Friday, August 21, 2009

GUEST POST: Freelance Writers: 3 Areas to Assess to Land More Gigs During the Busy Fall Season

Today's guest blogger, Yuwanda Black, is an SEO writer extraordinaire--and her blog, Inkwell Editorial, is one of the first resources I turned to when I was just launching my first site. She taught me a lot about article marketing and SEO writing--skills that ultimately got my business going online. These days she's also blogging at

Freelance Writers: 3 Areas to Assess to Land More Gigs During the Busy Fall Season
By Yuwanda Black

Did you know that freelance writing is a seasonal profession? It is. The seasons go something like this:

The busy season starts around the third week of August/second week of September. It lasts through mid-November. Then there’s a break for Thanksgiving. After this, there’s a flurry of activity for some businesses until about a week before Christmas. After this, it’s slow until late January/early February. Then, it picks up again through late May/early June. Late June through late August is pretty slow.

Knowing the editorial calendar (ie, busy seasons/slow seasons) helps you to do two things: (i) relax and enjoy the slow times; and (ii) prepare for the busy seasons.

Following are three areas to pay attention to during the slow season so that you capitalize on the busy seasons.

Your Website

Websites are like department store windows. They need to be refreshed to keep loyal customers interested and new customers coming in. When was the last time you revised your website? Have you been meaning to upgrade to a new wordpress theme? Want to add a blog? Been meaning to add more interactive features like video.

Now is the perfect time to do this before the busy fall season rolls around (and lord do I speak from firsthand experience here as I’m in the middle of a hairy wordpress design and host transfer – arrrggghhh, but I digress!).

What You Charge

Pricing is one of the first areas to assess in order to make more money without doing more work. Many freelancers forget that they are business owners. They are hesitant to raise prices because they fear losing old customers and not getting new ones. But in order to grow, you must.

If you’ve been freelancing for a year, for example, you probably priced your services below industry norms just to snag clients. In this time, you’ve gained a lot more experience – and skill. This means your value is higher. Don’t be afraid to raise your prices to reflect this.

Most clients understand. To make it more palatable, make it a small increase (unless you’ve been severely undercharging). And, give clients ample notice. You could send an email now that says something to the effect of, “Starting in October, our new rates will be . . .”

Lastly, assure clients that they’ll get the same excellent quality and will still meet and beat deadlines.

Note: It’s entirely possible that you’ll lose a few clients. BUT, you should never let that be a deterrent because what you charge should never be set based on how your cheapest clients will respond. This type of client (ie, price shoppers) will leave you eventually anyway.

Your rates should be based on the value you provide clients. And, this is determined by what your higher-end clients will pay because these are your “ideal clients;” your “money” clients.

Your Service Offerings

When was the last time you went over your service list?

Are some offerings more profitable than others? Have clients been asking for a service that you don’t provide? Are some services a pain to provide and not very profitable? Assessing what you offer clients goes directly to your bottom line.
By adding some services, deleting others and fine tuning yet others, you can increase your freelance writing income by 10%, 15%, or 25% or more.

By honing in on these three areas, as freelance writer, you can more accurately define your “profit centers.”

FYI, most freelancers never take an annual, proactive approach like this to their freelance writing business. By doing so, you position yourself head and shoulders above the competition – no matter what the season is.

About: Yuwanda Black heads New Media Words, an SEO Content Writing and Distribution firm. She also publishes two popular sites for freelance writers, and

No comments: