Shara O'Ryan's Scribbles

October 1, 2014

Dusting off the blog….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lady Orion @ 11:54 am

Wow. It’s been four years! Go figure.

Lots going on, really busy with other stuff, blah blah blah.

As always, this blog will be for whatever rambling I see fit to write about.

June 1, 2010

More Clients, More Income Ideas – Part 4

This post is going to be a more generalized post.

If you can write, you can create something of value.  Your imagination is the limit – and should have no limits.

I like writing newsletters.  They are quick, easy and can be a lot of fun.  I’m also quite fond of creating a monthly income as opposed to a one-time gig.  I like to build a steady income stream.

Creating a themed newsletter can provide a very nice monthly income for you.

Here are three ideas that I like:

  • Local moms general newsletters
  • Dinner ideas for moms Newsletter
  • A Lunch Ideas newsletter (marketing to local business people and highlighting local lunch deals)

Income can be produced (primarily) through:

  • Advertising
  • Subscriptions

I prefer to offer a free newsletter and make money with advertising, personally.

You can get started by using a service like http://www.constantcontact.com (free for 60 days), and then promoting the newsletters.  The more subscribers you have, the more you can charge for advertising.

Let’s talk money

This is definitely an idea that needs to start small, but once you get going, you can develop a full time income from it.

You can charge anywhere from $25 – $250 a month per advertiser, depending on the number of subscribers you have.

May 27, 2010

Clarifying Post – PLR Content

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***

Since there were some questions about PLR content, I wanted to clarify it in a post.

PLR – Private Label Rights

If you buy this type of material – articles, e-books, reports, etc. – you purchase the rights to use it on your site and put your own brand on it (hence the “Private Label” moniker).

Website owners buy this type of material for numerous reasons.

  • They’ll use it to drive traffic to their website.
  • They’ll give reports away as an incentive to join a list.
  • They’ll use articles as an email campaign.
  • They’ll sell PLR reports on their sites.

In fact, there are numerous e-books available about how to make money by using PLR content.  (You may want to Google to find out more about this for a better idea.)

Now, as a writer, you can get paid for writing unique content for a client – and that is a good thing, but I mention PLR content because it is another income stream for you to pursue.

Not only that, but if you develop a PLR blog/site, you can build it into a stream of automatic income and make money while you sleep.

“Is this why clients are wanting articles for $2 each?”

No.

There are some writers who will write unique articles for clients for only $2 for 400-500 words.  Many of these writers are in other countries where the dollar is strong and $2 an hour is a king’s wage.

“Does this mean I can’t get paid what I’m worth?”

Absolutely not.

There are plenty of clients that will pay a professional writer what he/she is worth.  Don’t lower your prices because you think you have to in order to compete with the $2 writers.

Here’s an analogy:

Avon vs. Arbonne

Both sell some similar things (skin care, cosmetics).  Both have a share of the market.

Pricing is very different.

But they both have loyal customers, and they both have a place in the marketplace.

The same is true for writers.

There will be some clients that want/need the $2 writers – they are just starting out, can’t afford paying more, etc.

Then there are those who will pay for a professional writer’s services.

You need to decide which type of writer you want to be.

Questions?  Leave a comment.

May 26, 2010

More Clients, More Income Ideas – Part 3

This is Part 3 of a 4-part series.

Subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss any updates – the link is in the upper-right-hand corner.

You can also follow me on Twitter:  Shara O’Ryan

***

Today I’m going to talk about PLR content- Private Label Rights.

Let’s say you get hired by a client to write 10 articles about potty training.  He pays you $100.   You research the articles, write them and deliver them.

The client is going to put them on his website that is geared towards parenting.  He sells all sorts of parenting items:  books, toys, diaper delivery, the works.  The content that he provides gives valuable information to his readers.  In turn, he hopes to have them to keep coming back for more information.  He also hopes that a percentage of these readers will buy something.

You get paid and he gets fresh content.  Everyone’s happy.

But some people can’t afford paying a writer for unique content.

That’s where PLR content comes in.

PLR content is basically content you purchase and then rewrite enough to make it unique – modified by about 30-40%.

Example:  John went to the market.

Revised:  Fred went to the store.

(Very simplified, but that’s basically it.)

Writing Biz Tip #3 – PLR Content

You are going to write PLR content and offer it for sale.

Why I love PLR:

  • I can write about a variety of subjects.
  • It pays better than writing unique articles/reports/e-books.
  • It pays me while I sleep.
  • It can be developed into a steady stream of income.

Wood-gathering steps

  • You need to do some research about what website owners will want to buy.  Reading up in Internet Marketing is a good start.
  • You need to know how to find good keyword phrases.

