It isn’t enough to simply send out an email marketing blast and hope people will sign up for your latest big business idea. You also have to keep tabs on the performance metrics of your newsletter.

Here are just a few of the things that you will want to track:

  • Conversions from your landing page to subscribers
  • Growth of your email subscribers list
  • Delivery rates
  • Return on investment
  • Referral traffic

Pricing Your Newsletter Side Hustle Properly

If you want to earn a source of recurring revenue by producing high-quality content, you need to ensure that you are pricing it appropriately. It sounds like a simple idea, but you need to be mindful of how you price your paid newsletter.

How much are people willing to spend on this type of content that isn’t available any other way?

First, you need to consider how long it takes you to create content and how often you will release it. A newsletter that only comes out once a month will go for a lower rate than one sent out twice weekly.

In other words, you need to know how often email subscribers are expecting to hear from you.

Second, you should factor in the costs associated with reaching your target audience. That might mean paid ads and the cost of your platform. It also means creating a living wage for yourself and the time you invested.

According to Convertkit, the average price of a paid newsletter is $11 a month. You may want to keep that in mind as you think about your pricing.

Why You Should Have a Free Version Too

Of course, not everyone is going to spring for the paid version of your newsletter right away. You should also put out a free version that gives people a taste of what you have to offer. This warms them up to your style and content.

If creating two different newsletters is too much work for you, you can also provide your audience with free content via a YouTube channel or a blog.

Once they get a glimpse at how beneficial your content is, they are more likely to part with their money for your paid subscription. Provide as much value as you can with a newsletter idea, and you’re more likely to see your email marketing pay off in the form of subscribers.

The question is: how do you make money with a free newsletter?

How to Generate Revenue with a Free Option

If you’re going to send out a newsletter, you should make sure that there is an opportunity for you to earn free money. This can happen in a couple of different ways: affiliate marketing and sponsored content.

Affiliate Marketing for Free Newsletters

Affiliate marketing is a legit way to promote goods and services for another brand. For example, let’s say that you run a personal finance newsletter. You might refer people to a high-yield savings account. The bank might then give you a small sum for each customer that opens an account.

You can do this with just about any item on the market.

Even Amazon has an affiliate program that allows you to tap into their massive storefront and earn real money for items you sell to your audience. Tap into their purchase history to see what types of items are more likely to go over well with your customers.

Sponsored content is another way to make money with your email marketing. Building relationships with other brands will open the door to sponsored content. You can send a few emails with designated sections about services that your audience needs: checking accounts, savings accounts, and investment opportunities (in keeping with our personal finance example).

Partner with brands offering these items and other stuff your audience truly wants or needs.

Of course, you can also use sponsored sections for your own products. You can alternate sponsored content with other brands and those offered by your own small business such as a digital product that your audience can download.

This type of content is an excellent side project that gives you a great opportunity to make money.

Tools for Creating Paid Newsletters

How do you start to create a premium version of your soon-to-be award-winning newsletter? You need your first subscribers; these platforms can help you get started quickly and easily.

Substack

Perhaps the most well-known option for an in-depth email newsletter is Substack. They allow you to create email newsletters quickly and easily, even if your email list is currently on another platform.

They can help you format and juggle both a paid and a free newsletter so that you can keep all your operations under one platform. Focus more on the writing and less on the tech side of things.

Better yet, you get to keep more money in your pocket. Unlike some other large organizations, Substack only takes a 10 percent cut of the profits, making this a great way to earn extra money in your spare time.

Convertkit

Many small businesses trust Convertkit for their email marketing. And you can also use it to create paid email newsletters that make money for your own brand. It’ll take care of everything for you except the writing.

Some of their users say that they start earning upwards of a thousand dollars within a single year of using the platform.

Transaction fees are kept low for these email newsletters, starting at just 3.5 percent and $0.30 per transaction.

See our full Convertkit review here.

Kajabi

Most people know of Kajabi for their online course creation, but they can help with email newsletters as well as other types of digital products. If you want to make money with a luxury travel newsletter idea or something else, Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that is simple to use.

