What’s better than one smart, beautiful, successful woman? THREE!!!
For this episode, we brought three African women who started from the ground and have built successful freelance businesses.
Huge thanks to WithFrontier for sponsoring this episode of the FCDC Expert Series. WithFrontier is a unique recruitment consultancy that specializes in recruitment for performance marketing and e-commerce roles at all levels
✍🏾Name: Lily Ugbaja
✍🏾What She Does: Lily is a content writer and strategist.
✍🏾Company: Lily Ugbaja
✍🏾Noteworthy: With over 6 years of experience, Lily has done amazing work with clients like Semrush, Shopify, and Animalz Lily talks about
✍🏾Name: Afoma Umesi
✍🏾What She Does: Afoma Umesi is a freelance writer for software companies and businesses in the marketing industry.
✍🏾Company: Afoma Umesi & Company LLC
✍🏾Noteworthy: She started writing content as a teenager and has since then, gone on to work for reputable MarTech and cybersecurity SaaS brands App Sumo and Zapier.
✍🏾Name: Chima Mmeje
✍🏾What She does: Chima is the founder of Zenith Copy.
✍🏾Company: Zenith Copy
✍🏾 Noteworthy: Chima runs Freelance Coalition, a nonprofit that provides training, mentorship, and scholarships for BIPOC freelancers who need help upskilling and learning the business side of freelancing. She also created The 10x Topic Authority Course for freelance writers wanting to take their professional skills to the next level. She has worked with clients like Wix, Semrush, and Aura.
💡Inbound Marketing for Freelancers. Lily Ugbaja shared her strategy for attracting clients by getting results and showcasing those results. She emphasizes the importance of treating freelancing as a business and using the same tactics to get clients as you would to get customers for a client’s business. By focusing on getting results and talking about those results, freelancers can attract clients who are looking for tangible outcomes, rather than just samples or content itself.
💡Guest Posting for Freelancers. Lily Ugbaja mentioned that her first big break came from doing two guest posts on a relevant website. While there may be some hesitation about working for free, guest posting can be a valuable strategy for getting exposure and building credibility as a freelancer. By finding a topic you know well and targeting sites through a site search or other means, you can demonstrate your expertise and potentially attract clients who are interested in your services.
💡Focusing on vanity metrics vs. conversion. Lily discusses the importance of highlighting vanity metrics, such as the number of shares a post has received when trying to attract newer clients who may not be as familiar with content marketing. The speakers note that while these metrics may not be the most important for conversions, they can still be useful in attracting clients who are primarily interested in seeing tangible results. This conversation highlights the importance of understanding your target audience and focusing on metrics that are most important to them, even if they may not be the most important for your overall goals.
💡The importance of building skills through experience. Chima Mmeje emphasizes the importance of improving skills as a content writer to attract and retain high-paying clients. Afoma Umesi also highlights her journey of building her skills through experience and learning from her work as a junior editor, which eventually led to better-paying opportunities. These instances show how building skills through experience and taking up opportunities to learn and improve can lead to better-paying work and success in the field.
💡Transitioning from freelancing to B2B content writing. Afoma Umesi shares her journey of transitioning from freelancing to B2B content writing. She talks about how she stumbled upon B2B writing on Twitter, researched about it, and then pitched herself to a B2B marketing agency. This shows that with research, determination, and the right skills, freelancers can successfully transition to B2B content writing, which can lead to better-paying opportunities and career growth.
💡The Benefits of a Growth Mindset. Chima emphasizes that adopting a growth mindset can help individuals overcome challenges, develop new skills and achieve their goals. A growth mindset is characterized by a belief in the ability to learn and improve, a willingness to take risks, and a focus on effort and persistence. Embracing a growth mindset can lead to greater resilience, motivation, and success in both personal and professional pursuits.
Choosing a profitable niche in freelance writing can make a significant difference in income. Afoma Umesi suggests that choosing niches like cybersecurity, marketing analytics, and b2b SaaS could offer higher pay in comparison to smaller niches such as HR, remote work, and productivity.
Referrals can be one of the most powerful ways to get high-paying gigs in freelance writing. Freelancers can join Slack communities, Facebook groups, or Twitter to find quality content opportunities being shared. Furthermore, guest posting for websites can also help in getting your name out there and making a good impression, which could lead to paid gigs.
The importance of a professional website and brand representation. Chima emphasizes the need for a website to convert social media followers into clients. They also mention the impact of professional photos on their website and how it has helped position her as an authority in her field.
Building Authority through Podcasts and Guest Posting. Chima also emphasizes the importance of building authority as a copywriter through various means, such as appearing on podcasts, guest posting, and attending online events. She explains that this is a long-term strategy aimed at building passive income and increasing authority in their niche. She recommends targeting high-ranking websites that are relevant to the niche and have large audiences, as this can generate quick results and lead to more work opportunities. By building authority and establishing themselves as experts in their field, she was able to attract more clients and charge higher rates.
Connect with Lily;
Connect with Afoma;
Connect with Chima;
Lily Ugbaja 0:03
All right. Hi, everyone. My name is Lily Ugbaja. I’m a content writer and strategist and I got started as a blogger is one of those cheesy blogger stories where you go, I was I quit my full-time job to stay home with my kids and I just needed money. So let’s go start blogging because everybody says there’s money in blogging, and then you start, and then you realise you need something in the interim.
So I started freelancing because blogging was not working out at the time, it wasn’t working as fast at the time. And so I have a feeling that Ifeoma will be a lot more better talking about cold pitching strategies. So I’m just going to focus on inbound, because I don’t know how to go pitch. Yeah.
Chima Mmeje 1:03 How you got into what you did. Okay, so what do you think clients are looking for when hiring, the tactics you use to grow from zero to where you are now?
Lily Ugbaja 1:17 I’m very, I have a flu.
So yeah, no worries, what
clients actually prepared like something there’s not really anything fancy. It’s just,
you want to share your screen? Yeah. All right. Yeah, you can share a screen.
Because I’m just gonna walk through this. It’s not anything fancy. Like I said, Yeah. So. So for me, I don’t really do cold pitch, and I focus more on attracting them, and combating them and just like retaining them, because so I feel like most times, freelancers don’t realise that we’re running the business. And the same way you create content for your clients, to get their own customers is the same way you need to approach getting customers for yourself.
So the three things you need to do is to get results. And to talk about those results. Why do you need to get results? So I see lots of people lead in with samples and all that. And it’s, it’s good if you you can write, but the thing that people want, it’s the thing that clients want is not really the content itself, it’s the results that the content can bring. So that’s why you need to focus on getting results. And when you’re starting out.
You don’t have any results. So how I got results in the first place was to guest posting, I know Chima, you don’t really like for us to work for free. And but my first big break came from a guest post, I didn’t have to guest post long, I did two guest posts. And this is the exact strategy that I had to follow, I guess, posted on blogging wizard to be specific.
What I did was I found a topic that I really knew well, and I found a site search. Okay, it wasn’t smart enough to perform a site search there. But like, if I had to do this again, I would perform a site search. Sorry, how those screen sharing work. If I open another tab, does it still show?
Chima Mmeje 3:28 Yes, it does. Yes. Sharing your screen, it shows anything you do on screen, we can see it.
Lily Ugbaja 3:32
Okay, great. So the performance site search, if I had enough sense, then this is what I would have done.
Logging wizard, a topic I wrote was on email marketing. So I’ve been able to see what angles. And blogging we said had already covered an email marketing, and how they were able to know which so this is the post I wrote for them.
As you can see, it’s not SEO optimised or anything, like no one’s searching for the pillars of email marketing out there.
So so if you’re able to perform like a site search and just find the angles that are available to tackle the topic for that site, it may be difficult to reach out to sites that big when you’re just starting out because you don’t have anything. So what I did was I wrote on another site that was really accessible. And I took a quote that I had seen Adam does the owner of login wizard and put out there and I took that quote, and I put it in the article that I was working on for a smaller site.
