Category: writing tips

3 Crucial Copywriting Tips to Stand Out in a Crowded Field

3 Crucial Copywriting Tips to Stand Out in a Crowded Field

3 Keen Copywriting Tips to Create Better Content. Makealivingwriting.com.

If I had a copywriting tips guide to follow when I landed my first job, it would have saved me a lot of suffering.

Mum, dad… please look away now.

I’m afraid that my expensive university education and a degree in English didn’t prepare me to write words that sell.

When I finished school in 2001, I was lucky enough to land a copywriting job at a huge media company. And to be perfectly honest, I thought that I’d find the job pretty straightforward.

But it wasn’t. Making the transition from writing academic papers to crafting commercial copy was really hard.

The truth: I used to be quite a horrible copywriter. And I don’t mind admitting it now.

I had to learn to write differently. I studied pro writers, copywriting tips, and the best ad copy. I tested and evaluated copywriting strategies to see what worked and what didn’t. I learned how to write words that sell.

And I’m keen on helping others make a living writing. These three copywriting tips will help you create better content:

Lack Writing Motivation? Try This Powerful Switch-Up

Lack Writing Motivation? Try This Powerful Switch-Up

Writing motivation: Do you really want to be a freelance writer? Makealivingwriting.com

If you find it tough to get psyched up to write, this post is for you. I recently received a letter from a new writer hoping I could help her find more writing motivation:

I’m Sherin from Indonesia, it’s such a pleasure to find you as someone I can look up to. I’ve been saying to myself that, I really want to be a writer. And I’m very passionate about being a freelance writer, especially in content writing and maybe in proofreading. I know I need to plan how am I going to do that, but I feel lack of confidence and I don’t really know where to start.

I think this will be a good opportunity to make my own income too. I’m still a student supported by my parents. But I just love the image of standing independently. Anyway, I am so sorry to bother you. I know that I need to have some good skill to become a freelance writer, and to become skilled, I need to learn and practice. And I don’t know how to do that.

Can you give me some tips or maybe some motivation?

Letters like this make me want to cry. Because I’m dedicated to helping freelance writers earn more!

I want to have tips and useful info for you. (And ESL writer or not, writers write in every language and there are clients all over the world, so any grammar errors you spot above are not important here.)

What’s the trouble then? When you ask me to give you some motivation, I’ve got nothing.

What to Do When Your Writing Sucks

Freelance writer worries her writing sucks

We all know what it feels like to read brilliant writing. It draws you in, awakens your emotions and leaves you feeling alive with personal revelations. Most of all, it changes you for the better.

So what happens when you read your own writing, and it doesn’t quite rise to that level?

Some writers will say, “I know I can do better.”

But too many will say, “This isn’t good enough, and never will be. I should just give up.”

This is the moment when self-criticism becomes unhealthy and debilitating to your career. Your writing is going nowhere because it can’t get past your toughest critic — you.

As a writer and new blogger, I’ve been there. I know negative thought patterns will always creep their way into my consciousness and threaten to shut me down. In order for my career to survive, I’ve developed a few techniques to help turn my harsh self-criticism into constructive learning and growth:

Business Writing: 11 Smart-Professor Lessons to Write Better

Business Writing: 11 Smart-Professor Lessons to Write Better

Business Writing Lessons for Freelance. Makealivingwriting.com

How do you get better at business writing?

You know…your new freelance client gives you a brief. You chat a few minutes about the project, ask questions, and get to work.

And then you have more questions, self doubt, maybe even writer’s block…

  • How do you write faster?
  • What software should you use?
  • How do you submit error-free copy?
  • Business formal or conversational style?

So many questions, your head starts to spin. Sound familiar?

How do you walk away from that client conversation with confidence you can handle their business writing project, deliver great content, and land more assignments?

The truth: It doesn’t happen overnight.

Think about it like learning to ride a bike. At first, it’s hard. Especially if you’re trying to figure it out on your own.

But you can dramatically speed up the process.

How? By learning from someone who knows the ropes, like a mentor, successful freelancer, and business writing professor.

