Pinterest Tips for Freelance Writers

It took a long time in my writing journey before I asked a fellow blogger for some Pinterest tips. Now that I understand the platform? PURE MAGIC.

Pinterest Tips for Freelance Writers: Marketing, Promotion, Research

I don’t know why I hesitated other than it didn’t seem like a fit and I didn’t get it. Other bloggers love Pinteret. Like SO much. But since I don’t keep a lifestyle blog, I didn’t think there was any point. I mean, isn’t it just recipes and make-up tutorials?

NOPE.

My perspective shifted after I met Shawna, a minimalist blogger and life coach over at Simple on Purpose. She shared about how her business and blog took off after one Pin went viral.

ONE. PIN.

So when the opportunity came, I asked Shawna to review my profile and give me Pinterest tips to improve my sad attempt at…what was I trying to do anyway? She obliged and provided me with a report FILLED with suggestions. It was 1,000 words long, I counted.

Yes, I had my work cut out for me, and it was just the beginning.

My Pinterest mindset shift

I’ll spare you the details of how much spring cleaning I had to do on my Pinterest account. Suffice to say it would have been easier to start from scratch. Because I didn’t know what I was doing I hadn’t done anything right.

Up until this point I had looked at Pinterest as somewhere to go when you’re looking for costume ideas or DIY projects. But that’s a Pinterest consumer. A Pinterest content creator looks at the platform in a different way.

A content creator looks at the platform and creates appropriate Pins by pairing visually-appealing vertical images with pleasing fonts and a keyword-optimized description. But she doesn’t stop there.

A good content creator also develops a visual brand to stand out from the Pinterest noise and restrains her public pinning to the topics she writes about.

Here’s the most important thing you need to understand: Pinterest is not a social network, it’s a search engine.

Searching for content on Pinterest is a wonderful exercise but Pins also show up as results on all other search engines.

Did you catch that?

If your content is performing well on Pinterest, it may also show up as an image search result in Google.

It then follows that being active and pinning the right content on Pinterest will increase your reach and bring your ideal clients to you.

Pinterest tips for freelance writers

OK, let’s dive in. I’m going to focus on the basics of setting up your Pinterest profile and pinning as a freelance writer. You can go deep with Pinterest strategy and I’ll be honest, I’m not there yet. While I’m happy with the results I’m seeing from Pinterest, I’m still finding my footing.

What I am certain of is Pinterest is a fabulous marketing tool that many freelance writers overlook. Because most freelancers are investing their marketing time elsewhere, this is a great opportunity to maximize your return on Pinterest.

When you’re ready to use Pinterest for promoting your freelance writing business start with your profile

  • Does your user name/handle reflect your business? If not change it
  • Is your profile photo an image of you? If not update it
  • Does your “about me” description talk about what you do and who you serve? If not, rewrite it
  • Are your boards named using keywords related to your business or your niche? Update the ones you can and set the others to secret
  • Have you included a link to your website? If not add it

Feeling ready to start Pinning?

Before you dive in, pinning images from across the Internet remember you are a content creator now. So it’s time to create pins for Pinterest.

Think about what your prospects or ideal readers are searching for on Pinterest. What are the words they’re using? What problems are they trying to solve? Think about what type of images they’ll be drawn to and the types of topics they’ll be interested in.

Brainstorming and researching may take some time but after you spend some time on the platform you’ll get a feel for how it works and which pins work best for your audience and why.

In general, you want to pin things your ideal clients will:

  • Be drawn to
  • Want to read
  • Find helpful
  • Repin
  • Pay attention to

This doesn’t have to be 100 per cent your own content but you should definitely work on adding as much as you can to the platform. Get your writing in circulation!

Pinterest Tips Pin Anatomy
This pin is from the post How to Create a Writing Schedule if you want to see it for yourself.

Pinterest tips: image size

The images that perform best on Pinterest are vertical, around 600 x 900 pixels. You can test the sizes out of course (and the rules do change from time to time) but in general, try and stick to vertical rather than horizontal images. If you JUST CANNOT then square images are also acceptable.

Pinterest tips: create your own Pinterest images using Canva

Creating images specifically for PInterset ensures your image will put its best foot forward on the platform.

  • Make sure to use a visually-pleasing image (light images tend to perform better than dark images)
  • Overlay branding elements like your website or logo
  • Include your main keywords as a text overlay on the image (and repeat your keywords in the description)
  • Bonus tip: enable rich pins (if you’re lost, check out the video below from Redefining Mom on how to do this)

One thing to consider is if you want to pin a lot then you may need to create more content on your website to link to. Another idea, pin your samples to a Pinterest board. Here’s my Writing Portfolio as an example. And yes, I’m customing-making most of those pins.