And it wasn’t just blogging with it I was targeting at the time I took quotes from about 10 Other bigger sites and puts it in that post. And then when that post went live, I sent these guys an email, Hey, I can’t remember the exact wording. But the idea was, look, I got your backlink on the site, you were featured on the site, it makes them more likely to open then just reaching out to them and saying, Hey, give me a quote.
Like they don’t know who you are. But every, every site owner wants to hear that the gods are backlinks. And that was how I was able to get through to Adam, then. And what it also does is that the person, the editor gets to read your content, so they know that you can write because they need to scroll down to find where they were featured, right. So he was able to see that I can, right and then I pitched him a guest post I said, if you want I could do a guest post on this topic, I found that you don’t have anything on the topic yet.
Even though I didn’t know that the keyword was non existent. And so he agreed, and then I sent my guest post to him. And that single guest post brought me a first my first full time role offer. And my first roadie into proper freelance writing, I think the first client I got from that was paying around $250 per article. So to leverage that, you know, the results is not likely that everyone’s going to have people coming to them through a guest post. The main thing is that you want to get results using that guest post.
So login with that has a pretty high D. And the sites that you are trying to pitch for guest posts, you have a high D, the reason why you want a site with a high D, that it’s not just a crap D but like they can rank the competitive side a reputable site is because the keyword that you’re targeting will rank faster. So you get results faster, then you can take that results. And now start talking about what you’ve done, how what you achieved. And things like the keyword volume, how difficult it was and the time it took to run.
I pulled up my wife did save my original site design. When I was just starting out from web archive, I don’t know why the pictures are not loading. But like everything I have here is the results I got from the the the articles I wrote for OptinMonster. They were the people who found me from blogging with that, you don’t really need to have like lots and lots of results.
Ultimately, I had a very high dA. So whatever I wrote for them ranked is not me, is the site. So what I did was I just took, I will check in an incognito tab to find them. To see how the keywords the article I wrote was ranking for the keyword. And I’ll screenshot that the picture is not showing you, I will screenshot that and put it on my site.
I was using things as silly as even shares. So if you’re, if you’re looking for like newer clients that can pay you around 300 400 500, they don’t really know that much about in my experience, they don’t really know that much about content marketing to know that conversion matters more than all this. So they’re looking at vanity metrics like this, if you can highlight things like this that are pretty much useless. But like that, there are some figures to highlight.
That’s results. So these were the things I was highlighting in the beginning and I got 15 Organic backlinks. And the truth is that these backlinks were crap links, like you know, the sites that just afirma you know this now, when you publish a link, sometimes you get pinned things and stuff on your blog, those were basically the stuff that I just, I picked it, I ran it through SEMrush you have I think SEMrush offers five free searches.
So I was able to like this has 15 backlinks, it doesn’t matter where they’re coming from it has 15 backlinks and I put that on my site. And I didn’t talk about these things in the beginning on LinkedIn until Chima exposed me to that.
But like if I had the opportunities, what I would have done, I wouldn’t have just sat there and waited even though clients skin when they saw this. Once you start talking about it on LinkedIn, you find that it’s coming more in more frequency than it would if you keep silent. So the key point here is get results. Talk about it. You don’t have to own a site to get results you need you can go out there. You don’t need to get posted on all the sites in the world.
What you’re looking for is a sites that can rank fast for a good keyword. Talk about the results. So when clients come to you now, they already believe you i proof from what they’ve seen on your website or wherever your portfolio whatever You don’t even need to present it like I did. I think there is a Google doc I have, I can’t find it. We just talked about results. And clients prospects are always impressed by that.
So when they come to you, the next thing you need to do is to give them a personalised taste of your competence for free. I’m not saying do free work. So what this does is that it proves that you can replicate the results that you’ve already seen out there. For them. The things that I do, I don’t know what you you what skills you have, what you can do other things that I do is when a new client comes, I always like run a site search on their site, we run a site search, there are things that you can discover,
I scroll through the sites, I used to do this in the beginning, not not like I don’t have that much time anymore. But like in the beginning, I would go through the site and just see if there was anything that stuck out that they were doing wrong. Look through their content, sometimes you see very poorly edited content, I have some plugins that I use as one it’s called SEO meta in a click.
Let me put it in the chat. So everyone can find it. So what it does is it looks like this, I’m using the detailed extension now no longer and that one. So what it does is, you can see the headends shirt and a Google Doc. So what it does is you can see the headings of anyway, you need a blog post for this to work, you’ll be able to see which ones are h1 and h2 and h3 is and how many they are. So for posts where they have four sites that have blog content that uses like two h ones and all that you can call them out in the response email to their inquiry and tell them hey, this is one thing you’re doing wrong.
And this is what you should be doing. Instead, call out things like technical issues, they have outdated content, just be generally helpful. You’d be surprised at what’s most people in there. Don’t know. And so when they finally convert, it’s easier to retain a client than it is to get a new one. So what you need to do is make yourself hard to replace that you make yourself hard to replace. First thing is master one skill. So for me that skill has been research should.
For me that skill has been research and my research skills like really, really strong if you can master that, or maybe a ditson Just one thing, where your editor is looking at your work and like yeah, I really love this person for this. The other thing you need to do is whenever you need to, you’re writing a piece of content, you need to tie contents back to the business goal. Like what does the business stand to gain from this piece that I’m writing? How do I make sure that this business goal the business gets it?
Who is the target target audience for this topic? was the topic intense? All these things? There are things that I’ve seen my editors comment on several like I really love how you take this to the business school. Then structure so you need to structure your writing for things like answering the What the Why the how all these things would like make your your life editor’s life easy.
There’s some other stuff you can do to make your life editor’s life easy things like understanding the content structure, so it’s easier to fix grammar mistakes than it is to fish structure. If you had a choice having to move things around too much that’s no good for anyone. A good place to go to to understand content structure is animals they have like really good blog posts on the topic. Always edits with Grammarly.
I think this is like pretty basic Grammarly has a free edition of their plugin that you can use to just run things through for spelling and grammar errors. And then use the Hemingway app I know it’s can be very intimidating for beginners I had like when I first started out like Hemingway is crazy. These guys are crazy.
They keep telling me stuff that I like if you use it if you’re on your article true Hemingway app, you’ll be able to detect passive voice and fill adjectives, every pro editor. Every poor editor will be like really crazy when they find passivity and voicing your work. So you need to remove that remove filler adjectives. You need to learn to craft strong intros because that’s the first thing your editor sees when they come into the the content, even if the other things you’ve written are not strong enough.
Let your intro be as strong as it can be. So that your editor is already impressed with your work. And then why they are going to your, the rest of your rights. And they already have this condition in that this person wrote something that is really good. So as you’re writing, there’ll be choices that you make in the content itself.
There’ll be places where you challenge what is in the brief, he explained those choices with things like comments in like a Google Doc or something. So that they know that because when they are reading through, they’ll be like, Why did this person do this? And if you don’t explain it at that point, like when they’re reading through, you don’t have a comment explaining, this is why you did what you did.
That’s like, friction, that can like bring issues, they might not ask you. But they feel like you don’t take instructions. And then the final thing I do is when I send updates at the end of the month, I always send updates that reinforce how useful today I still do this one, like, I never let go of this one.
By the end of the month, when I’m sending my invoices, I always look for the contents I wrote for them in the previous months, how’s it doing? How’s it performing? And I’m like, I’m happy to see that this post we wrote is already doing this or doing that or doing that. I’m excited to see how our future posts perform. What it does is that it helps them because people forget, it helps them remember that you are a valuable writer, and that you’ve been giving them valuable content. And that’s all.
Chima Mmeje 16:37
Okay, so this is really good, because it shows that how do I explain this, you think people think that making money is just pitching, pitching, pitching and then doing it repeatedly for the deliverables has to be right? That means that the better you as a content writer, the easier is going to be to learn high paying clients and to retain them. So that’s what I want you to take away from this presentation.
Lily, if you will be so kind as to put the link to that in the chat and make sure everyone can see just put it in the chat and then make sure you take everyone with us in the chat so that everyone in the session can see what’s going towards the presentation you just did. Oh, okay. Yes, it’s that everyone can like really take it in on their own time.
