Freelance Writers: The One Skill That Will Set You Apart

Over the last few years I’ve hired many, many writers. More often than not, when making the final decision, I have to make the tough choice between several very talented writers.

So what’s the single biggest differentiating factor I use in choosing a writer?

Social Media Marketing Experience

Do you have an account at Digg? Reddit? StumbleUpon? Propeller?

If not, chances are that you’re at a disadvantage in the freelance writing job market. And chances are that you’ll be competing against someone who has this experience.

So why does a blog owner like me prefer writers who can help promote their own stories? Well, for a number of reasons. First, it shows an added level of investment and commitment to the job (i.e. it’s not just writing for writing’s sake). Second, social media is all about diversity of numbers. The more people involved in the promotion of a story, the better it’s chances of success. Third, it helps shape a writing environment in which articles are gradually shaped to fit the interests of the readership.

Whatever you think of these reasons, the fact is that all freelance writers should add “social media marketing” to their resume. It makes a huge difference to me, and I assume it makes a huge difference to other site owners too.

Comments

  1. Ryan Caldwell says:

    Just wanted to make something clear:

    Good writing is still the number one virtue of a freelance writer. So that’s really the number one skill. But there are many good writers. All else being equal, if I have two really good writers, and one uses social media while the other one does not, the choice becomes clear.

  2. Chris Garrett says:

    With blogging you have to have more than just writing ability, as you say it could be social media, or it could be popularity, depth or expertise in the topic depending on what the job is. With design it could be usability or illustration experience. Programmers could have a wealth of experience with UML, patterns and all that stuff, or it could be project management or even client-facing skills.

    You just need to have something to set you apart from the herd

  3. Social media promotion is now an essential facet of building a successful site. So any member of team should have this skill.

  4. Ahmed Bilal says:

    not so much about using social media as being *good* at it. that means knowing what other people are going to find interesting / useful, and that sort of social intelligence is hard to teach.

  5. This is a great opportunity for writers with social media experience because I find that many quality freelance writers don’t have much knowledge or experience in social media.

  6. Reverse Funnel System Blog says:

    So its good to see before hiring any freelance writer some of his previous works.

  7. Markus Merz says:

    > “all freelance writers should add “social media marketing” to their resume”

    Definitely true. Being able to promote content is not the #1 issue for a writer but for an editor. But having and using this knowledge as a writer … This is a really good reminder to sum up secondary qualities!

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