Even if you aren’t ready to pin you can still use Pinterest in a few interesting ways

  • Discover potential clients who are using the platform
  • Do keyword research using Pinterest search
  • Brainstorm pitch ideas by finding topics related to your niche

I know I already said this but I just think Pinterest is such a great opportunity. So many writers overlook it because they don’t understand the platform or they don’t believe their prospects are there. But with 175 million users…there’s a good chance your ideal clients are at least somewhat active on Pinterest.

And wouldn’t it be great to show up as the answer to their question?

I think so!

It took a long time in my writing journey before I asked a fellow blogger for some Pinterest tips. I don't know why I hesitated other than it didn't seem like a fit. Now that I understand how to use it? MAGIC. Pinterest is revolutionizing my website and my opinion has changed. To say the least.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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How to Find Clients on LinkedIn | Prospecting Tips for Freelance Writers

If you’re a freelance writer you may have heard people recommend trying to find clients on LinkedIn. Perhaps in years past it wasn’t a big deal to let the sleeper social media network be a background app but those days are over. LinkedIn is now a viable option for securing excellent freelance writing gigs.

How to Find Clients on LinkedIn | Prospecting Tips for Freelance Writers

How to Find Clients on LinkedIn | Prospecting Tips for Freelance Writers

I see a lot of freelancers posting in networking groups about how they’re frustrated with low rates from traditional publications and don’t know where to look for those niche clients who pay well. For freelance writers searching for stable, corporate clients, LinkedIn may be their shining beacon of hope.

There are good reasons for freelancers to consider prospecting on LinkedIn. For example,

  • Popular freelance marketplace go-tos like job boards and content mills are competitive and there are more disappointing rates then there are decent ones
  • Writers are discovering more magazine contracts filled with rights grabs (extending to television and movies) and imndemnity clauses, which don’t favour the freelancer
  • Journalists are finding fewer job opportunities as newsrooms get smaller and dailies are shut down. As a result they’re moving into content marketing or busines to business writing

Here is what your LinkedIn profile needs

  • A professional and/or decent headshot
  • Accurate keywords describing what you do (nothing fancy or clever, what would your ideal client type into the search bar? Use those words)
  • A descriptive summary using keywords that will resonate with your ideal client (What problems do you solve? How can you help?)
  • Plain language—people are here to do business
  • Bonus: the more niche, the better

How to use LinkedIn to find clients

Before you do anything, figure out how the platform works and learn the conventions. I’ve already mentioned people come here to do business but it goes deeper than that. Look at what type of articles and other content people publish. Pay attention to the style of comments people leave. And notice the conversations happening. They’re unique to this platform so make sure you’re aware of platform expectations.

Once you have a handle on the decorum, consider publishing a few articles on LinkedIn Publisher related to your area of expertise. These should be targeted at your ideal client and solve a problem they’re having.

Now you’re ready to start connecting

Connection type 1: search the platform for your ideal clients.

Oh, and make sure you have a good idea of who you’re looking for.

For example, if you’re prospecting for mid-level IT businesses, who do you need to connect with in the company? A marketing manager? If you’re interested in publishing in a niche trade magazine perhaps you’ll look for an editor. Narrowing your search will help you focus on the best possible matches and will streamline your efforts.

Basically, think of common titles your market would use to describe themselves (CEO, accountant, sales manager, etc.) and use those when searching.

When you’re clear on your prospect then you can look for these people either using the LinkedIn Advanced Search or LinkedIn Groups.

Once you find people who fit your current client focus, reach out and request a connection. Make sure to add a personalized message to your request but don’t pitch anything yet. You’re just networking at this point.

These people may or may not accept your requests but for the ones who do, send a thank-you message and ask a question. But still, no pitching. All you’re doing here is getting to know them a bit. Small talk. You could see if they work with freelance writers but I’d even be careful jumping into that question right away.

If the conversation progresses and the manager/editor/prospect wants to see more this is the time to send your Letter of Introduction (LOI).

Want to learn more about LOIs? I recommend reading Jennifer Goforth Gregory’s blog.

Connection type 2: Connect with people who have viewed your profile.

LinkedIn lets you know who has viewed you profile. Pay attention to this! If the person who viewed your profile seems like a good fit, then send them a connection request with a personalized note.

This more or less follows the same process as above but I might be a little more casual at first, asking questions like what they’re working on these days and what they’re up to in general.

