I often find a misconception among many modern web writers, who are writing freelance for websites and web publications: once a piece is published, the work is done.
The web writer couldn’t be more wrong.
If you’re writing for the web, unless you’re writing for an established site at a flat rate (and even then, it shouldn’t stop after publication), you’re being paid for performance. Web writing is generally paid for by ad revenue; ad revenue is earned by page views; page views are what happens when someone visits your work on the web.
Now many writers think that the publisher, combined with search engines, will do the work for them, get the page views just by the virtue of the work being there and (assumedly) worth reading. But even if you do proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and internal linking, the article will not work on its own to get page views. You need to work for it.
In short, there’s a third step for every web writer for everything they write: promotion.
Whoa there, some web writers say when they see that. “That isn’t my job.” Oh yes it is – it’s all based on the way the web works – and even before writing web content became “the thing,” writers had to do this.
Let me make it clear: as a writer, you can hire an agent, someone to promote your work, represent you to companies, etc. The key word here is hire. You pay them. So unless you’re paying someone to promote your writing – hint, it isn’t the site paying you – it’s your job.
Even then, don’t take it as thankless. The web is all about connecting people together. I sincerely encourage you to watch the two videos linked below. Some of the technical concepts may be beyond you, but the messages can still be learned.
So, here’s the deal: the web is saturated with content. Your published work is part of countless pages on the internet, among thousands on the topic. It may be unique, but finding that one little needle among not a haystack, but a hay mountain, can be really hard to find. If you just throw it up there, some people will find it by looking, and some by chance – but you’re missing a grand audience.
That’s where sharing on the web – which has come to be known as social media – comes in. The web lets you be as personal and honest as you want. You can connect with others via various platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and share your content with them – the equivalent of handing someone a book you wrote and saying “here, read this.” You have just managed to connect reader and content instantaneously. You saved them time, and you made a personal connection.
This benefits you, too, of course. You can see who’s interested in your content, and why. You can interact with those people that read it, and learn how to improve, or learn how you educated them, changed them, motivated them. This is something that traditional print doesn’t do so well – it creates a great barrier between writer and audience. The web makes that barrier thin and transparent – and it benefits everyone involved.
So if you’re writing web content – don’t stop at publishing. Take your work out there. Connect. Share. Promote. Engage. Interact. It’s the best part about your job.