By Jennifer Applin
One thing the Internet offers is the ability to quickly access information. You start researching on one site and by clicking away at the links you end up at some website you never would have visited otherwise. Unlike print publications that are typically read only by their target audience, it is easier for readers to “stumble upon” online content. This is why considering the audience for online publications is slightly different than print. Below are a few suggestions:
Determine your target audience. Although your article has the possibility of being read by a broader audience it is still important to establish a target audience. This can be done with the help of your editor or by perusing other content on the site. Narrowing down a target audience can help you use appropriate language for your topic in terms of demographics (age, education level, etc.).
Define the purpose of your article. Knowing that your article may be read by those outside of its intended audience may be a distraction and hinder your article’s focus. Keep your article’s purpose front and center while you’re writing (even tape it to your monitor if you have to) to avoid drifting off topic.
Include key words. The words writers use are always important, but often even more so when writing for the web. The words as they relate to your article topic are important for being picked up by search engines. Even if you’re writing for a more advanced audience, also including more generalized or generic terms can increase the likelihood that the content will be picked up in searches. This increases the number of times that webpage is viewed, which is always a plus.
Although most people hope to earn money when working as a freelance writer, there are times that writing for free can pay off. Taking on a few no-fee projects such as writing a monthly column or contributing to a blog can reap benefits in other ways. This can be a great marketing tool by giving you that all-important online presence. It’s also a good way to network with other writers, which may eventually lead to paying opportunities. Just avoid spending too much time writing for free. Set aside a certain number of hours per week (say an hour or two) and stick to this limit.
Jennifer Applin is a freelance writer living in Ohio with her husband and four young children. Aside from writing for many regional publications, she is regular contributor to eLearners.com and Projectworkingmom.com. She spends her days cooking, cleaning and caring for little ones; and her nights writing about pregnancy, parenting and the quest for peace (as in peace and quiet). You can also find her at Managing the MotherLoad.