Since freelancing is already considered a legitimate profession, it's not unusual for someone outside the field to assume that freelance writers equate remuneration only with money.
That's because it seems counter-intuitive to refuse every paid writing opportunity, especially when projects won't always be around for the taking.
But smart freelancers who rely on their ability to craft coherent paragraphs know the benefits of writing without pay for something better than cash. Something that would bring them long-term gain: exposure.
Yes, you read that right. Exposure to a wider audience is especially crucial if you want to be known among the right kind of clientele -- the people who will have no second thoughts to hire you or give you an assignment if you can prove that you're competent and capable of turning in a great job.
Here are the five main groups of writers who will benefit most from writing for exposure instead of pay:
The aspiring writer of feature articles
Since the associate or managing editor of most leading magazines will ask to see a couple of clips from you before requiring a full-length article, it is important to land several unpaid gigs with less known publications first, or periodicals with a limited circulation.
Volunteer to be a "stringer" for your local paper, get something published in your community newsletter, or rave about the successful Christmas party for orphans that was organized by the non-profit organization you support in their website. That's how one gets started in article writing.
The blogger who'd like to establish himself in his niche
Guest blogging, or writing a short article to be posted in another person's blog, is a terrific and cost-effective way to drive more traffic to your blog. Here's how it works.
Occasionally, bloggers who've been writing about a specialized topic for more than a year will put up an announcement to attract other bloggers. Usually, the goal is to gather a group of like-minded netizens who write about the same topic or different aspects of the same topic.
The blog's author will then ask the candidates to provide the links to their blogs and then sort through the selection and pick the best.
The established blogger will require the chosen candidate to write one or even a series of articles. The guest blogger must be cited, and he will be asked to include links that will direct readers to his own blog. If the guest blogger had been effective in arousing the curiosity and interest of his online readers, they would want to take a good look at what his blog has to offer.
There are blogs that are well established and popular, to the point that getting 1,000 unique views a month is not unusual. Imagine what 1,000 unique views a month can do for a guest blogger who has yet to build his readership.
In my next article, I'll cite the other three types of freelance writers who will benefit more from exposure rather than money.