21 Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

This post first appeared on Business Insider on 25th March 2017. 

Grammar rules can seem like a nuisance. Honestly, do you really need to check every single document for appropriate hyphenation?

According to CUNY Journalism Press editor and writing coach Timothy Harper, the answer is a resounding “YES.”

“The whole point of grammar and punctuation is clarity,” he told Business Insider. If you write that a woman has “dirty-blonde hair,” for example, people know that you’re referring to the color. “It doesn’t mean that she needs a shampoo,” Harper said, which it would if you’d written “dirty blonde hair.”

We asked Harper about the most common grammar mistakes he sees, and added some that drive us crazy on a daily basis. Read on for a list of tricky – but super important – rules that get broken way too often.

1. Confusing ‘fewer’ and ‘less’

Harper said he winds up correcting this mistake pretty often.

He explained that “fewer” is appropriate when you’re discussing countable objects. On the other hand, “less” is appropriate when you can’t count the thing you’re describing.

Here’s an example of each word in a sentence:

“Fewer than 20 employees attended the meeting.”

“I spent less than one hour finishing this report.”

2. Confusing ‘amount’ and ‘number’

Again, it’s a question of whether you can count the thing you’re describing.

Harper gave examples of how you might use each word:

“There is a really large number of books in that library”

“There’s a huge amount of water going over the dam right now.”

3. Confusing ‘it’s’ and ‘its’

Normally, an apostrophe symbolizes possession. As in, “I took the dog’s bone.” But because apostrophes also usually replace omitted letters – like “don’t” – the “it’s” vs. “its” decision gets complicated.

Use “its” as the possessive pronoun: “I took its bone.” For the shortened version of “it is” use the version with the apostrophe. As in, “it’s raining.”

4. Confusing ‘who’ and ‘whom’

When considering whether to use “who” or “whom,” you have to rearrange the sentence in your head.

So the question, “Whom did you give the letter to?” changes to “You gave the letter to whom?” “Whom” suits the sentence instead of “who” because the word functions as the object of the sentence, not the subject.

It’s not always easy to tell subjects from objects but to use an over-simplified yet good, general rule: Subjects start sentences (or clauses), and objects end them. In short, who does it to whom.

For reference, “Who is a hypocrite?” would be a perfectly grammatically correct question to ask.

5. Confusing ‘him’ and ‘he’

Harper said he often hears people say something like, “Him and me went somewhere.” That’s incorrect. Instead you should say, “He and I went somewhere.”

Things get slightly more confusing from here. It’s incorrect to say, “He gave it to she and I.” Instead you should say, “He gave it to her and me.”

If you’re having trouble with this rule, Harper suggested taking away the “and.” For example, you can probably tell that the sentence “He gave it to I” sounds weird, so you can figure out that “He gave it to she and I” is also incorrect.

Read the remaining grammar mistakes by Business Insider here

23 Free Blogging Tools That Will Make You a Better Blogger

23 Free Blogging Tools
23 Free Blogging Tools

Whether you blog to share your experiences or to promote your business, blogging is the best way to connect with the outer world.

But blogging is definitely much more than writing.The work does not end when you hit publish. You should be able to attract your readers time and time again to your site, and keep them engaged.

Are you ever worried about maintaining an engaged blog audience?

It all starts with detailed research and using the right blogging tools.

Here is the deal: Tools alone won’t solve your problems, but they will help you get things done more efficiently.

With that being said, I have compiled a list of 21 free blogging tools that you can start using today. These tools are a great way to improve your performance as a blogger, in terms of workflow, writing quality and visuals.

A perfect topic can make or break your content workflow

It doesn’t matter how great you are at writing, every now and then you will fall into a blogger’s pit AKA blogger’s block.

a-perfect-topic-for-free-blogging-toolsAccording to Allee Creative, producing enough content and content that engages, are the two most difficult struggles that over 50% of B2B marketers face.

Creating enough content is proportional to blog topic ideas. If you can’t find topics to write about, you can’t fill up the content calendar.

These are the tools that will you help find blog topics every day.

