How Serious Writers Expand Their Audiences with Guest Blog Posts

Note: While we encourage you to explore guest posting to grow your audience, Copyblogger does not currently accept guest post submissions. But don’t worry, these pointers are useful for any publication. In my first edition of the Copyblogger Weekly, I mentioned a running joke Sonia Simone and I have: that she rejected the first guest post I submitted to Copyblogger. (If you’re not already subscribed to the Weekly, sign up here to get a short note from me straight to your inbox every Thursday.) Today, I’m going to share that story to shed some light on the delicate nature of writer-editor relationships. Let’s take it back to 2008 … When I began developing my personal guest posting strategy, Copyblogger sat atop my “Where I Want to Guest Post” list. Five years later, I achieved my goal. So, how did I spend the time between May 2008 and May 2013, when […]

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Real-World Advice for Rocking Your Career as a Freelance Writer

The life of a freelance writer is always intense. (That line cheerfully ripped off and mangled from the ’80s cult film Repo Man.) You’re balancing craft, strategy, your clients’ business interests, your own business interests, and maybe even a little bit of art thrown in there. We love freelance business writers, and we strive to give you lots of resources that make you more effective. (Our advice applies to writers working for companies as well, and many marketing writers move back and forth between freelancing and in-house roles.) On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman gave 30 steps to becoming an in-demand freelance writer. No, it’s not “3 steps” or “5 steps,” because building a successful freelance business is complicated. But each of these steps is well within your power. You can use this post as a road map for staying on track to a rewarding and lucrative career. On Tuesday, Nick Usborne […]

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How to Explain Your Job as a Copywriter (and Feel Good about It)

Well, this isn’t going to be easy … I’ve been working as a copywriter for 40 years now and still haven’t quite figured out how to properly describe what copywriters do. Or, maybe I’m just traumatized by how people used to react when I told them I was a copywriter. Scroll way back to the late 1970s in London, England. I was a middle-class young man, fresh out of a privileged education. My teachers and parents shared high hopes for me. A lawyer, perhaps. Or a university professor. You want to be a writer? Oh dear. Then maybe a respected novelist, or a journalist for The Times newspaper … A copywriter? Seriously? Is that even a “proper job?” I’d be at a party thrown by my parents and a friend of theirs might ask me, “And what are you doing these days?” I’d tell them I was working as a […]

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30 Sure-Fire Steps to Become a Successful Freelance Writer

You may or may not know that I haven’t always been Copyblogger’s editor. For many years, I was a Copyblogger reader. I didn’t know Brian. I didn’t know Sonia. But I pretended that I did. Of course I didn’t tell anyone that … I just received so much guidance from Copyblogger that helped me position my writing and editing services for success that it felt like I knew them. Although it was just a website with content I read, Copyblogger supported my business journey. I’m bringing this up today because I’m happy to pay it forward, if you will, and share a list of Copyblogger’s top 30 steps that help you become an in-demand freelance writer. 1. Start with the basics The overhead to work as a freelance writer in the digital space is quite small compared to a brick-and-mortar business. Get clear on the bare minimum you need to […]

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How to Make Exceptional Communication Your Winning Difference

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote this tagline: “Remarkable business begins with remarkable communication.” That was a bedrock principle for me when I was starting out as a marketer. I still find it a bedrock principle of marketing, particularly content-driven marketing. This week, we got into a When, a Why, and a What for the kind of exceptional, empathetic communication that builds great businesses. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared her experience and advice on when to send article pitches and other “cold” (or at least not piping hot) requests by email. She also gives recommendations for when and how to follow up gracefully if you don’t hear back. Because email inboxes can be scary, scary places. On Tuesday, Loryn Cole explored why effective communication — with colleagues, employees, clients, or anyone else — is a lot like a growing garden. You can pull up […]

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When to Send Article Pitches (and Other Important Emails)

It feels good when you’ve done your research before pitching an article idea to an editor: You know the publication’s audience. You know your topic offers value in unique ways. You know the editor’s content preferences and pet peeves. But you’re not done yet. Although hitting the “send” button on your email seems like an inconsequential step in your article-pitching process, pause before you take that action. That moment of excited impatience could spoil all of the important research you’ve just performed. Caution: avoid these days of the week Have you ever suggested a fun activity to a friend, significant other, or family member when they’re in a bad mood … and they immediately decline? Although they typically would love your idea, you’ve asked them at a time when they don’t want to be bothered. I compare that experience to submitting an article pitch to an editor on a Friday […]

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Fire Up Your Creative Courage and Reach Your Audacious Goals

It’s a funny thing — so many of the most gifted and capable people wrestle the hardest with impostor syndrome and self-doubt. And often, the biggest barrier between you and your ambitious goals is your own head. This week, we offered resources to get your confidence kickstarted and your creative brain humming. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman explored why the hardest working, most professional writers aren’t always the ones who jump into freelancing. (If this is you, you might be a lot better at it than you imagine.) On Tuesday, Pamela Wilson shared eight effective ways to bring powerful visual elements to your content — even if you don’t think of yourself as a “visual person.” This is a great way to add polish and impact to your work, and it’s easier than you think. And on Wednesday, I announced our new book club selection — Austin Kleon’s Keep Going. If […]

