The markets for writing services continue to evolve due to disruptions in publishing, media, marketing, journalism, and public relations. While some of these disruptions have created new opportunities, it has also intensified the importance of cross-training and updating your skills.
Here are a few observations that are covered in posts on this blog.
Writers today can choose how, when, and where they want to publish their work. We can position ourselves as independent authors, freelance copywriters, brand journalists, ghostwriters, data journalists, bloggers, or online publishers. The number of opportunities to get paid for online writing has risen significantly.
Everyone can be a published writer. Now that so much news, information, and entertainment is consumed on tablets and smartphones (and promoted through SEO and social media), it doesn’t matter if your writing is published by a big-brand publisher, a private corporation, or on your own blog.
As people are swamped with information, many prefer different forms of content. Many content consumers have shifted away from text-based communications in favor of more visual and audio forms of communications. Videos, data visualizations, podcasts, and audio books have become popular forms of conveying information and ideas. Virtual reality storytelling promises to pack an emotional punch by enabling audiences to feel what it’s like to live and work in different environments.
The need for talented writers won’t disappear anytime soon. Writing involves more than putting words on paper or in a digital content management system. It requires thinking, empathy, imagination, and attention to detail. Writing is a process of gathering, interpreting, and organizing facts and observations. It informs, clarifies, and entertains. An effective video starts with a well-thought-out script.
Writers must experiment with different types of content creation. A new generation of linking technologies to make print more interactive will require authors to rethink how they organize and present their ideas. Technologies such as Ricoh’s “Clickable Paper” and HP Link Technology make it possible for printed books to link to online content, including videos, augmented reality experiences, social media, and updated websites.
Printed books won’t disappear. Curling up with a printed book provides a calming respite from the enormous amount of on-screen content we consume each day. Reading is an intimate one mind-to-another-mind experience that lets us see how a particular author thinks and experiences the world.
The digital transformation of the publishing industry is still in progress. Although self-publishing has lost the stigma from its earliest days, some authors are finding success with “hybrid” publishing. After self-publishing a book or two, a new author who sells a decent number of books can attract offers from traditional publishing companies. Best-selling authors use self-publishing to gain control over a portion of their work.
Content marketing has created new opportunities for trained journalists. Some traditional magazine publishers are replacing lost advertising revenue by making staff members available to write white papers. Corporations hire brand journalists to write articles that will be promoted on high-traffic websites as “native advertising.”
Entrepreneurial journalists can build their own brands and online publishing platforms, and generate revenues from advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and e-book publishing.
Below are links to a few of my favorite sources for learning more about self-publishing, brand journalism, and changing career opportunities for writers.
BookBaby is an author-services company that helps independent authors publish and promote printed books and e-books and sell them on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and through other channel. Free, downloadable publishing guides cover topics such as 5 Steps to Self-Publishing, Twitter for Authors, Amazon Keywords, and Printed Book Design 101.
The Book Designer
Joel Friedlander has used his extensive background in book design, advertising, graphic design, and printing to create a collection of more than 700 articles that can help guide authors through the publishing process. He offers book-design templates for Word and InDesign, self-publishing roadmaps, and books and guides on topics such as copyright, ISBNs and Barcodes.
Writer’s Digest is a rich source of advice for anyone who wants to learn the nuts-and-bolts of writing novels, memoirs, short stories, non-fiction, and screenplays, Writer’s Digest publishes print and digital magazines and books and produces conferences, webinars, and online workshops. They also maintain the Writer’s Market database of places to sell nonfiction articles, scripts, short stories, children’s books, poetry, and novels. The Writer’s Digest University includes online courses in copy editing, advanced blogging, writing online content, comedy writing, fundamentals of fiction, and business writing.
Content Marketing Institute
This organization teaches marketing professionals how to hire and guide “brand journalists” to help companies tell their stories in creative, non-promotional ways. As a writer, the Content Marketing Institute gives you insights into the types of skills marketers will expect you to have.
For example, journalists who started out in print can expand their knowledge of SEO, blog publishing, photography, video, and social media. The Content Marketing Institute provides templates and tips that show how the old-school practices of running a publishing business have been adapted to meet the special requirements of managing an online publishing organization.
This online community of more than 1 million users helps media professionals advance their careers by connecting with hiring managers and publishers of freelance-written content. Their job listings include full-time, part-time, and freelance positions in online news media, magazine publishing, PR/marketing, social media, advertising sales, television, design/art/photography, book publishing, corporate/technical writing, and web development. Online courses cover topics such as blogging, YouTube SEO, content marketing, podcasting, SEO writing, digital journalism, and creating videos for social media.
Since 2006, this Rainmaker Digital organization has been teaching writers how to adapt to the changing realities of online publishing. Currently the site promote itself as a source of advanced content marketing education. Copyblogger resources include ebooks, webinars, and forums on topics such as “30 Tips to Help You Become an In-Demand Freelance Writer” and “How to Make a Living as a Writer When Creative Writing Isn’t Paying the Bills.”
The Creative Penn
Self-published author Joanna Penn presents a wealth of proven and practical advice and resources for entrepreneurial authors. On the site, you can learn about writing and editing, publishing, marketing your book, and making a living from your writing.