Being retired and living on a fixed income I don’t have the funds for other than DIY learning. One can read all the books in the world and practice but not learn the nuances of writing for readers, according to Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Easy reading is damn hard writing”. I am willing to put in the time to learn but some feedback in a course would be immense help in furthering my passion for the written word and possibly helping others in their writing journey, as I believe in paying it forward and do not believe that age should be a factor in one’s desire to be a writer.

I write reviews, blog, and answer any questions about freelancing or writing that I can and resource for what I don’t know all in an effort to pay it forward.

I like editing and reading. I would love to be a better writer, suffer from the dreaded inner critic, and build confidence in what I write with the goal on capturing the reader’s attention for a blog post, article, or daring to dream of the possibility of writing a story someday.

The real question is “Why do I Want to Write?”

For me, it is not a question of why, it is more that fact that I need to write for my own sanity. Something special calms the inner beast when the creative muse visits and allows me to exercise the mind and the creative juices deep within the recesses of the soul. When I am out driving, putting out the trash, lying in bed, or just about anywhere I am, thoughts of lines or plots just seem to come out of nowhere. When I am out running errands or just out with my wife, I notice people, places, and things that may be something to focus on for a story or poem.

I feel the need to write just as we need to breathe to live. Writing is life, life is writing; they cannot be separated. When I am not writing, I get depressed. There something about the solitude of being at one with nothing but language and how to use it to elicit emotions and thoughts by how the words are used that the reader can relate to and experience from the words on a page as they read the story created by the author.

To be able to write something that is like a child in a way, and share the joy, sorrow, place and time of the story. To give the reader an escape from their life for a few minutes or hours, where they are transported via the magic carpet of words on a page is what I as a writer hope happens.

The poems I write are a slice of life as I see it through creative eyes. I wrote a poem about a specific thing, yet readers saw different concepts of what the poem was about for them. I feel I did my job. They each got something out of it as their life experiences led them to an emotion. That is what a poem should do as far as I am concerned. To put into words life experiences and have the reader relate in some way that makes them feel something. The same goes for prose.

It is by writing that the authors fulfill some inner sense of themselves. At least for me, I find a sense of calmness that nothing else brings quite the same feeling. When I am writing, the rest of the world disappears and a unique place and time enters in its place. It is this strange sense of calmness that rejuvenates the inner grounding of the soul. I have literally spent hours editing, reading or writing without any sense of time passing.

There are stories to entertain, cause discussions, escape the pressures of real life, and more that comes from reading the works of authors. In the fast-paced world we live in, there is nothing better than to take some time to read a good book. Being a voracious reader myself, I may be slightly biased.

I write, therefore I am a writer. I had a short story published in a local weekly the “Osborne Joy” in Osborne, Kansas. Does this make me a writer?

If you have read to this point, I appreciate your time and hope my writing has engaged you.

Sincerely,

Robert Medak

“The free-lance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.”

— Robert Benchley

Although I classify myself as a writer, blogger, editor, proofreader, and reviewer I am also learning branding, marketing, and social selling as integral parts of working as a freelancer.

“Taming the Freelance Market” is the working title of my book about freelancing. The more I write, the more that needs researching and include enough information for would be freelancers, entrepreneurs and small businesses without causing information overload.

Below is a rough draft of chapter one:

“Before I begin, according to WordWeb Pro®, a program I use often:

Freelance used as a Verb:

Work independently and on temporary contracts rather than for a long-term employer

Freelance used as an Adjective:

Working for yourself

Freelance used as a Noun:

A writer or artist who sells services to different employers without a long-term contract with any of them

What does this mean in plain English?

As a freelancer, you must maintain impeccable records of income and expenses (record keeping for taxes), medical and dental insurance, marketing, Web design, anything related to business is up to you. Freelancers receive no befits from employers, because freelancers are considered independent contractors.

Depending on the services rendered by an independent contractor, you may receive remuneration, but no credit for your work, one example is a Ghostwriter.”

