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Article by Wendy McCance
Do you ever wonder what can make the difference when a company has a slew of writers to choose from? What is it about one writer that can stand out from the pack and get hired? If someone had asked me this question when I was starting out, I would have said it was experience.
Sure experience plays a role in deciding who to choose, but it isn’t as big a factor as you might think. If a writer has a background in the subject they will be writing about, that means more to a company many times than how many years experience you have as a writer. Even so, believe it or not, that isn’t the biggest factor either. The most important thing a writer can offer these days is a variety of skills.
If you are a writer with web designing skills and you target a marketing company for example, you have just increased your chances of getting a job solely because many of the projects the company will be working on call for someone who can provide both web design and content for the website.
I have lost out on a few jobs because a company was really seeking someone who could take both ends of the project and run with it. Even so, I have gained several jobs because of the extra skill I have. I know social media and understand how to flood the web with information about a company. Even better, I know how to get the conversation going and get people interested in the company that hires me.
These days, companies understand how important social media is to stay in the game and remain relevant. Having a Facebook page, Twitter account and a blog is expected. What’s the first thing you do when you are interested in a company? You google them. You want to find out as much about them as possible. The more places they pop up, the better. The best way to get a feel for the company is to check out their Facebook page or read some of their tweets.
No matter if it is fair or not, if there is little information that can be found about a company, the consensus is that they aren’t relevant. If you check out a Facebook page and all you see is a few links or ads with no interaction with potential customers, it comes off poorly. The feeling is that they don’t care about the people seeking them out, and they have a Facebook page solely because they feel obligated to have one. I mean, everyone has a Facebook page, right?
As a freelance writer, you need to look outside the box. What can you bring to the table that makes you stand out? What special qualifications do you have that makes you an irresistible choice?
The other day I was working with a client. They had reached out to me on LinkedIn and I started working with them right away. I asked my client what it was in my profile that made them want to work with me. Their answer was that I had a social media background. They said that they can find anyone to write an article, but understanding the role social media plays and being able to write content geared towards a website or blog is much different from your standard paper. It was my background in social media that cinched the deal.
Everyone has something extra they can offer. I used to believe that if I listed too many skills, I would appear to be all over the place. Now I understand that if you can tie those skills together and show how the importance of how they relate, you will find yourself flooded with opportunities.
Get creative and tap into your background. There has got to be something else you can add. If you worked in sales, that is a plus to many companies trying to sell potential customers on their service or product. If you were a real estate agent, connect with realtors and real estate agencies and offer your services. You have the knowledge to write thoughtful , in-depth pieces based on your background.
Starting a business as a freelance writer can be challenging. Even after years of writing, you never know when you might need a boost to increase your assignments. Try to blend some of your experiences and you will see a difference in the interest you receive.
If you have had success blending your experience to stand out as a writer, I would love to hear about your experience. Please take a moment and comment on what worked for you.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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