The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living

If you’re a writer, you might have heard this most of your life:
People don’t make a living writing. You should find something practical to do with your life.
Smart, capable writers grimly pass around war stories on Facebook. Penny-a-word assignments, clients who don’t pay, disdain for our craft, and disrespect for our profession.
And yet, look around at this digital world so many of us spend our lives in — it’s made of words. The technology to produce digital content exists because we create words worth sharing.
Text, video, audio — it all needs great writing if it’s going to be worth spending our time on.
If writing is your profession and your passion, you can accept crap assignments for crap money and crap treatment.
Or, you can choose something better. Because there is something better.
In the time I’ve been writing professionally, I’ve noticed some necessary traits, abilities, and strengths that make the difference between life as a well-paid writer and life as someone who likes to write but can’t seem to get paid for it.
Here are seven of the most important.
#1: Love
This might seem squishy, but if you’re meant to be a writer, you know what I mean.
There is no substitute for the love of writing. For the passion of getting the words right: the head-scratching and the pacing around the house and the endless drafts that aren’t quite right yet.
If you don’t love language and your topic and the act of putting words together, none of

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The #1 Conversion Killer in Your Copy (and How to Beat It)

What makes people almost buy?
What makes them get most of the way there and then drop out of your shopping cart at the last second?
What makes them stare at your landing page, wanting what you have to offer, and yet, ultimately, close the page and move on to something else?
It turns out there’s a hideous troll hiding under the bridge. Every time you get close to making a sale, the troll springs out and scares your prospect away. Get rid of the troll and your copy will start converting better than it ever has before.
The ugly, smelly, dirty, bad-mannered troll is prospect fear.
And it’s sitting there right now, stinking up your landing page and scaring good customers away.
Fear of wasting money
Remember when you were a kid and you went to that rinky-dink carnival that came through town? After eating all the cotton candy you could manage — and throwing it all back up again on the Tilt-a-Whirl — you checked out something called the midway.
Remember that persuasive fellow who convinced you to spend a whole month’s allowance throwing softballs at those damned milk bottles?
It looked so easy. He showed you exactly how to do it. Toss the softball, knock over the milk bottle, win a cool stuffed animal for a prize. Simple.
You spent quarter after quarter trying to do it yourself.
When all your quarters were gone, you got an inkling. It looked easy, but if you were actually standing at the

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10 Ways to Build Authority as an Online Writer

Picture the set of a late-night talk show, circa 1983.
Allen Ginsberg is fat, bearded, and sitting in the interview chair. Long hair grows in unruly patches from the side of his otherwise bald head. His eyebrows sprout from his forehead like wild hawthorn in bloom.
He’s wearing a tie-dye t-shirt with a hole in it. His fingers are stained from nicotine resin.
Ginsberg, a former marketing researcher, wanted to talk about the generation gap, and what he said about the challenges youth had to face actually made a lot of sense.
But although he certainly looked the part of “legendary poet,” this audience didn’t take him seriously. He simply didn’t appear to be a credible expert who they could know, like, and trust.
What was missing?
Another type of expert
Fast-forward to 2003. There he is: completely bald, with a black, long-sleeved shirt tucked into blue jeans. This time, it’s Seth Godin presenting at TED — one of the most prestigious speaking gigs.
In a fluid and flawless presentation, Seth explains how to get your ideas to spread. He obviously knows what he’s talking about or he wouldn’t have been invited to speak. This audience wanted a credible expert — and they got one.
Godin wrote the manifesto for modern advertising: Permission Marketing. He can break 7 of the 12 so-called rules of blogging — and get away with it.
Why? Because he’s earned a tremendous amount of authority by showing up day after day for years, delivering something remarkable —

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The Right Way to Think About Google

Oops, they did it again.
Our friend Google caused a panicked rumble through the tech world late Monday afternoon, when they announced they’d be restructuring under a new holding company called Alphabet.
Never mind that this is something companies do all the time. Never mind that there’s no reason to think it will change what’s happening with search in any way. Never mind the weird, April-Fools-looking new domain.
Google can’t really do “normal things,” because every time they make even a small visible change, most of us wonder,
What will this do to my rankings?
Why the collective jumping at shadows? Well, because if your business depends on your search rankings — and we’ll talk about that in a minute — you probably have a certain amount of Google-induced stress disorder.
Key elements change. Abruptly. And secretly. And you’re left scrambling to pick up the mess.
And to be honest, it can get right on your last nerve.
But if it causes you more than a few moments of irritation, you may benefit from shifting the way you think about the web’s favorite 800-pound gorilla.
Here’s how I’ve learned to think about Google (courtesy of advice from Copyblogger’s founder, Brian Clark). Which means when they pull stunts like this — and they do, with some regularity — my pain is limited to a few curse words and some moderate tweaking.
I have five rules for keeping my sanity when dealing with Google.
Rule 1: “What’s my plan if this goes away

