Rejected but not defeated

I was rejected yesterday. I will probably be rejected today, too. In fact, I will probably be rejected at least 50 times next month.

This is part of the writing business, especially if you are a freelancer. Even though you may think you are a great fit for a gig, the client may prefer another writing style or just think someone is better than you.

Many people think being a freelance writer is a cool job where you sit around in your pajamas writing beautiful prose and changing the world. I am in my pajamas now and while my work is vitally important to my business client, it’s not going to end world hunger or bring peace. Don’t get me wrong. I love freelancing and I love meeting clients from all over the world. But you have to deal with rejection on a daily basis.

How do I handle it? Here are some tips.

  • First, don’t get angry and burn a bridge. Many years ago I was rejected by a client for a job I really wanted. They posted another job a few months later, I reapplied and got it. Sometimes you are not the reason someone else gets the job. As I mentioned before, the client may think someone else is better or more experienced.
  • I analyze my pitch or bid. I don’t spend a lot of time on this. But by going back sometimes I find it’s a mistake I made such as a typo or grammatical error that may have cost me the job. Once, I sent the wrong pitch to client.
  • I move on quickly. I have found that there is always another client and gig waiting for me somewhere. If I wallow in each rejection, I won’t have the time to make that perfect pitch to the client that needs me. I have been blessed that I haven’t had to go too long between gigs. That’s because I get right back on the horse, even if it’s kicked me more than once.
  • I don’t ever give up. I have goals and dreams for my family and my freelance writing is one of the vehicles I am using to get me there. While I really love the work, I love my family and I won’t stop because I am working for them just as much as I am working for my clients.

More than a decade of freelance writing has given me skills that I now use in my own life. Everyone has been rejected and felt inadequate. What are your methods of coping with rejection?




Tackling the big projects

I started my journalism career in radio so I became used to writing scripts that could be read in a minute or less. When I made the transition to newspaper I struggled to write longer stories. And when I started freelancing, I had bigger struggles as clients often asked for word counts. That’s a struggle I still have.

Recently I had a client request a piece that was at least 1,600 words. Given that my average piece in the newspaper was about 250 words, this was challenging. Some of my short police reports were less than 100 words.

If you are used to writing shorter pieces like I am, here are some tips for writing lengthy web content or articles.
• Do your research first. The client gave me some samples of what they liked and a link to the focus of the article so I had a head start on research. I am not always so fortunate.
• Do an outline of the piece. For this piece, the outline was not formal. I just outlined the sections I wanted and grouped my research into each heading. I ended up with five separate sections.
• Instead of writing one long piece, write it a section at a time. This is what made this project much easier for me. I didn’t even write the sections in order. I started with what I thought was going to be the longest section and then worked my way down to the shortest section.
• Take breaks. A lot of writers recommend this and it is the best advice you can receive. I usually write in 45 minute blocks with 15 minute breaks every hour. Sometimes I get ‘on a roll’ and I may write for an hour or even an hour and a half. But I find I do much better writing in short spurts. You have to find what works for you.
• Once you put it together, make sure you read it several times to make sure the sections flow together. I had to add some transitions once I put it all together to make sure it flowed as one piece and not five separate pieces.

I also apply these methods to my large crafting projects. If you have read my other blog, Kim J Inspired, you will find I often tackle large cross stitch pieces. It can get frustrating when you have stitched for a month and still have pages to go. So as I did with this long project, I break it up in sections and make my goal to do a section every few days.

How do you tackle big projects? I would love to hear your methods!



Emotional triggers

Back in the 1980s AT&T had children running to the phone to call their mothers after a commercial aired showing the tears of one happy mother. The right emotional trigger can get a consumer to act and that means sales. Here are some of the most common emotional triggers used and some examples of how they are being used.

  • That crying mama in those phone company commercials placed a lot of guilt of children and made them forget that a call to mama was rather expensive in those days.
  • Farmers Insurance is leading the way with a humorous ad campaign on a serious subject. The goal is to make you afraid of the falling piano or flood and run out and make sure you have enough coverage.
  • Forget Jake from State Farm and his suspicious wife. It’s their ad campaign where agents pop just when you need them that emphasize a bond and trust consumers can have with the agent. It’s a continuation of a marketing campaign they have used for years—“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”
  • Trend setting. Buick is trying to be a new trend setter but pointing out how much they weren’t one in the past. Their series of commercials where people are surprised that a car is a Buick is targeted at making them a trend setter now.
  • Who doesn’t need more time and this is an effective trigger. Cleaning products that pledge to help you get the job done in half the time are one example of how this trigger is used.

