The SEO Writing Business Challenge for Struggling Writers: Week 4

Written by Chrislyn Pepper
First let me say, Happy Halloween. Don’t forget to keep the kiddies safe! 🙂 Now, to the business of the day …

This is the last week of the challenge, but it isn’t the last of your marketing efforts. For Day 21, send your marketing emails, and replace your prospects as usual. Even if you haven’t had a response yet, continue marketing.

By the end of this challenge week, you have sent 20+ emails a day and located 20+ prospects per day for 21 days. So, marketing your business daily is your newest habit.

Note: Here are all four posts in this series — Part I, Part II, Part III, and you’re reading Part IV.

This is one habit, you don’t want to break. Don’t let the end of the challenge stop your marketing efforts.

Creating a “My Writing is a Business” Mentality

I share in my “Taking the Plunge” post  that my favorite passage from Yuwanda is how to judge when you’re an entrepreneur.  Well this week, the challenge aims to use your writing business to make you feel like one.

When the challenge is over, in addition to doing work you acquire, you still have to market. You have to decide what the best marketing methods are for your business and lifestyle. However, you can’t do that if you don’t try different methods to know what works for you.

How to Start a Successful SEO Writing Business: Interactive Challenge

Marketing Your Freelance Writing Business is a Personal Experience

What works for one person doesn’t always work for someone else. During this challenge, I push sending marketing emails because

  • it’s in the directions of the SEO Writing Manual
  • many people testify that the method works for them
  • there is no time restriction for writing and sending emails
  • ALL of my personal clients (even before SEO) are from this method, so it works for me.

In last week’s comments, Jean is passionate about picking up the phone and calling contacts, because it works for her. Article marketing works well for Yuwanda, and she mentions its many benefits in her e-books, on her websites and to her clients. The question is “what works for you?”

Well, let’s go on to the last week of the challenge and find out.

Week Four SEO Business Challenge Directions

Day 22:  

  1. Send 20 marketing emails & add 20 prospects to your marketing list.

Remember, if you have enough work, send 2 or 3 emails and add 2 or 3 prospects. On the other hand if you still don’t have enough work, then up the number of emails you send.  One reader swears by 40 per day even though she’s already busy.  Another says 100 per day works well.

  1. Choose a marketing method and research it.

Ways to Market Your SEO Writing Business

Part of being a small business owner is making decisions about where to take your business. You did know you are officially a small business owner, right? 🙂

Sooooo … go back to The Small Biz Owner’s Complete Marketing Kit, or get on Google, and pick out what you want to try next. Here are a few additional options to consider. Note: This list isn’t comprehensive by any means. Share in the comments what you’d add.

  • Classified Advertising
  • Article Marketing
  • Guest Posting
  • Internet Yellow Pages
  • Local Newspaper Ads
  • Magazine Writing/Ads
  • Newsletter/ E-zine
  • Pay-per-Click Ads
  • Podcasting
  • Radio Advertising
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Telemarketing
  • You Tube Videos
  • Website/ Blogging

Day 23:

  1. Send your marketing emails & add to your marketing database.
  1. Create a marketing plan

So far, your marketing plan has been done for you by the manual and the challenge. Now it’s time to create your own.  Don’t be overwhelmed. It’s just putting into writing what methods you want to use.

Be sure to include the existing methods we’ve covered. Well, only if you want to keep them. Also, don’t forget that more than one marketing method gives better results.

Day 24: 

  1. Send your marketing emails & add to your marketing database.
  1. Implement one part of your new marketing plan.

Make your daily steps simple.  If you decided to blog, today you should write down what your blog is going to be about.  If you decided to add social media, today you should sign up for at least one social media account or edit the profile of an old account.

Break down your new marketing addition into 5 digestible pieces. Then, complete one piece per day – starting today. By the end of the week, one marketing task is done.

Days 25 – 28 

  1. Send your marketing emails & add to your marketing database.

This furthers your habit of marketing daily. You need to hit 21 consecutive days.

  1. Keep implementing your new marketing plan.

Step by step until you reach the top. This time the top is based on your goals.

Congratulations!

You’ve Reached the End of the SEO Writing Business Challenge

How did you do? Yuwanda says the hardest part of this business is beginning.  If you did the challenge – you’ve begun.

What You Accomplished Throughout This Challenge

If you don’t have clients yet, they’re coming. Don’t be down, because you’ve done a lot by finishing the challenge. You have accomplished:

  • Choosing a niche
  • Creating a portfolio of writing samples
  • Creating a Web Presence
  • Learning to find prospects
  • Creating a marketing list
  • Creating and sending an email marketing campaign
  • Learning to write and distribute press releases
  • Following up with previous contacts

Good luck as your climb continues to a successful SEO writing business.

Share Your Thoughts

How did the challenge work out for you? Did you learn anything? Did you figure out some things you can do better, or some things you should stop doing? Did it give you more confidence to start/expand/niche your SEO writing business? Did you land any jobs? 

