Tag Archives: blogging

Build Your Online Platform Now

If you’re launching a freelance career or getting ready to wow us with a break-out novel, don’t wait to start building your platform. All authors need a platform as a way to reach readers, but it can also help you sell your book to an agent, attract attention for interviews, guest appearances…. and other wonderful things that bring more money your way. Getting accepted for freelance assignment is easier when you can direct an editor to a page bursting with clips and ideas.


With your website or blog as the core of your platform, widen your connection by linking your blog posts to Facebook, tweeting about new posts, and connecting with others through the dizzy array of online portals.  Most success with social media requires we give more than we take. So spend a few minutes each week boosting someone else’s work too, by leaving a comment, or writing an online review of a good book.

To keep your traffic growing, don’t let your loyal readers get bored when they visit your blog. Have fresh material at least once a week, and include photos, links and quotes. That’s what we’re used to seeing when we read a magazine, and you want your visitors to get the full reading experience whenever they stop by.

If you’d like to get better referrals from Facebook, consider setting up a Facebook Page, rather than asking professionals in the writing industry to visit your Facebook personal profile. Create a free page at facebook.com/pages, for your freelance business. To begin, you must already have an existing personal profile. This is a quick way to display your writing portfolio.

Unlike a personal Facebook profile, your business page should have a service and information component, not personal chatter. A Facebook page acts more like a website, and in fact, can take the place of a website if you put some time into structuring it. There are loads of templates at the Facebook site. The page design has pre-installed features to get you started and you can include add-ons for a guestbook, clips of your work, and even promote your books. This is a professional way to display your portfolio and let editors see that you’re savvy in social media – another plus in getting hired today.

What goes around comes around, so get visible out there and share some energy!

BIO: Helen Gallagher joined Freelance-Zone.com to share her thoughts on small business and technology. Her blogs and books are accessible through www.releaseyourwriting.com. She is a member of ASJA, Small Publishers Artists & Writers Network, and several great Chicago-area writing groups.

Social Media Shakeup for Journalists?

It’s been around long enough that we can stop calling it “new media”, and now that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the rest are becoming more firmly entrenched in the day-to-day business of commerce and earning a living, the big questions are starting to get more attention.

As in, what’s considered “ethical” and “professional” when it comes to the use of social media in an editorial context?

For a lot of freelancers, it’s just a question of making sure you don’t alienate your current or potential future employers with a lot of random, possibly off-putting posts you’re likely to regret the next day after the fun is over.

But for others, it’s a lot more serious than that. Case in point, a recent blog post by Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing.net reporting that Sky News has issued strict new social media rules for its journalists with regard to Twitter use on official accounts.

Doctorow writes, “Under the new policy, Sky reporters are prohibited from retweeting from rival journalists and the public (though they are allowed to retweet each other). They are also not allowed to tweet about subjects that aren’t their beat. Finally, they’re prohibited from “personal” tweets in their professional accounts.”

When it was still called “new media” and the anything-goes frontier had many treading without care or caution, some thrived, some lost their jobs, and some just didn’t participate in the social media fun and games. But all that’s changing and more than ever, freelance or not, social media is a vital part of networking and information gathering.

The fact that professional codes of conduct are being formed on an organizational basis means in the next couple of years you might wake up finding a de facto standard of professionalism with regard to these things that wasn’t here at the time I’m writing this.

Sure, there are plenty of unwritten rules of the road now, but lest we forget, once upon a time the rules of journalistic ethics weren’t so formalized, either.

Now, it’s easy (at least for an experienced observer) to distinguish between the practices of a blogger, who can rant on and on with few consequences (except to reputation and future employability) and a bona fide journalist who is guided by a set of rules for fact-checking, source verification, attribution, etc. Not that all journos follow those rules all the time, but you see where I’m coming from…

These types of stories are the ones to watch for anyone interested in social media theory, journalism, etc.

Joe Wallace Vinyl Collector and authorJoe Wallace is a writer, editor, social media manager, and collector of weirdness on vinyl LPs.

Wallace runs the vinyl record collector’s blog, Turntabling.net, has snarky things to say about bad album covers, and writes short italicized bios about himself in the third person.

His book, WTF Records: A Turntabling.net Guide to Weird and Wonderful Vinyl, is in the final stages and should be inflicted on an unsuspecting public by Christmas. He’s not saying WHICH Christmas yet, mind you…

Blogging In 2012

Freelance-Zone Editor, Catherine L. Tully
Freelance-Zone Editor, Catherine L. Tully

by Catherine L. Tully

With the New Year there is little doubt there will be new technology. And this new technology will change the way we blog. The thing I don’t know is how. But I’m both excited and apprehensive about it.

