That’s It. I Quit! I’m Not Searching for SEO Writing Jobs Anymore!

Publisher Note: This guest poster has asked to remain anonymous, but all the details divulged here are true. This post was received on 11/28/2013.

On a seasonal note, today is the first day of Kwanzaa. Have a happy one if you celebrate this joyous holiday. Now, to today’s post …

I Quit!”

I hate to lose.

But, I hate it even more if someone sees me lose.

So, in October when people were posting about how great they did with the SEO Writing Challenge, I was close to pulling a disappearing act from freelance writing. I couldn’t understand what was going wrong or why. To be honest, I still don’t know.

This wasn’t the slow season for writing, but my response rate had dropped tremendously. The few people who WERE responding weren’t ordering and were wasting my time.

I was plugging away at my marketing emails for nothing.  I had dropped my rates to land cheap writing jobs and that wasn’t working either. I even took a commenter’s advice, and tied up and gagged my kids to get a little time on the phone to speak to potential clients. (Not literally, folks.  Don’t call child services just yet.)

Why I Almost Quit Being a Freelance SEO Writer

Writing for Pennies

My SEO writing sources for earning money were dwindling.

I worked for a company paying $11 for 300 words that went down to $8 for 400 words and then stopped requesting articles altogether.  I wrote for another company that pays $8 for 350 words if your writing sells, but no one bought my writing.

Not to be conceited, but I knew I was a decent writer. I knew I could deliver high-quality writing if the right people gave me a chance. I just wasn’t getting that chance.

I felt like I hit a horrible run of bad luck or had gotten cursed. After that, I saw two typos in my guest post submissions after sending them.

That’s when I seriously considered quitting full-time SEO writing.

Unable to Land Even Minimum Wage-Like Jobs

So much so that I applied for several jobs:

  • Cashier at a grocery store,
  • Teller at a bank,
  • Porter for car lot’s customers
  • Clerk for a dollar store
  • Sales associate at an auto parts store
  • Crew member at two fast food restaurants, and
  • Customer service agent at a money store

Then, something that I totally didn’t think was possible happened to me.

They ALL refused to hire me!

That’s right. For one reason or another, every one of them said, “No”. Now if you thought I was having a pity party before, I was almost ape nuts after I couldn’t get a job in a fast food restaurant.

So, I did what anyone in my shoes would do – I cried, prayed and wrote about it.

Only I was in bed writing in my journal where no one could see. It wasn’t helping me, my family or anyone else.  It took a whole weekend of wallowing to suck it up.

I realized I had to pull myself together.

When I did, I started writing for less than a penny-a-word.  It’s something I haven’t done in years, but it didn’t matter.  I needed $30 to keep on my internet, and then I needed another $30 for my water bill. In a week, I was floating just under sea level and grabbing a few breaths by writing for content marketplaces – and the really low-paying ones at that.

I learned I’m nowhere near a fast enough writer to survive writing for $7 for 500 words; let alone $0.99 for 500 words even if it’s article re-writing.

Through all of this, I still kept sending emails, marketing to new followers on Twitter and posting to my blog. I changed my blogs around and changed them again.  I went after potential clients in other fields hoping to land a paying morsel.

I looked  for gigs that pay $10 or $15 for 500 words on a regular basis.  I searched for better ways to market my SEO writing service. I sent more marketing emails, responded to craigslist ads and looked for paying “write for us” pages on websites.

I was broke and desperate.

I didn’t want to get put out of my house. I wanted to keep the heat on. And . . . I was still writing.

Why?

I had nothing else.

Safety Net Gone: Freelancing HAS to Work

My fail-safes were gone. I took it as a sign that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and where I’m supposed to be doing it.

Right about here, I wish I could write that going through all of this has paid off, but it hasn’t quite yet.

I sold a few SEO blog posts in November at lower but really good rates. I earned just under $500 writing for content companies.  I needed to earn double this to support my household.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing in December. Writing enough to earn three times what I earned in November to catch up and pay my bills.

Share Your SEO Writing Business Experience

Have you experienced anything like what I’ve been going through? What are you doing to keep from quitting your SEO writing job search?

Publisher Note: After I got this post, I sent this writer an email because I wondered why she couldn’t earn more than $500 per month if she was putting out this much effort.  After some back and forth, I decided to do a review of her:

Website

Writing samples (she sent me versions of what she was sending out); and

Follow-up marketing methods.

