Category: Free(lance) Advice

32 Free Online Research Resources for Freelancers & Nonfiction Writers

Posted: April 15, 2019 | By:

I've done freelance and in-house copywriting, content marketing, and general journalism for about a decade, penning everything from broadcast news to newspaper articles and promotional blog posts. I would hardly have managed to complete a third of them if not for the free online research resources and tools I've gathered over the years—first in J-school and professionally in full-time editor/content director roles and in side jobs as a freelance writer and content strategy consultant.

In that time, I've had to write about a lot about things with which I'm generally...

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Is The Pass-Through For You?

A Primer On The New Deduction For Freelancers

Posted: February 1, 2019 | By:

Tax season is never a dull moment for freelancers. And this year brings a particularly notable new wrinkle: the 20 percent pass-through deduction for small businesses that was included in the 2017 tax reform bill. Like many tax rules, this deduction is a little more complex than it sounds at first. So before you get your hopes up, let’s take a closer look at the potential savings for writers for hire.

First, keep in mind that the new...

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How to Operate Your Speechwriter

Posted: November 30, 2018 | By:

Every year, the Professional Speechwriting Association surveys our members—on job satisfaction, on salary trends, on trends and concerns in the business. This year, we asked simply, "What Do Speechwriters Want?"

If speechwriters could get more out of their careers than they're getting, what would it be? It would be everything, we learned. Speechwriters want...

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If you want to hire a writer, get a writer to write the ad

Posted: June 29, 2018 | By:

The company is advertising for a writing job, but it lets HR goons write the job description.

And so the company seeks a writer who is a "self-starter with ability to work independently and juggle multiple projects and deadlines." Because nothing motivates a writer like the promise of lonely desperation.

The company further specifies that it needs someone who is "responsive and focused on executing in a fast-paced...

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Content Marketing is Good for Your Soul — And Your Company’s Too

Posted: May 9, 2018 | By:

Content marketing is a way to drive traffic to your site, get leads, and generate business, right? Well, sure. But if that’s all it is, it’s just inside-out advertising.

No, I think there’s more to it than that.

I’m considering this as I prepare for three upcoming conferences. Starting tomorrow, May 2, I’ll be at the 

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What’s the Difference Between Story and Narrative? And Why It Matters to You

Posted: May 4, 2018 | By:

Story vs Narrative.

This one distinction forms the basis of all our workshops, client work, and even my next book in the making:

And here’s why —

Story, in its simplest form, is about a character and the things that happen to them. As author Michael Lewis defines it, “a...

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Ghostwriting Compensation: Too Much or Too Little?

Posted: March 9, 2018 | By:

Both potential clients and fellow ghostwriters are uncertain about ghostwriting fees.  Clients always want to know what the ranges are.  Fellow ghostwriters always feel they are not charging enough or perhaps they are charging too much. It’s all a muddle.

I wish there was more transparency in the fees ghostwriters charge. Very few ghostwriters I know of list fees on their web sites. My own blog on ghostwriting was recently selected by...

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Why Are Speakers Afraid of Speechwriters?

Posted: January 29, 2018 | By:

At a Professional Speechwriters Association seminar in Chicago last week, another speechwriter asked me: How do I animate and effervesce my wooden, flat speaker?

Bring in a speaking coach, I told her.

I'm sick of telling speechwriters that.

Speaking coaches can polish a rough speaker, but teaching a stiff speaker to act animated is like tying...

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Newsjacking and Other Fruitful Sources of Content Marketing Ideas

Posted: January 2, 2018 | By:

“What am I going to write about?” That’s the content marketer’s constant challenge. In fact, the number of sources is endless. You just have to have the right mindset.

Let’s remember what content marketing is. While there are any number of definitions out there, I think of it very simply: Content...

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How To Become A Ghostwriter

Posted: November 2, 2017 | By:

I believe in ghosts.

Oh, not in the eerie, see-a-form-pass-through-walls-and-get-your-socks-scared-off sense, or in those apparitions who leave green, gelatinous goo all over your person after they rush through you in the hallway.

No, I believe in a different sort of ghost, mainly because I am one. I am a ghost who writes material for someone else, while remaining completely invisible. Living inside my phantom presence for nearly 15 years has taught me a few things. If you happen to believe in the same ghosts that I do, and are, perhaps, considering a transformation into one...

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