They handle recurring revenue so you can focus more on the small business side of things instead of the tech side of your email newsletters.

Pricing starts at $149 per month for access to their robust platform. But be sure to check out our comparison of Kajabi vs Kartra to learn more about the platform!

Newsletter Side Hustle Success Stories

Sometimes, success stories can give you great ideas for how you can make money with a new venture. Here are some successful ways that newsletter content creators have leveraged this tool to increase their income:

Final Thoughts: Is a Newsletter Side Hustle Right for You?

A newsletter side hustle can be a great way to make money apart from the more traditional avenue of creating digital products. If you can convince subscribers to sign up for recurring access to your content, there are tons of ways that you can make money from your marketing efforts.

Whether you decide to launch a free version or a paid version, these tips will help you make more money doing the writing you love on topics you’re interested in!

By Ashley Simpson

Ashley is an experienced freelance writer with an enthusiasm for finding creative ways to earn money online. She uses her passion for words to share what she has learned with the world.

She spends most of her time blogging for a multitude of websites and consuming everything she can get her hands on in relation to personal finance and side hustles.

Sourced from Niche Pursuits

By Muhammad Saqib

If you’re a writer on Medium, you may be wondering whether or not you should post daily. Many people will tell you not to, but the answer is not so simple. In fact, it’s a bit complicated.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that Medium’s algorithm is not your enemy. It’s designed to support both new and old writers, but it’s slightly biased towards new ones. This is because the platform relies on fresh content to keep readers engaged and prevent the platform from becoming stagnant.

If you’re a new writer, this should give you hope that the platform will give you a chance to shine. However, there’s so much negativity surrounding Medium’s algorithm that it can make you feel sad and depressed. So, it’s important to stay positive and keep working hard.

For old writers, Medium’s algorithm is still your friend. While it may be biased towards new writers, it still provides support to older writers through following and inspiration icons, as well as paid viewership. As a paying member on Medium, you can support your favourite writers and help uplift their profiles.

So, what’s the answer to the question in the title? If you want to make money from every post, then posting daily may not be the best strategy. However, if you want to grow your following, then posting daily can help. The algorithm will reward you by showing your content to more readers.

To conclude, it’s important to stay positive and keep working hard on Medium. The platform can provide you with a chance to shine, but it’s up to you to take advantage of it. Post frequently and engage with your readers, and success will follow.

About me

I write about online money, side hustles, tech blogging and personal finance. If you are interested in any of these topics; you will get a lot of valuable content from my stories.

You can support my writings by buying me a coffee at this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please don’t forget to give this story a clap if you found it useful. By doing so, you’ll help it reach even more readers and make a positive impact in the Medium community.

Signing off

Ehtisham Ul Haq

Feature Image Credit: Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

By Muhammad Saqib

Sourced from medium

 

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By Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone was a founding partner of Copyblogger Media. These days, she helps content writers become fiercely creative and insanely productive. Check out her brand-new free report on 7 Things Prolific Writers Do Differently — written especially for content writers.

Sourced from copyblogger

By

Working for ourselves is more possible today than ever before. Thanks to the pandemic, the world was force-fed the idea of working from home and the feasibility of hiring contractors instead of staffing up a brick-and-mortar office. Now it’s an accepted norm, but even so, the idea of freelancing as a solid, relied-upon income, still holds a degree of trepidation to many.

Many freelancers earn respectable if not inspiring incomes. The question for a new freelancer, however, is how to get from ground level to that pinnacle of success so many seem to have obtained. Some guides tell you how to find markets. Others tell you how to manage your day. Others wax philosophical about how to establish the proper mindset.

Where do you find a quick and easy checklist of how to take your first step? Let’s give it a go.

