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Content Strategy

How many times should I use a keyword in a blog post in 2020?

Trying to figure out how many times to use a keyword in an article isn’t always easy.

Use a keyword too frequently and your search rankings will fall. The same is true if you don’t use a keyword enough.

In other words, your visibility will suffer.

Inserting keywords into your content requires careful balance. The general rule is to keep it to 5 times in a standard post.

Why Keyword Stuffing Can Hurt You

Did you know that Google will penalize you for “keyword stuffing”?

Keyword stuffing is using the keyword repeatedly throughout the content. Basically, using the same word so often that your original content does not read as “natural prose”.

When you do overuse a keyword, Google will lower your rankings so your post is not as visible as you might like.

Lower rankings equates to fewer visitors to your site and this means a loss in potential revenue.

Avoiding Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing can be easily avoided.

It is worth your time to learn how. If you are overstuffing your content with keywords, you lessen the chances of being ranked at the top of a Google search. This makes it harder for potential customers to read your content.

Avoiding keyword stuffing isn’t hard.

You just need to create content that meets the needs of your target audience.

Keywords should be included within the context of the post, without disrupting the post’s flow.

In other words, include your keywords, generally around 5 per post. Make sure that they read naturally.

Keywords And SEO

SEO is an important part of content writing. You don’t want to overload the post but you also don’t want to have too few.

It is a delicate balance.

Just remember, you want the post to read naturally. You don’t want excess keywords cluttering up the post to the point where readers miss the idea you are trying to get across.

Career Help

7 Podcasts That’ll Make You A Better Freelance Writer

Freelance writing can be a crazy competitive career field, so it’s essential to always be learning and growing.

These 7 podcasts can help you improve your skills, creativity, and productivity, and teach you more about the business side of writing.

#AMWriting

This podcast covers everything you need to know about writing books, such as how to write your first draft, how to crush it with self-promotion, and how to find an agent.

Co-host KJ Dell-Antonia is a former editor at the New York Times, and fellow co-host Jessica Lahey is a NYT-bestselling author.

The Accidental Creative

If your goal is to conquer the world with your brand and your ideas, then this podcast hosted by Todd Henry is perfect for you.

It’s chock full of inspirational ideas and thought leadership, so it’s definitely worth listening to on a regular basis.

Better Biz Academy

Coach Laura is a highly successful freelance writer who gives away all her deepest secrets on her podcast. These include how to land quality freelance writing gigs and how to build a sustainable and rewarding business.

Beyond The To-Do List

This podcast was made for freelancers who want to reduce stress and improve their productivity, creativity, and focus.

Host Erik Fisher and his guests talk about things like self-care and why it’s important to take breaks sometimes, instead of being constantly obsessed with work.

High-Income Business Writing Podcast

For those who aspire to earn six figures or more through freelance writing, coach Ed Gandia is your guy.

He interviews some of the top freelance writers in the world on his podcast, which covers a wide variety of topics that can help you become a top writer too.

Grammar Girl

Even if you feel like your grammar’s perfect, you should definitely check out the Grammar Girl podcast.

It covers everything from how to use semicolons properly to the minute differences between very similar words, so you’ll definitely learn a lot.

Writing Excuses

This podcast geared toward fiction writers features a panel of published authors from various genres explaining things like character arc and how to insert elements like humor or romance into your stories, plus they cover the business side of fiction writing.

It’s now in its thirteenth season, and the four main hosts have since written a book together.

Listening to podcasts every day is one of the simplest ways to improve your game as a freelancer, and the best part is that you can just play them in the background while doing your usual daily tasks.

Getting Started

How To Earn Your First High-Paying Writing Client

Freelance writing can be one of the most lucrative ways to earn money online, but getting started can feel super intimidating.

There’s no need to fear though.

Even if you have no prior experience, following these steps will help you find your first high-paying client soon.

Choosing Your Niche

Although being willing to write for everyone may sound like a good idea, it can actually backfire on you.

A better idea is to choose one or two niches and position yourself as a specialist.

Here are some factors you should consider when choosing a freelance writing niche:

  • Does it have a high return on investment?
  • Is it in high-demand?
  • Most importantly, does it interest you?

The reason the last one is the most important is because you don’t want to write about things you hate.

That’s like working a job you hate, just because it pays well.

It may seem like it’s worth it at first, but it’s only going to make you miserable in the long run.

Plus, choosing a niche that you enjoy means you’re probably already pretty knowledgeable about it.

Creating Your Portfolio

Once you’ve decided on your niches, the next step is to create your portfolio.

