Writing Outside of Your Expertise, Challenges of the Freelance Writing Life
We’ve all had those moments of thinking to ourselves, he wants me to write about WHAT- the one where we sigh, fidget and finally answer with a very positive, “of course, I can come with a great angle”.
Years ago I had a small cafe with a partner who had a habit of saying yes to any and everything. I’d hear her on the phone with a customer about a catering job and she’d utter the crucial words, “no problem, we can do that”. In that moment I knew we were up for a challenge. I often feel that way myself with one of my freelance writing clients who represents very diverse clients. I do the article marketing and find myself writing about trade show signs, dui and food allergies, among other topics. It often involves time-consuming research for me as I try to find a compelling angle to promote the business.
I’m not a niche writer so I expect to have these kinds of knowledge gaps. But I often fail to take into account just how long it will take to become sufficiently conversant on the topic at hand. I got an email last night from my client that stated with CONGRATS! At first I thought it was a scam email. It didn’t really tie into the next few sentences, until I scrolled all the way down to see the email from his client, the one I was writing for. She educates people on a particular disease and my last article had apparently been so good that she wanted to congratulate the team on having a good grasp on the topic.
It makes me feel good to know that I’m able to pull it all together and write articles of high standards. Which would be in direct contrast to many of the bodies of words that pass for ‘articles’ today. Now I get to parlay that success into a quest to find more high paying jobs-ones where the value is on quality writing.
Finding freelance writing jobs is reflective of the job market in general today. There is a lot of competition and there are many employers who are looking for quantity not quality. They want to get as much as possible for ridiculously low wages. The freelance writer has to sort through all the ads and hype to find jobs for good pay- jobs with people who understand and appreciate good writing. And, are willing to pay a decent rate.
I’m currently in the interview process for a blogging job that would pay more than double my normal rate. I’m working hard to get this job and have participated in 3 rounds of questions. The last and final requirement was to write a blog article for the new blog. I don’t normally give away my work, but the possibility of this job and the seriousness of the client made me decide to move forward. I’m pretty pleased to have gotten this far as I’d be writing for a men’s skincare product- blogging about how to help the guy get the girl. Guys aged 18-35. I started out with hard cold facts-I’m a 57 year old woman…. and then I added tidbits that I hoped would show my ability to understand the target audience. I liked their Facebook page and read everything they had.. following some of their favorite websites to get a flavor of the demographics. And, for my clips I shared my edgier work. All of that seems to have helped me stay in the running.
Now I sit back and wait. My blog post went in yesterday. If I can write about diseases and dui laws, pond supplies and lingerie I think I can write about romance for younger men. Why not. If I get the job I think I’ll need to start finding some hot spots that attract the early 30′s crowd. Market research.