But if it seems like they could use a freelance writer then jump back into business mode and get your LOI ready and send it over.

Regular prospecting on LinkedIn can take as little as 15 minutes per day using the free version where you send a few connection request, comment on threads or post articles. But if it becomes an important client source you may want to consider upgrading your account to increase your search and messaging credits, as well as other perks.

If you're a freelance writer you may have heard people recommend trying to find clients on LinkedIn. And there are good reasons, it's time to get on board.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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Facebook Group Tips | Avoiding the Drama

These Facebook Group tips will help you network without going down the drama rabbit hole. Why would you want to participate in groups? They’re an interesting ecosystem within the social media behemoth. For example, many successful Facebook Groups provide small, safe spaces for likeminded individuals to connect. And many groups have the added benefit of being secret or private, so your group activities aren’t revealed to your friends or followers.

Facebook Group Tips | Avoiding the Drama

Facebook Group Tips

Networking is a critical aspect of success in the freelance writing world. Because many writers are also introverts, the idea of networking can seem either overwhelming or needless. But those who have joined healthy writing groups, they understand the power of networking and collaborating with likeminded people. In this, you discover your tribe and realize you’re not so alone afterall.

See also: Networking Tips for Introverted Writers

While in-person groups can be amazing, the isolated nature of the writing life doesn’t always support regular attendance. That’s where online networking come in. With more than a billion active users, Facebook is an easy place to find community and networking opportunities. But if you’ve joined groups before, you may understand their potential volitility. These Facebook Groups tips are intended to help freelance writers make the most out of networking while avoiding the drama.

Groups versus Pages

Before we get into the Facebook Group tips let’s do a quick overview of the difference between groups and pages. If you have a business people assume you have a Facebook Page. This is a convenience for the general public and can function, in its simplest form, as a business card directing prospects to your website or informing them of how to contact you. Page owners can leverage their pages and use them like a community but this takes a lot of effort and dedication, which is why groups may be a better option for interacting with your followers and fans. Having a Facebook Page is also required if you want to run Facebook ads, which is something to consider if you’re ready to invest in online prospecting. But we’ll get to that another time.

A Facebook Group is less linear than a page and the group members can have the ability to create content and carry on discussions without the administrator’s approval. Author Kirsten Oliphant describes groups as “a web, where connections don’t have to move in a linear way from the creator at the center.” Groups can be about anything (a person, a topic, a website, whatever) and, for many, are an important connection hub for a writer’s networking efforts.

Facebook Groups tips for survival

While a Facebook Page’s success is tied to the number of likes and reach, a Facebook Group can be considered successful even if it’s small. A group’s engagement and activity is what matters. For some freelancers, creating and moderating a Facebook group make sense but for many others, joining groups is enough.

We’re focusing on how to behave in other people’s groups today since that’s where the majority of freelance writers exist. So here we go.

When joining other people’s groups, here are a few things to keep in mind

  • Remember, this isn’t your group so don’t act like it is (if you don’t like it, create your own)
  • Pay attention to the group’s rules and abide by them. If the group rules say don’t share anything from them group then really don’t share anything. If the rules say don’t promote yourself then really don’t drop links and brag your bylines. Respect the group rules
  • Be kind, genuine and helpful—listen before you speak, if you have a negative emotional reaction to a topic or post don’t respond right away (avoid becoming an Internet troll!)
  • Make connections, yes. But don’t immediately try and sell something (that’s not how this works). Make sure you’re in these groups for the right reasons or this won’t be a positive experience for you
  • Watch for ways you can contribute to the group, don’t just take. Maybe you can’t participate in every discussion but if there is a question or topic you know something about, add a tip or two

While these general Facebook Group tips will keep you in good standing my biggest tip is this. Try and add value to the group rather than dissension. There are so many times I see a beautiful group get sidelined by a disagreement where the moderator doesn’t step in soon enough and the discussion gets out of hand. When groups go down this route it stops being safe and people become afraid to voice their opinion, lest they get trolled or jumped on.

If you see this happening in one of your groups there are a few things you can do.

  • Avoid the drama. Consider muting the thread or group for a few days until the storm blows over
  • There is a chance the group moderator hasn’t seen the drama unfolding so if you think this is the case tag the person in the thread to draw their attention to it
  • Maybe the group is heading down this new, more volitile direction. If it stops feeling like a safe space to you or you feel like it’s just attracting distracting, unhealthy drama then consider leaving the group
  • As much as you can, avoid joining in the debate. In my experience, good doesn’t seem to come from emotional social media back-and-forths

For those looking for community, Facebook Groups can be an excellent option.