I’m excited because I think it’s so cool to learn new, efficient ways of doing posts, including media and reaching readers. I think Twitter has been one of my favorites, but I also love WordPress and Hootsuite. Great tools! They all make my life easier in different ways.

I’m apprehensive because learning new technology takes time. And because it isn’t always better. Facebook seems to change things just to change them, and sometimes I like the old way of doing things better than the “improved” ways.

I don’t know what the next big thing is coming down the pipe, but I’d love to hear from readers if they have any thoughts on what’s next. Tell me–is there anything you’ve see that you think is going to hit it big? Anything you’d like to see make the cut and take off?

I’d like to see a better way to video chat with multiple people. I’d love to be able to collaborate on projects with others in real time in an easy format that allows discussion and images to be included. There are currently some things like this out there, but none that I’ve really found work well for my purposes.

So which is it for you–are you more excited or apprehensive about what the coming months will bring?

What Google+ Could Mean For Freelancers

book and script editor for hire Joe Wallaceby Joe Wallace

This morning I spotted North PR Strategy Director Dave Allen’s repost of a YouTube video featuring a Google+ product manager, who was talking about an “optimized business experience” for Google+.

Some busy freelancers are no doubt wondering what exactly Google+ IS. In a nutshell, according to Pocket-Lint.com blogger Libby Plummer, Google+ is a “social networking platform that’s set to rival Facebook. Well, that’s the plan anyway. Google doesn’t have a particularly strong history when it comes to social networking services with both Google Wave and Google Buzz failing to catch on, but if the demo is anything to go by, it’s investing a lot of time and money into making its latest venture a potential Facebook killer.”

Does this mean yet another place for busy writers and editors will need to set aside time to create profiles in, network and post videos of doves teasing sleeping kitties?

Probably not just yet, according to the video Dave Allen posted, which says the “business experience” is still under development and Google is actually asking businesses and freelancers to avoid using “consumer profiles’ for business purposes. The business area, Google promises, will have “rich analytics” and can be used with Google Adwords and other goodies.

What this DOES mean for freelancers is that there’s going to be a brief time period–as with any new social media platform–where there’s a sort of wild frontier-style atmosphere while the rules of engagement are still being developed. In the past, savvy freelancers and business people have used these situations to create business for themselves in creative ways.

If you’re looking for a new avenue to create freelance business for yourself as a social media guru, content creator, community manager or other social media specialist, Google+ could hold some great promise for you in these early developing stages. The key is to watch the platform carefully, look for avenues of opportunity nobody else is taking full advantage of, and move in with your own particular sales pitch.

Are you up for it?

Joe Wallace is a freelance editor, writer and vinyl junkie. He writes about vinyl records, DJ culture and rare albums at Turntabling.net. His current projects include editing a book on voice acting, ghost writing for confidential clients, and working as a military culture and hardware advisor for a developing video game project. Wallace spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for Air Force News Agency and has traveled the globe with a Sony Betacam on one shoulder.

Catching Up to the Digital Freelancing Age

One Year to a Writing Life Susan Tiberghienby Joe Wallace

Take a look at the book shelves at any Borders or Barnes & Noble and you’ll find a great many titles by the usual suspects who write about freelancing, the craft of writing and other relevant topics. Take a look in Amazon’s Kindle Store for freelancing titles and you’ll find electronic books like One Year to a Writing Life by Susan M. Tiberghien, plus a few of the other usual suspects you find on the bookshelves…but not all. Not nearly.

But that’s changing, surely as Kindle, Nook, iPad and other digital platforms are slowly becoming a more standard part of consumer culture. You’ll start finding many more of the usual suspects available digitally.

What does this mean for freelancers in general? More than a few freelancer sites in the writing and editing disciplines are woefully behind the times when it comes to design, presentation and functionality. In the design, photography, and video editing worlds this isn’t as prevalent, but one thing is for sure–those who ARE behind the times have some serious catching up to do.

But that’s not as daunting as it might seem. Sometimes it just takes the right kind of tutorial or learning experience to open the doors of understanding. The most important thing any freelancer can do–especially those trying to catch up to the latest trends in digital freelancing, publishing, etc–is to find a savvy friend to get some pointers from. Barring that, a simple no-BS tutorial is a very good thing indeed. A very good place to start is at WordPress.org, which features some great introductory material on blogging in general, using WordPress and much more.

Another good resource is Problogger.net, which is required reading for anyone who wants to make money as a blogger. And yes, these resources may seem to be blog-centric, but when you read these you’ll be absorbing much more than just what it takes to set up a blog and start writing one…you’re also absorbing the mindset of a whole different subset of potential readers, audience members, and customers. You definitely want to understand this mindset going forward, as it fairly rules the digital realm for freelancers across many disciplines.