So that’s, that’s the that’s the thing I really want you guys to focus on. Get better at writing content, or whatever it is, you’re doing it so well. That your deliverables justify your price, then it’s easier to have those conversations about higher pay. Because you don’t want to be jumping across clients. You want to be keeping those clients and the universe leverage to get better customers. Yes. So Lily has put it in the chat, you can just take this off, and then study it on your own time. We’re going to move on to Afoma right now for her own presentation.
Afoma Umesi 18:10
Well, I hate to disappoint you all. But I don’t have a presentation. I do have notes. So I’m going to like that’s fine. That’s fine. That’s fine. Yeah.
Well, first of all, it’s nice to be here. With me, my journey into content writing was very long. And I think it affects kind of the trajectory of my work so far. So as I’ve always written, so I’ve written fiction, I’ve written for lifestyle blogs. I’ve had a blog since I was 16. Writing for fun. But in 2017, I started freelancing on Upwork.
So I was looking for a way to earn income. And then I started, I wrote, like all kinds of things. I have a degree in medicine, so I had that healthcare angles. So I was writing copy for healthcare websites, I was writing articles about different things, parenting, all sorts of things. Eventually, I had this long term client who had a set of niche websites. So we had like a site on parenting, cleaning and like home stuff. And I was the senior editor.
I started as like a junior editor and I was working with the senior editor. She was this US journalist who also had like, editing her skill set. So I learned from her how to how to edit and that was where it really enter into content marketing. So the great thing about being so close, even though the pay wasn’t fantastic, is that I learned a lot.
So that’s where I learned to use h refs. That’s where I learned to follow a style guide. Everything I knew about content marketing today, came from working with that client. And I started at 12 Point $5 An hour and then I I think I went to he raised my pay to $15 an hour. Eventually, when I left I was at $25 an hour. So that’s where it started.
I was with him for three years from 2018 till 2021. So that was my beginning. And it was kind of like an intensive internship. So I was learning about and it wasn’t the b2c world. But the principles are very similar. So we still did keyword research. I even did like outreach outreach for backlit for backlinking.
And so I could see, I use tarot, while working with him. Everything that people do for b2b, we practically did on our side, I helped build a style guide and all of that. And I think that gave me a solid experience with content. And so one day, I remember being on Twitter, and I don’t know who I found, I found like one or two b2b writers, and they were just like talking about how they make, how they write an article for $1,000.
And I was like, what is happening? Like, you know, where am I? Why is this happening? And I don’t know how to get into this kind of writing. And I got curious. So I did research, what is b2b writing? This was in 2021, by the way, hasn’t been that long. So that was when I went and I was like, I want to understand what is this b2b? What are you talking about? And I went, I did my research.
And I was like, I think I can write this. I mean, I don’t have experience. I don’t know much about all the software. But I think I can write stuff like this. It’s writing. And then I remember somebody posted a job on Twitter. And they were like, they were looking for an SEO editor. She was the head of content for a b2b marketing agency.
So I replied to her, and I was like, hey, look, I’m an SEO editor. I’ve done this, I’ve done that. I have experienced with all of these things, I just kind of pitched myself. So basically, I just told her look, I’m an editor, I have experience. And what she did was great, because she offered me the chance to do a sample edit. So I edited a piece of content for them. And she asked me my price
. And I told her, I think I said like $50 An hour or something like that. And eventually they went with another candidate, because I think they were looking for like a strategist and an editor in one. And I was just like an editor. But then she actually referred me to one of my, my longest standing b2b clients, who were looking for an editor, and she referred me and they took me at her word, they didn’t even like really test my editing skills.
So I went, they showed me what they need to do. They showed me their content style guide everything. And that was my that was my foot into b2b writing. So I started editing content for b2b. And I was like, Yeah, I definitely can’t write this. And that was how I got a bit more confident, because I was like, I read this stuff every day.
And then I went back and I messaged the, the head of content, and I was like, Hey, I’m still looking for work if you ever need a b2b writer, and she was like, You know what, yeah, we’re looking for a b2b writer. And that was how I got into writing for an agency. And the more experience I got, the more confident I got with like, responding to job postings on LinkedIn, following job postings, or like job boards and stuff like that.
So that was, that was my entry, basically. And if you want to take away anything from this, it’s two things one, no experience is wasted. People always say, oh, like, get paid big time. And the truth is, if you’re a new freelancer, this is like your first or second article, nobody’s going to pay you $1,000.
It doesn’t matter how good you are. People are going to want to start too small because coming to the second question of what clients look for when hiring clients want experience, unless they’re very new, and their budget is really low, then they’re going to say, Okay, let’s start with, I’m looking for like Junior freelancers.
But most clients, they want people who have like subject matter expertise, or who have experience with writing. So you’ll find people saying, We want a writer who’s like in HR, or like Ed Tech or something, they want you to have proof that you have written for this industry before. And if you don’t have that, that can be a real like setback for you.
So sometimes you might have to start low work to gain experience. Once you’ve done one piece in a particular industry, you can say I have experience and you can show what you’ve done. But until then you’re kind of at the mercy of the client, whether or not they’re going to accept you without experience.
Not everyone is going to want to give you a paid gig to see if you have the experience. So sometimes you have to start smaller and then you go from there. And then another thing that I learned is to not be afraid to like reach out to people. But if you’re reaching out to somebody, like say somebody posts a job on Twitter or LinkedIn, just come correct.
So my name is and don’t waste time. Don’t talk too long. My name is so and so. I am So so so I have experienced writing for this industry that industry, here are two of my sample pieces. And that’s it. If you want to talk about if you have access to information about how well your pieces have done, oh, my pieces rank, so on, so on. So they’ve converted on services, that’s great. You can add that as well. But go straight to the point, just say what you have to offer the client.
And I think that’s more impactful, especially if someone is genuinely looking. So people are just looking for like the cheapest person. But if they really want somebody and they have the budget for that, then they will probably get back to you. Unless they have people who feel more experienced are qualified to them, because that’s another thing.
So those are two things to do. If you’re just getting into writing, or like I mentioned, clients, they want experience, especially because I’ve hired writers, I’ve hired subcontractors to work with me, I understand that feeling of wanting to give work to somebody, but not feeling like you can trust them. And to me, that’s like, that’s the biggest thing.
Clients want to feel like if I assign you this task, you follow instructions you deliver, you will make my life harder, you submit work that is fairly clean, that has value and that I just have to fine tune a little bit. So if you can prove that you’re able to deliver that most people will go for you. Unless they have like somebody way, way more qualified, or they don’t have the budget to pay what you’re asking. So for me, it’s been able to show that you have experience, you have expertise, you can deliver what you’re saying that you’re going to be able to deliver.
And samples are like the most powerful way to show that. Like when you mentioned, some people do like to see oh, I’ve ranked number one. I’ve had clients find me because they read another article I did for like a competitor. I was number one. But some people also are aware like that. ranking number one is a mix of like, SEO, off page SEO is not just it’s not your right is not so fabulous that it made number one. It’s like the website, the SEO strategist. So it’s a mix of things, especially if they’ve given you the key word, they give me the links to add. It’s not just your writing domain number one.
So that’s that’s my my personal thing. When people show results. I’m just like, girl, you know, it’s not because you wrote so fantastically that Google, you know, rated the number one. It’s usually like the websites, the SEO strategies, the keywords, the brief, all of that that actually elevates you. High up there, number one, but if if that’s something you want to add, I think that’s also welcome.
I do have on my website that I have an article with a feature snippet of that, but I’m just appeasing the content people. But my tactics with going from $0. So I already mentioned I started at 12 Point $5 an hour. My first writing gig b2b, I charged $500. I had a few other clients who were like pay me like 250. But most of my clients were like 500 and up.
And I’m very grateful for that. Because what helped me was actually looking on other writers websites, which which I think this is why I think it’s important for writers to have their at least baseline price on their websites. Because I remember checking Priscilla tan, she’s at contentkapow.com. So I’m going to just drop our tags here. She was one of the writers that edited and I went on her site, and I saw that she had her pricing because I was new to be to be I was like what do people charge in this industry.
