Not blogs, not eBooks, not WordPress templates

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

As a web designer or developer, you’re constantly having to trade your time for money. As a result, the allure of passive income is strong.

Some ideas the blogosphere offers for generating passive income as a web developer include creating a blog, writing an eBook, or designing WordPress themes.

While these ideas are viable options, the market for these products is saturated:

  • The internet has >500M blogs
  • Amazon sells over 8,000 eBooks about Web Development
  • WordPress.org alone has almost 4,000 themes available

While creating and marketing one of these assets (e.g. an eBook…


Hedging, superlatives, analogies, metadiscourse, nominalization…

Photo: RTImages/Shutterstock/Royalty Free

Over the course of my time as a writer, I have received instruction from teachers, editors, experts, and friends about some bad habits I should avoid in my writing. I’ve listed them below for your benefit.

Disclaimer

Avoiding the following bad habits doesn’t make a bad writer a good writer.

In my opinion, a bad writer is someone who fails to communicate anything of real value in a written work.

A good writer, on the other hand, is able to share something valuable with a reader, even if the form of the writing is a bit clunky. …


Research and write about topics you know nothing about

Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

As a writer, you will at some point be asked to write about a subject that is unfamiliar to you.

When I got my first job as a content marketing intern, the topics my boss asked me to write about were totally new to me.

Thankfully, I had access to individuals within the company to whom I could ask questions so I could ghostwrite content for them. Through this experience, I learned several important lessons about how to work with experts to help me write about a topic I was unfamiliar with:

First, you don’t have to be an expert to write about a topic

As a writer, your primary expertise is usually…


Stop taking a top-down approach to marketing

Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

Before you start: Most of my thoughts here apply in a B2B setting, but there is also value for B2C companies selling products with long sales cycles.

My inspiration for this approach comes from Marcus Sheridan who has recommended building bottom-of-funnel content first. I highly recommend following him on LinkedIn.

Most marketers are looking for a one-night stand with customers—and they don’t even know it.

They’d tell you they’re looking for a long-term relationship — they want prospects to move all the way through the marketing funnel—but you wouldn’t know based on marketers’ behavior.

You’re familiar with the concept of…


Eliminating tedious tasks with basic programming skills

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

When you’re a content marketer, you’re always expected to do more. But anyone who faces enough requests for more soon realizes that you can only do so much.

You have it in you to do amazing work, no matter what people throw at you.

The challenge is that there’s never enough time to maintain all the initiatives you’ve added to your content marketing program.

Accepting new initiatives comes with the territory, but I recently discovered a solution to the lack of time. …


Break the cycle of learning and forgetting

Have you ever felt like your life is a continuous cycle of learning and forgetting?

In college, we joke about how we quickly forget our professor’s lectures after taking their final exam.

In professional life, we consume articles, reports, webinars, and pay tons of money to attend seminars, then can hardly remember the material the next day.

In personal life, we pore over book after book, but by the time we finish one, we can’t even remember the content of the previous one.

Does this sound like an effective way to live and learn? Not at all.

When I recently…


When I first donned the sometime title of ghostwriter at my day job, I often hesitated to explain to people what I did. While logically in my mind I was able to rationalize to myself that what I was doing was okay, I still wondered about the repercussions of ghostwriting in general.

So where do I stand now? In the long run, I’ve come to appreciate the important role that ghostwriting plays in sharing ideas. About 80% of the work I do has someone else’s name on it — something I’m totally okay with. Let me tell you why.

First: Why Some Writers are Leery about Ghostwriting

There…


$50.

That’s what a campaign manager recently offered me to write a 2500-word blog post for him.

😬

I responded politely (and clearly) that 2¢ per word wasn’t a reasonable rate for me.

After sending off the email, I thought, “Freelancers have been decrying pennies-on-the-dollar wages for a while now, yet the problem doesn’t seem to be going away.” And it probably won’t. As English becomes more common the world over, content and copy (particularly content) become commodities that can be so easily acquired from abroad for cheaper.

Sorry if I sound pessimistic, but these are facts that freelance writers…


You see the notification from your calendar app: 10 minutes until your call with that prospective new client. Are you prepared to make the most of it?

That first call with new or prospective clients is your chance to give a great first impression, and unlike the world of Pride and Prejudice, if you botch your first chance, it’s not likely you’ll be able to swoop in later and capture the client’s trust with a dramatic act of writing heroism.

Your first call can feel like tiptoeing across a rope bridge in the jungle — with the crocodiles of overconfidence…


Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there are way more people getting into freelance writing than there are successful full-time freelancers.

Maybe it’s just a perception thing on my part, or maybe the barriers to transitioning to full-time are so big that most writers just can’t make the leap, so they get stuck in limbo.

It can’t be impossible though, right? There are many writers who have overcome the barriers and succeeded at making writing their livelihood. You know who you are. I tip my hat.

I asked freelance writers across multiple platforms what their top advice was…

Jack Vawdrey

Content marketing in the day. Learning new skills at night. All content is available for syndication. Comment for more info.

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