Please don’t forget to share in the comments section below AND send me a tweet with your page link and #SEOWritingjobs.com. Thanks in advance. Although it’s been a lot of hard work, I’ve enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned and hearing from everyone who’s written in.

About the Author: Chrislyn Pepper is a freelance, SEO blog writer. Her niche is SEO content writing for medical professionals, but she writes on a variety of subjects. Visit http://www.chrislynpepper.com to get blog content or SEO blog writing tips. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter. Chrislyn Pepper turns blogs into building blocks for businesses.

P.S.: The SEO Copywriting Class Taught in Jamaica Will be Here Before You Know It. Sign Up Today!

P.P.S.: Earn Extra $$ Every Month by Offering Social Media Consulting Along with Your SEO Writing Services.

How to Become an SEO Consultant

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing. That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Content Writer Average Salary, Fall 2012

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.

The SEO Writing Business Challenge for Struggling Writers: Week 3

Written by Chrislyn Pepper

Today is Day 14.

If you are behind, here’s another catch up day. Your job today is to read the first part of this series and the articles I’ve linked to. Then, send out 20 marketing emails and add 20 prospects to your list.

We’ve started marketing, and we can’t stop now. I know I don’t have to remind you that consistency is the key to our successful writing businesses. So, expect to keep sending out those emails and add to your marketing list. We’re forming a daily habit of reaching out.

Note: Here are all four posts in this series — Part I, Part II, you’re reading Part III, and Part IV.

Expanding Your Marketing Reach to Get More SEO Clients

For week 3, our multi-tasking days continue. You should be getting comfortable locating potential clients and contacting them by email. Unfortunately, this is just one way to market, and we have to diversify to get the results we want.

Our manual gives us options on how to reach clients, but I’m going to push the envelope with this challenge. We’re going to add an additional method of marketing this week – writing and distributing SEO press releases.

Announcing Your SEO Business Using a Press Release

I’ve learned from comments that many of you are like I am. You’re not sure if you have something to announce to the world.  You’re a little afraid of announcing it and failing. Plus, you aren’t sure you really know how to write a press release.

Am I right?

Well, get over it. As Yuwanda mentioned in a recent post, fears will undermine your confidence. We let our fears hold us back from what we want to achieve. Or, you can look at it this way:

This is business, and the boss says you need to write and send a press release.

You wouldn’t question it if you were doing it for someone else. You would find some examples on your own and do it the best you can. When you’re the boss, you have to treat tasks the same as you would for someone giving you a steady paycheck.

You have a service. It’s new to you, your area and the world. You have a skill and you’re going to focus on getting the word out to everyone in as many affordable ways possible.

If you’re hesitant because you aren’t sure this is the right “next step” for your business, read about why writing a press release is an effective marketing tool.

OK, here we go with week three.

The SEO Writing Business Challenge: Week 3

Week Three SEO Business Challenge Directions

Day 15:  

  1. Send 20 marketing emails & add 20 prospects to your marketing list.

For those of you that already have enough work, you can drop down to 5 emails & 5 prospects per day (or even 2 if you are really busy). Just remember that no matter how busy you are, don’t stop marketing.

  1. Create a letterhead for your writing business.

This can be as simple as your name, address and email in fonts that you like. You can take the time to create a logo, add a short mission statement, etc. It may just match the top of your webpage. Your letterhead is the header for your press release, so make it professional.

Day 16:  

  1. Send your 20 marketing emails & add 20 to your marketing database.

Feel like you’re listening to a broken record yet? Let’s go on to today’s next task.

  1. Write a SEO press release about your new business, specialty and location.

If you don’t know how to write a press release, the manual we’re following comes with the bonus, The Small Biz Owner’s Complete Marketing Kit.  The kit includes a detailed section on writing press releases. Yuwanda’s article bank has press release writing directions. Also, I signed up for Udemy.com’s How to Write a Press Release, because it’s free and uses video training.

Day 17: 

  1. Send your marketing emails & add to your marketing database.
  2. Re-read, share and/or edit your press release.

Since we’re doing something new, I don’t want to have you send it off into the ethos without checking it thoroughly with well-rested eyes.

Day 18: 

  1. Send 20 marketing emails & add 20 prospects to your marketing list.
  2. Distribute your press release to several free sources.

There are several places to distribute your press release for free. Creative Genius’ hub page has a long list that he ranks based on quality. He also gives optimization tips for your press releases.

Day 19: 

  1. Send out 140 follow-up marketing emails

I know what you’re thinking. Did she say 140? It’s the end of the month. People are trying to meet deadlines. I found that reminding marketing companies at the end of the month instead of the beginning gets you last minute requests.

So, send a follow-up email to every person you contacted up until Day 15.

  1. Send 10 marketing emails to prospects, and add 10 new prospects.

Yes, I reduced it from 20. Next month, make sure you try this around the 25th to give clients more time to respond.