Mindset

  • Independence. Being independent, the great aspect is that you make your own decisions. The bad side is . . . you make your own decisions. Embrace this autonomy and make this new life yours. Make it one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself. Until you commit to being a success, you’re handicapping yourself from the start.
  • Thick skin. The buck stops on your desk. You assume the accolades and the blame. You get accepted and rejected, over and over. Learn to roll with the highs and lows of this way of life.
  • Pride. Show the world your stories, your writing, your ability to communicate with words. The more acceptances you receive, the greater you feel, and the more motivated you are to do more and better.
  • Awareness. Your freelance work intertwines with your personal life, and you cannot help it. While on an errand you run into someone about a potential gig. Anything around you is fodder for a story. An idea can flash in your mind from a discussion at a parent-teacher meeting, and if you don’t write it down, it’ll be gone. You might shut down at a certain time of the day, but the world still turns and your brain still cranks out ideas. Write them down. Let your senses remain active 24/7. Accept that you never stop scouting for freelance writing work.

Logistics

  • Time management. You have writing deadlines but also the administrative tasks that are the foundation of your work. Find the calendar system that enables you to keep track of assignments, interim follow-ups with clients, interview appointments, research, quarterly tax deadlines, and even the non-writing items like soccer games and doctor appointments. This writer maintains a phone calendar for on the go, a notebook for ideas, and a desk calendar for deadlines.
  • Administrative management. Define early on a system to manage your invoices, receipts, and expenses. Very early on, like, before the first month goes by.
  • Gig management. Define another system for work going out and work coming in with deadlines and benchmarks assigned to each. This system might be nothing more than a spreadsheet, but never rely upon memory. When you get going, you’ll be shooting out a dozen pieces, hunting for more, and may forget to follow-up on one from two months ago or overlook you already pitches that publication with a similar idea.
  • Travel management. Keep a log of mileage from just picking up office supplies to meeting an interview. Keep receipts for those meals you share with clients and people in the business. Be ever aware that a personal trip can introduce you to a person, event, or idea that merits research for a piece. The mileage then flips to professional.

Financial Groundwork

  • Health insurance. Simply put, have some. Not having it can drain your savings in days if not catapult you into bankruptcy. Health issues are costly, and sooner or later you have them. Options include: a family member’s policy, COBRA (if you left an employer), the Affordable Care Act (income levels apply), the local chamber of commerce (requires membership), the Freelancer’s Union and other professional organizations, a Health Savings Account, Medicaid, and private insurance companies.
  • Savings. Try to have three to six months’ worth of savings for basic living expenses. As you earn money, try hard to tuck at least 10 percent aside for taxes and savings, adjusting this percentage after you realize your income tax obligation.
  • Banking. Some have a separate bank account for the business and others let it filter through a personal account, especially if you remain a sole proprietor versus an LLC or other entity. But be prepared for clients wanting to pay via methods like PayPal, Square, Zelle, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Venmo, bank transfer, credit card, or check. Internationally, there are additional options like Wise, Dwolla, and Payoneer. Don’t let an inability to negotiate payment be the reason you lose repeat business.

Presentation

  • Website. Initially, people must see you as a professional since your word-of-mouth hasn’t taken off. Post what you offer and why you can do it. As you grow, use your website to flaunt your experience, testimonials, published clips, samples, and services offered. Show variety. As for design, you don’t need sliders or deep customization. Whether you use a free service like Wix or hire a professional, the appearance just need to appear clean, crisp, navigable, and easy to understand. Look at the websites of professional freelancers like Diana Kelly, Kat Boogaard, Mandy Ellis, Mukti Masih, and Carol Tice.
  • Portfolio sites. Admittedly, some freelancers choose a portfolio site in lieu of a website. Some keep both. See Contently, Journoportfolio, Clippings, Muckrack, and Pressfolios.
  • Blog. While blog maintenance sounds tedious, a weekly, 500- to 1,000-word blog post can not only show off your writing chops, but also brand you. This blog demonstrates the lessons you’ve learned as you grow as an entrepreneur, teaches potential markets how they can grow from what you have to offer, and flaunts your personality.
  • Social media. Yes, you need at least one, and, frankly, LinkedIn and Twitter are the ones most geared toward freelancers with Instagram close behind. Then Facebook. Do not mix these with your personal sites, and frankly, your personal opinions might need to be tempered once you decide to become an entrepreneur.
  • Chamber of Commerce. These organizations are regional and aid business and entrepreneurship. The networking can be astounding, and surprisingly, not many writers join them, which only makes you stand out to those needing a freelance writer.
  • Business card. Yes, you still need these, and you should have them on you at all times.