Want to get better at business writing? Check out these smart lessons to move up and earn more.

Writing Skills: Steal My Efficiency Hacks to Hit Your Target Word Count

Writing Skills: Steal My Efficiency Hacks to Hit Your Target Word Count

Steal These Writing Skills to Hit Your Word Count. Makealivingwriting.com

Are you tired of trying to draft a 1,000-word article, only to find your first draft clocks in at 3,000 words? Then it’s time to gain some new writing skills and learn how to write to length.

A reader recently asked me if I had a resource on how to hit your word count, and I realized I didn’t.

Which is silly, because I had to write to assigned length on 3-4 print stories a week for 12 years, as a staff writer. Not to mention the hundreds of short blog posts I’ve written for clients since I got back into freelancing in 2005.

And then there was that one hard-ass editor at Entrepreneur who would refuse to read my draft if it was more than 10% over assigned length. Period. THAT schooled me, for sure!

Got some writing tips to share with you on how to avoid time-wasting and overwriting in your writing process.

Ready for a simple system to avoid overwriting? Let’s go! Here are 10 key steps to cut the blather and make sure your first draft is close to target length.

Writing Tips: 30 Freelancers Share Their Secrets in 30 Seconds or Less

Writing Tips: 30 Freelancers Share Their Secrets in 30 Seconds or Less

Writing Tips & Secrets in 30-Seconds or Less. Makealivingwriting.com

Need writing tips and advice, but you’re in a hurry?

There’s nothing wrong with poring over your library of books on freelancing for the best writing tips, techniques, and business practices.

But what if you’re perpetually short on time? There’s a good chance you don’t crack those writing books for another day, another week…

And that’s a problem if you want to ramp up your freelance writing business fast, need a shot of motivation, or a writing tip related to a current client project.

When I was fresh out of school, only a novice at my day job, I decided to be a writer. No marketing experience. No niche knowledge. Heck, I hadn’t even written a single word of business writing.

I needed a lot of writing tips and advice…fast. So I asked writers in my network a simple question:

If you had 30 seconds to give a new writer just one piece of advice, what would it be?

And they delivered a pay-dirt pile of advice about freelancing. Looking for writing tips to put you on the fast track to move up and earn more? Here you go:

Writing Tips: 10 Productivity Secrets From the Author of 1,000 Blog Posts

Writing Tips: 10 Productivity Secrets From the Author of 1,000 Blog Posts

Useful Writing Tips From 1,000 Blog Posts. Makealivingwriting.com

I’ve got some writing tips for you today, on how to crank out volumes of useful posts that draw a crowd. What’s the occasion? Well, in the past month, this blog hit two milestones: We published our 1,000th blog post, and hit roughly 1 million annual readers.

I wrote the vast majority of these posts (for several years, at the rate of five posts a week).

It isn’t just the posts here that I’ve written over the past decade, either. I also wrote posts daily for a year for BNET (remember them?), wrote 3-4 times a week for Entrepreneur.com for years, and contributed 165 posts to my Forbes channel, to name just a few of my paid blogging clients.

In all, I’ve written thousands of blog posts, since getting back into freelancing in 2005.

If you have trouble pushing ‘publish’ on your posts, and wonder how to produce volumes of quality work, here are my writing tips for maximum productivity:

How to Improve Your Writing: My Top 7 Fast-Acting Methods

How to Improve Your Writing: My Top 7 Fast-Acting Methods

How to Improve Your Writing: 7 Ways. Makealivingwriting.com

It’s rare that I meet a freelance writer who thinks their writing is good enough. It’s not just that you want to know how to improve your writing, either — you want to know how to do it in a hurry.

Ideally, quick enough to get you some better-paying freelance writing gigs, real soon.

It seems no one wants to become a strong writer the way I did it — namely, to file 3-4 stories each and every week, like I did for 12 years. Or to write 72 blog posts a month, like I did when I got back into freelance writing in 2005.

Everybody wants a shortcut. OK then! I think there are a few.