Day 20: 

  1. Send 20 marketing emails & add 20 prospects to your marketing list.

Yes, we’re back to 20.  If you have plenty of work to do, send 2 to 5 emails instead.

It takes me a while to send marketing emails, because I like to personalize them. Plus, I’m still sending emails to people I contacted before the challenge, and I’m sure you are too. So, if you haven’t finished sending your 140 (or however many) from yesterday – now’s the time.

That’s it for this week. I still want you to tweet your successes. Oh, and be sure to post comments and questions about how you are doing with the challenge.

Stay tuned for Part IV — the final part — next Thursday!

Share Your Thoughts

How’s the challenging going for you so far? Are you finding it helpful? Inspiring? It’s NEVER too late to join by the way. If you do, please don’t forget to send me a tweet with your page link and #SEOWritingjobs.com, and then post it in the comments below.

About the Author: Chrislyn Pepper is a freelance, SEO blog writer. Her niche is SEO content writing for medical professionals, but she writes on a variety of subjects. Visit http://www.chrislynpepper.com to get blog content or SEO blog writing tips. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter. Chrislyn Pepper turns blogs into building blocks for businesses.

P.S.: The SEO Copywriting Class Taught in Jamaica Will be Here Before You Know It. Sign Up Today!

P.P.S.: Earn Extra $$ Every Month by Offering Social Media Consulting Along with Your SEO Writing Services.

How to Become an SEO Consultant

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing. That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Content Writer Average Salary, Fall 2012

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.

 

The SEO Writing Business Challenge For Struggling Freelance Writers: Week 2

Written by Chrislyn Pepper

Hello to my soon-to-be extremely successful SEO writing business colleagues.  I trust that you have completed all of your tasks from week one.  If not, go back to the week one post, and get busy catching up.

Note: Here are all four posts in this series — Part I, you’re reading Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

Today is Day 7.  In addition to catching up, your task is to read this post and the linked articles to see what’s expected for the coming week. 🙂

SEO Writing Business Challenge Details

If you have already read the directions in “How-to Make $250 or More Per Day Writing Simple 500Word Articles”, you know how we’re going to spend this week – creating a marketing foundation. I’m breaking everything down into step-by-step chunks.  Yes, it may take longer, but Yuwanda took three weeks to form a stable foundation to her SEO writing business before she started marketing.

This is just two.

This is also the start of your multi-tasking days. I have no idea how long it will take you. I don’t see these tasks as unreasonable even for challenge participants who are working full-time. Dig deep, and get everything done.

The SEO Writing Business Challenge for Struggling Freelancers

Creating a Marketing Foundation for Your SEO Business

Yuwanda has frequently written about the importance of consistent marketing. This is the part that’s going to make or break our SEO writing business.  Sometime today, read (or re-read) her advice on “How to Find the Right Clients for Your Freelance Writing Business”. These are the things to keep in mind during this part of the challenge.

So, let’s get right to it.

Week Two SEO Business Challenge Directions

Day 8:

1. Create an email address for your marketing efforts.

This can be on your site if you have a domain or Gmail if you are using free options. The point is that you want a clean email address that you know is only for your SEO business. Set it up to notify you of emails by phone if you have a smartphone.

2. Format a spreadsheet for your contact list.

I chose to use an email contact program to hold target info for my SEO blog writing business. For this challenge though, I’m following the directions exactly and am using a basic spreadsheet and calendar.  If you don’t have a spreadsheet program, download one. It doesn’t matter if it’s Open Office or Microsoft Excel Starter.  Both are free.

Remember this June quick freelance writer’s marketing tip about annotating your contact list? You want to make sure you have all of your headings in place including columns for contact dates. At a minimum, use company name, website address, contact name, email address and phone number.

Days 9:

1. Write your marketing email.

Target this email to your niche audience as Yuwanda’s describes in the SEO writing master book.  Since we have one specific audience, it should be easy to pull related experience from your web pages’ professional profile.

2. Add to your marketing database. Get at least 20 contacts.  If you do more, that’s even better.  Several of your contacts are going to come back as invalid addresses.  These don’t count as contacts since you didn’t reach anyone.  So, it helps to have a few extra in your database beyond those you need to reach.

Days 10 – 13:

1. Send 20 marketing emails to your audience.

We’re at the very beginning and until you have more work than you can handle, this is where you start. I missed this in the SEO writing book the first go-round and was sending 5 for each day. For this challenge, we won’t make that mistake.

2. Add at least 20 contacts to your marketing database. It’s simple. We need to add as many as we send out, so we don’t run out. Remember, more is better. So, if you can get in 25 – do it!

That’s it for this week. When you get your first writing order, send me a tweet (#SEOWritingJobs.com).  We all need to see your success. Post a comment and let me know how the challenge is coming for you or if you have any questions.

Stay tuned for Part III next Thursday!

