Coming off 13 years of steady contract work with Boeing in late 2010, I found quickly that the freelance writing business had changed radically since my previous acquaintance with it. Among other things – some of which I’ll bitch about in later postings – there was something called SEO. This in itself touched a nerve, because 13 years in the defense business had left me with a loathing for acronyms that can only be described as – but I’ll get to that in later posts.
Not wanting to appear uncool, I couldn’t ask what it meant, so I hung on the conversations of people in the business. My hearing had begun to fail, so it was a difficult time.
Eventually I discovered that SEO stood for search engine optimization. Even in my unelectronified state that seemed self-explanatory: searching was done by computers, so if you could fool or overwhelm them with the pertinent words, you’d come up in the search. That discovery, important as it was at the time, was nothing alongside what I discovered about SEO writing later on, but that’s getting ahead of my story.
I had made the acquaintance through friends of the owner of an internet marketing company, who had a client in the pool maintenance business. Not yet being established in the online world, I prevailed on him to let me write a sample assignment for him.
The pool maintainers have a trade association, like everyone else, so I went online and browsed a couple of their newsletters to try to find a hook for the article. I got lucky; they had done a study on saltwater pools – just quirky enough for what I needed. The sophistication of the study and the reports thereof, contrasted with the mundanity(?) of the business itself, gave me the opportunity I was looking for. I could do something offbeat but still relevant -- informative yet entertaining -- while still enjoying my work. I do enjoy writing, and I was hoping I wouldn’t have to give that up in this new freelance economy.
Well, one thing and another, I lost contact with the marketing guy before I could get the article to him, but now I had a sample to show. I posted it with my profile on a couple of online job exchanges – and more about those later -- and started looking for article-writing assignments.
You’ve seen those cartoon doubletakes – the road ended a couple of feet ago at the edge of the cliff and the character, treading air, gives it that long stare downward just before gravity kicks in? That was me, early 2011, as I got the news.
Five-hundred-word articles, keyword heavy, perfect grammar and spelling, no typos tolerated, 48-hour turnaround, 100% original because we’ll catch you with Copyscape were paying four and five dollars.
Next: Five-hundred-word articles, keyword heavy, perfect grammar and spelling, no typos tolerated, 48-hour turnaround, 100% original because we’ll catch you with Copyscape pay four and five dollars???