Because there’s no point in applying for jobs if you can’t send them writing samples.

Any legitimate writing job is going to expect them.

Don’t worry though, your samples don’t need to be real.

You can always write fake ones if you don’t have any real ones yet.

What matters most is making sure the client can see your skills.

Where To Find Your First Jobs

Once you’ve gained some freelance writing experience, you’ll probably start to have clients reach out to you.

But in the beginning, you’ll need to pitch them.

The best place to start is on freelance job boards, like UpWork and PeoplePerHour.

All you have to do is search for the keywords for your niche, and then send out pitches to jobs that resemble your portfolio samples.

That will increase your odds of getting hired.

Many freelancers make the mistake of sending out the same generic pitches to everyone though, so the key is showing that you read the job description and that your work aligns with what they’re looking for.

Another option is to cold pitch companies you’re interested in working with, by searching for the contact person on LinkedIn and sending them an email.

Jobs found this way can be better-paying compared to the ones posted on job boards.

Conclusion

If you follow all of the above steps, you’ll have your first freelance writing client soon.

But even if it takes you a while, don’t give up! Keep sending out pitches every day and eventually someone will decide to hire you.

Getting Started

How Much Money Do Freelance Writers Make?

The Surprising New Trend with High Earning Potential

It’s becoming more and more popular to be a freelance writer in the gig economy. The industry is being flooded with potential. From stay-at-home-moms to young professionals to travelers, the freedom that freelance writing provides is endless.

But how much does a freelance writer actually make a month and/or year? You may be surprised at the writer earnings potential. Take a look at some of the information provided below to see if you should leave your office job and start freelance writing.

The Writer Salary Facts and Figures You Need to See

In a study conducted in 2015, most freelance writers were making over $50,000 annually. Many facts and figures have been released to provide freelance writers an idea of rates and market value. Some of the most successful freelance writers had very consistent marketing of their talents and skills.

The potential for higher writer earnings all depends on what you want to accomplish as a freelance writer. If your goal is to escape office life, travel the world, and write during your free time, then you may take a bit longer to receive a higher writer salary. However, if you want to build a brand and take on more difficult writing pieces, you may climb that freelance salary ladder a bit faster. In 2017, more technical writers have reported a writer salary over $70,000 annually.

How to Stand Out Amongst the Freelance Writers

Clients looking to hire a potential freelance writer for their project are looking for experts. In order to earn more, you have to stand out as the best. This will support higher rates and increased business. In addition, as a freelance writer, you will need to invest time, energy, and some money into yourself. You will need to treat your freelance writing career as a business whose success is dependent upon the dedication of its owner.

A writer’s salary is not earned overnight. However, if you choose to leave your full-time office job to follow a more flexible career doing something you enjoy, then fully dedicate yourself to that decision. The more effort you contribute to your freelance writing the more benefits you will reap in writer earning potential.

 

Writer Tip

How to Find Images for Freelance Writing Work

As a freelance writer, there are many challenges that you face in your pursuit to provide a powerful product for your clients, especially if you’re trying to keep your costs low.

One such challenge is finding the right images that will add context and value to your content without breaking your bank.

The following is a quick and dirty overview of how you can find images for your clients:

#1 – Use Royalty-Free Images

Royalty-Free images are stock photos that are a part of a service like Shutterstock, Getty Images, and iStock. You pay license one time and then can use it as much as you’d like. Searching for the perfect image is easy, as there are numerous photos on most any topic and featuring all sorts of people, animals, products, places, and more. If your budget is limited, this option may be a bit pricey — if so, reach out to a sales rep and see if they can give you a deal. Sometimes they are willing to work with small companies and freelancers.

#2 – Public Domain

There are some images that have copyrights that expired or never existed. You are free to use these photos for both personal and commercial use. Just make sure you understand that public domain laws are different for every country.

In the United States, public domain images are free to be used throughout the world. When using an image, make sure you read their disclaimers. Visit Flickr Commons, USA.gov, 1 Million Free Pictures, Free Stock Photos, and My Public Domain Pictures to find tons of great images.

#3 – Creative Commons

Creative Commons refers to image licenses that are free to use but have restrictions based on type. Types include Attribution 3.0 and Zero.

Attribution 3.o images can be found on:

Zero images can be found on sites like:

As you navigate through the realm of finding images, try to think out of the box. Have fun with the process, and you’ll be amazed at how thankful your clients will be!

Career Help, Writer Tip

Common Writing Mistakes Every Writer Should Watch For

Writing mistakes can quickly ruin even the best-researched and well-written pieces. New writers may feel intimidated by all the grammatical, story flow and other rules whether written or unwritten.

