So to make sure you hit the ground running as you gear up for a big end-of-the-year pitching blitz or bust out with new goals in the new year, we want to make sure that you are putting your absolute best foot forward.
When I run workshops for freelance writers looking to work with magazines (or freelance travel content marketing clients), I’m also puzzled by the looks of surprise that I get when I remind people at the end of our long work on pitching that they need to have a website specifically dedicated to their freelance writing in place (as opposed to their blog) and use an email connected to their own website (rather than their blog email or a free email account).
But think about it this way.
Say you are somewhere new and cruising the web looking for a place to eat and find two similar restaurants:
- One has a Facebook page with posts that focus on things that don’t really make sense unless you already know the owner or the restaurant well. You can’t really find the menu, pictures of food or the restaurant, or any indication as to the quality or seriousness of the establishment. (It isn’t even clear if it’s still open or open when you want to go in, actually.)
- The other has a website with tantalizing pictures of the food, a menu that is clearly displayed, information about the chef’s philosophy and experience, and the backstory of how the restaurant came into being and how it has changed the community. It also has profiles in all the usual places–Yelp, OpenTable, delivery services, and so on–so it’s clearly operating and doing regular business.
Which do you choose?
As a freelance writer, you are a business, and you need to hang your own shingle on your own shop window, even if it’s on the internet, and even if it’s so small you don’t think anyone will see it among the bigger signs of all the other shops around you.
There are very clear SEO benefits, particularly the longer you’ve owned your domain, to having your writer’s website on yourname.com, but, just like the restaurants you were considering above, having that “physical” manifestation of your existance is and an incredibly important aspect of creating trust with prosective editors who might have an inkling of interest in your pitch but otherwise not know who you are and whether you can be trusted to turn around an assignment:
- that is professionally produced
- that bears any resemblance to what they’re looking for
I could go on and on about all of the things that your writer’s website (or at least a well-concocted one) can do for you, but I’ll save it for our workshop!
Saturday, December 9
1pm to 4pm EST / 10am to 1pm PST / 6pm to 9pm GMT / 5am to 8am AEDT
Plan, Perfect, Polish, Publish: Get Your Writer’s Website Done Now
Many of you have asked me about or working with me on your writer’s websites, and I know this is a big sticking point for many of you!
We do have a “recipe” for getting your personal writing website (a.k.a. you freelance writer homepage, which should be different than your blog, if you have one) done in one hour, but for those of you that have varied interests, offerings, or travel backgrounds, or have been doing this for a while and simply have a lot to showcase, I know the task seems much more overwhelming.
So we’re going to offer a live, one-off, online workshop (integrating the participation, getting things done, and one-on-one critiques we offer in all of our live events) to make sure your website is ready for the new year.
- Module 1: What your writer’s website is there to do and where most people get it wrong – Should your writing portfolio be a part of your blog? How many clips do you need? How should they be ordered? How should you mention/highlight the names of less-important outlets? These are the questions most people get bogged down with, but, as with any website design process, we need to start in a completely different place: what does the user need from this site? What do we want them to do when they are there? In this module, we walk through the mindset of those out to hire you and how that translates to your site.
- Module 2: Assembling the nuts and bolts of your site piece by piece and page by page – As a group, in real time, we walk through together writing, selecting, and setting up each component of your website so there is no procrastinating, no question you do not have an answer to, and no excuse! You will get your site done today during the workshop and check this massive to-do off your list.
- Module 3: Workshopping, Polishing, and Troubleshooting the Websites You Have Created – In all of our workshops, attendees learn best not only when they share what they’ve done and get personalized feedback on it, but also when they see what others have done and see more posibilities outside of what they have attempted, as well as mistakes they also have made. We will spend the last section of the workshop combing through, perfecting, and polishing the websites of all participants who are comfortable sharing so that you can wrap up the day confident that your writer’s website is ready for prospective clients’ eyeballs.
Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers
Will I really be able to get my website done *during* the event?
You can and most certainly should. One of the main issues we see with travel writers working on their writer’s websites is that the process goes on and on, not only causing you stress and taking up lots of time, but also, unfortunately, the website gets worse the more it’s worked on.
The message gets muddled, things get cluttered, and you lose focus of how you set out to present yourself as you second guess, add “one more thing,” and generally keep delaying the day when it is officially “done.”
So we wholeheartedly recommend that you make a commitment to yourself, us, and the other writers joining for the workshop to work hard for a couple hours, and then call it!
Can I just get the replay and not participate in the workshop live?
Yes, you absolutely can. Especially if you are in an inconvenient time zone, we completely understand!
However, we do want to let you know that a big feature of this workshop is the ability to ask questions and get answers (not just in real time, but period).
We won’t be able to take on-going questions from participants after the workshop who attended live or caught the replay, so if you have some burning isssues that you want to ask–OR want to have your site and experience critiqued live and Gabi spell out exactly what you need to do, we really recommend joining during the event.
Can I call in by phone while I’m out running errands / watching my daughter’s ballet practice / waiting in the security line at the airport / otherwise not in front of my computer?
Absolutely. If you are not able to be on the computer, not to worry. While we will look at some examples of what to do and what not to do, Gabi will talk through them in detail so you can understand what’s going on even if you can’t see the screen. You’ll be able to get the visuals in the replay.
Will we be able to look at my website / directly answer my questions and concerns about my own experience and how that translates to my writer website during the workshop?
That is exactly why we want to do this event!
It’s very easy to get caught up in what makes you different as a writer–and you should, because that’s what needs to be on your writer’s website–but from your perspective as the writer, that aspect of “what is different” is very different than it is to the folks doing the hiring.
In a no-nonsense fashion, we will display any questions or myths of what people are looking for from your experience.
To have your site critiqued and questions best answered (we can unmute you during the call, show your screen, and bring anyone interested up front-and-center one-by-one to workshop their website and questions) we recommend using Chrome to join the workshop as it interacts best with our live player.
How do I receive the dial-in information for the call?
We will send out the call-in information to all who have registered the morning of the event to make sure we don’t miss anyone.
Some suggested preparation for the event (things to pull together and think about before we get going to ensure you get through your entire website design during the workshop) will be sent the day before the workshop.
If I miss part of the workshop / am not able to make it live / have a last minute emergency, how can I get the replay?
You can use the same link you receive to join the call to get the raw version of the replay. We will also edit down the file to remove breaks and any moments with technical issues or other interrupts and share that (connected to the email address you use to register for the event) with each attendee once the video is ready the following week.