Brand

  • Name. Use your name or name your company, but invest serious effort into the result. It needs to be memorable and is difficult to change later.
  • Logo or Image. Not necessary but if done well, it will paint you as a professional. Humans are visual animals, so give them something to latch hold of in their busy brains.
  • Niche. The world of freelancing is huge. Technical to copywriting, advertising to bios, ghostwriting to journalism. Define the types, genres, and topics that drive you and own them. That’s not to say you cannot diversify, but define that by which you wish to be labeled. It could be as narrow as food writing or as wide as copywriting for anyone and anything. You could only write for magazines and online sites, or across the board from corporate manuals to motivational speeches, but somewhere in all of that, be memorable.

Finding Work

  • Mine your life. Your neighborhood, previous coworkers, spouse’s coworkers, local businesses, schools, nonprofits, and government entities in your immediate area are the best places to start rather than taking your first step on an international, national, or state map. Who do you know? Let your profession be known amongst them.
  • Social media. Not only do you need a presence on social media for potential clients, but also you need a persona to interact in freelance groups, niche groups, and professional groups. Follow and interact with markets you’d love to work for. Follow professional freelancers (they often sub work to other writers). Share open gigs with fellow writers. If you are highly niche driven, make sure your posts and media page show it like Jerine Nicole, the Multipassionate Creator on Twitter. Opportunity doesn’t happen unless you are present and prepared.
  • LinkedIn. Be accurate, current, and polished in your resume. Study the work gigs available, and be willing to come off the hip for the paid version of LinkedIn Jobs. But also, rather than wait for people to contact you, find a company that fits you, study their online presence, click on Jobs at LinkedIn and see if they are seeking writers. Also click People, giving you a list of who works there. See if any of them are content creators, connect, and send them a letter of introduction.
  • Freelance sites. Sign up for newsletters and study freelance gig sites like Freelancer, Working Nomads, SimplyHired, Indeed, Freelance Writing Jobs, Journalism Jobs, Contently, and ProBlogger. WriteJobsPlus is a Patreon site that delivers a combination of jobs and gigs. You’ll soon discover the ones you prefer.
  • Testimonials. After every gig, ask for a testimonial and permission to use it.
  • Repeat business. After completing a gig, go right back to that client and seek additional work. You are fresh in their mind and they already know your work. Hopefully a couple of these entities will soon become anchors that you can rely upon each month for steady work.
  • Diversification. Accept work outside your norm periodically to seek new clients, appease a current one, or broaden your portfolio. In other words, don’t quickly turn down a request because it isn’t in your niche. However, do not accept an assignment you aren’t sure you can complete in a quality manner. When you start as a newbie, take different types of assignments and work for a variety of clients. Many topics will be foreign, but so can the types of writing like a blog post versus a white paper, or social media posts versus advertising copy. Your early days are hungrier days, and until you establish your brand and reputation, be daring and willing.
  • Mine yourself. New writers start off with what they know. Don’t discount your prior employment, personal experiences, hobbies, or enjoyments for ideas. Just don’t make it about you.

