Ever wasted hours doing article research for a query or assignment?
It happens, especially if you don’t know where to look.
If you’re not getting anywhere with your approach to article research (which probably starts with Google for almost everybody), ask an expert on how to find the information you need.
And just where are you going to find an expert on article research? At the library.
Libraries (all 119,487 of them in the United States, according to the American Library Association) are packed with resources to help freelancers work smarter and faster.
And at every one, you’ll find a reference librarian who knows the ins and outs of article research better than you.
In a recent Freelance Writers Den podcast, we talked with Emily-Jane Dawson. She’s a reference librarian for the Multnomah County Library system in Portland, Ore. And she shared some of her best article research tips for freelancers.
Looking for information to beef up a query letter, pitch a prospect, or complete an assignment?
Check out these article research tips from a savvy reference librarian:
Do you get jealous when other freelance writers talk about how they knock out a simple blog post in under an hour — because it takes you half a day? If so, it’s time to attack this problem and get it solved. To earn a good hourly rate from freelance writing (and end up with a decent income), you’ve got to be able to write assignments in a time-efficient way.
This is especially true if you’re looking to get into content marketing, where you might develop a dozen blog posts or other pieces of content a month for each of multiple different clients. I speak as someone who at one point was writing 72 posts a month, between client blogs and my own blog.
Your success in blogging for clients is highly dependent on your speed. If you’re slow, you won’t be able to juggle multiple content marketing clients and book enough revenue — and you may even be in trouble in terms of meeting your deadlines.
Fortunately, learning to get the writing done faster has been a longtime hobby of mine. My drive to speed up was forged during 12 years as a staff writer, the last five of which required filing a story for our online edition, five days a week by 10 am (in addition to the 3-4 articles a week we had to write).
How did I learn to cut my writing time down? Here are my seven top tips:
For a while, I had a large client that hired many writers. My contact was an editor who managed the freelance staff. He was an abrupt man who spared no feelings.
At the time, I had only worked directly with clients. I could meet their goals, but my writing lacked force. I over-wrote, dismissed structure, and indulged my narcissism with unnecessary wit. I wasn’t bad, but I had that collegiate write-everything-you-can-think-of mentality.
My first experience working with a professional editor was heart-wrenching. It was a trial by fire: get better to get paid. But those lessons stuck with me and made me a better writer.
Want to improve your writing?
Avoid making the same mistakes as I did, and check out the seven hardest lessons this editor taught me:
Tagged with: editing
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Have you ever wanted to spy on your prospective freelance writing clients?
There are some ways to sleuth out information that can really give you a leg-up in your marketing. The more you know, the easier it is to avoid scams and suss out better freelance writing gigs.
I love digging up useful info on prospective freelance clients.
So whenever I come across a new tool for this, I start compiling a list.
Below are the seven intelligence-gathering freelance writer tools I’m currently finding most useful:
The strongest magazine articles usually include data from a reliable source to back up the points you’re making. Without solid information, your article doesn’t come off as credible.
But with all the information bouncing around on the Internet, it can be difficult for freelance article writers to know where to find facts from reliable sources. The key to avoiding timewasting browsing is to know what you’re looking for, and what sorts of sources you can trust.
Here are four major resources that provide the solid facts and figures you need to create great articles:
A well-written query letter can work like a magic wand for freelance writers, opening the door to the great-paying article assignments you desire. Unfortunately, most query letters don’t get a response, even ones to publications that pay $100 an article, …
Here’s Why Your Article Idea Isn’t Getting You $1 a Word Read More »