1. Answer the Public

answer-the-public-for-free-blogging-toolsAnswer the Public is one of the coolest search query tools I have used in a while. This handy little tool fetches and maps suggestions based on visualization after you type in a keyword.

It breaks down keyword listings to three different parts:

  1. Question: what, who, when, why?
  2. Preposition: for, like, with
  3. Alphabetical: keyword + a, keyword + b

With this tool, you can also get a ton of LSI keywords that you can easily sprinkle throughout your post.

2. BuzzSumo

buzzsumo-for-free-blogging-toolsWhat if you could find a topic that you know has the potential to go viral? That’s what BuzzSumo is all about.

It gives a list of posts that have got maximum amount of shares in a given period. This way you know the potential of the topic.

It’s easy to use interface is one of its many benefits that makes it one of my favorite tools. Not only does it hook you up with great data, it binds you to topical relevance. So, you don’t go off topic when searching for ideas.

Just looking at the above topics you can easily tell that list posts are the ones that get the most social love.

Can you do better than that?

3. Google Keyword Planner

google-keyword-plannerfor-free-blogging-toolsMeet Google’s most awesome and popular keyword tool, Keyword Planner. And Yeah, it’s totally free of cost.

In order to use this incredibly powerful keyword research tool, first of all you need to get an AdWords account. And then, you can start the journey to find the right keywords for your business.

Google Keyword Planner might not give you the exact keyword suggestions, but it surely gives you a pretty good number of variations to your keywords, followed by average monthly searches, level of competition (high, medium, or low), average cost per click, and much more.

Effective tip: You can find more blogging ideas by putting your competitor’s url into keyword planner’s landing page search box.

4. Google Trends

google-trends-for-free-blogging-toolsHow can I leave out one of the most versatile tools, Google Trends?

Google Trends displays a list of the top hot searches and charts of the day. You can also see searches by category.

Like other keyword research tools, Google Trends does not give you the actual keyword search number. But, it does not mean that it is completely useless. You need to be smart here and use this tool with the Keyword Planner tool to get the best results.

Rule content marketing by writing captivating headlines

Headlines are the bread and butter of great content. A great headline not only grabs a reader’s attention, it’s the main source of increasing click through rate from organic traffic.

According to a test done by Koechly at Upworthy, traffic varies up to 500% depending upon your headline.

Whether you need to engage your audience on social media, or increase the open rate of your emails, a magnetic headline carries a heavy load.

Here are the free blogging tools that can help you write enticing headlines.

5. Impact Blog Title Generator

Impact blog title generator is a great tool for quickly coming up with blog ideas and titles. Just like any other headline generator, you need to type in your primary keyword. It will then pull out hundreds of enticing title options that you can use.

Hit the heart button if you like any given titles. It will then be transferred to a notebook which you can email later.

One of the creative and fun ways of dealing with writer’s block in this tool is the writer’s block option. Click it and start doodling.

6. SEOPressor Blog Title Generator

seopressor-blog-title-generator-for-free-blogging-toolsIf you are a WordPress blogger, you will absolutely love this simple but highly effective tool. Yes, it comes with a WP plugin, but the web version is equally as useful.

You can simply type in your keyword and get a bunch of blog ideas (it has its own pre-decided keyword categories).

Then, it pulls out a list of easy to use headlines. You can also modify it so that it looks more convincing.

To get more blog ideas, you have to put in your email. And, it will send the list directly to your inbox.

7. Link Bait Title Generator

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Link-bait-title-generatorfor-free-blogging-tools-1.png.png

link-bait-title-generatorfor-free-blogging-tools

Recommended for You Webcast, December 14th: Measuring Micro-Moments With Google Analytics

This is not a fancy tool with flashy visuals. However, as the name suggests it gets the job done. As a marketer, we need a headline that entices users to click.

Basically it pulls in headlines that can be a little buzzfeed-esque and targets click bait. If you are a blogger in an entertainment niche, you will fall in love with this tool. Some suggestions might be really insane but it gets the job done.

8. Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Emotional-marketing-value-headline-analyzer-for-free-blogging-tools-1.png.png

emotional-marketing-value-headline-analyzer-for-free-blogging-toolsAccording to Psychology Today, consumer decision making is highly influenced by emotion. With this tool you can check the emotion weight of your desired headlines.