To forge ahead, understand that a handful of key tips can help avoid writing mistakes consistently. Don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over; and in the process strengthen your writing work potential.

Know Contractions

First, know how contractions operate. They just combine two words, as in “you” and “are” into “you’re.” When in doubt about it’s vs. its, or your or you’re, try this. Insert the option with the apostrophe, then say it aloud as the two words it’s supposed to represent. For instance, if you wrote “It’s you’re game,” say it without the contraction. “It’s you are game” indicates to use “your” instead.

You vs. you’re, its vs. it’s, and they’re-their are among the most common grammatical problems with writing. Often the option without the apostrophe, such as their, your and whose, describe possession of something: like your game in the example above. But saying it aloud is an easy trick.

Straightforward Grammatical Rules

Simple grammatical mistakes can convince readers that an article is sloppy or untrustworthy. Get comfortable that when choosing between “who” and “that,” go with who if it refers to a person. Joe is a driver who rarely speeds. Picking “then” or “that”? Remember than helps compare things. You’re better than that.

Some little writing rules are straightforward. Never use “alot” – a lot refers to a huge number of something, and allot means to assign or share. “Alot” is nothing.

Beyond Spelling and Grammar

Beyond grammatical and spelling errors in writing, important things to avoid are sentences that are too long or have too many commas. Good, easy-to-read text is best in bite-sized pieces. Keep sentences short. If you run across a long sentence divided by a comma, consider making it two sentences.

Same with too many commas in a sentence; it can break a reader’s train of thought and possibly confuse. Again, consider breaking the sentence into separate thoughts, or use a semicolon instead. To delete a comma, try “but,” “and,” “if,” “since” or “although” instead.

Eliminate Clutter and Plan Ahead

A writing mistake to avoid is clutter. If something seems to interfere with the flow of text or a reader’s ability to digest content, eliminate or replace it. Examples can include too many quotation marks around words; the above-mentioned overuse of commas; and too many pronouns.

Finally, a big writing mistake to avoid is disorganization. Either start from an outline or rough sketch of points you want to make and in what order, or in the end broadly review a draft from the perspective of organization. Does A lead to B which leads to C? Think of paragraphs as acts in a play.

Help guide the audience along with transitional words or sentences between acts, or with formatting options like subheadings or bullet points.

Writer Tip

Writing Short Sentences And Paragraphs The Right Way – And Why It Matters

Why do writers and bloggers struggle to write short sentences and paragraphs? It’s vital today to acknowledge demands on readers’ time – and make it brief accordingly. Writing short sentences and paragraphs the right way means better readability and more powerful statements. Consider these tips and see what happens to your content:

Write It, Then Quickly Revisit It

Write out ideas as they surface, so during a first draft let it flow regardless of brevity. However – and this is where it’s important – go right back and try to shorten each sentence. The “delete” key can be your ally. Go back and consider eliminating:

  • Unnecessary words. Delete a word and read it again. If the sentence still makes sense, you were right to delete it. Try deleting the word “that” whenever possible and see if it changes anything. Do you “write down,” or “write”?
  • Overload of phrases. Poor writing contains too many phrases. “In today’s world,” for instance, can be simply “Today.” Or consider this: you’re not cutting it out, you cut it. Fewer words, and even shorter words, get readers to the point faster.
  • Adverb clutter. Few things bog down content more than adverbs. Do you totally or actually agree, or agree? Delete words like “actually,” “totally,” “usually” and “fairly” and your content will be shorter and clearer.
  • The needless modifier. Words like “good,” “just,” “almost,” “hardly” and “simply” just modify nouns and are often superfluous.

Split Long Sentences And Paragraphs

Find sentences of 30 words or more and try to break them in two. You can be amazed at how easy this is; using a semicolon can be helpful. Same goes for paragraphs exceeding 100 words. Shorter paragraphs are easier to digest.

Why It Matters To Write Short Sentences And Paragraphs

Consider two things: competition and short attention spans. Readers have evolved accordingly. One summary says during Elizabethan times the average sentence was 45 words. They shrank to 23 words by early last century, and down to as little as 14 words today.

Studies show today’s average human attention span is eight seconds – down from just 12 seconds at the start of this century. This at a time when technology brings information to our eyes at alarming speeds. Readers have little time for the unnecessary. So many things vie for attention that short sentences and paragraphs are critical toward maintaining interest.

Keep messages clear, short and sweet, or readers won’t stick around.