This pamphlet details what I told her.

Update: 12/22/2013

My November client placed another order. I got two clients from emails I sent at the end of October (Career and Technology clients). I’ll let you know when I start seeing results from my new marketing methods. I’m working on the pamphlet (attached).  What do you think?

RECENTLY PUBLISHED CONTENT

Following is what was published recently on InkwellEditorial.com, this blog’s parent blog.

Last Friday: The weekly Quick Tip for Freelance Writing Success (we post one every Friday; this is the most recent one).

Monday: Freelance Writing Jobs for the Week of 12/23/2013.

Tuesday: The Best Guest Blogging Tips and Benefits for Freelance Writers in 2014.

Yesterday: Tapping into Your Calling as a Freelance Writer: What Your TRUE Gift Is — Do You Know?

Sunset: The Cliffs of NegrilP.S.: It’s Almost Time for the SEO Copywriter Training Class in Jamaica. Have you registered yet?

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.

 

4 Changes I’ve Noticed in SEO Writing Since I Entered This Freelance Niche in 2007

Written by Yuwanda Black

I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993. But when I discovered SEO writing in 2007, it changed the course of my freelance writing career. How/why?

2 Things I Learned as an SEO Writer

Because it taught me the following:

(i) How to Market Online: You see, when you learn SEO, you in essence get the keys to the online marketing kingdom because you learn how search engines find, categorize, index sites and return them in search results.

This is internet marketing gold because you learn what you need to know to promote any and everything online.

(ii) How to Make (More) Money Promoting My Own Products and Services: When I learned the intricacies of SEO, I put this knowledge to use not only in my writing for clients, but to promote my own products and services (ebooks/e-classes) as well. This led to a secondary income stream that could support me on its own if I wanted it to.

SEO Content Writing: Industry Changes Since 2007

SEO Content Writing: 4 Industry Changes Since 2007

Now that you know why it’s important to know SEO if you’re an online writer, let’s discuss some changes the industry has undergone since 2007. If you decide to pursue this niche of freelance writing, they impact everything from which niche you might choose, to how you will market for jobs, to which services you may want to offer.

So, here we go …

1. Clients are Looking for Substantive Content: Back in 2007, many of the firms I worked with were internet marketing companies. All most wanted was content that contained a certain keyword density – and they were good.

Nowadays though, search engines don’t reward this type of content. So, clients want (search engines demand) content that contains some substance. Hence, it’s not enough to churn out a 500-word article with general information with a 3 or 5 percent keyword density.

No — you need to address a specific topic – and tackle it in depth, providing statistics and other supportive info that gives readers an “aha!” moment.

This is a good thing not only for web surfers (obviously), but SEO writers as well. Why? Because it means you can charge more for your content writing services.

2. Competition Is Stiffer: In 2007 when I entered the field, it was pretty easy (in fact, ridiculously easy) to land SEO article writing jobs. I landed 14 jobs in one week once, and as the testimonials on this page attest, this wasn’t a fluke! Many repeated my success.

You see, many hadn’t caught onto what this type of writing was all about. Now more have.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still PLENTY (and I do mean plenty!) of work out there, as these weekly job leads attest, but you must be more aggressive and focused to land it (think “nicheing it”) .

3. All Online Writing Requires Some Knowledge of SEO: Almost all types of online writing requires knowing some SEO (search engine optimization) – whether it’s guest blogging, writing book reviews, producing marketing copy, etc.

And again, this is because when you know SEO, you learn how to market online. Online business operators pay for copy to drive traffic, generate leads and create sales. This is exactly what writing copy with SEO guidelines in mind does.

4. Greater Variety of Jobs Available: Ever heard of social media writing? How about ghost ebook writing? Or forum writing/posting and blog commenting? Writing reviews? Know about writing for mobile devices?

Related post: Mobile SEO: Best Optimization Techniques to Help Your Mobile Website Get Maximum Visibility

All of these are types of freelance writing jobs that have come out of SEO writing. Why? Because they are all part of driving traffic, generating leads and/or creating sales from a web presence. And with giant search engines like Google constantly updating its algorithm, knowing SEO is more important than ever.

Back when I first started, all most clients wanted were the standard 300-400 word article or blog post. Now they want you to manage their social media presences, write an ebook to offer as a free download to generate leads/subscribers, comment on popular blogs in their niche, etc.