Although it’s not as colorful as the other tools in the market, it is easy to use and works perfectly. All you have to do is plug in the headline and choose an appropriate category. You will receive an EMV score that defines the emotional credibility of your headline.

37.50% may look bad as a number. But if you look closely, anything above 50% is considered the best. So, if you have anything within that range, you are doing great.

Add a touch of image beauty to make your blog attractive

Photos play an important role in making your blog visually stunning. If you have photography talent along with your writing skill, then trust me, you don’t need anything else.

The right post with the right photo is what audiences are looking for. But, in many cases, a blogger ignores the fact that images are an important component to user engagement and messes up with cheap stock images.

One case study states that a tweet with an image is likely to boost retweets by 35 percent.

Here is a list of awesome tools that I use to flood my post with top-notch free images.

9. Pixabay

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Pixabay-for-free-blogging-tools-1.png.png

pixabay-for-free-blogging-toolsFinding free high quality images that perfectly match your blog content can be a challenging and daunting task. To help you with your free stock photo hunt, Pixabay offers millions of high quality images free.

Pixabay is a resource created with no copyright restrictions. You can use the images for whatever purposes you want, even for commercial purposes too.

A great thing about Pixabay is that there is no registration required. You can simply jump in, find photos and begin to use them.

10. Death to the Stock Photo

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Death-to-the-Stock-Photo-for-free-blogging-tools-1.png.png

death-to-the-stock-photo-for-free-blogging-toolsAre you fed up with visiting websites in search of free stock photos? Well, here’s a solution for your problem.

Death to the Stock Photo sends you free high resolution photos of different categories to your email every month. All you need to do is submit an email address where you want to receive those images. Amazing, right?

Now, you can make your blog posts livelier and more visually appealing with the high quality resolution images that you receive from Death to the Stock Photo.

11. Evernote

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Evernote-for-free-blogging-tools.png.png

evernote-for-free-blogging-toolsOne of the best ways to grab images is through screenshots. And, one of the best tools in the market to do that is Evernote. It not only gives you sleek and clean graphics, it organizes your images in a proper format.

First go to evernote and sign up for a free account. Then, download it’s free chrome plugin. Now, whenever you need to take a screenshot, click the little elephant icon in the top right hand corner. You can select the part and save it. It automatically gets saved in your evernote account.

12. PicMonkey

picmonkey-for-free-blogging-toolsAre you looking for a photo editing tool which can spruce up your images and make your blog look attractive? PicMonkey is the best tool to check out.

You can use this fantastic photo editing tool without downloading it to your computer.

With its awesome photo edit, touch up, design and collage features, you have got everything that you need to make your ideas come to life.

PicMonkey also publishes awesome guides to help you create your own visually attractive images. So, if you are an amateur designer and don’t have good experience with editing tools, then PicMonkey is what you need to have.

13. Canva

canva-for-free-blogging-toolsCanva is one of the most used photo editing tools in the world. From its drag and drop feature, the professional layouts and amazing design graphics, Canva has everything that you need for creating your own stunning images.

Whether you are an experienced designer or just a beginner, Canva makes image creation super easy and fun.

With millions of images, hundreds of fonts, numbers of free icons and shapes, and amazing photo filters; Canva is without a doubt the most loved photo editing tool online.

Make writing faster and easier

Anyone can write a blog, but only an experienced and skilled blogger can write an extraordinary piece of content that offers valuable insights and attracts user engagement.

There are millions of amazing blog posts uploaded every second, which grab people’s attention and compel them to share on social media channels. If you want your content to receive such attention from readers, then you need to write amazing and original content.

Do you have a favorite blogging tool that helps you with this?

There are tons of writing tools available online and choosing the right one definitely takes lots of your time and effort. Here are a few tools that can help you with easy and fast writing.

14. Google Docs

Many bloggers use their blogging platform to write and edit their content. But, are you aware of the blog editing and posting features of Google Docs?

Yes, you heard me correctly. Google Docs can be used as a blog editor and you can post your blog entries directly from it.