Share Your Thoughts

Are you up for this challenge? It’s not too late to join. If so, please don’t forget to send me a tweet with your page link and #SEOWritingjobs.com, and then post it in the comments below.

About the Author: Chrislyn Pepper is a freelance, SEO blog writer. Her niche is SEO content writing for medical professionals, but she writes on a variety of subjects. Visit http://www.chrislynpepper.com to get blog content or SEO blog writing tips. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter. Chrislyn Pepper turns blogs into building blocks for businesses.

P.S.: The SEO Class in Jamaica Will be Here Before You Know It. Sign Up Today!

P.P.S.: Earn Extra $$ Every Month by Offering Social Media Consulting Along with Your SEO Writing Services.

How to Become an SEO Consultant

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing. That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Content Writer Average Salary, Fall 2012

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.

 

The SEO Writing Business Challenge For Struggling Freelance Writers: Week 1

Written by Chrislyn Pepper

My head is filled with dreams of the kind of SEO writing business I want to have. The problem is I don’t have it yet.  I’m beginning to feel like Atlas the way life’s circumstances are bearing down on me.

“How do you cope when bills are due and neither payments nor work for your SEO writing business are coming in?”

I’ve been trying to do quite a few things to get my SEO blogging business’ still waters moving again. I’m gathering from Yuwanda’s posts, summer comments and the other Inkwell editorial contributors that this is a busy time for them. I didn’t get any SEO orders for September and had to spend a lot of time writing for content mills, which is discouraging.

Even though my business hasn’t really picked up anymore, I’m still marketing. I keep telling myself, “Keep doing something every day for your SEO business, and eventually, you’ll hit pay dirt.

Note: Here are all four posts in this series — You’re reading Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

The SEO Writing Business Challenge, Part I

Go Back to the Beginning

One of the things I always do when something isn’t working right is to re-read the instructions.  I like to make sure I’m not doing something wrong. For my SEO business, this is Yuwanda’s Master SEO Writing Package, prior posts on SEOwritingjobs.com and a few (very few) hardback books I purchased early in my non-fiction writing career.

While re-reading posts, I came back across Yuwanda’s answer to another writer going through this exact same experience.  It made me want to share this with you now in case you’re like me and aren’t so busy right now.

We can be a support to each other. 🙂

Although I could go into detail about what I think I’m doing right or wrong, I just don’t believe that’ll help you.  However, challenging you can benefit both of us.

So, here’s the gist of it . . .

Let’s Learn to Follow Directions EXACTLY as They’re Written

(Until We Profit)

I read Robert Bly’s The Copywriter’s Handbook, 3rd edition, again (One of those few hard books I have).  One thing struck me this time that really didn’t hit home before starting my SEO copywriting business:

Originality gets conversation – not sales.

That’s not an exact quote. Plus, he was referring to advertising when he explains this concept. But . . . I’ve had a lot of conversations about engaging my writing services and only a few sales. I can’t help but think it’s because of changes I made to the original instructions:

  • I chose higher rates
  • I added more pages and features to my website
  • I didn’t send out the same number of marketing emails
  • I have too many writing samples on too many subjects within the medical niche.

So, if I want to make this business work, I need to try to do exactly what Yuwanda’s testimonials show works. I can worry about making changes when the bills are paid, and I’m overwhelmed with work.

I’m betting the same goes for you.

THE SEO Writing Business Challenge Details

If you don’t have the SEO Writing Package, you’re going to find it hard to keep up. It’s doable by subscribing and going through a ton of old posts.  At the very least you should get Yuwanda’s “How-to Make $250 or More Per Day Writing Simple 500-Word Articles.”  This is the manual we’re going to follow to a “T”, and it’ll save you a ton of time as it has all you need.

Week One Directions:

Day 1: You need to choose one niche audience to target. Note the word AUDIENCE.  My articles on choosing a niche should have left you with at least 3 niches to use.

Choose the one that has a clearly defined market.  Post your name, your audience in the comments below. You can also send me a tweet to @chrislynpepper with these details and “#SEOWritingJobs.com”.  I’ll send you tweets with challenge reminders this month.

Days 2 – 4:  Write 3 – 6 SEO articles that suit your chosen target audience. Be sure to follow the directions in formatting your SEO articles. Include all of the new tips Yuwanda gave to Penguin-proof your writing.

Day 5 – 6: Create your one-page website as described in the e-book.

If you already have a website, great! Double-check that your website follows tips given in this freelance writer website review. Make sure you have a web design and blog posts relevant to your audience. Make a note of what you think you need to change, and set it aside.

Then, create one page on your website that follows the directions and style of the linked sample in the e-book. This is the page we’re going to market. Please, send me a tweet with your page link and #SEOWritingjobs.com, and then post it in the comments below.