Kindling Steps

  • You need to set up your site.  A blog is fine, but do NOT use WordPress to try and sell anything from.  Use Blogger or other sites that let you use a free site and monetize it.
  • You need to decide what you’ll offer.  My favorites?  Articles, reports and e-books.
  • You need to decide what kinds of subjects to offer.  Some basic ideas – parenting, dating, dieting.  Those will be your bread and butter.

Light Your Fire

Once you’ve set up your site, you need to write the material and then offer it for sale.  E-junkie is a good way.

I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail – if you need more info on blogging, ask and I can cover that in a future post.  E-junkie is pretty self-explanatory.

Then you need to market it.  My favorite way is to do this via Internet Marketing sites (Google them), but you can do advertising, etc.  You can also offer this as an extension of your writing site.

Let’s Talk Money

Let’s go back to those original 10 articles.  You get paid $100 by a client to write them.  Let’s say it takes you 5 hours.

Take those same articles and offer them as PLR – for the batch of 10 articles, you charge $10.  You also limit the number of batches you sell to 25.  You can make $250 for those same articles.  Same amount of work, but you get paid 2 1/2 times the amount for the same amount of work.  Sweet, right?

But it gets better.

Once you get your site up and running, you can get sales anytime during the day – and night.  You can make money while you sleep.  Instead of being tied to a desk – working with deadlines, etc. – you can set it up and then have more free time to do other stuff.

In other words, you can wake up in the morning with more money than when you went to sleep the night before.

That’s it for this time.  1 more post this week.

***

Questions?  Leave a comment.

 

 

May 25, 2010

More Clients, More Income Ideas – Part 2

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***

In my last post, I talked about press releases for local businesses.

This time we are going to focus on another service you can provide for businesses:  emails and email campaigns.

Simply put, it is cheaper for a business to keep a current customer than it is to find new ones.  You are going to offer a way for business owners to save money on their advertising costs while increasing their profits.

Writing Biz Tip #2 – Targeting Local Businesses for Email Campaigns

You are going to offer to write a weekly or monthly (I prefer weekly) newsletter for business owners’ customers.

Remember the Fireplace effect?  Let’s go through the steps.

Wood-gathering steps

  • Invest in some marketing books that are geared towards small businesses.
  • Choose a non-profit in your area to do your first campaign for – for free.  Good karma is awesome.

Kindling Steps

Do some research on the businesses you want to target.

I use these criteria:

  • They need to advertise already.  (They are used to spending money to make money.)
  • They have a business that relies on rapid repeat business (like restaurants).  (You can choose businesses that have longer intervals between visits, but the owner will see a quicker return on his investment if it’s a rapid repeat business.)
  • They are locally owned (not a franchise).

My favorite business to target:

  • Restaurants
  • Small mom and pop businesses (like gift shops, specialty stores, etc.)

Why?

  • They have been hit hard by the current economy.
  • They are competitive.
  • They can develop loyal followings, but they can easily lose customers if they don’t constantly have their name in front of customers.

Learn about these businesses, and see if they have a website or blog.  If they have a website or blog, take note and see if they have a way to sign up for a mailing list.

Light Your Fire

Now you are going to contact these businesses.  Remember my mantra: cold calling sucks.  (If you like doing it, go for it.  I’m a writer, not a telemarketer.)

Send an over-sized postcard (1/2 of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper).  Offer to help them increase revenue while saving money on advertising costs.  Same deal as before:  free consultation, give them a phone number and an email address.

Different scenarios

  1. They have a website and a way to sign up for a mailing list – offer to write the newsletters for them.
  2. They have a website or blog, but no way to sign up for a mailing list – offer to write the newsletters, plus set up the mailing list.
  3. No website or blog – offer to set up a blog, maintain it, and handle the mailing list and newsletters.

Let’s talk money

I charge $75- $100 for a weekly newsletter and around $300 for a monthly newsletter – in it I put info on specials being run, plus also helpful tips and such that relate to the nature of the business.  Example:  for a family-oriented pizza joint, I’ll put tips about having a fun family night – along with suggesting pizza for dinner, of course, and mention the weekly specials.  With this price, they are responsible for sending it out to their list.

To set up a mailing list sign up for their site, I charge $250.  I charge an additional $150 a month for maintaining it.

To set up a blog, I charge $250, plus if they want me to maintain it and write for it, I charge accordingly – depends on the number of posts per week, etc.

Now you can see how these kinds of clients can add up to a nice monthly income.  (Plus free meals, too, if they like you. 😀 )

TIP – If someone hires you for this kind of service, offer to do press releases as well – and vice-versa.