And Priscilla, at the time, she said her minimum was 650 from for a blog post. And I was like, well, she has been doing this a little longer than me. So I’m going to come down a bit and I’m going to see 500 will be my starting price. And that’s that’s basically how I decided. So if you go on lots of other b2b writers, you see it’s kind of at that same level for most people who are starting.
I’ve seen like 550 Some people in the UK will say 350 pounds per article. So if you’re new and you don’t know what to charge that can give you an idea of what’s possible. And then you have people who are charging like $1,000, minimum 1500 minimum. So it’s up to you to see this is where I’m at, and that’s something that can help you grow your income.
Then something else I did in that when I first started, Ted was I increased my rate with every new clients. So when I got like a new client, I started a 500 When I got a new client I charged 650 When I got another one I charged like 700 When I got another one I charged like 750 and that is that can be a bit arbitrary, as they say, but for me, I was feeling more confident. I was seen that my my clients were super impressed with my work.
Nobody ever told me Wow, you’re writing like a beginner. I got the hang of things very quickly. I will was adding like statistics. I was providing value. I was adding screenshots. And my content was ranking. My clients were very impressed. And I was like, Look, I know what I’m doing. I can increase my rates a little more than this.
So every time I got a new client, I would raise my rates. And then I started charging more as well for ghostwriting. So I added 20% For for ghostwriting, like, if you’re not going to, if you’re not going to pay me or give me a byline, then I’m going to add 20%. So that 500 is for like 1500 words, ish.
Sometimes it goes a little higher than that when you’re writing and researching. But generally 1500 Word is like the general SEO thing. So that was what I started to do. And then I think it’s good to choose a profitable niche. So some everybody’s like a b2b SaaS writer. So that just means you’re writing for brands that have a Software as a Service. So it I think, in the b2b SaaS, it’s good to choose a niche where there is money.
So I don’t find in my experience, I feel like HR, like remote work, productivity, these niches, they pay a little lower. Compared to like cybersecurity, marketing analytics, those people will they have the big bucks to spend compared to like the other smaller niches like ad tech and all of that, of course, there exceptions.
And by law, I don’t even mean the paid low, low low, I just mean it’s low in comparison to these other niches. So if you really want to go big, you might want to like, see if you have interest in some of the higher paying niches, and then finally to, to grow in your income. It’s also good to market yourself.
So I recommend social media. I’m currently on a social media break from from Twitter and Instagram, but Twitter has been really instrumental. And even on my break, I think that’s what I missed the most. There’s always gigs like flying, everybody’s always looking for somebody to do something, you just have to be like Fastest Finger first and have the portfolio to like, back up what you’re doing.
So Twitter’s really nice. I’m not a big fan of LinkedIn. But I’ve gotten a couple of jobs off of LinkedIn as well. And like, like Lily mentioned, if you’re active on LinkedIn, people, you get a lot of like outreach done, people will like contact, you reach out to you on your website. So if you have nuggets of wisdom to share on LinkedIn, I’m not a LinkedIn expert, maybe Checklist page and see what she’s doing.
With Twitter. I’m also like, not that much of I’m not a big, I’m not allowed internet person. But I like to share what I’m learning. I like to share my own work what I’ve done so far for other clients. And I found that in many cases, that’s sufficient to get people curious about me, I shared when like, my posts is that number one, ranking number one I shared, like my tips for editing, and that always actually gets me editing clients when people know that okay, well, she’s good at what she does.
So that’s a way that you can market yourself on social media. And then with regards to finding high paying gigs, I think one of the most powerful ways which can be tough as a newbie is that it’s referrals. So many of my best gigs were like other freelancers saying, Hey, I’m, I know someone who’s looking for this and I told them about you, or, Hey, I know someone who needs XYZ done and maybe they put it in like one of these freelance, like chat groups on Slack or another community.
So referrals are really good if you can join like a Slack community. That’s also good. If you have like a Facebook group where like quality content opportunities are being shared, not like 0.1 dollar award, but like real quality b2b stuff is being shared. That’s also really good. Twitter’s really good for finding high paying gigs as well.
I’m a big believer in the right kind of guest post. And for me, it was very helpful because I started off ghostwriting. So even after like my first few clients, I didn’t have any byline. And it was really frustrating because I would say, Oh, look, I’m a b2b writer, but I didn’t have any single byline to back it up even for like the first three to four months after I started.
So I aggressively started looking for guest posts. And one of the places I really recommended Zapier, they accept guest posts from like anybody if you have a good topic, so I think they have a link for their requirements for guest posts. I will try to find that and share it after I’m done talking. But everything is there.
They tell you what kind of posts they’re looking for. And I pitched two ideas and one of them got accepted right away. They actually got me to write for them even after that and I got a paid gig out of sending in a guest post. So that’s very post trouble to do. If you like productivity, software automation, you have like a cool idea of tools, they can review ways unique ways to use certain software, Zapier is a really good place to start.
So with guest posts, some some companies, some websites, they will tell you what they’re looking for. But other times, you have to be really creative and pitch, which is not my cup of tea. But I like when they’re straightforward as they were looking for this kind of thing. And then I can think and find if there’s anything that I’ve done recently that will relate to that.
So that’s a good way to get your name out there. Because once I got zap here, I felt like people started to take me a little more seriously, people can say, Oh, she actually writes Yeah. And you kind of put yourself out there. Another thing that I think is important is to know your strong suits, like Lee said, okay, she’s good at research. For me, I have the the added benefit, which I think really does as well of like, I’ve done blogging, I run a website on my own. And that helped me actually land a gig with ConvertKit.
Because I’m essentially a creator, I use the platform. So when they put out a call for freelance writers, that was literally the thing that gave me the edge over many other writers who I’m sure you know, we’re just as good. So sometimes it’s not really about your writing skill, it’s that maybe you have like experience with coding. Or like many people now are looking for writers who who know like stuff, or you’ve worked in some kind of data science or you have like healthcare knowledge.
So think about what your unique strengths are, and see how you can use that when you’re like applying to write for someone or you’re pitching someone for like a guest post or something like that. Most people have like a unique advantage they just don’t know about yet. So that’s what I would say if you’re if you’re looking to pitch yourself, think about unique, unique skills, unique experience, unique knowledge that you have that other people might not be so good with, and see how you can use that to your advantage.
So basically, in general, do you want to get high paying gigs? I think the first step is mindset believe that it’s possible, check out other freelance writers who are earning just as much read their work. I’m going to tell you a secret. It’s not they’re not writing anything amazing. Let me just tell you, there’s nothing special. Like I read people who say, Oh, yeah, I charge 1500. It’s basic, like it’s just it’s like what you’re writing, there’s nothing amazing about it.
The only obstacle is you need to prove that you can write. And unfortunately, you do need to like get one or two eyecatching by lines. So once you’re at that point, it’s really, you might still have to market yourself, of course. But if you don’t have to convince people that you can, right, you just have to now find opportunities that are a good fit for you.
So don’t, don’t be intimidated, just be strategic. Think of how you can get a guest post. Think of how you can network more because sometimes a freelance writing is really about who you know, like, you need people who can mention your name in the right spaces, people can think of you when things are happening.
And that really, really goes a long way. And of course, you have to know your audience, you need to know how to write. If after all that work, somebody hires you and your writing is subpar. It will be very bad. Because then then they will take your name and say, Oh, don’t go with our writer. She doesn’t know what she’s doing. And that will not be good. So those are like, I think those are the three main things that come to mind when I’m thinking about that. Yeah,
Chima Mmeje 38:38
thank you. Thank you so much for that Afoma. Yeah, I’m really just resonated the same thing about skill being the thing to prioritise, using guest posts as a strategy to get your name out there. And to build authority to that is really good, because it’s crazy, because I still have I still have something similar on my notes here that I’m going to share now.
Alright, so I think I want to start with talking about the feast and famine, because at the core of mindsets for people that come from developing countries, which is why I wanted this to be I want that we just wanted this panel to be with women, or people rather than live in developing countries because this is so specific to us, and it’s going to be impossible for a white person to give you context. Mindset is the biggest thing I want you to take away from here for my own path of this talk mindsets.