The Basics

  • Meet deadlines. Your client has more than you to worry about, and missing your deadline can create a domino effect on them that not only costs you repeat business but hurt your reputation. These people talk to each other.
  • Turn in clean work. A lone typo can ruin a second chance. Your misstep becomes your client’s gaffe when the words go live. It’s more than a little mistake.
  • Know SEO skills. These days writers must understand SEO, (Search Engine Optimization). Any online writing must drive customers to a business, and good content marketing writers are in high demand since their work also helps websites rank higher in search results. If you are uncomfortable with this strategy, you will find many simple SEO classes online. It’s not rocket science. SEO is needed in such writing as blog posts, web copy, magazine articles, mission statements, success stories, biographies, and more. And don’t forget that SEO matters on your own web and blog copy as well.
  • Style guides. Whether the Associated Press Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style, follow one of the main style guides that dictates writing formalities like grammar, style, spelling, and punctuation usage. Clients may not have a preference, but some do. Have access to each to be prepared.
  • Learn the LOI versus the pitch. A pitch asks for a specific assignment, like sending an article idea to a periodical or website. An LOI introduces the writer, in an attempt to make themselves known for future assignments. Study guidelines, website, social media posts about whether an entity prefers one or the other. Some magazines, for instance, solely want pitches. A corporate entity might prefer an LOI. When starting out, submit a mixture of both and a lot of them. Some writers do a certain number a week. Others keep a certain number in play, replacing them only after they’ve received a response.

A quick glance at online freelance job sites clearly reveals how much freelancers are in demand. After a quick study of YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook, you’ll find freelancers making serious dollars in filling that demand.

You learn as you go in this profession, and the speed is yours to dictate. Don’t overwhelm yourself, but realize you are the driver or your own success.

There’s a place for you, no doubt, in this freelance writing world. The difficult part is deciding which part of that market share is going to be yours. A little or a lot, you decide. Again, the best part of being your own boss is all the decisions are yours.

By

C. Hope Clark is the founder of FundsforWriters.com, noted by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for 20+ years. She is a freelance writer, motivational speaker, and award-winning author of 16 mysteries. www.chopeclark.com | www.fundsforwriters.com

Sourced from Writer’s Digest

By Deanna Ritchie

For writers and artists of all kinds, making a living isn’t always straightforward. Regardless of the medium or genre, competition abounds, and even with some online success, it can be challenging to break through to a broader market.

The internet has made it both easier and more challenging to get your work out there. On the one hand, social media platforms allow writers and artists to connect with their audience, but this also means more people are trying to do the same thing as you.

As you look for ways to use new avenues of technology, finding ways to let technology and the internet help you as an artist or writer is essential.

How Tech-Fueled Self-Publishing Can Help Varying Artists

One area that many creators are utilizing is self-publishing. In the music industry, this usually means creating a SoundCloud or posting your new songs on TikTok. For visual artists, this can include creating dedicated social media profiles for their art. But for writers, things can be more complex. Those who wish to publish their own books might be unsure of how to utilize technology or the internet to get to that point, but the truth is that self-publishing is a sensible route for many aspiring authors. Self-publishing is similar in many ways to start a business.

With more and more channels available for writers across all genres and topics, many people are pursuing self-publishing instead of going with publishing companies. There are pros and cons to both routes, but self-publishing allows anyone with a dream to make their book vision come true.

You may wonder about the steps you need to take to self-publish. Here’s an essential guide to getting started.

Why Self-Publishing is a Good Idea For Some Authors, Especially New Ones

The traditional publishing industry has the resources and reputation that many writers look for when trying to publish their books. If you can get a publishing house to accept your book, you’ll get paid and get the resources to market and sell your book.

However, it’s rarely that straightforward. Even a well-written book that’s original and creative might not be what traditional publishers look for in their acquisitions. Larger publishing houses may have preconceived notions of what will and won’t sell, and they also receive countless submissions. In some cases, an indie publisher might be a good alternative, but these also have downsides.

So, for new writers, self-publishing is a way to get your name out there and build an audience. The truth is that pitching your book to an agent is time-consuming. You may end up querying dozens upon dozens of literary agents with hardly a word back. This is especially true if you still need to build a reputation for yourself as an author. Instead, self-publishing allows you to harness any online traction you already have and then further your audience base. Once you publish something, you can point interested people to where your book is sold, which is an excellent way to build up social media buzz and spread the word.

