(Heads up – there is a writing opportunity buried in this post).
The Reality of Online Writing Work – Do You Write What You Love OR Can You Learn to Love What You Write?
I have a nifty job writing content for a company. Why is it nifty? Because I get paid to write. All sorts of things – landing pages, blog posts, press releases, site content…cool, huh? Am I writing the kinds of things I would choose to write if I had no mortgage to pay? No Cheerios to buy for the kids?
Hmm, probably not. Actually, the real answer is, hell no. I have to write what the company needs, when they need it. Plus there are other people that get to have input on the final result so I, on occasion, have to go back and make changes that wouldn’t, in most cases, be the changes I would make personally. Changes I sometimes don’t agree with at all.
But, still, it’s better to get paid to write – than to have to have another job entirely, right?
Don’t get me wrong – the company I work for is a good one. And I believe in the products (whew!). But it is still work…
If you’ve been spending some time blogging, or creating web content, or becoming a social media hound, and you’re trying to make the leap from non-yet-paid online writer, to paid, or thinking you might like to make that leap, what are the kinds of things you need to be thinking about?
Path 1. The Total Freedom of Writing Just for You
Writing for yourself, with no one “paying” you for it, does give you flexibility, or freedom, because ultimately you can decide to write what you want to write. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Follow your creative whims with no roadblocks in your path. This is the path for those who really just want to follow their writing bliss with no interference. However, many writers eventually want someone else to at least read what they’ve written so they move to a different path….
Path 2. Wanting to Have Readers
The minute you take the step and want to have a reader, or readers – people who actually want to read what you write – you’ve changed the game – and your freedom. Because now, you’re going to have to have some concern about the topics you choose to write about – you’ll have to ask yourself, “Will my readers want to read this? Will it help my readers? Will they care?” And sometimes, just sometimes, if you’re looking to increase your readers from two to two hundred, you’ll have to write about what your readers care about even when you don’t.
Jonathan Morrow created a bit of a stir on Copyblogger when he recently wrote an article The Mad Men Guide to Changing the World with Words and stated that it’s better to start a blog about a topic the world is interested in and then convince yourself to write about it, rather than (like most people do), starting a blog about a topic you are interested in, and then convincing the world to listen to you. Why? He says:
They start a blog about a subject they want to write about, and then they use every psychological trick in the book to get people to read it.
And sometimes, it works. If you’re a good enough marketer, you can prop up any blog or product, no matter how bad it is.
But why go through the trouble?
People don’t buy cigarettes because of the marketing. They buy them because they’re addicted. Cigarette companies are obliged to finance millions of dollars on marketing campaigns to convince people to stop smoking, and yet they continue to make billions of dollars anyway.
On the one hand, it’s horrifying, but on the other, it’s just smart business. The best type of product is the one people can’t stop buying.
Can you say the same of your blog? Is your content so important they can’t stop reading?
So, if Jonathan is correct, and I think he is, it seems that as a writer you should probably have your purpose for writing in mind prior to ever starting your blog. But, since most of us are already knee deep, we need to either start over, or work with where we are. Which brings us to…
Path 3. Wanting Actual Payment for Your Online Writing
This is a big leap for many writers – and one that does not suit everyone. Many online writers hold it up as a dream, but put in the wrong hands it can be, frankly, a nightmare. If you want the complete flexibility to write exactly what you want to write, consider remaining on Path 1 – it’s the only path that will give you total creative freedom. If you’ve already moved to Path 2, and you’re doing okay with bending your writing a bit to help your readers a little more, then Path 3 – putting yourself out there for actual pay might be the next logical choice.
Anyone out there ready to leap? Right now?
Well, here’s your chance.
Here’s my job proposition so you can try out “writing for dollars.”
For any Zencopy follower (time to subscribe if haven’t already) who is wanting and ready to make that leap into the world of online writing payment read on…
So sorry you missed this opportunity – subscribe to zencopy so you never miss another one!
All you have to do –
1. Post in the comments section for this post (my blog is starved for comments so I need your help here – win win) by the end of November 30.
2. Tell me/us what you like most about Zencopy – what has it done for you? How has it helped? (that means if you’re subscribing just to get in on this job offer you’re going to have to do a little back reading). The point of this, beyond me learning what is working for you on this blog, is that you will be in the position of writing about a product (content about Zencopy) that isn’t necessarily what you would choose to write about. It, of course, has to be authentic and believable, like any good content.
3. Then tell me/us, how you will use that content about Zencopy to make an impact – will you post a special article on your blog? Do a little linking? Create a landing page of great writing resources that includes Zencopy? The more creative the better.
4. And here it is, your leap realized – the writer with the most compelling content and idea is hired. By me. To do just what they proposed to do with their Zencopy content. And I will pay that one writer $50 U.S. for the work. (via paypal, check in the mail, your choice – real money, really, within 1 week of work completion).
Now, back to our regularly scheduled post; if you can, figure out which writing path works for you and best suits your life plans and goals, then stick with it. Don’t feel obliged to try and make money writing online if that’s not where you want to go. And if it is, you have a chance right here, right now, to get started. Just make sure that you’re ready to train yourself to move beyond writing what you love, and learn to love what you write.
photo 1 by borman818
photo 2 by AMagill