Conclusion

While freelance SEO writing is becoming more competitive, the types of jobs within this niche are expanding rapidly. And this means that there’s tons of work out there. If you can’t make money as an SEO writer, you probably need to rethink freelance writing altogether because it’s still one of the easiest niches to enter as a freelancer and start earning money quickly.

To gain some in-depth knowledge on how to land jobs as an SEO writer if you’re struggling, take the SEO Writing Business Challenge.

And, happy holidays!

RECENTLY PUBLISHED CONTENT

Following is what was published recently on InkwellEditorial.com, this blog’s parent blog.

Last Friday: The weekly Quick Tip for Freelance Writing Success (we post one every Friday; this is the most recent one).

Monday: Freelance Writing Jobs for the Week of 12/16/2013.

Tuesday: How to Make Your First $100 as a Freelance Writer on Elance

Yesterday: Guest Posting on Blogs: 10 Responsibilities of a Blog Owner/Publisher

Sunset: The Cliffs of NegrilP.S.: It’s Almost Time for the SEO Copywriter Training Class in Jamaica. Have you registered yet?

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.

 

 

What I Learned by Starting 7 Businesses before Turning to SEO Writing: Success, Failure, Marketing & More

Written by Chrislyn Pepper

How many businesses did you start before beginning your SEO writing service?

My freelance SEO writing service is my 7th attempt at working for myself.

Lucky 7.

Just when I think I’ve been sidelined permanently, something happens to make me keep going. Part of it is that I haven’t given up on the idea of having a successful SEO writing service, but it’s also because I’ve learned from my many attempts.

What Was Your First Attempt at Being Self-Employed?

My first ever “business” was selling make-up and was a total bust. Don’t get me wrong. I gave it a real go.

I enjoyed calling and visiting my sponsor. I liked going to the meetings. I passed out 10 business cards a day offering free facials. But, it didn’t work, and I rarely made sales.

Why?

It’s because of who I am.

I don’t wear make-up except for extra special occasions. I rarely ever polish my nails. My idea of a facial has always been soap and hot water on a wash cloth, and to me, a hot wash cloth feels better than exfoliating beads.

What did that mean for my business? It meant one word:

FAILURE!

I rarely made sales, because I didn’t believe in my product. My attitude was if they buy this, I can make some money.  Maybe, I can get a new car.

Personally, I couldn’t see spending 56 bucks to clean my face as actually helping me, and I had a hard time convincing someone else it would help them. On top of that, I was a horrible at closing sales.

So, how does that help the writing service I have now?

Do You Believe in the SEO Writing Services You’re Offering?

My experience selling cosmetics taught me that if I’m going to be successful in any business, I need to offer something I believe in and know about. It’s even better, if I have passion for it.

I believe that I have the writing skills to turn a struggling blog into an active and successful marketing tool for businesses.  Five months ago, I began creating my nonexistent writing portfolio using Yuwanda’s SEO Writing Package. I have since:

  • Ranked on Alexa,
  • Been offered money for advertising space,
  • Engaged in Social Media, and
  • Attracted a couple of paying clients.

I know I can do this for other businesses. Only this time, I would do it faster. I know it will help the businesses who use this service, because I have first-hand experience with the benefits. I have a passion for writing and researching topics I know nothing about. I love learning obscure facts and weaving them into conversations that teach readers.

How Do You Prevent Repeating the Same Mistakes?

Cosmetic sales taught me that products don’t sell themselves. I made the mistake of starting a business without understanding why people buy the products I’m selling and what good it can do them. It became nearly impossible for me to close pre-qualified sales.

I haven’t completely overcome this problem yet, but since I recognized my weakness, I have done something about it for my SEO writing business. I started seeking out information on closing sales I have been …

I think the best thing I learned so far is a few sales you come across are practically guaranteed.  Provided you aren’t a total idiot or jerk, you’ll get them. On the other hand for a few people you sell, you don’t have a chance in hell of landing their business.

I’ve already made the mistake of being the idiot that skipped over guaranteed cheap SEO writing gigs to chase after golden egg laying geese that I didn’t catch. Learning this little tidbit will keep me from making this mistake in the future.

Who Are You Contacting to Buy Your SEO Writing Services?