Nomads, your mindset changes, everything changes, everything changes. I remember when I started out I started doing content in 2017. Now I started writing for a remote content agency and they were paying 150,000 Now that seemed like a lot of money back then because I was coming from poverty. I was coming from a government job that was paying me 60 70k more and so if only 50k would be my any opportunity at 20,000. So I was very impressed.
But the workload was 5000 words a day, five days a week, to any holiday 50,000. So he structured it as salary. Boy, it wasn’t really salary range. Think of it as it was, it was just slavery. So you see the thing about mindsets, in my mindsets, even under 50k was a lot of money, I had nothing else to compare it to.
It wasn’t until the next year in 2018, I joined the Facebook group and I saw you I saw a writer that was charging 500. At the time, she’s doing bigger way bigger numbers right now, she was certified for that in time to write contents. Now I looked at 500, then 500 was 150k. So she was basically charging 500 For one piece of content.
And I was charging 500 for a whole month’s worth of contents. It hormones, word of contents was between 8000 words to 800,000 words. That is what I was charging, again, mindsets, this, this, this interaction with this woman in a public Facebook group, I opened my mind to the idea that there is more out there, and I paid someone $100 to build the first version of my website, Allah has been as brave. And I’m not going to show you because the shape of my website is ugly scrapped.
I’m not going to do that. But I just want you to picture the most ugliest websites with colour crashes happening everywhere. With the longest copy you’ve ever seen on the homepage. That was the position of my website. But you know what it was something. So I’m just going to start my advice there, do the websites, build a fucking website, that is the first thing I want you to do.
There are very few people, very, very few people that can sell without the websites. There are many of them. That’s the that’s the the progression for me when people are coming to me as clients is social media. Then look at my look at my profile, then go to the websites, then go to the About page. And from the about page, go to the contact page.
I can see this by looking at my Google Analytics. So if the entry points is from social media, social media is just basically telling the nurse Okay, let’s check out this this woman’s profile. She sounds interesting. But the website is where the conversion happens. I don’t even have any interaction with them, until they book a call to speak with me.
So that’s the first thing I want you to do. First, change your mindset. you’re black, you’re African, you’re Indian from Pakistan doesn’t matter where you come from. You are wordy and you can compete with these people on the same playing field. But it has to be you started that journey by changing your mindset to build a website. Three, actually building a website.
Think of your brand. Think of how you want to represents your brand. Take pictures, I think I think I made a post about this. About two weeks. Hold on has my screen frozen on my still looking like in the monument been? You frozen to me? Yes, yes, I am closing on this side. Okay, Something is definitely wrong. Okay, yes, much better. Alright. So as you build out websites, do some professional pictures I have, I can tell you this, that having really amazing pictures on my websites has changed the game for me.
You see, it just sounds so mundane sounds. It sounds like something that’s inconsequential. But it has changed the game because I noticed that a lot of the top earners do this. So I’m like, Okay, let’s try this. Let’s take some really nice band photos. And that position as someone that is an authority on pictures can put that might come to that people’s mind, oh, this, this is someone this person is going to be cheap. Look at the house rates, she’s not going to be cheap look at the website, she’s not going to be cheap already.
From the homepage as the as the original content, they can start to get the idea. They are not cheap, there is going to cost a pretty penny to work with you. So that by the time it gets to the contact page on my website, which is where you can see pricing when you want to book on current day, they already prepared for the expectation of price.
Now was an excellent put here, I just want to talk about how I grew from that point where I was adding $500 for a whole month’s worth of content where I am now. That first year was the context in your second year 2018 content meal, but towards the end of 2018. I did my website and then by 2019 I started freelancing. Now the first thing I did was to study LinkedIn for three months because I wanted to use LinkedIn as my main lead gen mission.
So I was looking at LinkedIn. I’m like, Okay, what are these people that are doing really well on LinkedIn? What kind of content are you creating what kind of content people engage with? So that I can mirror that to tell my own story? Next part would want to be on social media, there would be someone else do I want to present myself the way I am? Because the way I am in real life is this Holy God who swears a lot, who talks trash, and who’s not afraid of trouble.
Really, and I want to represent that online. But in a way that attracts people that are the lead that kind of personality because they are people that like that kind of personality. attracts, so you need to you need to find yourself. Because if you find yourself and you can represent that personal life, you can attract an audience that that likes who you are, you don’t have to pretend you need to talk about what you do.
Too many people on LinkedIn talking about sob stories and bullshit that doesn’t relate to their core offerings. Always find a way to tell every story back to your core offering. I don’t I tell I think autolyse They’re doing the MCDC you will not see me write in bullshit stories on LinkedIn who has time for that rubbish.
I want to talk about stuff that is going to bring clients to me, I want to talk about stuff that is going to attract the right audience to me, because two reasons One, it can attract clients directly to it can position me as an authority with my kids because a lot of my business comes to referrals, referrals from copywriters referrals from people who do SEO.
So because they’ve seen my content and they say oh, she’s really good at it. I’m going to refer her to this person I know who is looking for for SEO strategist or whatever the barrier to get to that person as a client is already lowered. So one I said website to burn pictures through LinkedIn fun, figuring out who you are five, identifying the kind of content you want to talk about on social media.
Six diversify your audience don’t just blast on LinkedIn and stadia. Explore Twitter, Twitter is great. Twitter is really really awesome. This I think 2021 is the first time in my my back, I was dependent on LinkedIn for leads. And it’s happening this year. Again, I think I’ve only got like one lead from LinkedIn. Most of my work is coming through Twitter does the high paying gigs because a lot of SAS folks hang out on Twitter. And you need to learn how to create threads.
This is compulsory, learn how to create threads that have value. I don’t know I think I’m going to ask for more. And then you need to kind of put some names in the comment section for people that really write good trades on LinkedIn. The person who’s coming next on on it two weeks from now. I forgotten her name. Ah, what’s her name? Erica. Erica Schneider. She does incredible Bucha ads I’m so happy and you can follow Erica that is how to make
Afoma Umesi 48:01
cheese Eric has my name I think yes Her
Chima Mmeje 48:05
name is Erica. So have you just check her out on Twitter. That is how to make sure that is the person to follow because he’s always talking about content. So you do that you also curate your feed very important because you didn’t speak about this stuff and it was going out into the way you want to make sure that the right people are seeing it so I made sure I follow three groups of people and make sure I follow that content.
I made sure I can get returns of SEO I made sure I connected other copywriters because a lot of the time they get people asking them Oh view I blog content. They don’t their commercial copywriters, but they know someone who does and then you send them my way. I think I end around like maybe 30 40k from just referrals last year.
So there’s a lot of money for referrals. Bots refers only come through network of people that believe in you. And I believe that you are an authority. And the only way to get to that position is to is to have the right content or permission at the right people are seeing that contents.
And I’m sure a lot of stuff at some point is recorded will be available for everybody. But I don’t know when that points will be. So try and take a look at all of what I’m saying. Let me go back to my notes. Mm hmm. My websites now this is the part that takes the longest to get results if but if you get it right, I read a lot of agile a lot of leads to my websites. Now. This is a big mistake I made when I viewed my website.
I targeted the wrong keyword I went after yes no content agency something around copywriting agency. Yes. That’s a big keyword. That’s the key word that all the agencies wants to rank for. But I got it easily. I think I got it like within my first year by 2020. I was ranking for the keyword. Why didn’t notice since I was like number two or number three for the keyword of Cooperation Agency. But the leads that were coming in were not good leads because I’m not an agency.
I’m just one person. They want that ala carte services, they wanted someone who could write scripts, ads, landing pages, conversion, copy, website, copy everything. I can do all that. So it’s dawned on me that okay, this is the wrong keyword to go for. So I deleted every mention of corporate suggestion from my websites. And that was when I decided to focus on SAS. Everybody knows I focus on SAS, because the money, there is no big secret about it. It’s just about the money for me.
SAS has money. There are a lot of sass companies springing up every day and this model forecast can spend. So once I figured that out, I went back to my websites, and I re optimise with the keyword of SAS, copywriter, SEO, copywriter, and blogging. I also removed any mention of landing pages website copywriting, but the problem is that I use clusters for this keyword.
