When It Is Worth Writing For Exposure? 5 Questions A Writer Should Ask Himself Or Herself

January 29, 2018
Writing for exposure is something a writer may do to get his or her brand out there. It lets the world know that he or she is a writer and open for business. The direct reasons behind why a person writes for exposure may differ wildly. For example, some people write for exposure in order to promote a book, and others do it to help create the image that they are experts or professionals in a certain field. Before you embark on your “Writing For Exposure” campaign, maybe you should ask yourself these questions first.

1 – Will It Affect Your Reputation In A Way That Matters?

The most obvious point is that if you write a bunch of articles, posts or comments that are of a poor quality or wrong, then that is going to affect your reputation in a negative way. For example, if you post a bunch of incorrect answers within a certain subject/field on Yahoo answers or on the bottom of YouTube videos, then people will know, people will call you on it, and your online reputation will be damaged.

However, let’s move beyond the obvious question and ask this: What is the point in writing something that nobody will see? The whole point of writing for exposure is so that others will see your work. Even though you are an expert in your field, your subject may be one that people are not actively looking for, which means your reputation will be unaffected. Alternatively, you may write a series of high quality posts and yet very few people ever see them. Will writing for exposure actually affect your reputation?

On the plus side, there are many cases where you may use your online answers, comments, articles and blog posts as part of your online portfolio? When people (clients?) ask for samples of your work, you may pass them a list of URLs that feature your work.

2 – Does Writing For Exposure Also Mean Writing For Free?

If writing for exposure means writing for free, then don’t do it. There is no scenario where writing for free is acceptable if you are looking to be a writer as your profession. If you need samples to show other clients, then approach clients with an offer at your usual rates or ask if you can put your name and image to the work in return for giving them a discount. If you are truly stuck for samples, then create a free blog with Google’s Blogger and write a blog post every week. Gain a bit of online recognition, keep your blog active, and use your blog as your online portfolio. On the plus side, if you ever have clients who refuse to pay you, then you can put the work you did for them on your blog so that it doesn’t go to waste.

3 – Is Your Marketing Strategy Geared Around Views Rather Than Conversions?

The more people that you are “exposed” to, then the easier it is to build your brand and your online reputation. However, there is a difference between views and conversions. If you are looking for views and you are looking to build your brand, then you need a marketing plan and a series of goals and targets. If you are looking for conversions, then each piece you write needs to act as an independent stand-alone advert for your services, and each needs a call to action and links to your sales pages, social media pages, or website URLs. Do not add your contact information anywhere other than on your website (preferably via a “contact me” page) because online web spiders can pick out email addresses and phone numbers to be sold to spammers.

4 – Can You Manage Your Exposure In A Way That Doesn’t Preclude You From Jobs?

If you are a professional in one area, it means you cannot work in any other. Be very careful of falling into this trap—especially if you are planning on being a freelance writer. Spread your online reputation as an expert in a certain area, and clients will refuse to give you work in other areas. It is in your interest to be a little malleable and flexible when it comes to written work because there is a wide range of areas that you can write about without having qualifications in the specifics and without being an expert.

For example, if you create a reputation for being a child psychologist, then a client who wants credit card reviews is unlikely to hire you. Yet, you do not need a business degree or even that much experience with credit cards in order to research and write about them. Plus, freelance writing is a very low-paying profession because there is so much competition, and yet if you make yourself appear too qualified then you may price yourself out of the market.

You are going to have to manage your reputation in a way that exposes what is needed to who needs to see it. If you are dealing with clients on a one-to-one basis then this is not so tough. For example, if you are looking to write for a maternity website, then only expose that client to the part of your online portfolio that involves children, expecting parents and babies.

5 – Are You Marketing A Product That Does Not Pay

The simple fact is that books, information products, online seminars, online lessons, and online videos do not pay. This seems to contradict what you are told by a great many online adverts and articles, but the fact is that very (very) few people make a living by selling their own books, information products, online seminars, online lessons, and online videos. Posting a half-naked picture of yourself on an image-selling site is more likely to make you money than any of the items that were just mentioned.

There are products that do sell and that people make a living from. These products are services and skills. You may not get rich selling your services and skills, but you can make a living if you work hard. For example, if you are a skilled copywriter, then you can write descriptive advert text on demand for a range of clients. If you have qualifications, then you may sell your essay writing skills to an essay writing company. Are you good at proofreading, then you may make a good living as a proofreader and editor if you run your business professionally and market yourself conservatively. Business writers, technical writers, translators, and academic writers can make a living in the writing profession. Before you start writing for exposure, make sure you are pushing a product that sells (aka your skills or services).

Written by William Grigsby
William Grigsby is a book addict and professional editor. He lives for literature and its seduction of Mankind. Whatever challenges he goes through, he has one motto to rely on: keep reading, keep writing.