Selling make-up was not right for me from the beginning, but I tried anyway. My sponsor sold me on the dream of having my own business. I didn’t stop to see if make-up was the right business for me.

One of the reasons I didn’t make sales is because I approached others like me. These were women who didn’t wear make-up, nail polish and looked like they enjoyed digging in dirt like I do. They weren’t the right prospects for what I was offering.

For my SEO blog writing service, I have tried to contact good business prospects. I learned to approach businesses that

  • Pay for marketing in some form, like magazine ads or paid search results
  • Have an established website even if it isn’t active
  • Has a blog or articles page on their website already

Why Aren’t You Contacting More Potential SEO Writing Clients?

When selling make-up, my sponsor told me to offer a free facial to 10 people every single day. I began my days counting out 10 tent-style business cards and putting them in my pocket. The business cards had the free facial offer and my information on one side of the tent, and the other half had a place to write down the name address and number of the person I contacted.

Seven days a week, I had no problem handing out the offer and writing the contact information down. I never did more than 10 even if the chance presented itself. I made the occasional sale, but I know now I could have done better.

How?

By handing out more cards, offering more facials and following up with those contacts, I could have made more sales.

This has finally begun to sink in for my SEO writing service. I had been sending 100 emails per week, and getting 2 or so potential clients to respond.  If I contacted more people, I’d get more guaranteed sales even if they offered to pay less than what I really want. I’m learning I’d rather land 20% of a 100 potential clients than of 8 or 12.

What Say You?

What have you learned from past businesses that has helped you with your SEO writing service?

From the Site Publisher: On a Personal Note . . .

This is Yuwanda, the site publisher chiming in here — The internet has been HORRIBLE here in Negril since I’ve been here. I no longer have it in my apt; I go up to my sis’s apt every day to work (thank goodness she’s right up the street). And to top it off, this morning, I woke up to a power outage, which lasted for hours, then there was another one this afternoon.

Needless to say, this has messed up my work schedule to a huge degree! Arrrggghhh, I’m so frustrated, but that’s island living for you.

I leave for home next week, so will be glad to get back to uninterrupted service — on several fronts.

On a more positive note, I finished the Reggae Marathon here this past Saturday — with a new personal best time. My old personal best in a half-marathon had been 2 hours, 16 minutes. I finished this one in 2 hours, 13 minutes and 35 seconds. It took me two days to recover (really, cuz I pushed myself hard) — but it reminded me of what’s possible when you put your mind to it.  Never forget, if you’re determined, it CAN be done!

Hope your Thursday went well.

RECAP: What Was Published Recently

Following is what was published on InkwellEditorial.com, this blog’s parent site, recently.

Last Friday: The weekly Quick Tip for Freelance Writing Success (we publish one every Friday; this is the most recent one).

Monday: Freelance Writing Jobs for the Week of 12/9/2013

Tuesday: Self-Publishing Tips for Time-Strapped Writers: How to Find Time to Make Your Author Dreams Come True

Yesterday: Freelance Writers: 3 Tips on Transitioning from Writing for Clients to Writing for Yourself (Becoming a FT Self-Publisher)

Sunset: The Cliffs of NegrilP.S.: It’s Almost Time for the SEO Copywriter Training Class in Jamaica. Have you registered yet?

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 Content Writers: 3 Things to Ask Clients This Time of Year That Can Land You More Writing Jobs

Written by Yuwanda Black

FYI, this is the post I promised last week. Sorry for the confusion – and the delay. Now, to today’s topic.

The holiday season presents a unique opportunity to snag some SEO writing jobs. Why?

4 Reasons the Holidays Mean the Possibility of More Work for Freelance (SEO) Writers

Well, there are a number of reasons. Among them are:

1. Vacation/Time Off: Regular workers are taking vacation and taking time off to enjoy the holidays with their friends and family. Someone has to pick up the slack; many times this is a freelancer.

2. Holiday Budgets: Many times, department heads review their budgets for the upcoming year. And what do a lot of them see in it? Not enough to keep their full-time staff members. So, they may slash jobs. Again, who picks up the slack? Many times – freelancers.

3. Quitting Time: Many employees re-evaluate their life goals, plans, career dreams, etc. this time of year. And  you know what some of them decide? I don’t like where my life is headed; I need a change. So they quit; hand in their resignations.

But, the work still has to get done? And not to be repetitive, BUT, who picks up the slack? You guessed it – freelancers.