That’s all for today.  Part 3 is tomorrow.

***

Questions?  Leave a comment.

May 24, 2010

More Clients, More Income Ideas – Part 1

Be sure to subscribe to this blog (link is in the upper-right hand corner).

Follow me on Twitter:  Shara O’ Ryan

***

 

(Image from img.brotthersoft.com)

 

The “Fireplace Effect”

Before I start with ideas for getting clients and what to charge, I want to talk for a moment about what I call the “Fireplace Effect” for clients.

When you’re starting a fire, you pile on piece after piece of wood -more than you think you’ll ever need – to get it started.  Then you light it and nurture it for a while and the flame rises until it’s pretty much self-sustaining.  You only need to add a piece of wood here and there.

The same goes for clients.

If you are lacking with clients now, your mission should be to find clients.  Period.  Work for hours per day on finding clients.  Your full-time job (meaning 6-8 hours per day) should be devoted to finding clients.

If you do this, you’ll find that once the offers start coming in, you’ll be able to pick and choose which jobs you’ll take, plus you’ll be able to have jobs lined up – often a month in advance.

In addition, if you line up the right clients, you’ll be able to have a steady monthly income.  Nice, huh?

But what would happen if you stood in front of your fireplace and said, “I’ll give you some wood once you start putting out some heat”?

Nothing.

The same goes for clients.  No productive effort going in, no clients being found.

If you put in one small piece of kindling and light it, you’ll have a brief flame, but then nothing.  Same for clients – once you find a client, don’t stop searching for more.

Part of being a freelance writer is marketing yourself and your writing.  Period.

Stephen King could sell his grocery list if he published it, with no marketing at all except for him saying it was for sale.  Guess what?  You’re not Stephen King.  You have to work at marketing yourself – just like he did when he first got started.

Writing Biz Tip #1 – Targeting Local Business for Press Releases

You are going to offer to write press releases for local business owners.

I love press releases.

  • They are easy to do – mostly a matter of filling in a form (although with practice you do get better with wording).
  • They are high-paying.
  • They are quick to do.
  • They can lead to a steady monthly income when marketed correctly.
  • They are easy to get referrals for – one business for a client can get you many, many more.

Wood-gathering steps

Here are some prep-steps you need to take:

  • Learn about writing press releases. You can Google this (“writing a press release”) or invest in a book.  (My advice is to do both.  You’ll make enough on your first PR to more than pay for any materials you invest in.)  This will help you learn why businesses need publicity and why it’s better than advertising.
  • Choose a non-profit in your local area to do a free press release for. Why?  Karma goes a long way, plus you can put it on your resume.  Consider the hour or less you invest in this to be your good deed for the week.  You’ll sleep better at night, trust me.

Kindling Steps

Now you’re going to do some research on what businesses you want to target for becoming clients.

You’re going to use 3 criteria:

  • They already spend money advertising.
  • They would benefit from having press releases done every month.
  • They are locally owned (Don’t target your local Pizza Hut, target John’s Pizza Shack, got it?)

My favorite businesses to target:

  • Restaurants
  • Car Dealerships

Why?

  • These are businesses hit hard by the current economy.
  • They are used to paying big bucks for advertising, so the amount you charge will be an easy sell.
  • They can see an immediate return on your work, so they get a good reason to come back for more.

Learn what these business offer, what advertising they do already, and who’s in charge.

Light Your Fire

Now you’re going to approach these businesses.  I, personally, don’t call them.  I hate cold calling.  It sucks.

I send an oversized postcard (1/2 of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper) explaining who I am and offering a way for them to “cut their advertising costs with my services.”  I offer a free consultation.  Then I put a phone number (not my house number) and an email address for them to contact me to set up an appointment.  (Need a cheap “business line?”  Buy a cheap pay-as-you-go cell phone and use to only take messages.  Then return the calls from your house or regular cell phone.)

Why a postcard that size?

  • It’s an odd size – it gets their attention
  • They don’t have to open it to read it.  They can’t help but read it.
  • You can type it up and get copies made on cardstock with no special software (like Microsoft Publishing).

What to do when they call

You can either do a phone or in-person consultation.

  1. Explain how publicity can provide more income than advertising.
  2. Explain how you can provide press releases to help provide that publicity.

Let’s Talk Money

I normally charge between $75 and $150 for a press release.  (I have special rates for non-profits.  I have a soft spot for them.)  I charge another $75 for submitting it to various media.

That works out to $75 – $225 per client for about an hour or two of work (depending on if I need to submit the press release, that take about an hour or so.)

