How to Get Freelance Writers to Work for Free

Many freelance writers work for free. They literally spend hours proudly branding large freelance writing sites and make practically nothing in return. What do I mean? Read on.

Earlier this week, I received the following comment/question from a subscriber to my articles on AssociatedContent.com.

She wrote:

“WOW! If Associated Content is the Wild West of the Internet, I’ve just struck gold in finding you. What a wealth of information. THANK YOU! I’m curious though why, on your InkwellEditorial.com website, you don’t just create links to associatedcontent.com [emphasis added] instead of writing your whole articles there so you can increase your views.”

In response, I replied:

Theresa:

Thanks for writing in — I’m glad you find the site helpful. That’s the whole reason I write it.

As for why I don’t just create links to AssociatedContent.com instead of writing my articles on my site. The reason is, InkwellEditorial.com is my business and I write to brand it, NOT AC. While some articles are reproductions of what you will find on AC, for the last 6-8 months, I’ve only been posting original content to my site.

To get noticed online, you have to have good search engine ranking. To get good search engine ranking, you need original content. So, while I may post similar content to AC, the articles you’ll find on InkwellEditorial.com are usually different AND more in depth than the ones I post on AC.

Keep this in mind if you have a site that you’re looking to rank well for. Thanks for asking, and good luck to you in your freelance writing endeavors.
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I want to expand on my answer a bit here because I think a lot of freelance writers make the mistake of branding large sites like AssociatedContent.com (AC), HubPages.com and eHow.com. They’re like little free marketing mavens for these sites.

It’s completely understandable, but it underscores a fundamental mistake many freelance writers make – not thinking of themselves as a business, which leads to them shortchanging themselves.

The end of this article explains how to make large freelance writing sites work as hard for you as you do for them.

The #1 Reason You Should Forget Large Sites and Concentrate on Your Site

The main reason you should forget large sites and concentrate on your site is you are promoting their brand – not yours. And, you’re doing it for mere pennies!

Large sites like AC et al offer a lot of advantages for freelance writers – especially newbies. Heck, I’ve been a contributor to AC since April 2006 and have over 600 articles there. Some of the advantages of a large site like AC are: (i) you get a little upfront money; (ii) you get exposure; (iii) you get to network with others; and (iv) you get good search engine juice.

These are all valid reasons for using sites like this. But – and this is only my opinion – you need to brand your main site separate and apart from major sites like these. This is why you won’t find AC, eHow or Helium buttons on my main site, InkwellEditorial.com.

This is MY baby – it is not used to promote other brands – no matter how large they may be or how many more page views it may bring me. The bottom line is, these larger sites don’t begin to pay you what you’re worth as a freelance writer.

Now, I’m not knocking what they pay, but when you look at it in context – it’s mere pennies for the time that you spend branding them by placing their buttons and links all over your main site.

If you spent as much time promoting your own brand as you did an article on AC, for example, to get additional page views, you could write and promote a $10 ebook and make more money.

These sites know this. They need us, the community of freelance writers, as much as we need them. But, what freelance writers forget is that they are a business and the more time you spend promoting someone else’s brand, the less time you’re building your own.

How to Use Large Freelance Writing Sites to Your Benefit

I use large freelance writing sites like AC and others to benefit me, not them. For example, for the last few months – when I post articles to AC, you’ll find a tag line that ends every article that goes something like, “For more freelance writing advice, visit InkwellEditorial.com or access my complete library of AssociatedContent articles on freelance writing.”

This benefits me – and readers of my content – in two ways:

(i) it links back to my main site (benefit: when readers click through to my main site, they find original content they won’t find anyplace else and are exposed to my ebooks); and

(ii) it links to all of my articles on AC (benefit: every time someone clicks on one of my articles, I earn page view points which leads to passive income).

AC gets a lot of traffic. I have almost 160 subscribers there. So, it’s an excellent venue to get the word out about my products and services. But, I’m not about to promote their brand all over my main site.

It’s an excellent symbiotic relationship because they get the benefit of my expertise on freelance writing for their readers and I get the benefit of their largesse, if you will, to spread the word about my brand. And, this is how it should be.

Remember, what you spend you time and energy on as a freelance writer is what will make you the most money. So make it something totally and completely yours – not someone else’s.

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Disclosure: In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that the site owner is benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website. This is not to say that is the case with all content, as all publications on the site are original and written to provide value and references to our audience.

9 Comments

  1. Samantha October 8, 2008
  2. Yuwanda Black, Inkwe October 8, 2008
  3. Tracy Benungski - In October 8, 2008
  4. Sumesh October 8, 2008
  5. Lynn Jordan--Authors October 9, 2008
  6. Robin Jessie-Green November 6, 2008
  7. Yuwanda Black, Inkwe November 6, 2008
  8. Mark November 11, 2008
  9. Yuwanda Black, Inkwe November 21, 2008