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The Thing that Keeps Many Conscientious Writers from Trying Freelance Writing

If you’re concerned about whether or not you’d be a good service provider, there’s a good chance you’d be a perfectly acceptable service provider. You know who’s usually not a perfectly acceptable service provider? Those who don’t have that concern. Because, right now, a lot of people do the exact same work you want to do, and they never stopped to worry about whether or not they’d provide good service. And they don’t provide good service. And working with them is frustrating. This is your opportunity to stand out as a professional It’s time to dissolve the fears you might have about accidentally doing something wrong that will harm your reputation. You first need to actively shift from presenting yourself as just a writer to presenting yourself as a professional service provider who runs a business with established rules and guidelines. These include: Business hours Your terms of service Your […]

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5 Easy Ways to Transform Your Website into a Standout Salesperson

Most freelancers I know hate selling. And I can include myself in that bunch. Whether it’s a fear of rejection, utter disdain for self-promotion, or a lack of confidence in our skills and abilities, just the thought of selling (especially on-the-spot and in-person) sparks massive procrastination. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t sell. It just means we need a little help. High-quality content on a well-crafted website can help sell your services with confidence. So, let’s take a look at how you can turn your site into a better salesperson for your business. Treat your website like the 24/7 employee that it is The best thing about your website is that it can work for you around the clock. It doesn’t take breaks, it won’t call in sick, and it’s focused on getting you the results you want. But — as with a real-life employee — your website can’t […]

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5 Situations that Demand You Hire a Professional Copywriter

We write a lot of posts on Copyblogger about how business owners can apply techniques used by professional copywriters. Strong calls to action, compelling benefits, fascinating bullet points, magnetic headlines. With all of this information, no one should ever need a pro, right? Well … I wouldn’t say that. Sometimes it makes sense to do it yourself, and sometimes it’s a very good idea to call in a professional writer. Today, I’m going to talk about five scenarios when you’ll want to bring in a pro. 1. You just aren’t any good at it Talent is about 90 percent a function of putting in the work. But it’s hard to put in the work for something you don’t feel any connection with. And sometimes you have a pressing need, but not enough time to get good enough to do it yourself. Lots of people hate to write. If the thought […]

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3 Powerful Strategies for Pain-Free Client Relationships

When you’re a freelancer, your clients impact everything. Who you choose to work with (and how you choose to work with them) directly affects your income, lifestyle, productivity levels, mental health, and the satisfaction you gain from being self-employed. In other words, your relationships matter. And when they aren’t built on a solid foundation of trust, value, and mutual respect, business becomes stressful, and you end up plagued with the awful anxiety that comes with not feeling in control of your environment. No one does their best work in those conditions. But the good thing is, there are some simple ways to prevent that loss of control and instead build strong, pain-free client relationships that allow you both to flourish. Where bad relationships begin … Poor client connections are usually a result of unclear boundaries, lousy communication, or a mismatch in your marketing strategy. Of course, these are all problems […]

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2 Ways to Make Money Online This Month

You don’t have to be a superstar entrepreneur to get a corporate writing gig. January 28, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Ecommerce sales are expected to hit $4.88 trillion dollars by 2021 according to Statista. As of 2015, it’s estimated that 3.2 billion people use the internet every day according to Time Magazine. In the United States, 196 million people use social media every day according to Statista.  The opportunity online is great for entrepreneurs with billions of users on the web. Entrepreneurs can grow their business and generate revenue online in as many as 21 different ways and streams.  There is a wealth of content about making money online. You have probably read articles about creating courses, coaching, selling digital information products and offering services online. Today I’d like to share two non-traditional ways to make money online that you can add […]

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5 Key Moves to Help You Become Gainfully Self-Employed

In August 2016, I quit my nine-to-five job. I was tired of spending my days staring miserably at mind-numbing spreadsheets and desperately wishing for our systems to crash so I could go home early. I had been working in corporate finance for five years, and as you can imagine, I was bored out of my mind. Fast forward to December 2018, and I am officially (and gainfully) self-employed. I don’t have a side gig to help pay my bills. I’m not constantly searching online job ads. And I feel comfortable enough with my finances that I can finally breathe. I’m the happiest, most productive, and most fulfilled I have ever been in my life. But getting from point A (the soul-sucking corporate gig) to point B (working for my mentors with the flexibility and freedom of a freelancer) was no easy task. And today I’m going to shed some light […]

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Practical Success Advice for Creative Professionals