Google Docs is my favorite blog editor. It allows you to collaborate with others and its amazing spelling and grammar checking tools are worth trying. Being a product of Google itself, you can directly research your queries from it.

15. Readable

readable-for-free-blogging-toolsReadable is one of the most interesting free blogging tools, which quickly analyzes your text for readability. This awesome tool takes your text and analyzes it by giving it a score for the most used readability indicators. So, your text is easier to understand.

It gives you flexible options to carry out a test; test by url, test by directly entering your text, and test by entering a referral link.

16. Grammarly

grammarly-for-free-blogging-toolsIs your content free from grammatical errors? Readers really hate to read content with grammatical errors.

Posts with many grammar errors can make a reader lose interest in reading further. They might not even bother reading your future blog posts. So, make sure to perform grammar checks before publishing your blog.

Grammarly is one of the most used online grammar checkers. It checks for spelling, sentence structure, style, punctuation, alternatives, etc. All you need to do is copy your content and paste it into Grammarly’s online grammar checker.

You can add this tool to your chrome browser and easily use it whenever you need to.

Get more engagement on social media

You just published a post, and you immediately share it to your social accounts. What you see after a few days rattles you.

Only a couple of people have engaged with your post. Sounds familiar?

One of the many reasons why you aren’t seeing any engagement on social media is because you are not doing it right.

For example, your preferred audience may be in a different time zone than yours. The frequency and timing of your post depends completely on the industry and brands.

You can take something from what the big brands do. Every brand has a different set of times to post on Facebook, Twitter or share it on other social accounts. Always check the analytics of your social account to get a better grip of your audience.

After you know the best time, you can schedule your post with these tools and save time.

17. Buffer

buffer-for-free-blogging-toolsBuffer has to be one of the most efficient social media management tools I have ever used. Even though Hootsuite has more supported networks, and is bigger than Buffer, I feel Buffer is easier to use.

Just like any content scheduling tool, you can easily integrate your social media accounts and start scheduling your posts. It also gives you a brief analysis that lets you A/B test your headline versions.

18. Ahalogy

Pinterest can been a great source of traffic for many bloggers. Unfortunately, if you aren’t using the paid version, it’s not possible to schedule Pinterest pins from Buffer.

Out comes Ahalogy to solve this problem. You can easily schedule all your pins to your personal and community boards.

However, the catch is you have to get accepted by Ahalogy to start using it.

Once you get accepted, you have to place a code to track your results. If this is something you don’t want to do, you can download the Ahalogy plugin and it automatically pushes your content to your Pinterest account.

19. Click to tweet

ahalogy-for-free-blogging-toolsClick to tweet are tweetable quotes that are used widely on numerous blogs. What it basically does is offer more traffic from twitter and gives an easy one click path for the user to share your content.

Working with click to tweet is really simple. All you need to do is sign up for a free account. On your dashboard, you can type in the message you would like to tweet. Then, it generates a new line of code. Copy and paste it into the post that you want to display it. You can also see the engagement of your audience and click through rate of that simple tweet button.

Improve your productivity

The tough part after starting a blog is maintaining its quality. If you are a professional blog writer, then you must know how hard it is to write a quality blog with valuable insights at a given time.

Do you want to write better and faster?

There’s a number of free blogging tools that will not only make your writing easier but also help with your time management problem. Check out the time tracking tools listed below which can help you write faster.

20. Egg Timer

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Egg-Timer-for-free-blogging-tools.png.png

egg-timer-for-free-blogging-toolsEgg Timer is a simple countdown timer, where you can enter the time that you want to work.

As a writer, you must know how easily time goes by once you start writing. You have no idea how much time you are giving to researching your work, editing or writing. With this free time tracking tool, you can find out how productive you are and manage time for each individual task.

To start, set the time for your task, hit the “Go” button to start time tracking. When the time’s up, you will see a pop-up appearing on the screen with the timer sound.

21. Toggle

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Toggle-for-free-blogging-tools.png.png

toggle-for-free-blogging-toolsToggle is a fun time tracking tool which can help boost your productivity.

This one-click time tracking tool allows you to add tasks, and after completing your work, check the dashboard to know how long you spent on each task.