When searching for new groups to join, ask your friends and colleagues what groups they recommend first. If you do a general search, keep in mind private groups will more often be safer than public groups. This is because anyone can join a public group but you have to be approved to join a private group. Look for groups that mirror your interests, or are moderated by people you admire. And if you do join a group and it’s not a good fit, don’t feel bad leaving. Streamline your group experience and only stay in the groups you know you’ll be active in.

These Facebook Group tips will help you network without going down the drama rabbit hole. Why would you want to participate in groups? They're an interesting ecosystem within the social media behemoth. For example, many successful Facebook Groups provide small, safe spaces for likeminded individuals to connect. And many groups have the added benefit of being secret or private, so your group activities aren't revealed to your friends or followers.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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What’s a Social Media Manager and Why Should I Care?

I heard of the social media manager title years ago, but never considered I would or could be one. I figured it was for someone else, someone who went to school for new media or social media management (things that didn’t exist when I did my bachelor of journalism). But then my LinkedIn job suggestions started getting…obvious.

What's a Social Media Manager?

But I’m a writer! Who cares about what a social media manager is!

Here’s a splash of what I see whenever I check LinkedIn Jobs to see what’s new and who’s hiring.

  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Copywriter
  • Office Administrator
  • An Open Letter to _______’s Future Marketer
  • Client Success Coach
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Social Media Manager
  • PR Consultant
  • Marketing and Events Coordinator
  • Brand Publishing Specialist

Keep in mind these are the jobs posted in the past seven days in my area, which LinkedIn thought I’d be a good match for. If you’re a writer but have collected different skills, experience, connections, etc. you may have a different snapshot. But do you see what I’m talking about?

Two reactions come to mind I must choose between.

  1. Wow, this social network doesn’t know me at all
  2. When did I become a social media manager?

So I begin wondering, what’s a social media manager and is it different from what I’m doing now?

Well I’ll cut to the chase, all 10 of these postings are about the same. The type of work, the skills involved, the experience required, everything. No matter if it’s administrator level, coordinator level or management level. Now that’s confusing!

This tells me a few things. First, I need to understand all the ways people think of the skills I have—calling myself a writer without attaching any of the other keywords strips out nine of these jobs. Wow. Yet all require the exact same skills. OK…

What now?


Here’s what’s in the modern-day social media manager’s toolkit

  • Fluent in social—all social (paying attention to social trends, dos and don’ts, what’s hot and what’s not)
  • Strong writing skills (with a specialization in content marketing/copy writing)
  • A people-first approach to everything (a service mindset, which not only has you listening to your customers and industry chatter but being engaged in your community)
  • Graphically inclined (not a pro, but you need the basics of design and video production)
  • Comfortable with social selling (and understanding how this is done)
  • Competent at SEO and analytics (yes you will have to run campaigns and reports)
  • Confident public speaker (yes you will have to use Instastories and Facebook Live—you may even have to speak on a panelin person)
  • An understanding of human behaviour (you don’t have to have a psych degree but you do need to understand what works and what doesn’t, what people want and what they don’t)
  • Reasonable budgeting skills (show me the money! Er…show your clients how you’re spending their money!)
  • Adaptable (this industry is like a river—moving fast and constant, you have to keep up with the changes and adapt as necessary)
  • Curious and savvy (in order to succeed as a social media manager, you need to know what works—but if you’re ahead of the curve you’ll be able to move your clients’ business strategies forward faster and won’t be distracted by fleeting trends or vanity metrics)
  • Strong grasp of marketing (specifically strategy and digital, email, and funnel marketing)

If this seems like three jobs in one, you’re right.

And if it seems like a lot of different skill sets wrapped up into one, you’re right again. But this seems to be where the industry is at these days and if you want to compete, you need at least a cursory knowledge of these tools.

Keep in mind the typical day-to-day tasks a social media manager executes each day are a little less overwhelming: writing and scheduling posts, running ads, replying to fans and creating graphics.

See? Not so bad. However, the only way this works is with a strong foundation—a strong social marketing strategy. This is where the real value of a social media manager comes in. If you have good instincts and can build a strong strategy for your client, you are going to see great results. So stay at it and invest in yourself!

Are you looking to level-up your business on social? Need a social media manager? Let’s chat! Let me know what problems you’re looking to solve and I’ll be happy to send you a quote.

I never considered I would or could be a social media manager. It was for someone else, someone who went to school for new media or social media management.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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Going Viral: Creating Contagious Content

Have you ever wondering what makes something go viral?