There’s a bizarre myth in our culture that we have to choose between making a living and being creative. That creativity is somehow the enemy of a good livelihood. That, of course, is crazy talk, particularly in the world of content creators. This week, we offered thoughts on nurturing your creativity and boosting your career. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman explored Why Writers Need Editors to produce great content. Not simply proofreaders (although it’s lovely to read work that demonstrates mastery of the comma … or maybe even the semicolon), but editors who shape superior content experiences. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to hire this out, but have no fear: Stefanie will show you how to engage your inner editor to produce more compelling work. On Tuesday, Copyblogger’s Data Analyst Loryn Cole sported a brand-new last name and a dandy post on the importance of occasionally breaking […]

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Doors to Copyblogger’s Content Marketer Certification Close Today

Just wanted to make sure everyone knows that today is the last day to join us inside the Copyblogger Certification program! We’ll be closing to new enrollment at 5:00 p.m Pacific U.S. Time, and this is your last opportunity this year to join our list of recommended writers. The last time I had a “normal job” was in 2008. Maybe you remember that year. There was a spectacular market crash in October, followed by a prolonged, painful buckling of the global economy. Lots of hyperventilation and money stress going on, pretty much all over the world. The company I was working for was going through round after round of layoffs. I had a three-year-old, and I was the primary breadwinner in my house. That’s the kind of stress that wakes you up every morning at 4:00 a.m. feeling like you can hardly breathe. I had a decision to make: Should […]

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Get Copyblogger to Tell the World Just How Great You Are

Hey, writers! Whether you’re a freelancer, an employee, or you write content to support your business, you might find it beneficial to have Copyblogger publicly declare: “This person has a terrific writing voice and rock-solid grasp of content strategy.” If that sounds good to you, go check out our Certified Content Marketers program before we close enrollment next week. (If you’re a member of our Authority community, make sure you log in to get your substantial member discount.) Now then, on to the week’s content … On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman gave some practical advice on how to impress and score your next freelance writing client. And she talks about why setting expectations can be a surprisingly magical secret to strong client relationships. (This post uses freelancing for the specifics, but this advice works for bosses and employees, too!) On Tuesday, Kelton Reid offered us a wealth of ideas on how […]

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Copyblogger Certification Is Open to New Writers (Limited Time)

Heads up: We just opened the doors to enrollment in our Copyblogger Certification program. If you’re a writer with a terrific writing voice and the desire to learn rock-solid strategy, we’d love to see you there. 🙂 If we had you at Hello, you can jump in here: Learn more about joining Copyblogger’s Certified Content Marketer program (And if you’re in our Authority community, make sure you’re logged in so you can get your substantial member discount.) Certification is our program that lets the world know about excellent content marketers. It’s designed to help you turn your back on the soul-sucking moments when it feels like you’ll never get a solid handle on finding great clients. And maybe even turn your back on self-doubt and impostor syndrome that can creep up on the best of us. We don’t do a ton of videos or webinars to promote this program, mainly […]

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10 Meaningful Ways to Pursue the Success You Deserve as a Writer

We’re always all about sending love (and useful advice) to our community of writers, but this week we were particularly tightly focused on helping you find more success. I did a little count of the advice we’ve published this week, and found 10 discrete ways that you can improve your success as a professional writer. Nearly all of them will work for you, whether you’re an employee, a freelancer, or a business owner who supports your projects with content. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman explored the not-necessarily-sexy skill that professional writers need — that has nothing to do with your writing ability. (She’s got five of our 10 in here.) On Tuesday, conversational copywriter Nick Usborne showed us how to spark more “feelgood” brain chemistry with your marketing content — and how to avoid triggering the brain cocktail that warns your readers to “run away from this person as quickly as […]

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Why the Best Writers Aren’t Always the Most Successful

Have you ever noticed that the really marvelous writers — the ones who think carefully about every word, who can make you laugh or cry or sing with their writing — aren’t always the ones who see the most success? You read their work and you just feel good. And then you find out that they’re having a tough time swinging the rent every month, never mind their health insurance payment. There are a lot of factors that can come together to cause that. Luck is one of them. Luck is a real thing — some people have more access to opportunities than others, based on things they have no control over. But since luck (if it’s really luck) isn’t something we can influence, we might as well think about what we can control. So let’s get into that. Success is a skill There’s a saying in certain corners of […]

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What’s the One Skill that Separates Well-Paid Freelance Writers from Those Who Struggle?

Everyone loves the part of the hero’s journey where our protagonist accepts the “call to adventure” and “crosses the threshold” from “the ordinary world” into “the extraordinary world.” It’s engaging. It’s hopeful. It pushes the plot forward. But we can’t forget about the challenges and struggles that come next. For new freelance writers: You may have started off with a couple of great clients, but now you have to turn your passion into a sustainable writing business. Last week, I talked about the importance of business and content strategy. Today, I’m going to dive into the skill that enables that winning combination. Time management Before you click away, disappointed that I brought up something as practical and boring as time management, hear me out. My intent is not to poop on your party. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. When our freelance-writer heroes accept calls to adventure to cross over […]

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