I then mention some of the many types of freelance jobs available in chapter one, not just writing jobs.

“Taming the Freelance Market” is about working for yourself as a freelancer, entrepreneur, small business, independent contractor or whatever pigeonhole you choose.

If any readers have a comment or suggestions about subject(s) dealing with being or becoming a freelancer please use my contact page and send me a note, ask a question or (hint) hire me for your blog or website..

I try to help everyone with questions about freelancing, publishing, and writing; if I don’t know an answer I research to find the answer. I learn by researching, answering questions, which are a form of teaching, I am still learning about, branding, marketing, and social media but will help you wherever I can.

I for one believe in paying it forward.

Author

Robert Medak

Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer learning Branding, Marketing and Social Media.

The first step is to consider your niche and the content relevant to that niche.

Content is not about your product or services. Content is about educating, engaging, helping, and informing your readers to build relationships, not sell your stuff.

This may sound counterproductive, but content is establishing relationships to build trust. Would you buy something from someone you don’t know or engage in a business deal with someone you don’t know? Then why should your readers?

The art of selling online is building trust through establishing relationships, not trying to sell your product or service to everyone that visits your site. You start by helping them through their pain point first before you try and sell.

I may be in the minority, but I believe in helping visitors to my blog and social sites over trying to sell them my services. I am willing to answer questions or offer suggestions to everyone; do you.

Don’t use jargon or large words in conjunction with complex sentences when plain English will suffice. Readers of your content should get the point you are making with ease by the use of concise writing.

Content marketing involves all content from social sites, blogs, and websites with relevant content to your product or services. Your content is your chance to position yourself as an expert in your niche and build trust with your traffic by engaging with visitors.

Your content must be relevant to what people are searching for by using search engines. Also, remember, nothing happens overnight. It takes some time to build a following and trust. If you expect instant sales, you are going to be disappointed.

Be engaging and helpful first before trying to sell products or services. A chance for you to talk more about your product or services is via newsletters when a visitor signs up for it on your site.

Content marketing might be an email if visitors opt in to receiving emails for special sells or special coupons or email only products or services and have an easy way to opt out of emails.

Send a free item if they opt-in to receiving a newsletter or emails. Many people like getting something free, and are probably willing to share their email address with you to receive it.

Free should mean free, not free if they pay shipping and handling. Something you can send an electronic copy of, and always be courteous with a thank you note when the sign up to your list of people willing to receive your emails or newsletter.

This is how to run your content marketing.

Author

Robert Medak

Freelance writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader and Reviewer learning marketing

Whether a freelancer, entrepreneur or business, you need content marketing for awareness of your presence as an entity offering products or services.

There are forms of content marketing mentioned in a previous post.

As the search bots check for fresh content, if you are keeping up with fresh relevant content to what people are looking for, using content to explain what you have to offer them to help them with either a product or service they need.

Fresh content on a regular basis will help you climb the search engine latter.

If your content is relevant, visitors may consider your product or service. Your content must be relevant, engaging, easy to read, and establishes you as someone that has the right product or service people are looking for.

Your content should put the visitor at ease and work at building relationships with possible buyers of your product or service because customers will buy from someone they trust.

Your content should not always be about selling but showing what you do and how you have what people are looking.

If your content is about products, there should be pictures of the products. Pictures are content. This way, visitors can view your physical products and get a sense of what is looks like.

Again, I must stress that content be relevant to the product or service. Using tricks or “black hat” maneuvers is not a good tactic unless you want to run the risk of being unindexed by search engines or worse.

All content should be honest and authentic, you are the content and the content is you.

What would you do if someone offered a product and when you click to find out you find there are hidden costs or some other condition? You would probably leave and never return. Don’t do the same to your visitors. Always be open and honest.

Somewhere in your content should be a way to contact you for questions or comments.

Testimonials on your site are also content that will show visitors what others that have purchased from you think of the process and the product or service.