For Struggling SEO Writers Only

If you’re already running a successful SEO writing business, this challenge isn’t for you, sorry. 🙁

We aren’t thinking about rates or services, because the original business only offers $25 per 500 word articles and $15 per 300 word blog posts. (At the time, blog posts were called 300-word SEO articles). If you make more than this, don’t go backward for this challenge.

Another reason this is for struggling SEO writers is that I’m mimicking Yuwanda’s directions.  You’re already past this point, and I can’t help the people I’m following. I’m praying for the results others have written about and wanting to take several other struggling writers along for the ride.

That said, I’m doing the same things you are throughout this challenge. Plus, I’ll be commenting on the post pages and tweeting my results. Remember, this challenge is about following directions and getting sales, not being original.

We can be original later.

COMING UP IN PART II NEXT WEEK: AN EXCERPT

Creating a Marketing Foundation for Your SEO Business

Yuwanda has frequently written about the importance of consistent marketing. This is the part that’s going to make or break our SEO writing business.  Sometime today, read (or re-read) her advice on “How to Find the Right Clients for Your Freelance Writing Business”. These are the things to keep in mind during this part of the challenge.

So, let’s get right to it.

Week Two SEO Business Challenge Directions:

Day 8:

  1. Create an email address for your marketing efforts.

This can be on your site if you have a domain or Gmail if you are using free options. The point is that you want a clean email address that you know is only for your SEO business. Set it up to notify you of emails by phone if you have a smartphone.

Share Your Thoughts

Are you up for this challenge? If so, please don’t forget to send me a tweet with your page link and #SEOWritingjobs.com, and then post it in the comments below. 

About the Author: Chrislyn Pepper is a freelance, SEO blog writer. Her niche is SEO content writing for medical professionals, but she writes on a variety of subjects. Visit http://www.chrislynpepper.com to get blog content or SEO blog writing tips. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter. Chrislyn Pepper turns blogs into building blocks for businesses.

P.S.: The SEO Class in Jamaica Will be Here Before You Know It. Sign Up Today!

P.P.S.: Earn Extra $$ Every Month by Offering Social Media Consulting Along with Your SEO Writing Services.

How to Become an SEO Consultant

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing. That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Content Writer Average Salary, Fall 2012

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.

 

SEO Writers: What You Need to Know about Google’s Newest Algorithm Change, Hummingbird

Written by Yuwanda Black

Google’s recent algorithm change — named Hummingbird — puts an end to the “keyword era,” as one prominent social media and content strategist puts it.

Hummingbird Algorithm: What You Need to Know

Following is an in-depth recap of what freelance / SEO writers need to know about Hummingbird.

I. Launch Date: Hummingbird was announced on Google’s blog on September 26th, but it had been implemented about a month before.

II. Keywords Less Important: The focus is on semantics, ie, voice. Because more and more of us are using mobile devices to get information, Google is shifting away from keywords to deliver results.

You see, we speak differently than we type. So if a person is asking for information via a mobile device, their voice directions are going to be longer and more involved. As explained in the linked-to article above, How Google is Forcing Your Content to Get Better:

. . . how we ask for information via voice differs from how we ask for information via typed phrases (voice searches are typically longer and can be more vague and amorphous).

III. The Focus is On Mobile: As touched on in the point just above, the focus of this change is clearly on mobile — ie, making search easier via mobile devices. This makes sense when you consider the fact that mobile devices are taking the place of PCs and desktop computers (does anybody use these anymore?).

Google Hummingbird Algorithm Update: FAQs
Mobile Device Users and Search: Some Statistics

Following are some statistics on mobile devices and search which makes it easy to see why Google is focusing on making mobile search easier:

70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour (this of course means that businesses are pouring their dollars into attracting mobile customers, which is why Google wants to make it easy. It’s simple, they’re going where the money is).

40% of people conduct searches on their tablet

60% of people who use their phone to conduct their searches.

45% of users 18-29 use mobile search daily. [Source: iAcquire, Mobile Behavior: Big Game Seating — A Study with SurveyMonkey]

IV. Social Media Signals Even More Important: As discussed in the VentureBeat article, Things, not strings: How Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm sets the stage for  the future of mobile search:

While the Google of a decade ago was focused on delivering search results based  solely on queries, the Google of today is drawing insights from a variety of  other signals — location, social connections, and even your previous searches.

V. Number of Sites Affected Worldwide: According to the Search Engine Journal post, Google Hummingbird, and what it means for Online Marketers & SEO, Hummingbird affected 90% of searches worldwide; by comparison, Google’s Penguin 2.0 update only affected about 3%.

VI. Google+ Will Become Even More Important: You could see this coming a mile away — I mean if social signals are increasingly important in search, of course Google is going to make it’s social networking platform as competitive as possible. This is discussed in the Search Engine Journal post linked to above as well.

VII. More Changes in the Future: Conversational search, latent semantic indexing, semantic searching, etc., are all terms you’ll probably hear bandied about when discussing Hummingbird. And it’s because it’s the future of search — something you can bet Google will be improving on — which means more updates along these lines in the future.

