Sunday, October 02, 2016

How Freelance Writers Can Add Value that Editors Can't Resist


In the last decade, freelancers have become content providers in a fast-paced, visual, and connected world. When demand for articles dropped when print periodicals shrank in the economic slump of 2008-9 and now when competition is high, writers need to offer editors more than just an 800 word article to get published. Whether you are breaking into freelancing or you have been writing for years, you have no choice but to embrace today's reality.
Many periodicals provide their readers with both print and web versions. Some want more than just text to drive traffic to and fro between their magazine and website. To find out what added incentives a freelancer can offer editors, check their websites. You’ll be surprised how many publications use content other than articles and other mechanisms to entice and retain their readers. And it is their writers who provide it.
Once you know the array of value-added offerings magazines use regularly, you can develop the right mix. Here are some of the most common offerings freelancers must consider:
  • A variety of article lengths (feature (2000+), department (700-1200), and shorts (300-400)
  • A print version and an online version (think smartphone screens as well as tablets)
  • A choice of sidebars 
  • Images are essential for online articles and they should be yours if at all possible
  • Activity on social media sites to promote the periodical and your article(s). (Twitter and Instagram are the most effective, especially for travel writers)
  • Short video clips (with audio) for the website
  • A guest blog post
  • An author blog interview
  • A podcast that augments your text with IVs and sound effects (least important offering, IMO).
If you quail at the thought of using Twitter and/or Instagram or creating video clips, choose to pitch to magazines that don’t use them (though most employ Twitter with images).  Alternatively, learn how and start competing with writers who already offer these attractive options. Start adding value that editors can’t resist!

© Julie H. Ferguson 2016