What to do when you lose a freelance contract
And now the end of my presentation is near. How did I ever hope to cram this lot into 30 minutes and take questions as well? Daftoid. At least you know when you book me you get your money's worth.
Anyway, make sure you read part one of social media for journalists, which is an introduction to Twitter. And part two is all about LinkedIn and Facebook and some cool forums that'll help you get writing work.
Here in part three we're looking at what kind of social media work is available for journalists, what you might expect to get paid and how not to let all this stuff suck up more time than it's worth.
Social media work for journalists
- This could be tweeting or blogging on behalf of a client
Essentially, it's the new copywriting, and much more dynamic than the old stuff. Could be worth suggesting to clients you've already written web copy for.
- Charge for time rather than per word
Per word, the rates start to look pretty poor, so when quoting think in terms of what the client wants and how long that'll take you. Also take into consideration how much regular work can be guaranteed – £50 per 350 word blog post isn't great, but if you can finish it in under an hour and do 10 a week, it all adds up.
- An hour a day can add up to a lot more
Typically, you might be asked to look after a Twitter feed for an hour a day, but any job which extends across the week will inevitably take up more mental space than that. Be realistic about what you commit to, and how that fits in with the other work you're doing.
- Other journos are charging from £300/day, or from £25/hour for social media work
I did a mini survey and these figures were mentioned most commonly. So as a guide, you're thinking in terms of your copywriting daily rate.
- Clients may wish to pay a lot less!
This is a brand new area of work, so the 'going rate' is still under negotiation. There will be clients who do not recognise that this is a skilled job for a writer and will expect to pay you in buttons. Whether or not you take those buttons is up to you, but remember that part of progressing as a writer is, on occasion, turning work down.
Following on from the post about how journalists can start using Twitter for work, this is part two of my presentation to the Guild of Health Writers - here we're looking at other forms of social media including LinkedIn and Facebook.
(It was at this point in the presentation that I realised I had far too much to say.)
Using LinkedIn to get work as a journalist
- Fill in your profile to get your name at the top in Google searches
LinkedIn ranks incredibly highly in search engines, so if somebody Googles your name (and editors will), your profile will pop up at the top. Particularly useful if you don't have a website for your journalism work (though frankly, you should).
- Link your profile to your Twitter feed
If you're using Twitter to circulate case study or other requests, link the two so both networks will see it.
- Ask for recommendations
Get people you've worked with to fill in a LinkedIn recommendation to add to your credibility.
- Include keywords in your profile relating to services you can offer
Recruiters are searching, so make it easier for them to find you. Nobody can offer you work if they don't know what you've got to offer.
- Join groups relevant to your specialism
There're thousands of professional groups on LinkedIn, so there's bound to be a special little haven for you.
- Check out potential clients
If you've got a meeting coming up with an editor, check out their LinkedIn profile to get the cut of their gib. *stalker alert*
These notes are extracted from a talk given to the Guild of Health Journalists on 14th September 2011. If you're interested in this subject then you might want to also have a read of the post about 10 things Twitter can do for journalists.
We started with some general points about using social media:
- It's a conversation, not a broadcast
Don't just pump out updates – talk to people, jump into conversations, retweet their messages and see it as a two way flow.
- Look for personal connections and work will find you
If you go in explicitly and solely looking for work, you'll probably be disappointed. See it as a source of new contacts and ideas and the opportunities will occur.
- Use your own name – that's your brand
As a journalist, your byline is your brand, so don't tweet as your dog or your porn star name. The exception to this would be if you have a blog with an established name, in which case you might want to create a specific Twitter account just for that.
- Keep your photo consistent
It's all about establishing you as a human being that other human beings will want to connect to and work with, so use the same photo across all social media and don't change it more than twice a year. Using the Hipstamatic App will produce the most flattering photo you've ever had.
- Klout.com will track your progress
If you like statistics, Klout will track how your social media network and influence is growing – useful if you're worried that you're wasting your time.
I had a spiffing time last night talking about social media for journalists with the Guild of Health Writers in the (frankly rather elegant) surroundings of The Medical Society of London.
The thing that struck me when talking to peole who don't use Twitter or other social media tools was that it's the myths that seem to put people off. Myths including:
- You have to be a tech-y gadget freak to make sense of it
- It uses up all your time
- Why would I be interested in what random strangers have for lunch?