Part of the reason is mobile devices allow us to use voice (instead of a key pad) to conduct searches, as discussed above. Also, it’s harder to manipulate search results driven by these types of searches, eg, using keywords (eg, keyword stuffing).

VIII. How to Tell If Your Site Has Been Affected: As it’s been in effect since late August, if your site hasn’t lost any traffic, then you’re more than likely ok. So go back to your website’s traffic logs around this time period (late August up until now) and see what’s happened.

IX. What Hummingbird Means for SEO As We Know It: According to the Search Engine Land post, FAQ: All About The New Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm, we have nothing to worry about. SEO is not dead, and fresh, original, helpful content still rules, ie:

No, SEO is not yet again dead. In fact, Google’s saying there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. (emphasis added) Guidance remains the same, it says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.

So there you have it, a rundown on Google’s Hummingbird algorithm change.

X. What Hummingbird Means for SEO Writers

Following is how I’m proceeding . . .

(a) Like with Penguin 2.0, focus less on keywords in your copy. Write themed SEO content, as opposed to keyword-driven copy (you should have been doing this since at least Penguin 2.0 anyway);

(b) Seek to answer questions in your copy, ie, what would a web surfer want to know about this topic that I can address in detail in my article. FYI, a good way to do this is to use answer sites like Yahoo! Answers to find out what web searchers want to know;

(c) Continue to use Google’s SEO writing guidelines; and

(d) Create original, informative, in-depth content.

(e) Get active on social media (ie, distribute your content), especially Google+.

If you do all of this, no change Google comes up with should upset you. And even if your site does lose some rank, remember, if you haven’t violated any rules: (i) there’s nothing you can do about it, so why worry; and (ii) oftentimes sites take a dive then come back even stronger in results (again, if you haven’t run afoul of any of Google’s guidelines.

So spend your time creating great content and sharing it, and don’t worry about what Google is doing.

Share Your Thoughts?

Has your site lost rank because of Hummingbird? Did you even know about this algorithm change? Will Hummingbird make search better or worse? Please share in the comments section below.

P.S.: The SEO Class in Jamaica Will be Here Before You Know It. Sign Up Today!

P.P.S.: Earn Extra $$ Every Month by Offering Social Media Consulting Along with Your SEO Writing Services.

How to Become an SEO Consultant

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing. That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Content Writer Average Salary, Fall 2012

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.

 

How to Become More Confident as a Freelance SEO Writer: 4 Steps

Written by Yuwanda Black

I received the following question from a fairly new SEO writer last week. I decided to answer it because it goes to the heart of what so many new freelance writers experience – fear and a lack of confidence. This newbie wrote:

Hey Yuwanda!

When do the knots stop twisting in your stomach when you submit articles to clients, guest posts to blogs, etc.?  I never had this feeling when I had a full-time job and was looky-loo writing (see #2 in this post). I don’t even get this feeling writing for content mills.

MY ANSWER

In my opinion, when the “knots in your stomach” feeling goes away depends to a large degree on the type of person you are. And, what I mean by this is, are you naturally confident or naturally a self-doubter.

Do You Struggle with Confidence as a Freelance Writer?

I’ve said this somewhere before in one of my posts here or on this site’s parent site, InkwellEditorial.com, but I once heard on Oprah that all emotions stem from two primary ones – fear and love.

Now, these can be masked as many different things, eg, love can manifest itself as infatuation, joy, empathy, etc. Fear can present as procrastination, lack of confidence, laziness, knots in your stomach, etc.

When you couple this with your own personal emotional history — eg: were you raised in an encouraging, loving, supportive environment; or were you raised to be afraid to take chances and have your dreams shot down – it can wreak havoc with how you perceive things because all of this makes us who we are and how we respond to situations.

For example, I was raised by loving, supportive parents who encouraged me to follow my dreams – whatever they were. All three of my parents (mom, dad, stepdad) never put any limits on what I was encouraged to be. My parents were also entrepreneurs – and they taught me that failure was just a stumbling block; a clue to take another direction (NOT give up).

Because of this, I’ve always had the confidence to try new and different things – and when you’re in business for yourself – this helps a lot, believe me!

Confidence is a very fragile thing; my sisters and I often say that it’s the greatest gift our parents gave us because so much of what you will/will not experience in life depends on having that type of foundational courage under you.

How to Become a More Confident Freelance SEO Writer

How to Become More Confident as a Freelance SEO Writer: 4 Steps

If you don’t have it, it can be developed. Following are four steps to take to make you feel more confident – and get those knots in your stomach to not appear so often.

I. Identify What’s Making You Feel Less Confident: In answer to this freelancer’s question specifically, is it the subject matter you’re tackling (eg, you’re not familiar with it); is it your writing style; do you feel you don’t have a handle on what the client wants; etc.