I also explain the benefits of having an ongoing PR campaign.  I offer 1-2 press releases per month and suggest a 6-month commitment.

Now, let’s look at this in terms of cash flow for you.

Let’s say each client pays an average of $100.  That $100 takes you about 1 hour to earn.

How many clients would you need on a monthly basis to earn a decent income?  20?  25?  50?

With 25 clients, you’d have $2500 a month coming in – working only 25 to 30 hours per month.

That is only one idea for income.  There are still 3 more to go this week.  🙂

***

Questions?  Leave a comment!

May 20, 2010

“But I Don’t Have Any Clients!”

“But I don’t have any clients!”

I hear this all the time.

Next week, I am going to have a 4-part series that will help you have money coming in as a writer quickly.   (I would love to get feedback from anyone using the ideas I present:  both success stories and questions/clarifications.)

But I wanted to end this week with a post about your perspective.

You always have a client:  You.

You always have a job: promoting yourself and what you do.

If you don’t have a client that is writing checks to you for tapping out words on a screen, then you need to be working for yourself and also promoting yourself.

You also need to realize if you have the gift of being able to write, you have a unique talent that can serve you well.  You have the most amazing, versatile gift imaginable.

There are so many people that need your talents, and there are so many ways you can use your writing ability to make a living.

Once you open your eyes and start seeing all of the opportunities around you – and acting on it – you’ll never be lacking for money again.

Check back on Monday (or subscribe) to see the first of the 4-part series.

———-

Follow me on Twitter: Shara O’ Ryan

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May 17, 2010

SEO for Your Writing Website or Blog – Part 2

In my last post, I talked about how to write your content for SEO purposes.

In this post, we’ll talk about other ways to improve your search engine ranking.

Honestly, there are so many things you can do that it would take an entire blog to cover everything; but I want to give some tips to get you started.

How Search Engines Decide They Like Your Site

This is a VERY simplified version, but it does the trick.

Search engines want to give you relevant results when you type in a search term.  In order to do that, they have to know what each site contains.

To accomplish this, they have “spiders” or “bots” that “crawl” each and every site on the Internet, seeing what it contains.  They’ll also check and see what kinds of links your site links to and what kinds of sites link to yours.  They then take this information and “report” back to the search engine.

SEO for Content

In my last post I talked about keyword research and writing a post with keywords in mind.

Bots and spiders crawl sites, “reading” the content.  If someone types in a search for “How to become a freelance writer,” and you have an article that mentions “How to become a freelance writer” several times on your site, the spiders and bots will put that in your favor for search engine ranking.  They will think that your article has a good chance of helping someone who wants that information.

Bots also like fresh content.  This is one reason why frequently-updated blogs rank high in search engines.  Make sure you update your content at least once a week.  Several times per week is better.  (If a site is high-ranked but then stops adding content, its ranking will begin to decline.)

But that’s not all they search for.

Links and SEO

The spiders look for two types of links: incoming and outgoing.

Outgoing

These are links that you give to link to other sites.  Bots will see if they are relevant and active.  If they are, they will view your site more favorably.

Good Example:

Let’s say you have a gardening blog.  You have links that tell readers about gardening tools, soil grading techniques and landscaping ideas.  The links are active and lead to sites that are well-established.  The bots will approve, thinking that you are trying to provide excellent content for readers.

Bad Example

You have a video gaming blog.  You have links to sites ranging from basket weaving to diapering techniques – just because they said they would link back to you if you did the same for them.  Half the links are inactive.  The bots will not approve.

Bottom line:  Choose the links you have on your site carefully.

Incoming

Each time another site links to yours, it’s like a vote.  But not all “votes” count the same.

If a site that has a really high search ranking, is established, has a huge readership and is considered an “authority” site links to yours; you have a HUGE vote of confidence from the bots.

On the other hand, if sites that are undesirable link to yours, the vote won’t be nearly as big.

Bottom line:  Incoming links are nice.  Try to cultivate them when you can.

Summary

  • Update your content often – minimum of once a week.  Several times per week is better.
  • Write your content with keywords in mind.
  • Make sure your outgoing links are relevant and active.
  • Try to get other respected blogs and sites to link back to your site.

Like I said, this is a basic lesson, but it’s a good start.

Follow me on Twitter: Shara O’Ryan

Questions?  Leave it as a comment.

May 16, 2010

SEO for Your Writing Website or Blog – Part 1

Since Andrea ( http://goodelife.wordpress.com ) and Marcy  ( http://marcys.wordpress.com/ ) both had questions about getting your site noticed and SEO, I’m writing a post about it.  (Actually, it’ll probably take 2 or 3 posts to cover it.)