Author
Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer learning marketing

Eight Forms of Content for Online Content Marketing:

Blog Posts

These types of blog posts should speak to the visitor’s pain point. They should answer the question of how you can help them with their pain point. They should contain relevant information, How-To, and educate them.

eBooks

Is there a book or guide you can write that is relevant to your product or service that you can offer to visitors to your sites? Something that can explain about your product or service that will explain what you have to offer.

Let’s say you design websites for example. You might write an eBook explaining some aspect of a website that draws traffic and offer it as a reward for visiting your site.

Email

Do ever offer contests, freebies, or other items to people on your email list? Sending emails or a newsletter to your list is a chance for you to enter the world of your visitors with items only to subscribers. I chance for you to offer posts about the niche you serve, and possibly a ready market to make purchases of your product or service.

How-To Guides

Here is your chance to offer some of your expertise within your niche that shows you are a go to person for help when someone has a problem not in the how-to guide.

It’s almost impossible to cover every possible problem that a person might run in to. This is a way to build trust with a potential customer. Something you said actually works.

Infographics

If you spent any time on the internet, you may have seen these. These are rectangles or some other shape containing graphs or information, which offers information about a specific subject, and posted on websites, social media and other venues.

A bookmark with information about a specific book or a play, a store is an example of an infographic that has been around before the internet. It is only recently the he term infographic widely used.

Podcasts

This is you chase to repurpose your blog posts to create something that people can listen to or their tablets or smart phones. You can offer information about your product or service by talking about the product or service in a way that is educational and not push sales only.

What can you come up with that you can create a video or audio about the product or service that can help educate the listener or viewer? Something they can learn and apply to help them with what they do or need to accomplish. What did they search for to end up at your podcast?

As with all content, it must offer relevant context of their search.

Videos

These videos are not your home movies but could be instructional, informational, and educational. Here is where visitors get to know you and what you offer, a chance to begin building relationships, with whoever visits or stumbles across your videos.

This is your opportunity to present yourself to viewers. You, a real person and not some anonymous name on a screen, it’s better to see the person to build trust than just some name that could be anyone on the internet.

Once again, and opportunity to help viewers with instruction or education and allowing your viewers to meet you, a real person, not just a name, now you are a name and a person they can relate to.

Website

Your website is where you offer your product or service, make contact, offer testimonials and a way for visitors to contact you, ask questions and interact with you.

This is a place for your story. Websites are a place where you can explain about your product or service, a site where you can list your services or product where visitors can read more about them and purchase.

A place where all of your contact information is in front of visitors to connect with you, ask questions or request a quote for a specific project they may need your expertise for in relation to how you charge.

All of the above is content marketing basics.

As you can see, there are many forms of content marketing. The next thing you need is a content marketing strategy.

I plan to cover content marketing strategy later in this series of posts about content marketing.

Author

Robert Medak

Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer learning marketing.

There are many goals to content marketing.

  1. Lead Generation
  2. Driving traffic to your website
  3. Branding
  4. Telling your story
  5. Telling people about your product or service
  6. Add value through relevant information
  7. Building a following
  8. Turn followers into clients
  9. Build relationships

This is by no means a complete list, but you get the idea.

Content should inform and educate visitors to your website how you are the one to help them with your product or service.

Many people begin searching on the internet for information about a certain subject or How-to Guides because they have a need to satisfy a curiosity or need to learn something needed for a project or possibly a business need. Perhaps a person is someone for whom writing is as scary as insects are for others, a “pain point”. There are many freelancers that can write content, what do you have to offer that would make them hire you?

Does your content help them with this pain point? Is your content relevant? What separates you from other freelance writers?

Individuals and businesses may have many pain points. There are non-geeks that may need a website built, others may need content for blogs and webpages, some may need reviews, and authors may need editors.

Who is your product or service aimed at? That person is your audience. Why do you want to sell a product or service? Is it to make money or help your client with their needs?

