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I am still amazed when I approach freelance writers only to find that they do not have an independent professional digital portfolio available to share with prospective clients. The disservice to their own career advancement is immeasurable. However, I do understand why many lack this vital tool for job search.
No Independent Portfolio? The Risks
While many freelance writers begin their careers on outsourcing job sites, the profiles provided there should not be the first point of reference for prospective employers. Profiles on outsourcing sites can be a great resource for building your main portfolio, but should never be considered your go-to profile. There are a few reasons for this.
- Relying on an outsourcing site as a main source of income is a sign of newness
- Past feedback or the lack of reviews on your outsourcing site profile may leave prospective clients with an invalid view of your skills.
- Clients who view your outsource site profile may then decide to use that site to use your services.
Most clients who have dealt with freelance writers for an extended period of time will recognize your use of an outsourcing site as a sign of your freshness in the field and may not be interested in a writer new to the game over those with a few years of experience behind them. On the same note, having negative or neutral feedback from many months ago when you were new, may not be a fair reflection of your current skills. Lastly, you never want to encourage a client who prefers to deal directly with writers to begin using an outsourcing site that will then crop your payout and subject you to their contracts and regulations.
Make No Excuses
If you are a freelance writer and have no independent portfolio to share with prospective, the time to create it is right now. There are only two options for sites you should use for a digital portfolio.
You will find FolioSpaces to be very basic and barebones. This is exactly what you want if your entire freelance career is focused on writing. Although a frilly digital resume may look great to you, unless your client is specifically shopping for graphics or photog skills, keep it pro by using FolioSpaces. You will likely need to go through some trial and error to get your portfolio just the way you desire. Ask others to check it over too in case you are missing something. Nowhere is a proofreader more important than on your resume or portfolio.
Many businesses that strive to have a high-quality web presence could find themselves with one repetitive issue. Copywriters. If you have had the general experience, you have probably experienced issues with copywriters such as:
- Following Instructions
- Meeting Deadlines
Often the cost of spending hours on outsourcing sites combined with the hit-and-miss results can lead to frustration. At this point many business owners will bite the bullet and go with a larger copywriting firm that will guarantee everything they are looking for – high-quality content, on-time, and with your instructions followed to the letter. So why doesn’t everyone go this way?
Large Copywriting Companies
This may be the answer to many questions for some digital business owners, but it is important to note that this type of service comes with a price, and for good reason. With larger companies you can expect to pay at least 10 cents per word. A common breakdown for your cash would be:
- 2 cents – Editor
- 3 cents – Copywriter
- 5 cents – Copywriting Company
This may be the perfect option for your business if you have no desire to have personal contact with your copywriter. There will be none. All content creation companies safely guard their writer list to avoid any type of connection between the writer and the purchaser. After all, that connection may cost them 5 cents per word.
Much like the sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, there are those who claim to have found a copywriter who meets all of their content needs, while others just snicker, point, and laugh about how disillusioned the claimant must be. However, with a few tips and tricks, you may be able to find your own Nessie of the Net, a helpful, dependable, high-quality, instruction-following, copywriter.
Hiring a Copywriter
I think in the case of copywriters, you can avoid much lost time and even more frustration if you concentrate on the don’ts first.
- Don’t deal with Divas. The world of digital copywriting is ever-changing, sometimes by the day. If you find a writer who claims to be the know-all and end-all, run the opposite direction quickly.
- Don’t deal with a copywriter who emails you back three days late on your first communication with an excuse. Even if their excuse is legit, this doesn’t bode well for reliability and communication. They may have just been busy, in that case, they likely do not have time for your project.
- Don’t rely solely on writing or outsourcing sites. Utilize free classified sites, check the content farms for authors on your topics, or look for copywriting blogs. Writers that care about their craft are in a constant process of honing their skills. There are plenty of examples of such around the net and behind one of those blogs may be your elusive copywriter.
- Do engage your writer. Go a bit further than the net. If your prospective writer is within reach of a phone, give them a call. You would be amazed at the signs, for good or bad, that you can pick up in a voice-to-voice phone call. Skype is a great tool for face-to-faces with those outside of your country.
- Do offer prices to commensurate with their experience. If you want top-notch attention and on-time communications, make sure you make writing for you their top priority. Understand that writing prices increase over time, adjust accordingly to keep a loyal writer by your side.
- Do keep them in the mix. If your copywriter is a vital part of your business or organization, make sure they know this.
Freelance writers often suffer from the disconnect between themselves and where their finished products land. Although they see that their content has positive impact on a business, they do not always get the back patting sessions that in-house employees receive. A good freelance writer has a tough skin and knows that they may not receive recognition for any, or all of their work for you, but this doesn’t have to be a given. It is 100% up to the person who purchases the content.
When at all possible, extend that credit. If you cannot provide them with direct credit, give them a format, a guest post, or other acknowledgement that their work is important to your business.