If you are a writer who spends a lot of your time on research and writing, and are looking for a tool that can help you manage your time, Toogle is definitely worth a try.

Track visitors on your site

A thing that separates a good blogger from others is the way he or she keeps monitoring and tracking the web traffic they receive.

Yes, it is true that anyone can write, but not everyone is capable of writing a high quality user engaging blog. The problem seen in most startup bloggers is that they just keep writing blindly. They have no idea whether their blog is getting exposure or not.

To be a good blogger and improve your writing, you should know what is working, and what isn’t, so that you can make improvements.

With so many web traffic analyzer tools available online, you can easily track visitors and traffic to your blog.

Here’s my favorite 2 blog tracking tools:

22. Google Analytics

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Google-Analytics-for-free-blogging-tools.png.png

google-analytics-for-free-blogging-toolsGoogle Analytics (GA) is the most popular and most used visitor tracking tool. And yes, it is totally free of cost.

This amazing tool not only gives accurate statistics on traffic, but it also tracks almost everything a cookie can store on each unique visitor. You can also see the live traffic status of your blog through GA.

It provides a variety of features like monitoring visitor’s behavior, source of incoming traffic, social media buttons, number of visitors each day, unique visitors, returning visitors, most visited pages, and much more.

23. Sitemeter

Sitemeter is another great analytics program which I use after Google Analytics. It comes in two versions: Free and Paid. You can simply use the free version as it offers almost all the tools a webmaster needs.

You can keep track of your visitors’ referral information and at the same time also find how many people are online on your blog.

Sitemeter allows you to see some of the most important information regarding your latest referring URLs, live visitors, and visitors from the last 1 hr, day and a week.

Wrapping up

Content creation should be the top priority of any blogger. I wish I could tell you that tools alone will make you a better writer, but that’s not true at all.

In fact, there are other key elements and methodologies that you need to implement to produce quality content. However, tools offer additional support and help you get things done more efficiently.

I hope these 23 free blogging tools can help you get through some tough times like they did for me.

**  This article first appeared on Business 2 Community on December 12, 2016.  Written by Nirmal Gynawali

 

 

3 Examples of How Semicolons Strengthen a Sentence & 3 Cases of Overkill

Semicolons help clarify construction of sentences. Using the punctuation mark, employed as either a comma on steroids or a strategically flexible period, is usually just one of two or more possible solutions, but though it has a stuffy reputation and many writers are confused about its applications, it often is the best choice.

1. This issue is not cut and dried, it’s actually fairly complicated.

This sentence demonstrates the simplest and perhaps most common error related to the role of the semicolon: the failure to use it when needed in the weak period function. This pair of independent clauses must be separated by a semicolon: “This issue is not cut and dried; it’s actually fairly complicated.”

Replacing the comma with a dash or beginning a new sentence with it’s are alternative strategies, though the

statement does not include a sharp break in thought (which a dash is intended to signal) and does not constitute two distinct ideas meriting separate sentences, so the semicolon is the most suitable solution.

2. For breakfast, he had eggs the way he liked them, over easy, bacon, locally raised, of course, toast, and coffee, which he always stirred exactly 10 times to blend in the milk.

This sentence requires semicolons to clearly organize a rambling list of words and phrases that constitute a menu: “For breakfast, he had eggs the way he liked them, over easy; bacon, locally raised, of course; toast; and coffee, which he always stirred exactly 10 times to blend in the milk.”

However, the preparation details can also be presented enclosed in parentheses, which renders semicolons unnecessary: “For breakfast, he had eggs the way he liked them (over easy), bacon (locally raised, of course), toast, and coffee (which he always stirred exactly 10 times to blend in the milk).” For consistency and to enhance sentence balance and rhythm, better yet, a corresponding detail about the toast should be inserted.

3. The act offers protection from lawsuits arising from monitoring information systems, including employee email, cyberthreat-related disclosures, and sharing of that information with other companies.

This sentence requires semicolons because even though “including employee email” seems obviously related to the preceding phrase, the sentence can also be read as if employee email, cyberthreats-related disclosures, and sharing of that information with other companies are being offered as examples of information systems. Use the stronger punctuation mark in such sentences so that the sentence organization is unambiguous: “The act offers protection from lawsuits arising from monitoring information systems, including employee email; cyberthreat-related disclosures; and sharing of that information with other companies.”