It can be any number of things. So jot down why you feel this way when you turn in content to clients.

II. Assess If These are Real Fears or Something Else: Take what you’ve written and to the best of your ability, ask yourself if these are real problems, or something else (eg, you’re not a naturally confident person and tend to doubt yourself all the time – even about things you know you’re good at).

If you can’t get a handle on this, ask someone who knows you really well to help you. Let them look at what you wrote in #I above and see what they say. Sometimes having an outside opinion can help clarify things we don’t see ourselves.

III. Take Action: As in, identify some concrete things you can do to overcome your fears.

For example, if you feel that you really don’t get what the client wants, ask more questions when you take on a project, and ask for feedback on work you’ve already turned in.

Don’t drill clients (most are busy and don’t’ have time to be a pop psychologist) but devise a simple “follow-up feedback sheet” with a few questions that can give you some insight you can use to improve your services.

And BELIEVE what clients tell you – especially the good stuff.

It’s amazing how the human psyche works. We can have 100 people tell us we’re great at something, and only 1 who says we suck at it and what do we remember, the one sucky comment.

Don’t sabotage yourself like this. If a client tells you you’re doing a great job and they continue to place orders with you, believe them and remember it when have those less-than-confident feelings.

IV. Believe, Believe, Believe: Believe in yourself, especially when you’re feeling less than confident.

I have my doubtful moments sometimes, but I always tell myself that if somebody else did something, then I can too (within reason). And freelance writing is something I can definitely do – and do well.

While writing is definitely a skill, most of it is not rocket science. If you can write reasonably well and do research, you can become a successful freelance SEO writer.  Don’t overthink it and keep this simple concept in mind at all times.

As I’ve written elsewhere, when I doubt myself, I repeat as many corny, new agey, drippy, gooey, sweet, positive, inspirational phrase I can think of. Then, I remind myself that it’s just writing; again, it’s not rocket science.

Your internal dialogue is very important to building self-confidence. So when you feel down on yourself, immediately repeat some positive phrase, read back over testimonials from clients who told you you’ve done a great job, phone friend who always cheers you up . . . whatever it is, don’t let the negative set in. Immediately counter that dialogue with something positive.

If you make this a habit, you’d be amazed at how your confidence will grow, and how you naturally start to think more positively too.

A Direct Answer

In direct answer to your question of “When do the knots stop twisting in your stomach when you submit articles to clients,” probably never. Some projects still make me a little queasy – usually when it’s something out of my comfort zone.

On those projects, I tend to go overboard in researching, writing and editing – and turn in much more that what the client wanted/expected. This of course usually means that they love it.

I hope this insight has helped.

Share Your Thoughts?

Do you struggle with self-confidence as an SEO writer? Do certain types of clients/projects scare you? How do you handle a “confidence crisis?” Please share in the comments section below.

Related Post: SEO Copywriting: Q’s from Readers Losing Jobs & Those Who Want to Know How to Make More Money Per Article  (I discuss fear and how to handle it in this post)

Jamaica!

I’m back until late December and so will be updating the Living in Jamaica series soon.

P.S.: The SEO Class in Jamaica Will be Here Before You Know It. Sign Up Today!

P.P.S.: Earn Extra $$ Every Month by Offering Social Media Consulting Along with Your SEO Writing Services.

How to Become an SEO Consultant

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing. That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Content Writer Average Salary, Fall 2012

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.

 

SEO Writing Advice: How I Went from $15 to $450 Per Article in Under 90 Days

Written by Dan Stetler

So I got started in the whole SEO copywriting profession because of Yuwanda’s e-book How to Make $250+/Day Writing Simple, 500-Word Articles. It was very timely because my other profession, where I made $13 per hour at the age of 28, was clearly coming to an end.  The managerial position offered $15 per hour, was salaried at 40 hours, required you to work 50, and had below-average benefits.

Needless to say, my career aspirations were down in the dumps.

I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I had no money and no skills – or so I thought. A friend introduced me to the e-book (ironically he’s now a traditional sales page copywriter and not an SEO copywriter)…

And Things Started Off with a Bang!

I priced myself in at $25 per article because I just wanted to have an income at the time. Even though those are comparatively low rates, I was making around $3000 per month right off the bat – now that was cool!

I was somewhat lucky to land clients right off the bat because I’ve found that even though I’m much, much more skilled now, it’s still tough as hell to land new clients and keep them.

Anyway, I slowly pushed those rates up from $25, and eventually up to $50. At one point, I had one client who offered $15 per article and I took it because I just wanted assurance there would be something coming in.

SEO Writing Advice on How to Land Higher-Paying Clients

Then I Started Learning Some Things . . .

Over time, I followed a number of different freelance writing website owners who write to new and intermediate freelance writers and give career advice, just like Inkwell Editorial.

What I found out is that SEO copy is paid way at the bottom.  Pro writers easily get $1 per word for magazine articles.  Website copywriters get $300 per page.