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10 Content Marketing Goals Worth Pursuing

Ever wonder why content marketing works so well for some businesses — and doesn’t seem to do anything at all for others?
Curious about why some content that seems great doesn’t do anything to build a business?
“Content is king” has been an online cliché for years now, but it’s not true. It’s never been true.
Content all by itself — even terrific content — is just content.
It may be entertaining. It may be educational. It may contain the secret to world peace and fresh, minty breath, all rolled into one.
But it has no magical powers. It won’t transform your business or get you where you need to go, until you add one thing …
Content marketing is a meaningless exercise without business goals.
What makes content marketing work?
To make content work, you need to understand your marketing and business goals. Then you can create content that serves those goals, instead of just giving your audience something to pass the time.
Your blog posts, email marketing, ebooks, podcasts, advertising … all of it needs to fit into a larger picture.
Now, if you blog purely for creative self-expression, go ahead and write as the spirit moves you.
But if you’re using content to market a business, you need a strategic framework so you can get the most out of your time and hard work.
Here are 10 of the business goals that drive our content marketing at Copyblogger Media.
You might focus on just one or two, or you may use all

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Digital Sharecropping: The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Content Marketing Strategy

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on November 28, 2012. We’re republishing it today to remind you how to protect your digital marketing efforts as social media sites continue to encourage you to publish original content on their platforms — platforms you don’t own.
We have a great bookstore in my town — the kind of place you picture in your mind when you think of a great independent bookshop.
It’s perfect for browsing, with lots of comfy chairs to relax in. The books are displayed enticingly. There’s a little coffee shop, so you can relax with an espresso. They get your favorite writers to come in for readings, so there’s always an event and a sense of excitement.
They do everything right, and they’ve always had plenty of customers.
But they still closed their doors last year.
No, not for the reasons you might think. It wasn’t Amazon that killed them, or the proliferation of free content on the web, or the crappy economy.
They closed the store because they were leasing their big, comfortable building … and when that lease ran out, their landlord tripled the rent.
Literally overnight, their business model quit working. Revenues simply wouldn’t exceed costs. A decision made by another party, one they had no control over, took a wonderful business and destroyed it.
And that’s precisely what you risk every day you make your business completely dependent on another company.
It might be Facebook. It might be eBay. It might

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Darren Rowse on the Intersection of Blogging and Digital Commerce

We know about the power of content marketing to build audiences, inform what products and services to develop, and ultimately connect the two together.
And whether you call it blogging or not, text remains a cornerstone of the online content mix.
Darren Rowse is one of Brian Clark’s favorite people. Darren has been an inspiration to Brian, they’ve been business partners, and the two remain good friends. At Digital Photography School, Darren’s built what amounts to a case study in digital commerce and community — and it brings in seven figures in revenue, as well.
Nothing happens overnight, even when it may seem that way. In today’s show, Darren and Brian discuss the long road and constant evolution that brought them both business success, powered by blogging and digital products and services.
In this 31-minute episode of New Rainmaker with Brian Clark, Darren Rowse and Brian discuss:

The state of blogging in 2015
The long-term power of evergreen content
Why Darren is getting into podcasting
How a hobby became a multimillion-dollar business
The evolution of a digital commerce community
How ebooks and online courses drive revenue
Smart market research for creating digital products

Click Here to Listen toNew Rainmaker with Brian Clark on iTunes
Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM
About the authorRainmaker.FMRainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post Darren Rowse on the Intersection of Blogging and Digital Commerce appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Why Every Podcast Needs an Email List

The smartest showrunners know that their podcast is only the first step in building a deep, meaningful relationship with an audience.
The next step, one that should never be overlooked, is building an email list so your most engaged listeners can take the next step in connecting with you.
In this episode, Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor provide an overview about email. There is a lot to cover.
After Jerod regales you with a funny story about the hiccup that happened to him during his Authority Rainmaker presentation, he and Jon dive deep into the following topics:

Why Jon thinks he is doing email wrong (and why Jerod disagrees with him)
The importance of being human in how you approach your email subscribers
The benefits of building a base of email subscribers as you grow your show
What is more valuable: an email subscriber or an iTunes review?
How email played a huge role in the initial launch of The Showrunner Podcasting Course
What you should do when people hit “Reply” on your mailings (if you really want to build an audience)
Why you should view your email schedule like your podcast schedule
The two roadblocks to email registration that you need to remove with your site design and copy

Click Here to Listen toThe Showrunner on iTunes
Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM
About the authorRainmaker.FMRainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

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