Still not quite sure about branding?

Okay – you’re still scratching your head about your brand?

You’re not alone. A lot of writers are stymied about what they should “brand” as…and some just resist the concept entirely.

If you want to write, are writing, then perhaps you should come at this from a different angle.

There are many different niches of writing. Don’t believe me? Do a search on Freelancer for jobs that include article writing/content writing/article rewriting projects and you come up with a load of interesting options, for example – I’ve put the skills in parentheses after the job title:

  • Create content for education, sports, entertainment and health related for a website (content writing)
  • Technical Product Manager eCommerce project (technical writing)
  • Civil Engineering Article Editing (editing, proofreading, research, technical writing)
  • Content for a gambling website (article rewriting, article writing, content writing, copywriting, ghostwriting)
  • Formal neutralarticle writing on various companies (article rewriting, article writing, content writing, ghostwriting, research)
  • Website content writing about tean, coffee and spices from Nepal (article writing, content writing, copywriting, ghostwriting)
  • Proofreader and Editor in English (article rewriting, editing, proofreading).

The list goes on and on and changes daily.

You can also check out Craigslist.org under Jobs – Writing/Editing and under Gigs – Writing, for some more ideas.

Go to job boards and search for writing, copywriting, proofreading and editing to get more ideas.

The point is, even if you don’t have a “brand” identified, if you write, you can make money writing. You just have to search for the jobs, and apply. Once you’ve had a few paying gigs, you will have a better idea of what you enjoy writing and what you can make money at by writing – then you can always revisit the “branding” question.

So go out there and WRITE!

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A little more about Branding

You think you’ve found your “niche”, now what?

How do you make a living writing about your particular passion?

First you are going to get a couple of items published…how?

Get out your notebook, or set up a “Favorites” folder for your subject matter, and go to your favorite browser – and start searching.

Research is half the battle!

What search terms do you use when YOU are looking for information or articles on your passion subject?

For example, I’m in love with fairy houses. Love making them, love reading about making them, love looking at what others have made…you get the picture.

So I would search on Fairy Houses, and the alternate spelling “Faerie” houses…to start out with. There I might find blogs where people like me have written about their love for fairy houses…those blogs might want a guest post at some point, right? So I save the ones I like and relate to, in my favorites folder.

I keep searching until I have more than a dozen saved links in my folder – I make sure they are completely different websites or blogs so when I send a query I am not going to repeat to anyone.

I don’t expect to get paid for the first one or two, although that would be a bonus! I do want to be sure I get a byline, so I can refer people to my published article in my portfolio of work.

The point is to get something good out there on someone elses’ blog or website. Then you can begin to search for paying gigs. And as I said, if you happened to get paid for your first attempts, all the better. But set your sights realistically and work in baby steps.

Keep track of what you have sent (query, submission) and the date, so if you need to followup you can. And don’t stop, keep going.

You’ll get there. Slow and steady!

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A little about branding by N. Corres

You’ve heard the term. Branding. And you probably know what it means…after all you know that popular brands make the most money, but how do you apply it to what YOU do?

Let’s start by first doing a little SAT-style analogy: branding is to freelance writers as genre is to creative writing.

Another way to look at it is “niche”, but that isn’t all that branding is – it is an abbreviated way to tell the world what you do and what value you bring.

“Ahhh” you say, “but what if I don’t want to be stuck in a single niche?”

Good question! And I would answer: 1. you need to start somewhere in order to build your portfolio (and it should be with something you are passionate about); and 2. your brand will evolve as you evolve (so you can add the other niches in as you become established AND comfortable in your “brand”.

One way to try to define your brand, is to write a mission statement about the writing that you do. Answer the question – what specific, tangible value do you bring to your readers, clients, and/or editors?

Another approach is to write out what makes you unique? Do you have 35 years experience in boat building in your basement that you will be drawing from; or perhaps you’ve been in love with dollhouses since you can remember and have done an exhaustive study of the best materials to use; or maybe you’ve made pencil collecting a hobby after years of travelling the world. Most people have multiple ways they are unique…figure out yours so you can capitalize on what you have to say!

Why is it important to “Brand” yourself? (And by the way, I know how that sounds when reading it aloud – lol). It is important because it will help you zero in on the demographics (for example: age, gender, income) and psychographics (for example: adventurous, active, or sedentary) of your target audience – in other words, it helps you find the places to submit your work to that have the greatest probability of success for you.

If your “brand” is business writing for artists, you have a better chance of finding those markets (and of them finding YOU) if you have branded yourself that way.

Your business cards, your website, your blog – would all reflect the image of a business writer for artists, which would look and feel very different from someone who writes about food and recipes and fine dining.

That doesn’t mean you absolutely have to limit yourself, but in order to begin making a living or a reasonable side hustle of writing, it means you must consider the image you are projecting as much as the actual quality of the writing that you produce.

It isn’t an exact science, and you may have to experiment a little before finding a niche that “clicks” and is comfortable for you. Try not to invest too much into your branding until you feel good about what it looks like and what it says about you to others – that way you can evolve it more easily.

In otherwords, test it out and make sure it reflects your value and your values in a way that works FOR YOU.

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