The first order of business should be to build relationships with your ideal audience. Once you have built a relationship of trust you may have a loyal client and be in a position to request a referral to gain more clients.

The best method of advertising is word of mouth. If your content marketing is relevant, informative, and educational your visitors will spread the word about your site. This is true organic traffic.

Organic traffic from many different sources will raise your position on search engines.

Does your content fulfill the needs of your audience and does your site have an easy way for the visitors to ask questions or connect with you?

All sites should have some easy way of interaction with the site owner.

Businesses should listen to their clients and visitors.

This is the main goal of content marketing.

Author

Robert Medak

Freelance writer, blogger, editor, proofreader, and reviewer learning marketing

Many people in business on the internet have heard the term “Content Marketing” but may not completely understand what the term means.

The Content Marketing Institute (The Content Marketing Institute is a place of resources and training for anyone interested in learning about content marketing) says of content marketing,

“Content Marketing – Formal Definition

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

A content marketing strategy can leverage all story channels (print, online, in-person, mobile, social, etc.), be employed at any and all stages of the buying process, from attention-oriented strategies to retention and loyalty strategies, and include multiple buying groups.

Content marketing is comparable to what media companies do as their core business, except that in place of paid content or sponsorship as a measure of success, brands define success by ultimately selling more products or services.”

This may be a bit too formal for some. My definition of Content Marketing is this:

The creation of value added content (any medium such as a blog, website, social media, networking, etc.) that explains what you as an entrepreneur, freelancer or small business owner have to offer that is of benefit to your customers.

I would also like to add the definition of the term “copy” which I use quite often when writing about blog posts, articles, press releases (PR), etc.

According to the definition found in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition “Copy” is:
4 a: matter to be set esp. for printing.

b: something considered printable or newsworthy – used without an article
c: text esp. of an advertisement

Copy is anything suitable for printing. Is a blog post suitable for printing? When you hit the post button, your post is electronically printed. Therefore, anything created that involves text is copy.

Content consists of video, eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, etc. Content is any media that positions you to drive traffic to your business with an audience looking for what you have to offer.
In subsequent posts, I will be covering more about the marketing aspect of content as it relates to your ideal customer.

Author
Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer learning marketing

Is the new advertising old advertising?

McDonald’s brought back the “Hamburgler” and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) brought back the Colonel in their respective commercials.

It is time that what is old is new again, or is it the fact that their current advertising isn’t working and they are scrambling to draw in patrons with what worked in the past.

Personal experience: My wife and I stopped at a KFC because we wanted to place an order from and television commercial. We placed our order and they were out of everything we tried to order. We ended up just driving thorough without making a purchase.

Note to KFC: Not a way to run a business.

When advertising a special or some product or service, be sure you can deliver or customers may not be in a mood to make a purchase or trust you in the future.

Things like bait and switch; trying to upsell before you’ve created a relationship with the customer isn’t the best way to create loyalty.

I have lived in California, Kansas, and now reside in West Virginia. I can tell you the not all franchises are equal.

Example: Red Lobster and Outback in San Bernardino, California were below par while Red Lobster in Salina, Kansas is a place to visit for a good meal. Outback in San Bernardino, California is place to avoid while Outback in Princeton, West Virginia is wonderful.

What is the reason for this stark difference, one word, “Management?”

As a business, never advertise what you can’t deliver. Whether you use so tried and true method or a new method of advertising, businesses must deliver what they are promising in the advertising.

To me, this is true truth in advertising. I can’t tell you how many times I have received and offer of something for free and then have to pay for shipping, or some amount after a period get charged a monthly fee that is beyond the budget of many people in today’s economy.

The point to this, if you want to cultivate customer loyalty, you must deliver on the inherent promise your advertisement offers and nothing less.

Businesses regardless of what they offer, the offer must be open and transparent. Don’t let customers come to you only to find out that something offered is not what they expected or costs more than they expected to pay for a product or service.