4. Freelancer Disappears/Buried: As in, a company may already have a regular freelance writer that they use, but they disappear out of the blue and/or they’re swamped this time of year so can’t on more work.

This is a good time for you to step in and become another option for them – especially if they have work they need to get done like – NOW!

How to Get Online Writing Jobs During the Holidays

3 Questions I’ve Asked in the Past That Lead to Some SEO Writing Gigs During the Holidays

Now that you know why the door is open to pick up more writing gigs this time of year, following are three specific questions I’ve asked in the past that have helped me land new clients.

Do you have any writing that needs to be done right now (eg, blogging)? I’ll go on to say something like, “I know you may be short staffed and/or have holiday campaigns you want to get out. I can turn stuff around quickly. So what can I help you with today?”

The reason I ask this is, many companies still aren’t blogging REGULARLY. And with content marketing busting out as THE way to market online the last few years, many businesses simply don’t have the manpower and/or time to create good content (or any content) regularly.

Proof?

Even though 62% of marketers blog or plan to blog in 2013, only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger

Blogging is clearly a big focus for marketers who want to take advantage of social media and content marketing. This is great, because blogging for your business has lots of advantages: you can control your company blog, you can set the tone and use it to market your product, share company news or provide interesting information for your customers. With only 9% of marketing companies hiring bloggers full-time, however, the pressure to produce high-quality content consistently will be a lot higher. [Source: FastCompany.com, 10 Surprising Social Media Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Your Social Strategy]

Do you want to get a jump on next year’s content? I’ll follow up with something to the effect of:

“Right now, everybody is in holiday mode. This presents a perfect opportunity to get a jump on the competition by getting some pre-written content in the bag (eg, a month’s worth of blog posts), starting an article marketing campaign, or targeting a few sites you’d like to guest post on). I can write this content for you and help you distribute it via social media, for example.

Have you thought about this? I can get started right away.”

Are you active on social media? If you’re a freelance writer, you probably take the fact that you’re active on social media regularly for granted. But, trust me, many potential clients STILL aren’t active REGULARLY (or at all) on social media.

This presents a great opportunity for you to get into social media account management. And, what gets distributed via social media? Content – content that most likely needs to be written. And you’d be amazed at how lucrative this can be.

Just how lucrative can social media account management be?

A couple of years ago, my SEO writing company landed an Australian client who hired us to write weekly articles for their website. And, they wanted us to manage their Twitter account. Well, that only took an additional 15 to 20 minutes per day and added another $250 per month approximately to each invoice, increasing each invoice by well over 50 percent (56% to be exact).

We worked with them for almost a year. See how lucrative managing social media accounts can be?

How I Like to Contact Clients This Time of Year

How do I ask these questions? Via email (almost always my preferred method) in short, direct emails just like what I’ve outlined here. I send them to existing clients, prospects I’ve queried before that are in my database, and new ones I find.

FYI, cold calling can work very well too.

Why These Questions Work During the Holiday Season

Sometimes, being direct like this is the best way to go. There’s no room for confusion because these questions are all geared around one fact, which is . . . .

Hey, it’s the holidays. While everyone is focused on that, I’m focused on work. I can help you out of a bind like – right now! All you have to do is get in touch.

Can’t get more simple or direct than this, no?

Try it, and let me know how it works out for you, ok?

On a personal note . . .

As you’re reading this, I’m sitting in a hair salon getting my braids redone in preparation for the Reggae Marathon this Saturday. This is the third year in a row I’ve done it and I’m psyched (hey, a girl likes to look pretty even when she’s sweating through a 13.1 mile run!).

Hope your Thursday’s going well. 🙂

RECAP: What Was Published Recently

Following is what was published on InkwellEditorial.com, this blog’s parent site, recently.

Last Friday: The weekly Quick Tip for Freelance Writing Success (we publish one every Friday; this is the most recent one).

Monday: Freelance Writing Jobs for the Week of 12/2/2013

Tuesday: 12 Tips for Freelance Writers on How to Become a Sought-After Guest Blogger on Popular, High-Traffic Sites

Yesterday: 5 Things Every Freelance Writer Should Do In 2014 To Make More Money – a Lot More!

Sunset: The Cliffs of NegrilP.S.: It’s Almost Time for the SEO Copywriter Training Class in Jamaica. Have you registered yet?

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.