Cases of Semicolon Overkill

Semicolons serve a useful function in helping distinguish between elements of complex sentences, but lengthy sentences with long phrases do not necessarily require the support semicolons provide. These three sentences demonstrate an unnecessary application of the semicolon as a comma on steroids.

1. Electrical shock may cause serious burns; injuries to internal organs, such as your heart; and even death.

Semicolons should generally be employed as strong commas when elements of a list themselves include lists or otherwise include commas of their own. Here, however, the sentence construction is clear and simple; “such as your heart” is obviously part of the list element pertaining to injuries to internal organs (and doesn’t necessarily need to be set off from the rest of the phrase anyway): “Electrical shock may cause serious burns, injuries to internal organs, such as your heart, and even death.”

2. Examples of enhancements might include reporting on the status of critical enterprise risks; changes in key external variables impacting the validity of the organization’s strategic assumptions; significant emerging risks; the capabilities for managing other important business risks; and the status of initiatives to improve capabilities.

The elements of this list are wordy but not complex, so “super coma” semicolons are an excessive measure: “Examples of enhancements might include reporting on the status of critical enterprise risks, changes in key external variables impacting the validity of the organization’s strategic assumptions, significant emerging risks, the capabilities for managing other important business risks, and the status of initiatives to improve capabilities.”

3. The basketball star’s legendary moves—aerial assaults; triple-clutch reverse layups; facials on seven-footers; one-handed rebounds or ball fakes; opposing shots stolen from the sky; big-game buzzer beaters at any time—couldn’t be replicated.

As in the previous example, the use of semicolons in this sentence is overkill: “The basketball star’s legendary moves—aerial assaults, triple-clutch reverse layups, facials on seven-footers, one-handed rebounds or ball fakes, opposing shots stolen from the sky, big-game buzzer beaters at any time—couldn’t be replicated.”

*This post first appeared on Daily Writing Tips by By Mark Nichol

2016 Forecast: Top 12 Great-Paying Freelance Writing Gigs

2016 Forecast: Make a living writing
Top 12 Freelance Writing Gigs for 2016

If you think there are no great-paying freelance writing gigs out there anymore and it’s all $5 blog posts, I’m here to spread some sunshine.

I have the advantage of chatting with hundreds of freelance writers on a regular basis in Freelance Writers Den. That’s allowed me to get a strong sense of what the trends are, and where writers are finding opportunities.

I’m hearing more and more reports of rising rates in some specific writing niches, and of growing demand for some emerging assignments.

If you’re hoping to up your game and find great-paying freelance writing gigs this year, check out my list of a dozen top niches.

All of these niches have two things in common, so let me call out those two key items first:

Look for complex topics

This one cuts across all the categories below. If you want to earn well, stop writing about parenting/travel/yourself/pets/books and all the other things everyone on earth can easily write about, and tackle difficult topics few writers can manage.

That continues to be where all the money is. If you can write about surety bonds, advanced washing machine technology, trends in shower-curtain materials, new energy efficiency technology, that sort of thing? You can name your price.

Bigger is better

Most starving writers I know write for solopreneurs, local publications, small nonprofits, or local small businesses in their town.

Want to earn more? You need to start pitching bigger clients who have bigger budgets. Yes, I know you’re scared. But writing for bigger clients is actually easier and more fun. Successful enterprises tend to be less dysfunctional, better planners, and more focused — and they’ve got experience working with freelancers that can make your job easier.

Start going after bigger fish to bring home bigger paychecks.

Now that I’ve got you thinking niche topics and bigger prospects, what types of writing are set to earn well this year? Here are my predictions (in no particular order), and a break-in tip for how to get going in each market:

1. Case studies

Wherever companies sell a complex product or service, they need customer success stories to help describe why their solution is the best one in the marketplace.

I’ve seen writers get $1,000 for their first paid case study, after writing a single sample.

Break-in Tip: Nonprofits and small businesses would always love to have case studies, but can’t afford to hire a writer — volunteer to do one to get a sample.