And even though I removed these pages, I’m still ranking for the keyword of website copywriting. And people still come to my website and book calls to speak to me about website copywriting. It’s a hassle because I can’t I’m not working with any of them. I’m turning down these gigs. But if I’ve gotten it right from the stats, if I’ve optimised with the right keywords from the stats, imagine the kind of imagine kind of traffic and conversion I’ll be getting right now. So you have the opportunity to do better than I did.
You have the opportunity to figure out who you want to be who you want to work with, build a website and optimise your websites for those for the right keywords, make sure you’re using a cluster approach so that you increase the chances of rankings a no brainer, because it’s what I do. It’s how I get the rankings for those keywords. Now, once I’m ranking for the keywords, what happens next, you really want to get the traffic you want to get the right traffic and right conversion.
Okay. So from the websites, when you come in, there’s something called blood brain barrier. It is that I call it that one line of sentence that removes the barrier that attacks the problem that the prospect is having. If you look on my website, there’s a line that says just turning the green boxes on Yoast, Tony those buttons on your screen is not SEO.
And it’s that is the line that crosses the blood brain barrier met him through that, oh, shit, she understands the problem. You need to figure it out when you’re writing that website content. And then I look down and I have just two T’s on my websites. I write SEO content, I build clusters. And that’s it’s you don’t need to do everything. There’s a temptation to do everything so that you don’t leave money on the table. That is the mindset of lack. That is a mindset that that keeps you any low. Like Osama said the moment you specialise, and you pick one thing to do, and you stay in that one day, you’ll be surprised how much trust and authority can bring and how much more you can charge. So back to what I was saying. My website’s optimising My website was about figuring out the right keywords, I don’t want to repeating keywords that are too competitive because then I’m not going to rank for them. And I want to find that balance on what will someone who is ready to buy they’re looking for. So usually service based keywords, and then optimise my website for that write a couple of content pieces on my blog for that and then link all of that together. Seriously, that was its body part that people will talk about is that you can extend that authority by doing two things, or three things rather, start appearing on as many podcasts as possible. And using that keyword, when they’re introducing you. Bubble is smart enough to recognise that use that those keywords when you talk about yourself on social media bubble can make the relationship because it’s the cross social media contents. And then if you can jump on online events. I’m playing the long game. I’m not just trying to make more names. I’m trying to build passive income. So this is the long game for me it still comes back to the mindset of poverty and trying to go into that mindset of abundance. So if you tried to build authority that last two or three things advise you to do, start jumping on podcasts, start guest posting, I don’t do a lot of guest posts. I stopped. I think I stopped that by 2020. But the there is one guest post ideas for hacker noon, like Lillian afirma said, You need to pick a high ranking website that was going to generate results quickly, I guess post on Hacker noon, and Jeff Poulos, and I think one of them, I think some other website but they were all very high ranking website. They were getting like at very least 100k visitors a day. If I’m going to take that time to write a guest post then it’s going to bring money. The one I worked on how can on brought in over 10k It wasn’t by people seeing the guest post directly no It was by when someone reached out and asked about samples, I can send my Hacker News article to them. And they will be so incredible at Oh, and they assess people. So obviously they read how can we want to guest post where your audience is hanging out, they hang out, or can they can read our guest post, and they can see the authority. And almost every time I sent that hakken pieces to prospective clients, it turned into work. It was how I landed weeks, actually. So those are Highlander SEMrush. So again, I’m just going to reiterate what Lilia and I from I’ve said, guest posts, but make sure you’re doing it right. You’ll be making your videos a huge disservice if you’re just posting on site that have inspired da, on that 5k I don’t even want thank you very least I want to be seen 30 50k People coming to that site every day, I want to have at least 50 Because that means that there’s a high chance is going to rank and bloody good writer, combined with your website authority that the content is definitely going to rank so strategize when you’re doing all of that. Let’s see if I have anything else on this notes.
Okay, yes. Finally, which I think this is going to be the hardest part. There are two things here, building relationships. So this is the thing that I don’t think we talk about enough. This is a team that has gotten a shitload of money for me, the right relationships online. And I think people don’t do it because it’s time consuming. There’s a strategy behind building the right relationships. Okay. For me, like I said, I use that LinkedIn gives you one month, free premium every year, I use our most free premium to, to just go on LinkedIn, use that Sales Navigator, and I get to walk, I narrowed down by heads of contents, and I read them by heads of contents in the US because I really want to work with you as clients, those are the people that have marketing budgets, that is reasonable enough, and I don’t buy copies or have at very least 50 employees. And then I make sure I’m targeting SAS companies, I also want to make sure that they’re active. So you can narrow it down to people who have posted in last 30 days. Now doing that means that you’re just connected with them, and then they vanish, you’re getting people that engage on LinkedIn, so that they’re going to see that content you’re putting out. I’m also a big fan of manifesting. If I want to work with a big name brand, I’m going to go and look for the heads of contents, and head of SCA, that big name brand or with someone who is active and connect with them so that I can press the fork out of them on social media, and have them reach out to me because I don’t cold pitch, I want people to come to me, I tried a lot of money, so it’s easier that way. Now, on Twitter, what I do is that you need to go and see to figure out who are the big names in content and SEO, and then we’ll see who they’re following. Usually those guys don’t follow a lot of people, their feed is very carefully curated. So that means I definitely don’t want the person who is being invited, I can use that to start whittling underneath and then follow the right people, you can also do the same thing on Twitter, and then search out of contents on Twitter, and follow people that come up on your feet. But then I used to use hashtags to find the right people to follow. I’ll just have that content, I’ll use a stack SAS, you just need to figure out the right hashtags that you can use on Twitter to start to create your freebie takes time. Then as I create that feed, I interact with the contents, and making sure I’m dropping useful comments both on LinkedIn and on Twitter, which is where the right people are hanging out, you can see that this shit takes time. Sometimes it takes like six months sometimes takes like a year. But these are the people even though they’re not really like engaging with your stuff. These are the people that are going to reach out to me and say, Hey, I’ve got someone who is looking for an SEO content writer, you have availability to the people that always don’t know. So take the time to cultivate relationships. Take the time to engage those posts on LinkedIn and on Twitter. Take the time to retweet stuff that you like not just retweet book quotes, tweets. Take the time to show your expertise. start pitching to podcasts. There are a lot of people now that um, that are looking to diversify their podcasts so you’d be surprised how willing to be to get your podcast just because you’re black or you’re brown skin. Use that to your advantage. I shoot you notes. Use that to your advantage. start pitching to speak at online events. You don’t need to have like a tonne of experience. You just need to have a topic that is interesting enough. They’ll make them curious enough to get you in. I think I think that’s it for me Hold on it I forget anything. Yes. Finally getting testimonials. This is the one that I think a lot of people struggle with. If you go to LinkedIn, I see my testimonial section. I think anybody will be impressed. It is not a mistake. It is intentional. I do great work. And after doing great work I asked for I asked for a testimonial but I think The thing that people struggle with is that they don’t trust their deliverables. So when you don’t trust your deliverables, you don’t have confidence to ask the client for a testimonial. You don’t just the deliverables because you can’t see the result of your deliverables. But if he’s that you could see the results, clearly, maybe you wrote a piece of content, or you did a couple of contents, and then likely, we said, you can track those results. And you can see that oh, this one is ranking on page one. Oh, they’re like 500 backlinks to this page. Oh, it’s like 200 shares, doesn’t matter what it is with a conversion, but just stuff that you can track. And you can show the clients or you can ask for a testimonial on LinkedIn, they’ll give it to you. I always ask for testimonials. After I do great work, because the client is always happy to give it to me. They’re always like, gosh, you know, like, Oh, I’m so impressed. I love the stuff you did. Oh, you’re really impressed. Alright, give me a testimonial. Show me how impressed you are. And I use that testimony on LinkedIn. And I put on my websites, because there’s some people who are not coming to LinkedIn. So whether they’re coming to LinkedIn, Twitter, search, wherever it is, they can see those testimonials on my website. And anybody will be impressed to see this winner from SEMrush, from Wix from all these big company names. So that is how I have gotten to this point that I am now it’s not beautiful, it’s gritty. It’s a lot of hard work that we’ll talk about. I was under the misconception that after Madras was born with great talents, and Madras came out from the womb, I started writing for big names and making money. I had no proof of work. So it’s great that we’re having this conversation now. Because clearly, we all have like a beginner story. So it’s good that we’re having this conversation. Alright, there’s a shit tonne of questions here. I’m just going to start off with afirma because half of my said you have to run soon writes I think he said 215 yesterday by 250. Yes, it’s
Afoma Umesi 1:01:52 so much fun. Sorry. No problem.