Six Essential Steps For Self-Publishing Your Book (Regardless of Genre)

Self-publishing isn’t for everyone, but it is a viable option for many. Depending on your situation, self-publishing may be the only realistic route to getting a book in physical copy. But if you want to pursue self-publishing, you’ll likely have many questions about the process. Whether you want to publish a poetry book, sci-fi novel, or short story anthology, the approach to self-publish is much the same. Of course, as with most aspects of writing, the steps are often more complicated than can be put on paper.

To get you started, here are some steps to take when self-publishing:

Step 1: Ensure Your Book Has a Market

While you can self-publish nearly anything you want to write, you do have to look at the cost of production versus how much you’re likely to make. Of course, if you have the money to self-publish and aren’t worried about profit, you should go for it. However, for most writers, profit is at least a factor. To ensure you can make a profit now, or later as you build an audience, research the market for your genre. You can confirm you have a unique idea or at least a premise that is appealing to your potential readers.

Step 2: Focus Heavily On Editing

One potential downside to self-publishing is you won’t have access to qualified, professional editors. However, editing is still vital. If you want to succeed as an author, you need to publish a book that is free from grammar and spelling errors, and it’s also wise to do broader edits to things like plot and continuity. You’ll need to find editors to help you. If you’re lucky, you’ll already know someone in your network who can assist you. But keep in mind you will need to pay editors for their time and expertise.

Step 3: Figure Out the Cover

The design of your book cover also matters. The cover is the first thing readers see, and it’s a significant part of drawing an audience. Many people specialize in designing book covers, and this is a part of self-publishing where you’ll want to devote some extra time and money. If you need help with graphic design services, you can reach out to freelancers for help.

Step 4: Consider Where and How You Want to Sell the Book

Overall, it’s much easier to self-publish today because there are more platforms. Amazon has a program for self-published authors. With them, you can have your book be printed-on-demand, which means books are only created once they are ordered. But, if you self-publish through Amazon, you won’t be able to sell your book in other places. As an alternative, you could also choose to publish on your own website. But, in this case, you’ll need to find a printing company to create the book for you.

Step 5: Consider Your Budget

Self-publishing saves a lot of time and stress, but it isn’t free. The cost of hiring editors, graphic designers, and more adds up. And, if you’re choosing to pay to have the books printed yourself, the budget can get out of hand. So, before you get too far into the process, be sure you’ve planned your budget. You only want to spend what you have.

And, as you do all the hard work to write and then bring your book to the world, remember to take time to unwind and relax. Here are some tips on how to unplug.

Step 6: Launch Your Book Like You Would Any Business Product

After you have your book formatted and ready, you need to work on the marketing. This step is vital to your success as a self-published author. While there’s no one right way to market, you’re likely to succeed more if you consider your book launch as a professional would. Figure out how much money you have in your budget to do things like making social media ads. It’s also helpful to use analytics tools.

Also, be sure you have your social media pages all setup. You’ll want to post on them regularly and engage with your audience.

Final Notes on Self-Publishing

As you start this process, look online for communities of writers in the same situation. This is a great way to learn tips and tricks for people who have self-published already. Remember that self-publishing isn’t a one-size-fits-all model.

If you don’t sell as many books as you’d hoped, don’t give up. Many authors don’t see success until they’ve published more than one book, and this is true regardless of how their book got published.

Featured Image Credit: Suzy Hazelwood; Pexels.com

By Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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By Stefanie Flaxman

You might have mixed feelings about learning how to start writing. On one hand, tips for beginner writers get you fired up about becoming a writer. On the other hand, content creators are easy targets for criticism.

All of the reasons not to start freelance writing

I’m focusing on the negative aspects of having a presence online because I think they can deter people from starting in the first place.

And when you don’t start a project you want to explore, you leave the content creation to other people who are willing to take risks and expose themselves to all of the potential criticism — as you simultaneously increase your own chances of becoming a cranky critic.

More than just the need to overcome perfectionism in your business blogging, one simple practice that allows you to create content on a regular basis is getting comfortable with “good enough.”