2. White papers

Anywhere you find a business with a complex product or service they sell to other businesses, there are white papers. A study conducted by The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs reported 68 percent of B2B marketers used white papers last year.

If you’re not familiar with this format, which often runs 5-10 pages or more, it’s worth learning how white papers give buyers useful info while positioning the sponsoring business as the go-to source for a particular solution. Rates range from $.50 a word to $500 a page and up. (Steve Slaunwhite taught a nifty bootcamp we’ve got stashed in Freelance Writers Den on this topic.)

Break-In Tip: Look for tech startups that couldn’t afford a pro, and propose a brief white paper to help them gain visibility. Then, you’re set with a white paper sample.

3. Longform blogging 

Have you noticed blog posts are getting longer and more detailed? Yes, marketers have learned Google hates short posts, and rewards sites that have more in-depth information.

Fortunately, that means a great opportunity for writers to earn more in blogging, as blog posts increasingly become more like articles.

Google hastes short posts and rewards sites that have more in-depth information.

The secret of good longform blogging is not to simply take longer to say the same thing (which I’m seeing a lot of). Great long posts are packed with useful information, and often use screenshots, infographics, fresh interviews, and unique research. I’m seeing $200-$400 and more for these, and I believe we’ll see many more markets up their game in the coming year.

My biggest blogging prediction for 2016 is that it’s the year that recycling stuff you found on other sites will simply no longer cut it. To win these clients, start digging for the new angle that will get their blog noticed.

Break-In Tip: You can write a longform blog post on your own blog or as a guest post to show what you’ve got.

4. Brand journalism

What smells like a sophisticated, online magazine but is run by a company — and pays like copywriting? Brand journalism projects. These articles are usually overseen by an experienced editor, and you report the story like you would for any magazine or newspaper. The catch is the ezine content is there to get the brand name in front of consumers.

I’ve earned $2,000 an article writing these, and was able to pitch my own topics and write some fun stories.

Break-In Tip: Watch for brands that feature article-quality content. Many blue-chip brands are into this — I’ve worked on projects for SunTrust Bank, Dun & Bradstreet, American Express, and was recently approached by Intuit.

You may need to sleuth a little, because many outsource the editorial management to an agency. Try searching on LinkedIn or Twitter to see who’s connected to their content project, and reach out.

5. Annual reports

Along with their cousin the corporate social responsibility report, annual reports continue to be fat projects that can pay $5,000-$10,000. I’ve seen annual reports that easily top 100 pages — and if they like your work, this can be a nice repeat gig, every year.

More and more companies are feeling the need to do social responsibility reports to document their sustainability, human rights record, and more, particularly at public companies, so this is a growing niche.

Break-In Tip: Small nonprofits need annual reports, too — volunteer and claim a sample.

6. Big national consumer magazines

Reports of the demise of print have been widely exaggerated. Yes, there’s a lot of change going on, but some magazines are still going great guns and paying over $1 a word. I did a 1,200-word feature assignment this summer that paid $2,800 plus every dime of my travel expenses, for instance.

New magazines also continue to be born, though fewer than in the past — there were nearly 100 launches last year, and closures slowed — and new pubs are often more open to new writers than established rags. Crack that Writer’s Market online, dial their search tool up to five dollar signs (signifying highest paying markets), and see who you could pitch!

Break-In Tip: Start with those newer magazines, or your local ones, but don’t get stuck there. Keep pitching up to the next rung — and if you’re not getting responses, learn more about how to write queries and perfect your pitch.

7. Trade publications

These low-glamour industry-news pubs don’t get pitched a lot, and are usually desperate to find someone who can help pharmacists, restaurant operators, or convenience store owners wring another dollar of profit from their business.

As a result, pay tends to be good — $.30-$.50 a word at the low end, up to $1 a word or so. Trade pubs have survived the magazine fallout fairly well, as each has a niche audience advertisers who sell into that industry are dying to reach.

Go to tradepub.com and browse for topics you know or are interested in, scan some issues, and write a strong introduction letter that plays up your knowledge of the sector.

Break-In Tip: Play on your life experience here. Used to be a lawyer? Try one of the state lawyer magazines put out by the state Bar Association. This is a real use-what-you-know situation.