Here are my top seven ways to quickly improve your writing:

Article Writing Secrets of a CIA Analyst Turned Freelancer

Article Writing Secrets of a CIA Analyst Turned Freelancer

Article writing secrets the CIA knows. Makealivingwriting.com

If you want to improve your article writing skills, the Central Intelligence Agency probably isn’t your first place to look.

Yes. I’m talking about that CIA. The organization that feeds the President and senior officials information to keep us safe. I was an intelligence analyst for the CIA for 8 years, and spent most of my time writing for top policy makers.

Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes at the CIA?

It’s not exactly like living in a Jason Bourne movie. But there is a lot of information that requires article writing skills to keep people informed. Along the way, I uncovered article writing secrets at the CIA that helped me go from analyst to full-time freelancer.

It wasn’t easy. In this high pressure environment, I quickly learned to kill my purple prose, prioritize readability, and create impeccable work under pressure.

Want to improve your article writing skills, land better clients, and earn more?

Here are a few tips from inside the CIA to help you be a better freelance writer:

How to Be Original: 18 Ideas to Jump-Start Your Creativity

How to Be Original: 18 Tips for Writers. Makealivingwriting.com

Do you feel like everything has already been said? That it’s impossible to be original, in an age where everyone has instant access to everything?

Well, I disagree.

Fresh, original writers and bloggers emerge every day. Each of us is an utterly unique human being.

Yet originality remains a struggle for many writers. Here’s a typical comment I recently got on one of my blog posts:

“I run a blog and I’ve been trying to be original in my content. The more I try, the more I get less original.

“What’s your advice on this?” –Ifeanyi

When you feel like you have nothing fresh to contribute, it’s time to take a step back and shake up your creative process.

I put together this list of 18 originality-enhancing ideas because in Hebrew, the word for life, chai, has the numerical value of 18. Pump some new life into your writing with these!

Freelance Writing Lessons From a Rude Editor: 7 Takeaways

Freelance writing lessons from a rude editor. Makealivingwriting.com

For a while, I had a large client that hired many writers. My contact was an editor who managed the freelance staff. He was an abrupt man who spared no feelings.

At the time, I had only worked directly with clients. I could meet their goals, but my writing lacked force. I over-wrote, dismissed structure, and indulged my narcissism with unnecessary wit. I wasn’t bad, but I had that collegiate write-everything-you-can-think-of mentality.

My first experience working with a professional editor was heart-wrenching. It was a trial by fire: get better to get paid. But those lessons stuck with me and made me a better writer.

Want to improve your writing?

Avoid making the same mistakes as I did, and check out the seven hardest lessons this editor taught me:

Great Writing Gets the Gig — 4 Tips for Crafting Killer Sentences

Great Writing Gets the Gig -- 4 Tips for Crafting Killer Sentences

Want editors to trust you?

Well, you could flash your portfolio of published blue-chip writing their way.

Don’t have that? Show them great writing, from one concise, interesting sentence to the next.

I’ve been doing that for a decade, since a producer from Macmillan Publishers asked me for help debugging their e-books. They soon asked me to write their website copy. They were the first of many editors who trusted me — all because I learned the craft of writing well. That edge has paid off for me and others — and it’ll pay off for you.

Wondering how to craft sentences that make editors sit up and say “yes”? These four tips will make it happen:

Looking for writing courses & community support?

Our online community, Freelance Writers Den, was founded in 2011. Since then, we’ve helped 14,000+ writers connect with peers, improve their skills, and grow their freelance writing income.

Our lively community is stuffed with useful tools and career-building resources. Use our 24/7 forums to get your questions answered by pros. Tap our 300+ hours of self-study trainings to learn new skills.

The Den has live events and multi-week bootcamps where you can tap experts’ knowledge, an exclusive job board, accountability buddies, live chats, and more. Also, if you want feedback on your writer website, LinkedIn profile, or article draft, we’ve got you.

Visit the Freelance Writers Den site to see if we’re open for new members right now. Sign up on the waiting list if we’re not, and you’ll be first to join when we reopen (plus, you’ll get useful free resources in the meanwhile).