Chima Mmeje 1:01:55 No problem. Whenever you want go, you can just hop off and fine. Yes. There’s a lot of questions. Yeah. Okay. I’m gonna start with Joshua’s questions. Okay, I’m gonna show this to you. What advice would you give to someone who just got into this space, freelancing out of nowhere? As me they have no idea about content marketing. Okay. As you mean, they know how to write well, but have no portfolio. Oh, that’s hard. How to structure the parts. Okay, this is a really good one. This is a really good way to understand the question. Yes, I
Afoma Umesi 1:02:28 do. So this is like a complete beginner. They don’t know your content marketing, but they want to be a freelance writer. So basically, you have a lot to learn, you have to be open to learning. When I came into b2b to I didn’t even know what b2b meant, like as a June 2021.
I couldn’t tell you what b2b meant, or how it was different from writing about cleaning and parenting. So it’s possible to learn, go do some research. Fortunately, you’re here, you’re you’re the FCDC. That means you already know sem rush all of these people read their articles like Google, use Google, find the good websites, read about what content marketing is how it works, what is the funnel, what your job as a writer is, just learn as much as you can.
And the good thing is that now they’re like free courses. If you’re a course separate person, don’t have the attention span for courses. What if you learn well with courses, do a free course understand just the basics? How it works? What is it? What is this? Who is that? What is SEO? How should I format?
Do a course if you’re that type, of course, person, understand the basics of everything? And then you know how to write well. Something I tell people is give yourself a topic. So you’ve learned about SEO, you’ve learned about email marketing, create the topic for yourself, I’m writing about this, I’m writing about, okay, why is email marketing important? How to write great immune newsletters? Come up with a topic from what you’ve learned?
Research the topic write about it, there is medium, you can have your own websites. Because what is a sample a sample is an article somewhere that is not on Google Docs, right? Put on your own websites, write about email marketing, write about SEO, people just want to see that. You can string words together, you can do good research. So if nobody has to, nobody has to hire you to show that you have a sample, right on your own website.
When you ask for samples, send them links, these are my samples, and then they will read it and you say, Okay, this is nice. You can write when a client is coming to you, they want to know that you can write and over time, if you follow like basic search engine optimization, you can actually help your articles rank.
That’s the great thing. Like, eventually, if you choose keywords that have like, what they call, I think, low competition, you can actually like cause your articles on your site to rank and you can show them like, hey, look, my article on my website was ranking. I think Lizzie Devi is one of those writers who started that way.
She started on medium and like she was ranking and that was how she got clients. So don’t feel like you don’t have Have any opportunities because you’re new, you can create your own opportunities right on your own website, prove that you can write, and then that will be your portfolio free of charge. Yeah,
Chima Mmeje 1:05:10
I’m just going to step in here and say that do not under any circumstance, use Google Docs for your portfolio. It is, it is the number one way to not get an accepted, do not use Google Doc, why don’t use medium like Afoma said. It’s free. You don’t have to have a website, you can just use google doc to like write stuff.
I just want to touch on this part here, what Josh was said about, because you’re not the only one vying for that opportunity. This, this is a mindset of again, it still boils down to the mindset of lack. You as you in competition with other people. That is a right, that is a what I call a rat race to the bottom mindset, he has given that Oh, shit, I have to have some teachers? No, no, you have to you have to think of it as providing value. You have to see that way you’re providing value.
So it’s not about competing. It is not about competing. It is about standing outs. Okay? Don’t get it twisted, do not about going through someone’s inbox to message them with a mindset. They’re competing, you’re going in there with the mindset that you’re showing value. So it’s about figuring out what is the X factor that is going to make this person pick me above everybody else. And as experts is most of the time as part is our relevance to the field. Alright, so this next part, I’m gonna shoot this over to Lily. Okay, yes, Lily. Research is a strong skill to possess for a writer. How would you advise mastering research? Practical Tips? This is a really big one. I love this question.
Lily Ugbaja 1:06:47 And this is like very difficult to answer, because
Chima Mmeje 1:06:52 I have a lot of questions to go through. So just like 123, like really quick tips.
Lily Ugbaja 1:06:57 I really don’t know what to say.
I mean. Like you need to be really curious about Okay, so some of my best research tips would be to look at videos, videos, if you need to understand the topic, there’s so much you can do just does. What you can understand from the written content is just like this, when you listen to videos and watch, listen to podcasts and watch videos, you kind of like get a better understanding of that.
Also, use Google Scholar for research, you find original stuff instead of like reading what other people have written. And sorry, I wanted to say something about the other question. So this Google Doc stuffing, I feel like it’s necessary to have some Google docs in your portfolio, because so I’ve done a bit of subcontracting.
And I’ve worked with editors that know that sometimes life post gets like parties in. So they want to see what you’ve done without an editor touching it. So I think it’s necessary to include at least a two, one or two links for like Google Docs, and also join communities if you’re just getting started. Very important.
Chima Mmeje 1:08:11
Okay, I need to what did he said about the research, I think it would have been easy, I’m going to just put it there as someone was working subcontractors. And this is also the reason why I’ve stopped hiring subcontractors and were just taken on what they can handle. People are lazy. They don’t want to put in the time to do the research.
So I’ll tell you that as a first thing, the ready to put in the time, like a full day. If necessary, just do research. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to write, you should take the time to do research, look at the SERP manually. Do those use those automated tools that just crunch out a brief look at the set manually open each article manually? What is recording?
Afoma Umesi 1:08:51 No people are tools for this
Chima Mmeje 1:08:53 yet. You can do this refreshing anonymous class group can do is just mentioned you can use to create groups automatically. So look at the set manually did definitely the first thing I always do. What is the self telling me? Am I going to need to create a video? Am I going to need to create a template a PDF? Because that’s the first offer and if you’re talking about ranking, that’s like your differentiating factor. Note that down, open each of the content pieces.
What are the HTC keeps hitting recovering? What are they talking about? What’s the context here? Who is the ideal reader the author getting? What’s the real problem that the reader is facing? Okay, you have all of these things in party? What’s the ideal solution that the customer is looking for? Can you go much more deeper to find that answer? Can you get numbers from original sources supports your data.
Like he said, I’m not really a fan of watching videos because I don’t have the attention span I have ADHD. But if you have the attention span, please watch videos because it’s a one longer explanation of kind of stuff and it’s more laid back so you can get a lot of contexts from watching videos. I really like idea of using Google Scholar. Yeah, that’s a good one. That’s a good one ball. You get so much for monoxide review.
So if you do research, I would advise you to start there. Alright, so the next question I’m going to choose, I’m sorry, after so much this was amazing. This is amazing, Bob, I had so much fun. Bye, bye. Alright, so this next question. Hmm. Okay. I want to take a question from someone else. Yes.
Yeah. Okay, Katherine. Okay, this one, I think it’s about brandy. And Kathy wants to know, how do you label how to label a service? She writes for SAS and b2b, while while I’m fair to write about these are marketing services. Okay, how does she position herself as someone who writes for digital marketing? I think
Lily Ugbaja 1:10:55 she’s asking for the industry or industry. Yeah.
Chima Mmeje 1:10:58
I would like to know how to label the services I offer. I write for SAS and other b2b companies, but I prefer to write about digital marketing topics. How do I bring that out? In a few words? So it’s basically a positioning thing, like how to position as a digital marketing writer,
Lily Ugbaja 1:11:16 so she can easily just say, I write for my tech companies.
