I would like to thank freelancewritersacademy.com for this guest post. The website can be an excellent tool for any freelance writer, and there is a lot to be learned from it. In particular, I would like to direct readers to check out this post on writer’s pitches after reading through here.
Freelance writing can often be a competitive business, with only so many jobs available and a lot of experienced writers out there knowing exactly what they are doing. This means that you need every advantage you can to get yourself out there and get the jobs you need so you can keep working on the career path that you’ve chosen for yourself.
Technology is likely your best opportunity to try and get ahead in today’s writing environment. In addition to there being a far greater amount of technology related writing jobs available than there are not, if you know how to utilize technology people will notice and pick you over the writer who cannot.
Here are five tips that will hopefully better allow you to use technology to its fullest potential in your freelance career:
Always Stay Connected
Every writer should have an email account, a few social media accounts of some variety (LinkedIn, despite being the subject of many jokes, still has its uses), and a smartphone to communicate online and by phone with potential clients or readers. You should check these often enough and stay in a constant stream of communication with your contacts. Many of them will not like to be kept waiting for any length of time or until you get home.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a social life and always be worried about your phone and feel the need to check every single notification that comes on your phone at the dinner table. It does mean that it is a good thing to regularly check anything that comes in while you’re out so you can decide what can wait and what can’t for either when you get home or so you can decide to step out quickly to make a phone call or write a quick email. That difference in time can be the difference between you getting the contract or someone else accepting better terms first.
Use Tech to Organize
Some writers may like to romanticize the pen and paper as a way of taking care of their scheduling and keeping track of things, but in a technological age, that simply won’t do anymore. You need to be able to coordinate with clients when you are available and many of them use one application or another by default. By the time you’re dealing with a lot of clients then you will probably have an account with half a dozen different organizing websites.
Some good tools to check out for your own organizational purposes are Google Calendar, todoist.com, and some of the apps that might be installed on your smart phone. Experiment a little to find an app or combination of apps that might be good for you.
Protect Your Data
You should make sure that all of your passwords are safe, and try to remember that what you have on your computer is the most important thing to your career. Make sure you use a security suite program on your computer (consider it a business expense), and then on top of this, use extra security protocols for your most sensitive data.
Also, if you go out to a public place and do your writing and/or research on a public network, then you should really take note of the dangers of a public network and how hackers might be able to steal the data that is being sent. If you use these kinds of networks often, then you should invest in a VPN so that sensitive client data or your financial information isn’t stolen by hackers and sold to the highest bidder. That would ruin your reputation and set you back a long ways in your career.
Backup, Backup, Backup
In short, you should find a flash drive and use it. Then you should find a safe cloud storage service and use it to keep a backup of all your old writing (you never know when you might need it for a portfolio). You should verge on the side of redundancy when it comes to making sure that if your hard drive decides to die you don’t lose more than a couple of day’s work at the very worst. Your client may understand, but then again they might not and you might not have time to restart the project from scratch.
Learn the Language
While you don’t need to learn how to be a programmer to become a successful freelance writer, you should try to make sure that any technological term they throw at you is at least something you will understand. Anything particularly complex or detailed you can always research later, but try doing some research on your own and try to understand Search Engine Optimization, the basic logic behind website programming and design, what makes some devices better than others, the more complex ways to use Google, and how to use the most popular websites on the internet to their full effectiveness.
Once you learn those things, you’ll have a better clue about what you might be able to use as something you can specialize in for your writing or something you can talk more in-depth about in your negotiations. It’s getting increasingly more important with the amount of freelance work that is shifting on-line. Try not to worry too much about it, once you’re immersed in it, you’ll pick it up very quickly.
I hope that these tips help you land more and better clients, and remember to keep at it despite any starting difficulty. Thank you for reading.
Caroline is a freelance writer and technology enthusiast. She particularly enjoys writing about practical ways technology can help you and also internet safety and security. You can contact Caroline here.