Businesses need to deliver that best product or service for the price, cultivate relationships, and deliver on all inherent promises to establish customer loyalty.

Author
Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, editor, proofreader, and reviewer learning marketing

As a freelancer, entrepreneur, or business flexibility and change are omnipresent; as the responsible party, you need to be quick on your feet to address what is working and what isn’t working.

In my case, there is too much taking up time and not allowing me to concentrate on what is more important, writing and learning, to this end I am refocusing on my writing, blog posts, and taking courses that I am registered for.

Believing in lifelong learning, it is time to begin learning more about the interests I have in relation to being a well-rounded freelance writer and marketer.

Everyone wanting to work online must have a working knowledge of basic HTML, SEO, Social Media, Marketing, and Content Marketing to grow their business. Whether working solo, partnership, freelancer, or whatever you call what you do online, or brick and mortar you are a businessperson and must learn about how different business models operate. Even authors are business people and are entrepreneurs.

Businesses must be open to the myriad changes possible as technology and business opportunities that arise. To be flexible to be cognitive to these changes one needs to be open to refocusing how to achieve the goals of your business.

When refocusing, questions will naturally present themselves. This is a time to re-evaluate if you need to learn something new, revisit your goals, or begin outsourcing some of the administrative chores to a VA (Virtual Assistant) to perform these tasks to free up your time to make your business grow.

Is it time for you to refocus your business and join me on the journey to rediscover the joy of running a business or being a freelancer and finding the passion you once had. Without what you do bringing joy to you, why are you doing it? Is it just for money? If it isn’t fun, it will become drudgery and had to keep the civility in the business. Frustration leads to contempt for the business and family as the burdens grow.

Refocus on why you started your business in the first place. Was it because you felt you had something that made you feel good and thought you might be able to help customers and make some money as well.

Refocusing will bring the passion back you initially, and help your business prosper and grow. Enjoy the journey!

Author
Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer learning marketing

What do I mean pay to play?

Facebook, created years ago, has a growing membership in the multimillions. Facebook frequently changes their algorithms, with subsequent algorithm changes, organic page likes fluctuate as does post reach, unless an account holder pays for expanded reach. The more you pay the greater the reach, these costs for expanded reach range from five dollars to two hundred dollars. The more you are willing to purchase reach the greater the reach. Promotion and advertising reach will cost you whatever you can afford. The more you can afford the greater the reach.

What is Reach?

Reach simply put, is the number of people that will see your Facebook post or advertisement.

Is Pay to Play Right for Your Business?

First, no business should go into debt, to fund their business and reaching out for new customers and advertising. Going into debt to fund your business is one way you quickly go out of business.

NOTE: Never spend more than you can comfortable afford on your business from revenue.

If you are an entrepreneur, freelancer, or small business, how much can you budget for paying to play against revenue to run your business is an extremely important equation. This is part of your marketing budget expense. What can you realistically afford without leaving the business short of funding and operational expenses? All businesses must know this number at all times. Put your account hat on and keep a handle on your working capital and budget items.

Whether entrepreneur or freelancer, you are a business, this is something that you must keep in mind. You must also realize that the business income is not your money; the money belongs to the business for operation and growth, not for paying personal living expenses.

Under funding, is a major cause of businesses closing down. Can you afford to spend money you don’t have? Most people who spend more than they make are soon in deep financial trouble. Don’t be one of them!

If you plan is having money and time to be free by starting a business, don’t. For a business to be viable, you will be spending many hours, weeks, and months devoting both to the business.

There is a dramatic learning curve to creating a startup. Most startups cannot afford to outsource many of the day-to-day operations. In the beginning, these operations are up to you until the business can afford the costs of outsourcing which isn’t cheap.

This is what true pay to play is all about. You want to freelance, or create a startup; it is going to cost you to join the ranks of entrepreneur. Don’t spend what you don’t have from the business.

Author
Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Read the rest of this entry »

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