Career Help, Writer Tip

Simple Tips to Keep Freelance Clients Happy

No two freelance clients are alike. Any freelance writing veteran can tell you keeping clients happy can depend on a number of factors, including a company’s size, the industry, or personalities involved. Still, there are a few tips for keeping freelance clients at peace that seem to apply to most of them.

Deliver on Time

Always meet given deadlines seems simple. Make it a habit by properly planning ahead, and this super-simple tip pays dividends on a broad scale. Remember, time is money in business, so lost time equals lost money.

Know Their Wants

It can seem easy to get a topic and keywords and go off to the races to deliver. Not so fast: first you should truly ascertain what the business does, and what it wants. Knowing the end goal should help in producing the content, whether its more leads, more sales or just more attention. Acquaint yourself with all the client information you can to truly know the audience and purpose of the content.

Provide Quality

It seems a no-brainer, but learn to be consistent in weaving in search engine optimization best practices into colorful and engaging content, and you limit opportunities for complaints. Think how your client’s audience might type phrases into search engines, and lace that into paragraphs.

Compete Well

Along the lines of No. 3, go the extra mile to ensure your content uses top-quality, credible sources, and information from high-traffic websites to solidly back up your writing. Properly research topics, validate your work and compare well with the many other freelance writers out there.

Communicate

Never hesitate to ask clients questions if you have them, and try early on to establish an easy and comfortable line of communication. It doesn’t have to be lengthy conversations, either. Send one-line progress reports, ask a question well before deadline, or just post-submission feedback to keep communication lines robust.

Finally, try to go above and beyond what is asked. Spend extra time to consider what clients may need or want next. Simply suggesting new topics can do wonders toward making freelance clients happy. And nurturing satisfied clients keeps jobs coming and helps bring even more work.

Writer Tip

Are Long-Tail Keywords Still A Useful Tool In 2019?

keyword usage is essential to master. Most writers use short keywords compulsively in their prose. However, many bloggers don’t realize the significance of utilizing long-tail keywords when it comes to their traffic and SEO.

So, what are long-tail keywords? How important are long-tail keywords when it comes to building a blog, brand, or site? Are they still a useful tool in 2019?

The Short Answer: Yes.

Long-tail keywords can be extremely useful when it comes to your site’s content, ranking, and traffic. This being said, they aren’t a magic tool that can instantly improve your site’s rankings. However, long-tail keywords can help you organically improve your traffic (and, in turn, your SEO ranking) over time.

How Do They Improve Your Site’s Traffic?

If a consumer is searching for information about types of fruit that help with weight loss, they won’t type “fruit” into the search bar. Average people tend to search using long-tail keywords such as “fruit for weight loss” or “weight loss fruit.”

Specific keywords are more useful for consumers. They won’t have to hunt as hard to find the specific content that they are seeking. Long-tail keywords help to guide consumers in the right direction while narrowing the scope of their searches. As a bonus, this will decrease competition from other sites.

How Do They Support Your SEO Ranking?

Above all else, Google is concerned with providing their users with secure and compelling search results. The specificity of long-tail keywords suggests that a site’s content is likely strong and/or specific rather than vague, general, or diluted. Due to this, long-tail keywords can help improve your SEO ranking over time.

Google tends to optimize sites that practice consistent use of long-tail keywords.

Practices To Keep In Mind

Your long-tail keyword should relate to your site’s main keyword. Whatever long-tail keywords that you utilize should always branch off of the main keyword of your site. If your long-tail keywords are irrelevant to your site’s central topic, you won’t enjoy the SEO boost that consistent and relevant long-tail keyword usage can bring you.

Long-tail keywords shouldn’t be too lengthy. You want long-tail keywords to be specific. However, long-tail keywords that are too lengthy are unhelpful. Consumers don’t typically search in complete sentences. Your long-tail keywords shouldn’t be more than a few words, either.

Strike a balance between short and long-tail keywords. You shouldn’t only utilize long-tail keywords in your prose. Short keywords are helpful when it comes to attracting a broader audience. Additionally, using a mixture of short and long-tail keywords can help you analyze the searchability of any variety of keywords related to your site, brand, or blog.

Repetition is key! In order to enjoy the organic traffic boost associated with the use of long-tail keywords, you can’t only plug them in once. Consistent usage of the same long-tail keywords is what will ultimately improve your following and SEO across time.

Final Thoughts

Long-tail keywords are an essential tool for writers, bloggers, and brand-builders. When utilized properly, they can improve traffic to your site and boost your SEO ranking. Do you have any tips for using long-tail keywords effectively? Have you enjoyed success utilizing long-tail keywords? Let us know in the comments below!