You Can Be An Expert

When it comes to writing for money, it’s important to remember that experts always get paid more. If you can list off credentials, editors are more likely to bump you up to the higher end of their pay scale. If you can prove you know what you’re talking about, clients are happy to pay higher fees.

Make Yourself An Expert

Credentials can be a bit nebulous, when it comes to writing. Personally, I think actual results often prove your abilities better than any other credentials, but the folks hiring you will use their own metrics.

But think about it. If you want an expert at creating SEO copy, are you going to chose a writer with a degree in creative writing, or are you going to chose a writer who can tell you that she got X more visitors for a site after rewriting its text?

The fastest way to turn yourself into a topic is to start writing about it. Start a blog on your particular topic or write for low-paying markets. Take on non-profit topics. Pretty soon you’ll have a big stack of examples of your work in a given niche. Relevant samples are the most important factor in getting a job, although there are a few other ways to boost your chances.

Think about why you want to write in a particular niche. Maybe you want to write articles about fishing, because you’ve been fishing ever since you were 12. It just so happens that your life-long fishing experience is a credential.

If you’re a complete beginner when it comes to fishing, though, you’re not out of luck. You should probably start fishing, of course, but there are various organizations you can get involved in that will help you learn about fishing — and your membership is also a credential.

The Benefit of Beginning

Starting from scratch in creating your expertise can actually be a benefit, at least in certain fields. You have an inside lead on what information beginners are looking for — a topic that can easily provide ten angles if you’re looking for story ideas.

It is a little harder to find a starting point if you’re focusing on any sort of copy writing — but it’s also easier to find projects. Non-profits are an example of an opportunity waiting to happen. Many non-profits don’t have the budget to cover all of their projects. They’re a little more willing to take on a relatively inexperienced writer (and write them a glowing testimonial afterward) if only to bring their project in on budget.

4 Comments

  1. Danu   •  

    yes, it is surely a good idea for inexperienced writer.

  2. Nice post. I blogged about this here: http://adamrice.typepad.com/kristinarice/2008/09/how-to-achieve-expert-status-as-a-writer.html

    I totally agree that not knowing your subject matter can be helpful, but I would add it’s only helpful if you’re writing for beginners. You can’t write for a specialized magazine or Web site if you are a beginner, but I think going through the process on your way to becoming an expert will help if you haven’t been doing something for too long. It’s easier to remember what you learned at the beginning if you didn’t learn it as a kid!

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