So of course, my natural question was, “How do they get those rates?”

It was also starting to get very grueling working for some clients.  For the right client who never complains, $30 an article isn’t too bad of a rate.  For the obnoxious client who can’t stop complaining, $300 isn’t enough!  But, I wasn’t charging $300 – they were getting the same rate as other clients, around $25.

It was driving me nuts, almost to the point where I was ready to cry some days!

One Thing Became Clear: SEO Companies Do Not Know the Real Value of Quality Writing

Sorry, I have to vent a little here, but it’s mostly to help out new and intermediate SEO copywriters who don’t understand the state of the market, but a little bit for selfish reasons too.

Long story short, SEO companies love to complain about content until it becomes the way they want it, which might not be very good for readers.  What I learned is they, and their clients, focus on the wrong stuff – keywords, content length, and promoting the company and its products endlessly.  They do not understand how much work it takes to research, edit, and learn the language to use when discussing their products and services on their website or in a blog article.

To write a really good blog article with specific statistics, active voice language, and actionable content takes a couple hours.  And it takes a smart brain to do that, but most SEO companies and professionals don’t realize that.

Unfortunately, it is at times the reality of the industry.

The Game-Changing Proposition Comes my Way

Actually, a couple of them did.  At the time, I still worked with an obnoxious client who paid $15 per article.  And he wanted everything spot on.

I figured that I had to take a risk and get out, otherwise I would literally scream bloody murder!

Another client approached me at around the same time and said she would list me as her primary SEO copywriter because she liked my work so much (she listed 9 or so on her website).  I listed my rates as $30 per article with her at the time, and I told her that in order to do the quality work I did, I now needed to charge $100 per article.  She didn’t bat an eye and said that it was totally fine and understandable.

Not too much longer thereafter, within the space of 90 days, another good client/business partner approached me about some “authority industry articles” he wanted me to write for some clients.  I said I’d be happy to and was considering charging $250 for such articles (1000 words), but I figured, why not go for it and charge $450.  He didn’t blink an eye either!

Why These Clients Were Happy to Pay Higher Prices

Here’s what both had in common:  both SEOs knew I could write specific, actionable content that educates and informs.  In other words, they knew it drives a lot of value for their clients, and that Google’s only going to want more of the stuff.

In the second case, that gentleman knew how to communicate the value content provides his clients.  And, the particular client came back for additional service because the services he received helped his business really take off!

He knows that optimized SEO content acts as a 24/7/365 salesman for a single up-front cost.

If companies could pay a salesman just once in exchange for many sales for years on end, who wouldn’t want to hire that guy?

Most SEO writers, unfortunately, think of how long it takes them to produce the content when pricing their services.  However, the thinking should be, “If my client is going to get 2-3 leads from this content during the year, and each one is worth $3000, why shouldn’t I be charging at least $200 for a well-researched, informative article?”

Unfortunately, the Industry Mentality Lags Behind Google’s Reality

Now, I’m not saying you can’t charge these same rates, but it’s going to be hard if SEO agencies are your clients because they often have no clue what it takes to produce good content, or even what it really is.

What I will say to you is this:  no matter who you are, you can charge $50 for any type of page and feel comfortable with it.

Any SEO who tries to convince you otherwise or haggles your prices will only be a pain in the long run because their focus is price, not quality.  When you charge higher rates, like $50 per page, you get better quality clients who don’t complain as much.

If you can identify an SEO client who really understands the value of content, you may be able to move your prices up much, much higher.  But, you can feel 100% comfortable starting out at $50, even if you just started the profession yesterday and don’t have a website.

What About People Who Work for $5 Per Page and Clients Who Insist This is a Market Rate?

In most cases, when a client has a price in mind, you can’t convince them of anything different.  That’s why you set your prices where you think they should be and don’t give in to anyone for any reason.  The whiners and complainers will go away, and the good clients will hang around.

Unfortunately, there are many writers around who think $5 is fair, which gives some SEOs the impression that’s a fair rate.

Ask yourself this question:  what kind of “professional” charges $5 ($20 per hour or so) for their services?

I can’t name one either!  Mechanics charge at least $80, and they’re the cheapest I can think of.  For whatever reason, people don’t understand the work that goes into writing compelling copy/content, and it’s up to you and I to educate them.

Anyway, I hope this story inspires those of you just starting out or who are stuck in a rut.

Things change if you keep working on them and give your best at all times.

About the Author: Dan Stelter is a Chicago freelance copywriter who specializes in website copywriting.  You can find his website at http://www.freelancewriterinchicago.com/

P.S.: Earn Extra $$ Every Month by Offering Social Media Consulting Along with Your SEO Writing Services.

How to Become an SEO Consultant

P.P.S.: FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing. That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Content Writer Average Salary, Fall 2012

Get trained as an SEO copywriter, and gain the knowledge you need to start a thriving, home-based SEO writing business.

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.