Keep in mind, this is a very, very basic lesson.  (To learn more, you need to consult a book like SEO Bible by Jerri Ledford.  360+ pages of SEO optimization goodness.)

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.  When someone searches for information via Google, Yahoo, etc., they use a search engine.  You enter a word or phrase and the search engine gives you results, trying to give you the most relevant site.

To put it simply, the search engine “likes” some sites more than others.  The ones that search engines like better are higher ranked in the search results.

SEO means that your site is optimized for the search engine.  In other words, you are trying to get the search engine to “like” your site better.

SEO 101

First, we’ll cover SEO for your posts or website content.  (The same technique can be used for articles, reports, etc.)

First, you’ll need a tool for finding popular keywords.  I use https://adwords.google.com.  (You may need to create an account.  Don’t worry about that.  Don’t put any billing info in unless you want to run an AdWords campaign – which you don’t want to do yet.)

Go to the AdWords tool and put in “writer” in the “word or phrase” box under “Find Keywords.”

Below you’ll see nearly 500 keyword ideas from that one word, plus the approximate number of searches per month for each – both globally and locally.

You are looking for word searches that get at least 500 searches per month. (Globally or locally, depending on which you prefer.  I usually go by globally.)

Let’s see…

  • “content writer” gets 60,500 searches per month
  • “blog writer” gets 22,200 a month
  • “writer wanted” gets 9,900

We’ll start with those.

Now go to Google and search for those phrases in quotes.  You want to find phrases that have less than 200,000 results.

  • “content writer” has 815,000 results.  No good.
  • “blog writer” has 213,000 results.  I might let that slide.  We’ll see.
  • “writer wanted” has 123,000 results.  That’s good.

All three phrases could be something a potential client would use to find a writer – YOU.

So now you need to write your posts and/or website content to reflect that keyword phrase – in this case, “writer wanted” was the only one meeting our criteria (play with it and find more keyword phrases).

You’ll write your post or section of content with that phrase in the title and then mentioned 2 or 3 more times (depending on the length of the post – 3 times in 500-600 words in good).

Just remember:

  • more than 500 searches per month
  • less than 200,000 competing sites/search results

The higher the number of searches with the least amount of competing sites is better, of course.

This is part 1.  Part 2 will cover other things you can do to improve the SEO of your site.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog.

Plus follow me on Twitter – Shara O’Ryan

Questions?  Leave a comment and I’ll answer.  🙂

May 15, 2010

Finding Writing Clients on Craigslist

Filed under: Making Money Writing,Writing,Writing Business,Writing Tips — Lady Orion @ 1:18 pm

I love comments.  They help guide me as to what to put in my posts. 🙂

Andrea ( at  http://goodelife.wordpress.com/ ) had a question about finding clients on Craigslist in her comment on this post.

Since there really isn’t a short answer ( I mean, there is a short answer – “Yes” – but just giving you that doesn’t help much, now does it?), I’m devoting a post to it.  (Her question about tactics for getting your site noticed will be another post.  If you don’t want to miss it, make sure you subscribe to this blog for notifications of new posts via email.)

Step 1

  • Make sure you have your website or blog prepared so you can show potential clients your skill.   (Refer to this post  and this post for more info about what to put on your site/blog.)

Step 2

  • I have a separate email address only for Craigslist.  Why?  Because there are tons of spammers on there, unfortunately.  I don’t want my biz email getting flooded with spam, plus it lets me know when a client comes from CL.  You might want to consider setting up an email address just for CL replies.

Step 3

  • Start looking on Craigslist for local people wanting writers.  Why local?  Less chance of a scam (although not a guarantee).  Plus you have the chance to develop a personal working relationship with a local person.  Follow up on any emails promptly.

Step 4

  • Place your own ad on Craigslist, offering your services.  Again, watch out for spammers and scammers, but placing your own ad on Craigslist is the best way (for me, at least) to find clients.

Step 5

  • Do this process often.  Look at new ad listings daily, and run your own ads at least once a week.

Now, the next question:  What kind of ad do I run?

Two things I have found do really well on Craigslist:  article writing and press releases.  You can run ads offering batches of articles (10 is usually a good number) and also press releases.  (Tip:  Find a format for writing press releases and then fill it out.  Takes about 30 minutes and I normally charge $150 a pop.  I love press releases.)

However – your area may be different.  Try different ads and see which ones work best for you.

That’s pretty much it.

Questions?  Leave them as a comment and I’ll answer either as a comment or as a post.

Follow me on Twitter:  Shara O’ Ryan

Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss any posts.

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