Chima Mmeje 1:11:19
Yeah. Okay. Yeah, that’s a good one. So Catherine, you can just say you write for my tech companies. Lillian afirma. Have you ever faced objections or low balling because of your race? How did you handle that?
Lily Ugbaja 1:11:36 I really wish Lily was here to answer this one because personally, I knew I don’t have any experience. It’s
Chima Mmeje 1:11:42
okay. I do have experience with this. I can just chip in here I have a tonne of experience with this the first job or district have dealt with so far. I think you need to differentiate that’s what I’m going to give you as an advice you need to differentiate as an authority so that people stop looking at you as a black person or as a brown skinned person, as that looking at you as an expert’s.
I have clearly faced any of that in two years. That happened when I was targeting everybody when I was all over the place in 2020. From 22 into one. When I really went into specialisation, that has not happened. So I will give you that as a first advice. differentiates put yourself as a high value writer who is not adding peanuts. Because peanuts comes back to race.
There’s a connotation between poverty and skin colour. So you need to move away from that towards to someone who charges not ridiculously high prices, but a decent price for contents of whatever it is that you do. So differentiates that’s my advice for that you don’t need to engage with them just differentiates.
Okay, Mariam, I want to work with new SAS startups. How do I determine if your startup is new? Oh, man. Okay, well, good to have a training on this. At some point. I’m bringing in someone who specialises in pitching for new SAS startups. So I think we better answer this question then Miriam. So just just keep that just keep that as needs to happen in that was in August or in September, we’re bringing someone who specialises in pitching, and he does a lot of work with stock startups.
So he will be able to answer this question. Alright, a question from Johnny Hooser. Is there a standard framework for freelance writers looking to delve into content marketing? Alright, I’m going to bring John up to ask this question, because I don’t understand the question. Just one moment. Hello. Yes, John. Okay. Yes. Can you ask your question live? I don’t understand your question. The one about standard framework for freelance writers, can you can you ask the question? Okay,
John Iwuozor 1:13:55
um, what I was basically trying to ask was uhm if you’re, a freelance writer, you’re trying to get into content marketing? Like, is there something we need to do like things we need to know, I just, we build a list of steps we need to follow. So that’s just what I mean by the framework or standard.
Chima Mmeje 1:14:14 You understand the question?
Lily Ugbaja 1:14:16 No, I still don’t understand. In you know, freelance run as a content marketer, right.
John Iwuozor 1:14:22
Okay. Like, let’s say you want to get into like content managing, like, don’t become like a Content Manager. You don’t you’re not just writing about. Like, okay, maybe I should have talked about content strategy that maybe that’s what I should have said like, you want to become a content strategist.
Chima Mmeje 1:14:41 Okay. What’s the strategy though? You’re saying you want to go from strategy?
Lily Ugbaja 1:14:46 Yeah.
Chima Mmeje 1:14:48 With the market. Oh, okay. Okay. Do you understand the question now? Yeah. Yeah. So
Lily Ugbaja 1:14:56
it’s a whole other topic, but basically, just You need to learn this skill first of all, and then use the same tips you’ve learned about marketing yourself as a freelance writer to market yourself as a strategist.
Chima Mmeje 1:15:08 That’s a very good one. But I would also add that you can start with cold spots. Look, I took hotspots. Inbound Marketing Course, that is a very good course. That’s the course I would recommend for anybody who is trying to move from just writing content is the strategy start with sports inbound marketing course.
And really, really just sit down and learn. That course is long, but if you put the time in, it’s so good. It’s so good. hotspots, inbound marketing costs, hotspots, content marketing costs, grow and converts those those guys those guys, some of its really good on that content strategy. So just it’s good to go up and just read a couple of articles they have a course I’m not going to say she take it because it costs it costs money, but if you can afford it, yes, take the grand convert course was start with the free ones, hotspots, inbound marketing.
That is where I started from. John, does that answer your question? Okay. I think I’m not sure. I’m not sure if he’s Yeah, but I think we lost him. Alright. And there’s going to take one more question. Okay, I’m trying to find a really good one. Oh, okay. What is the best way to get honest brutal feedback? After using Grammarly and Hemingway Why does feedback has to have to be brutal That’s my first question.
Why does he have to be brutal? Okay, I think I’ll keep you here. It really was. It really was something then called what I used to do when I was starting out to get feedback or no before okay, yes, before using info go to editor whatever. Use the paid version of Grammarly. It costs money pates pay for the full version of Grammarly don’t just use the free version, the free version instructional opinion but the paid version.
It can rewrite sentences structure everyday like you learn so much about how to structure sentences from that paid version. If you use that tool for like two three months, you start to see the difference in your writing. Trust me, I think it cost like $100 or so I’m not sure but squeeze that money out of your body squeeze it and pay for the full version of Grammarly. It will change your writing. Okay.
Hemingway is great, but a lot of collections are hardwired with this. You have to be careful which is a handy way it’s sometimes it changes the context in a way that is readable for humans. So you have to be careful to take what you need both to retain readability for humans, not just a readability score. So you send me will use Grammarly. But our advice is to go with the with the full version of Grammarly because it’s easier to understand.
And the collections they give us stuff you can continue to implement in your writing. Now about getting proto feedback, please keep up doesn’t have to be brutal. Again, what advice is to do is to build relationships if you build relationships, and we’ll just add white people, white people will be willing to give you feedback online, but has to be someone that you know, you can’t just jump into somebody’s inbox random USA, can you edit my copy? Or can you review my coffee? No, it’s someone you’ve built a relationship with.
I used to do that I’ll reach out to other more established content writers. And I’ll just add them to take a look at something I’d written. And we’ll be happy to give feedback because there are people I know that these are complete strangers. And with each feedback that I got people like then I may feel was very helpful. I have a lot of mentors.
So with this feedback I got my writing got better because it was about structure. It was about organisation it was about making the brief, but it’s about it’s about everything. That goes even beyond the writing that I did not even know that was involved. I thought it was just writing, writing, writing.
Next one, no, there’s a lot. So it’s about all of those stuff that I learned that made me a better writer. So when you ask for feedback, don’t just ask for feedback about the content itself, ask for feedback on how to improve generally, as a researcher, how to improve with the deliverables, how to improve with with with, with the briefs, how to improve with the writing itself. Okay. And please, again, feedback should not be brought out nearly so hard for this person.
Lily Ugbaja 1:19:34
Yeah, I’m going to bring this from my agency experience with animals. So if you want feedback, a very good way to get feedback from the editors you work with is by implementing the one they already gave you and letting them know that you implemented it.
So when you submit in the article, you can be like, sorry, remember, you said this and this last time. This is where I’ve implemented it. This is how I’ve implemented add it. Let me know if you have any more.
Chima Mmeje 1:20:02 Yes. Yes, that’s a very good one. It actually shows that you’re listening. Okay, and this brings us this brings me to the point that I think is very important working with editors. Yes, working with editors, if you can start in house Fine, fine. And in house job, you shouldn’t be you shouldn’t be I shouldn’t be worried about making money in your first two years of content writing shouldn’t be obsessed with making money.
You need to sit us down and learn how to actually write copy. And you can’t do that in house in an agency. Because you be getting feedback. I don’t know i Okay, see, we’re happy. We’re going to have Stella inable. And fair to say one, someone and Tammy come and do a presentation on how to get in house agency roles.
So see, we already have that covered. Because the first three years of your career, I will say this must be dedicated to learning most if we are going to become one of the best agencies and the best place to start. That’s the best place to get not one not two, but continuous feedback. Every copy you write, you’re getting feedback.
Yeah, reiterating the feedback and you’re getting better. So that when you now go freelance you are this confident with a Fokker that can do anything, you literally feel like you can fly and nobody can tell you anything also helps with dealing with that imposter syndrome was that so that’s really good one you need.
Thank you so much for that. All right. We have come to the end of the session. We got to go to questions. I did not look at the chats section because like I said, if you have questions, always use the q&a doesn’t mean because they’re gonna ask questions from thank you so much. Hold on. Let me just see this
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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