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8 Rules You’ll Need to Become An Editor’s Go-To Writer

This guest post is by Thomas Ford of www.123Print.com.

Whatever stage of development your blog is in, it’s useful to consider the elements that characterize a good blog writer. Perhaps you’ve recently begun accepting guest posts. What are the criteria that inspire you to publish or make the call to reject a post?

Even if you’re just getting started and authoring all of your own posts, don’t publish just anything. Learn to self-edit, and you’ll be far more likely to please future editors when you begin posting elsewhere and seeking other outlets for your writing.

If you get to the enviable place where an editor or blogger is paying you for your words, it’ll be due to both your insightful sharp wit and your ability to make their life as easy as possible.

To keep the paid work flowing your way (or even if you’re just blogging for yourself and slowly building an audience), stick to these tried-and-true rules of the road.

1. Don’t turn in typos

We all know that you’re working on deadline, but clean copy is paramount to pleasing an editor. Don’t push yourself to the wire, to the extent that you’re literally skipping the reread to get your copy in on time.

Once you’ve spent hours (or even days) with a piece, it can feel like a chore to read slowly through it, line by line, but it’s the only way you’ll catch the tiny errors that can chip away at an editor’s trust in your grammatical skills.

2. Try to sleep on it

This can be tough, I know, but do your best to arrange your writing calendar to allow yourself a day between writing a piece and posting it or turning it in. It’s amazing the clarity that a day can provide. Even when I feel like a post is perfect, revisiting my words the following day always turns up something I can improve upon.

3. Meet your deadlines

Being a professional writer or blogger often boils down to self-discipline and time-management. Design your schedule in a way that affords you the time to follow rules 1 and 2, while still always meeting your deadlines.

If you miss a deadline early in your relationship with an editor, you may have blown it already. Once you’ve proven yourself, most editors will provide you some leeway now and then, but being late should always be the exception to the rule.

4. Seek feedback

A good blogger loves to collaborate and offer input to writers working on a post for their site. Seeking feedback and direction during the researching and writing process is also a fantastic opportunity to build a relationship.

If you discover a new angle for a post, don’t hesitate to reach out to an editor or blogger before completing your writing. The perspective they provide may lead to more posts down the road, and will almost always strengthen the blog you’re working on.

5. Offer strong headlines

Often, bloggers will replace headlines by a guest poster with a phrase that better fits the direction of their site. Even if this happens to you on multiple occasions, don’t stop providing headlines with each post. Your title helps an editor understand the direction of your piece, even if they recreate it in their own words.

6. Answer follow-up questions quickly

Editors and bloggers are busy people. Even if they take a week to get to your post submission, once they do read it, they’re going to want quick answers to their questions.

Make a point to prioritize these emails and calls when they arrive, providing quick edits, clarifications, and rewrites as requested. The easier you are to work with and the more promptly you respond, the more likely it is that you’ll find repeat work with that blogger.

7. Be careful talking money

It’s amazing how some editors will reply within seconds to emails about content, yet any question about payment is met with silence. Work out your payment arrangement and schedule in advance, before writing your post. Give bloggers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to sending payment, and then some.

If you’re depending on payment from a particular post to pay the bills this month, you may need to seek out further employment and save some money before trying to make it as a writer. When you’re not dependent on fast payment, it’s easier to be patient, and editors will respond in turn with more work when you’re not one of the writers that’s always bugging them about money. Most of the time, they’re just busy—they haven’t forgotten.

8. Be a self-promoter

Whether you’re writing for your own blog or submitting a guest post, utilize all of your avenues and social media channels to promote your work. Once a post goes live, link to it and spark conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. If there’s a corresponding, compelling image, link to it on Pinterest.

When you utilize your own contacts to draw traffic to a site, editors will take note and appreciate your efforts, returning the favor with new assignments.

What other tips do you have for writers looking to increase their visibility with an editor or blogger? Have any of these ideas worked for you?

Thomas Ford is the Marketing Director of www.123Print.com, a leading supplier of business cards and a wide variety of business and office printing materials. Tom is responsible for the blog at 123print, and writes on a range of topics of interest to bloggers and business people.

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Comments

  1. Kathryn says:

    As a writer I used to frequently get terrific feedback from my editors and clients. I always kind of wondered what the heck they were so praise-filled about as I felt like I was just doing my job. THEN I spent a couple of years running a small online writing business where I was the editor for other writers work and that is when I discovered that so many freelance writers aren’t following these basic rules. I would constantly have to deal with poor communication, work that wasn’t in on deadline and even major issues like plagiarism. It gave me a huge appreciation for the high quality writers I did have and a lot of insight into what I’d been doing right that made my own editors like working with me!

  2. daniel says:

    Amazing tips you just shared here bro!

    The tip #7 and 4# caught me the most.

    I’ll surely work on them

    Thanks

    Daniel

  3. Ben Troy says:

    Yes, I have had several people point out that they misread my post title in some fashion Always had a nagging suspicion that I could improve it even more. As everyone here would agree, your confirmation is very important indeed

  4. Samuel says:

    Excellent article to get that attention from editors.

    They want to see your participation and that would get their attention to call you back for more.

    Sleeping over your article can always be good for you.

    Self promotion needs to be done for every guest post you write, which can always give you a boost in your reputation.

  5. sohaib says:

    love this blog

  6. bravo. i’ve forwarded this on to our teen travel blogging class, as well as many of my editors for our site. the one i love most? the self-promotion. i often feel as if i’m doing all of the heavy lifting. thank you!

  7. Richard Ng says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Great tips! Even though I have not reach a stage to be a professional writer who can practice these tips immediately but I am sure they will come in handy in the future.

    Cheers!

  8. Kevin says:

    #3 is something that I’m going to implement for everything in my writing. If I can hit my own personal deadlines for my blog, then it will be a piece of cake when an editor is involved.

    Tip 7 is also right on. If you are depending on the money to pay your bills then you really need to figure out how to get a dependable stream coming in first.

  9. So love the tips!

  10. Sameer says:

    Point number 3 and 6 are the most important ones, according to my point of view. One should answer the questions being asked in comments section.

  11. Reed Nixon says:

    Nice tips! I actually love #7. It makes sense.

  12. Of course you’re right that writers can win favor with editors by making the editors’ jobs easier. I would also add BE POLITE. We shouldn’t act like Divas demanding that everything be our way or no way, or throwing a fit if an editor (gasp!) edits our writing.

  13. Clarendon says:

    Excellent tips, blogging can be hard until you get the hang of it. There’s such a massive difference between blogging for a friendly local community and writing for a paying boss. Getting it right first time is vital. Thanks again for these tips, will be using them!

  14. Some very good tips there.

    #8 is probably something that I need to work on myself. I really should set up a twitter account or something just to keep in contact with bloggers that I’ve dealt with and so on, along with promoting some of the content that I wrote for others.

    #6 is probably one of the things that I know I’m good at. Usually I reply to people within 15 mins or so, and people really appreciate it :)