Is there a secret?

What do viral-video makers know that you don’t?

Learn the what and how of going viral and a few tips for what you can do to make your content more contagious.

Going Viral

Going Viral: Creating Contagious Content

It was my niece’s first birthday and her mother threw a party, inviting the whole family to join in on the celebration.

Everyone was excited to share in the festivities but the morning before the party, people began cancelling saying they weren’t feeling well.

But this was my niece’s first birthday! A big O-N-E!

With much pressure on, the family came together to save the party. Those who were feeling sort of better were encouraged to show up anyway and give my niece the party she deserved.

So they came.

And it was a lovely time. Good food, good conversations and good feelings all around.

Later that evening…

I haven’t vomited from being ill since I was a child.

But vomit I did, from midnight till 8 a.m. the next morning.

Who was the culprit?

No real idea, since there were a few people at the party who weren’t feeling 100 per cent and we spent the day switching children, changing seats, and grabbing snacks from the same bowls.

And I learned I wasn’t the only one. Most of the other non-sick party-goers spent the next day beside the toilet.

It all happened so fast.

One moment we were minding our own business, living life like normal, and the next we were swept up into a wave of vomit-filled illness by no fault of our own except for attending the party and enjoying ourselves.

What happened? Our party went viral.

Going Viral: The What and How of Creating Contagious Content

What does “going viral” mean?

Sans vomiting, going viral in Internet terms is seen as a good thing.

It’s what happens when a piece of content (article, photo, video, etc.) is shared, copied and otherwise spread across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

How many shares does it take before something is considered viral?

I’m sorry to say, there isn’t an exact number.

Viral status is achieved when the proportion of people seeing the content and then sharing it increases over what’s usual.

I know, could it be more vague?

Think of viral sharing like a secret.

If you share a secret with someone, and that person shares it with someone else and then another, and another. Pretty soon everyone knows your secret.

But if the person keeps your secret, that’s where the sharing ends. It’s safe and no one knows about it.

The simple math of virality

Viral content is relative.

When you share a piece of content on social media, how many shares is normal? If you see your shares go up from normal on a couple posts, you can consider those viral.

However, if your shares go up and stay up then it’s the new normal. Not viral anymore.

The more complicated math of true viral content

Of course, a few extra shares here and there doesn’t make a big impact. We want to know about the life-changing kind of viral content like Chewbacca Mom’s laughing video or Mandy Harey’s deaf singing audition for America’s Got Talent.

How do you get those?

The next level of viral content

When you level up on going viral this is where stuff happens.

On day one a piece of content is shared and you receive your regular likes, shares, and website visits, plus a few extras. This (according to ShareProgress) is called “first generation.”

From there, a few of these first generation people share your content on their social channels and some of their friends check it out.

They’re called “second generation.”

By the second generation there should be more likes, shares and website visits. Now it’s on the second generation of visitors to share your content.

If a few more than the first round do this, then the third generation of visitors should be seeing your content. If this continues then you’ll see exponential likes, shares, and website visits.

This is where things get crazy.

In the simple viral example, you’ll have a bump of activity and then things will go back to normal.

In the next level of going viral, the momentum grows and keeps growing and, if you’re prepared for it, sends your life in a new direction.


How do I make something go viral?

Yeah, sorry. I don’t know how.

Actually, I don’t think anyone does. No matter how many terms I Google, all I come up with is “there’s no formula, there’s no secret.”

But here are a few things you can do to help your content be ready for going viral.

Here are some reasons people are most likely to share something.

  • If they have a strong reaction to it
  • If they have a positive emotional response to it
  • They are more likely to share if they feel inspired by it
  • If they are surprised by it
  • If they find it practical and useful
  • People are more likely to share something if they think it will help someone

Where to go from here

Before you write an article don’t think about what will or won’t make it go viral, instead think about what will help and inspire your audience.

Think about what they’d like to read/watch/hear and then create it.

Be genuine, be real and be positive.

Here’s how Derek Halpern says it.

Positive uplifting content always gets shared. Remember, there’s a lot of unhappy people in the world, and while there are different reasons for being unhappy, content that is uplifting and inspirational helps people get out of their rut…even if it’s only for a few seconds.

I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to help someone out of their rut today.

If you need help coming up with content ideas or don’t know who you’re audience is, that’s where I come in. Drop me a line and let’s start a conversation. I’m here to help!

Have you ever wondering what makes something go viral? Learn what going viral means and a few tips for what you can do to make your content more contagious.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required