Many other emotional triggers like belonging and instant gratification are also used to drive consumers to products. The right trigger for your campaign will depend on your product and your message.


The ten second challenge

It’s been a few years since I have really kept up with Internet marketing and content writing so I am on a steep learning curve. My focus has been on magazine writing with a few content marketing pieces and I have not had to worry about analytics and other fancy sounding words.  Thank goodness most clients only care about my writing skills and hire me for my talent.

Of course, I want this blog to be read and seen in search engines and I have had scores of emails from companies who say they can help me do that. I am sure some of them are great but I don’t respond to sales pitches. I prefer to do my own research and pick a company.

I have spent some time learning all that has changed in the past few years and it is a lot! But there is still on disheartening statistic that is touted by Internet marketers–most people only spend about 10 seconds on a website before moving on to the next one in the search engine.

This statistic is really challenging me as a writer. I want to make sure I deliver compelling content no matter how boring the subject. (My last article was on employment law, btw). So if you are a writer, what are your challenges in writing content that keeps people reading more than 10 seconds. And for clients, what do you look for in writing.

I know that it’s not just the content that drives views to sites. Web designers, coders and a host of other people play a part in making a great website. But that stuff is way over my head.

Hey, if you read this far, let me know!


Black hats, white hats and SEO

After taking a break from freelance feature writing and content writing I am picking up a job here and there as my husband and I are working toward buying a house. I focus mainly on featuring writing since I am a journalist but I love the challenge of writing content for websites. As I have scoured the job sites and content offerings, I see some of the same needs as I was seeing three years ago. .

“SEO content needed”

“Get my site to the top of Google”

“AdSense expert needed.”

Unless you are a business owner who is serious about your online presence, this sounds like another language to you. I am just getting back into this industry on a limited basis and I may not be the best person to explain this. But while you may not understand SEO, it is directed  towards YOU. Here’s an example: You need a new car and you really want a Lexus. You want to find a slightly used one with low miles. You may first type “used Lexus” in the search engine bar and at the top you see listings that look different than the rest. Those are usually ads that a business has purchased to specifically target people, probably in your area, looking for a Lexus. It’s called AdSense and there is a formula using what are called adwords used to target people searches.

And what shows up first in your search is not an accident.Most companies use SEO techniques so you see their listings first. Some of them use what could be called shady techniques–these are called Black Hat marketers. These techniques are employed only to get you to go to the page and may not have the information you need. Google has actually targeted these types of marketers by using formulas that detect the techniques. The sites are often removed or penalized.

Others make good use of keywords (for example used Lexus Atlanta) to get their sites at the top of the search.These are called White Hat marketing techniques. These sites actually provide you the information you are looking for when you type those words in the search engines.

The Internet has replaced phone books, encyclopedias and a host of other things we needed just 20 years ago to provide information. And in the process an entire industry focused on marketing online was created.




This is my first blog post!

I am just mimicking what I read when I opened up this new blog. I blog, guest post and ghostwrite blogs for clients so I have written blogs before. But this one is about what have been doing almost my entire adult life.

Many of you already know me–I have been doing this crazy journalism/communications/writing/broadcasting thing for more than 25 years. But for those who may not, let’s have some fun. Remember the 25 random things about me that was the rage on Facebook? Well, I don’t have the time for that!! Here are 10 random things about me as it applies to writing and my career.

  1. I love being in radio. I have a great time delivering news, albeit very early, every morning. It just means I am home in time for lunch!
  2. I love freelancing. It’s challenging to land clients, meet deadlines and deliver quality work. But I love the challenge.
  3. I stumbled into my career field. I always wanted to be all the things I am but I lacked self-confidence. I was going into public relations when a news director at my hometown radio station heard me recording promos and gave me a shot at news.
  4. My first major was education. Teaching is actually a lot harder than it looks and teacher NEVER get enough credit. Thank God I saw the light my junior year of college.
  5. My teenage son does my pictures and videos. I am constantly astounded at what he produces, just with an IPod. But he also has some fancier equipment.
  6. I couldn’t draw stick people in elementary school. Why is this unusual? Because I love crafting and art now and blog about it on another site.
  7. I won a watermelon eating contest when I was about six years old. I won a pink princess chair.
  8. I used to hate the color yellow but I am warming up to it, especially after seeing a field of yellow flowers near my house. I even made it my cover photo.
  9. My husband and I are on a quest to see all 50 state capitals. How many have we done so far? Ahem, three.
  10. Tipper Gore once gave me weight loss tips when I interviewed her.

Whew! First blog here done! What will I do here? Some media commentary, some thoughts on the journalist/writer/broadcaster life and some about cool places where my family goes. Thank you for reading!