What’s “good enough?”

People with good intentions make errors and don’t always publish groundbreaking work.

If you publish consistently, you’re not always going to be sharing great stuff. Some of it will just be okay.

This post might just be okay. I’m publishing it anyway.

“Good enough” helps you flow with your content-creation momentum, instead of fearing unintentional mistakes or unavoidable mediocrity.

How to start writing with confidence

I’m clearly the last person to tell you it’s okay to produce uninspired, generic content, but sometimes you can be your own worst critic and stop yourself from publishing an important part of your content marketing journey.

Try these five tips for doing your best, honoring your work, releasing it, learning from it, and moving on to your next piece of content to grow as a creator.

1. Remember you’re not for everyone

If you want to get ingredients for a Boring Content recipe, look in the Try to Please Everyone aisle at your local Content Formula Store.

You’re never going to satisfy every type of reader, listener, or viewer.

I’ve seen content creators make the most thorough disclaimers to clarify their intentions and someone always still misinterprets their message and finds a way to get offended.

The quicker you remember that some people will never like you, no matter how hard you try, the quicker you stop being preoccupied with what others think of you and get back to producing solid work.

People also have the right to make snap judgments about your blog post ideas, and you never have time to win them over.

Let those people go.

Trust that the right people stick around.

And you don’t have to be “perfect” for the right people to pay attention to your brand of content; they just get it.

2. Cheer on your ideal audience member

Ultimately, it’s not about you.

If you want to help someone, focus on helping them to overcome writer’s block.

You don’t focus on the potential weak parts of your writing that you might have missed.

There’s always a reason to dislike a piece of content you just created.

If your ideal audience member gets a lot out of your content, they’d be disappointed if you stopped publishing.

When you care about who you create content for, the opinions of the wrong people pull less weight.

Wouldn’t it be a shame if you quit doing your thing because of someone who doesn’t matter anyway?

3. Add value as quickly as possible

When you provide value fast, people don’t have to search for what they need or want.

A lot of the time you’ll need to start writing first and then narrow down what you want to say.

That’s why your writing habits should include sharp editing. Don’t hold on to parts that don’t serve.

But don’t second-guess the topic you want to share, either.

Something you think is simple could be a revelation for someone else.

Clear and straightforward messages delivered with your specific style and approach is how you attract and expand your audience.

4. Set boundaries around your work when you start freelance writing

Even though you put aspects of yourself into your work, when you separate yourself from it, it helps prevent you from taking criticism personally.

It’s something you produced — a performance of sorts — but it’s not you.

It’s just a part of what you do, and if you work long enough and hard enough, you’ll be extremely proud of what you’ve created. You’ll also have a portfolio that helps you make money as a freelance writer.

No one can take that pride away from you. You earned it.

To get to that point of satisfaction, set rules for how you handle your content business.

Decide if:

  • People can contact you directly, and how
  • You’ll allow comments
  • There are some personal subjects you won’t talk about

Setting boundaries like those ahead of time reduces extra things to think about when you’re involved in your day-to-day tasks, allowing you to be more productive.

5. Befriend the improvement process

“All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.” – Marcel Proust

Don’t pay too much attention to your own judgments of what is good or bad writing, when it comes to your own content.

Although it’s easy to be hard on yourself, conversely, something you think is great right now might seem only average to you in the future.

Embracing “good enough” allows you to finish a project so you have a starting place to grow from — regardless of your current opinions about it.

As long as you aim for producing something meaningful, making mistakes is not a reason not to publish.

If you find a mistake later on, you can always fix it (if possible) and learn from it (always possible).

And when you do look back at a piece of older content and can’t find anything to improve, it’ll become an evergreen part of your portfolio.

Start writing today to build your own thing

If you can get past doubt and criticism — from within and without — you can build something of your own.

And get excited about the endless possibilities for content that makes a positive impact.

By Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is Copyblogger’s Editor-in-Chief. Check out her masterpiece blogging series on YouTube.

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