8. Video scripts

You’ve probably noticed that video is booming, from internal company announcements to welcome videos on blogs to video sales letters. It’s a great opportunity for you former TV and radio journalists, playwrights, screenwriters, and anyone else who writes for aural media to cash in.

Break in tip: Make a video for your website that shows your writing skill, or perhaps find a nonprofit that needs to promote one of their programs, write a script, and collaborate with a videographer.

9. Web content

If you can write an online sales page that gets your clients more revenue, you will earn well. I know writers who charge $2,000 for a long sales page.

But if salesy stuff isn’t for you, no worries — there’s plenty of earning opportunity in other static Web content.

Some of the best projects out there are revamps of big websites with 35-100 informational Web pages or more. I once worked on one of these projects for well over two years, billing $2,000 a month and up, every month.

As online presence becomes ever more important for companies, and changes like mobile require rethinking, I expect to see steady demand for Web content writing and rewriting. Remember my caveat about complex information — things like writing up hotel descriptions continue to pay poorly, but if you need to explain something like insurance consulting services or environmental engineering projects, pay should be at professional rates (at least $100 a page for under 300 words of copy, $300 and more for longer pages).

Break-In Tip: Finding starter clients for your Web content writing services is like shooting fish in a barrel. Get a list of prospects together in a particular industry, and then take a look at their websites. Contact the ones that look dated or lack basic info like a strong About page, team bios, or testimonials.

10. Marketing emails

All those people who predicted email would die are looking dumb about now, because email marketing continues to be one of the top ways blogs and brands reach customers and sell products and services.

Maybe at some point they’ll project these messages straight into our brains, but for now, building an email list and sending marketing emails continues to be a key marketing strategy. As with writing online sales pages, if your writing is connected directly to sales, you are golden.

I know writers getting $250 per email and more for autoresponder sequences or marketing campaigns.

Break-In Tip: Subscribe to a bunch of email newsletters in niches that interest you. Watch for brands where news turns up only sporadically, or sales angles seem weak — then reach out and offer to help.

11. Book ghosting for CEOs

Forget the regular folks who’re hoping you’ll write their life story, or the people advertising on Craigslist that they want an e-book written for $200. There’s real money in ghostwriting for busy, successful CEOs, coaches, motivational speakers, and other thought leaders.

I auditioned in the past year for several projects in the $15,000-$35,000 range, and $50,000 is not uncommon. If anything, the drumbeat of marketers telling thought leaders they need to build their authority by putting out a book under their byline is only growing — which means the audience that might pay well for a book is, too.

Break-in tip: Write an e-book yourself, so you’ve got a sample! Then start networking and connecting with the kind of coaches/CEOs who might do a major book.

12. Online Courses / E-Learning

This niche is huge — $107 billion globally, plus another $50 billion in self-paced e-learning courses, according to an elearningIndustry.com report. And talk about a global opportunity in every language — the three fastest-growing country markets for online education are India, China, and Malaysia. Much of this work is done by agencies or freelanced directly to writers and designers.

We’re not just talking online, universities, either — most clients are major corporations with the budgets to pay handsomely. From how to fill out your time sheet on up, companies are saving money and (wo)man-hours by turning trainings into online modules.

There’s a bottom line that putting training online instead of teaching it in person saves travel expenses for companies, standardizes learning, and creates convenience for learners. Interactivity is making online ed ever more efficient and valuable. Online ed is going to keep growing, as more companies discover the benefits — estimated growth is over 9 percent annually.

The opportunity for freelance writers in this niche, as Donald Trump would say, is huuuge.

Break-In Tip: There are a few moving parts to getting into this niche — but it’s easier to get started than you might think. If you’re interested, it’s worth taking the time to find out more about writing for e-learning.

To sum up, don’t believe the negativity out there, that all freelance rates are through the floor. There are still great-paying freelance writing gigs — if you know the types of writing that are in demand, and the clients that want you.

What writing niches do you think will pay well this year?  Leave a comment and add it to my list.

Source: 2016 Forecast: Top 12 Great-Paying Freelance Writing Gigs