How to Diversify, Expand, and Broaden Your Freelance Writing Career

Diversify, expand, and broaden. Do you notice that? Three different ways to say the same thing. Diversification is the antithesis of redundancy and the lifeblood of good prose, and so it is for freelance writers. Go ahead, don’t be afraid to mix it up. In today’s market, you have to dabble in everything from print media to smart phone apps and podcasts to keep your business viable, visible, and varied enough so you don’t die when one of your markets does.

Here are five tips for spreading your talents in various directions in today’s media climate.

1.    Look for the steady paycheck. This isn’t necessarily the job or jobs that are going to make you famous or fulfilled. In many cases, they are tedious, but tedium often pays well. Newsletters, web maintenance, and public relation accounts are three examples of steady work that could earn you a quarterly or monthly paycheck. Contact local companies, tourism bureaus, non-profits, and other organizations that already communicate regularly with their customers or the world. If they’re not already doing so, try selling them on the idea. Network: Join the local Chamber of Commerce and other professional organizations to mine this market.

2.    Forever query. I know, it’s my least favorite part of freelancing, too, but even when you’re too busy, you should be sending out queries… and not just to your steady markets. Make a goal of pitching ideas to one new market every month.

3.    Become an expert. Position and brand yourself as a top authority in one or more fields. How do you do that? In the old days, you wrote a book. That’s still a viable path, whether you find a publisher or self-publish. Just be sure to build eBooks into your business plan. Much easier these days is starting a niche Web site/blog. Although they don’t pay all that well, you may consider becoming an “expert” for the Web content mills such as Examiner and Huffington Post – short term anyway. Don’t forget to use social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, et al – to further broadcast your clips and expertise.

4.    Be fearless. Okay, so now you have your foot in the door with an organization or two, a print publication, and some Web sites, including your own. Don’t rest on the proverbial laurels. Look around. What aren’t you doing? Don’t use excuses for not knowing how to set up a blog, create a podcast, or write an app. Either learn or look for middlemen with the technology to help. Be willing to invest time and money to expand and keep up with the quickly changing world of technology. Talk to local broadcast stations to see how you can get involved in writing and producing. Don’t forget the value of a camera and video camera in diversifying your options.

5.    Be relentless. Make a monthly list of new projects to try. Set goals and schedule daily tasks. Study and research markets you’d like to broach. Then work until you’ve gotten there. Forever improve the visibility and marketability of your work. Steadily increase how you monetize. Read everything from techie magazines to pulp fiction. Consider writing fiction.

The possibilities are endless if you keep you set your sights on diversifying.

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