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How To Take Advantage Of Free Content Opportunities

By Expert Author: Philip Johnson

With economic times as hard as they are, many publishers are cutting costs every way they can, and that means dropping paid writers, cutting back on the number of submissions they accept, and seeking donated content. And if that isn't bad enough on freelance writers, there are hundreds of new websites and online publications popping up every month asking for content in exchange for a byline.
It can make finding paid work as a freelance writer feel impossible.
With the right strategy, however, you turn those free writing opportunities into free advertising opportunities and all it takes is a little planning.
Below are 5 quick tips to help you take full advantage of marketing with articles:
Be Selective With Whom You Donate Material
I am not against writing for free, but I do believe there has to be a good reason for doing so.
The problem with writing for free is that it can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it has the possibility to open many doors. On the other hand, the time you commit to writing, for free, takes away from time that can be used for finding paying assignments.
The key to writing for free is to do so ONLY when it's in YOUR best interest.
Write for free to promote yourself: your skills, your speaking, your workshops, your book, your product, or your business as a whole. Write for free to help establish yourself in an industry, or a niche, but don't write for free if the content you are writing does not market YOU in some way, shape, or form.
Put A Limit On How Much Original Content You Give Away
As you become the "expert" on a specific niche, or in a specific industry, others will request your expertise in the form of an article, guest post, or interview... all of which can take precious time away from your business.
Don't lose sight of your overall goal to make money, build a reputation, and expand your business. by putting a cap on how much "free writing" you will do each day, each week, or each month.
Insist On A Proper Byline
Just including your name on the article is not enough to write for free. You need a byline, below the article, that gives readers a reason to seek you out.
Your byline should include your name, your website address (or other contact information), and a brief, but enticing 2 to 3 sentences.
Create A Guest Post Archive
As your business grows, and your time is in more demand, you won't always be able to write new content, or accept interview opportunities with small-time bloggers, but that doesn't mean you can't help them out and get a little coverage in the process.
By creating an archive of your past contributions, you can continue to offer guest posts and reap the benefits of article marketing.
Your archive could be a page on your website listing the name of an article, along with a 2 - 3 sentence description that could then be retrieved via an autoresponder, or it could be a blog dedicated solely for the use of reprinting. Or you could simply refer inquirers to your page on one of the online article directories.
Start A Syndicated Column
Again, once your time becomes limited, writing original material for free, may no longer be an option.
When approached for free content, let the inquirer know that your time is sparse and while you love the idea of writing a column, you no longer have time to commit to non-paying gigs, but that you have a syndicated column available for a nominal fee-even if it's just a $5 reprint fee.
The important thing to remember about free content opportunities is that they must, in some way, benefit YOU! So stay focused. Develop a business plan, then make sure you stick with it.

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