There's always someone in the world wide web who will sell something at a loss to get your business.The "pay less online" movement has encroached on my territory – writing – and the only thing "at a loss" is me — I'm at a loss for words that writers will trade their precious, $1.00 words for mere pennies.Companies on the net like Elance and Odesk
keep a stable of writers, waiting to be assigned to your project — and waiting to be paid next to nothing to do it.Mostly based in the United States or elsewhere, these companies seemed far removed from me. And then Crowd Content launched in Victoria, B.C. in 2012.
And that hit close to home.Because it's a local company, I looked into it; plus, someone I had done work for said it was a great opportunity for writers. If it was a good fit, I thought I might submit my name to join their stable.It turns out, their stable is more of a barn. And it's haunted.This article
in the Victoria Times Colonist
newspaper indicated to me that Crowd Content's lowest-tier writers (ranked according to experience and feedback) are paid 2.2 cents a word
(I checked this stat on their website — it's true). Lest you think their top-tier writers must be around the $1.00/word mark, you know, because they are expected to turn out at least a few one dollar words per project, you would be – as I was – mistaken.Their top-ranked, best available writers are paid 12 cents per word.
Let's do some math:
For a 600-word piece, which, based on my own experience, would take 4-6 hours to complete, not counting research, interviews, and transcriptions, a top writer with Crowd Content can expect to be paid $72.
On the lower end of the scale, a lower-ranked writer can expect $13.20.
I have no words. Not $1.00 ones, and not 2.2 cent ones.
A journalist acquaintance of mine who is out of work at the moment, looked into working for Crowd Content. But nothing has "worked out," he said. Every article that has come his way pays around the $3.00 mark — and the long distance phone call he'd have to make to complete the assignment would cost more than the return. And yet, according to this article
, Crowd Content has 400 writers in its stable, with 350 on the waiting list.I know what Charlotte would be spinning in her web if she were in that stable: WTF.If the writers at Crowd Content, Elance, Odesk, and other such services are happy with the return on their output, I commend them and hope they continue to be motivated to write their very best, cent by cent.
On the other hand, if they are unhappy, here's some encouragement: there are companies and organizations who pay good writers a respectful and earnest wage. They are out there, and they will value what you bring to the table.
So come on out of the barn — you'll be eating roast beef before you know it.
One of the best things about being a writer is getting to meet and interview people doing fascinating things.It's important to show up to interviews prepared, with knowledge of your subject and an idea of what questions to ask, but it's also imperative you are on your best, professional behaviour
— because your interview subject is interviewing you, too!If you aren't at the apex of your writing career, then chances are your interview subject is better connected than you are, and that means if you do a good job in the interview, you could earn another writing opportunity.I have two examples to share:1. Alex Van Tol — authorWhen I was first starting out as a freelancer, I met young adult author Alex Van Tol
at a book launch. She told me the story of how she moved into fiction writing: it all started in an interview she was doing for a magazine article. She was interviewing a local book publisher at Orca Books
in Victoria, B.C., and her interviewee said, "Have you ever tried writing a novel? Why don't you give it a shot?"She did, and has now published
six books with Orca and has more on the way. Wow!2. Jessica Woollard — me!The lesson I learned from Alex is that you never know when an interviewee can change your life or give you an amazing opportunity.I was recently interviewing actor Casey Austin for a blog post for Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre's production of Uncle Vanya (read the post here). Because Casey is the co-founder of the Rifflandia Festival
, I asked her questions about working in both the music and theatre industries. We chatted a bit about some great bands that played at Rifflandia in the past, and how I was anticipating the 2013 lineup announcement.A day after the interview, I received an email from Casey inviting me to join the team of writers for the 2013 Rifflandia Festival! Just like that, I will be writing about USS, Hannah Georgas, and Stars.And who knows where writing for Rifflandia might take me?In this business, you have the opportunity to make a lasting impression on people with a large network. Don't blow it! Prepare, be polite and
professional, and you never know what opportunity will come your way.
In my social media strategy for the Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children (QAF), business-to-business (B2B) marketing prevails on Twitter over Facebook. But some recent RTs and #FFs by businesses got me thinking--why am I not taking advantage of B2B marketing on Facebook? Why is B2B seen as a key strategy on Twitter, but less on Facebook?
On Twitter, B2B marketing is so easy: a quick RT, a short thank you tweet, an @mention. The interaction is fast and forgotten, but your audience has been increased.
The principle remains the same on Facebook: interaction increases exposure.
Bottom line is, B2B marketing is not just for Twitter. Make sure you are taking a few minutes a day to read through the Home feed on your business page. Like a few posts; comment on a few; share a few stories. I find some of my most meaningly interactions on Facebook are with businesses. Take the example in the photo above. That interaction increased my post's exposure exponentially. Boulevard has more followers than QAF (842 to 577), and our interaction meant the name Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children showed up in the feeds of significantly more people than if I hadn't interacted with Boulevard.
Nowadays most organizations and businesses have a person devoted to social media, which means by liking, commenting, retweeting, and @mentioning, I am forming a relationship with a real person, a representative of a business, who can spread my message further than I could on my own. In an earlier time, it was important to form relationships with news and tv editors to get your story out to the public; now it's just as important to forge good relationships with social media staff. Like me, those specialists are likely logged in to social media all day long, meaning we can interact in real time—and help each other out by increasing our audience.
We social media specialists have the power to help each other out. You scratch my back; I'll scratch yours. You share my news; I'll share yours.
Together, we can influence what people consider worthy news. And that's the power of social media.