Sunday, September 11, 2011

Writing for Free – A Means to a Visibility End

I have come to the conclusion that the most time consuming aspect of writing is keeping up with all the useful information that is made available through everywhere from business sites to personal blogs. It seems everyone is offering free information. I have already spent entire days just surfing through sites and reaming ideas, strategies, tips, and so on. It really is endless.

In the writing world everyone tries to and actually needs to keep their work and names visible. Whether you’re selling books, or services, or another product, you need to reach the potential customers. Providing information is a primary means of accomplishing this. The information you provide creates an informational funnel leading readers back to your site/s.

One useful tool to create an information funnel is the blog. New blogs are popping up everyday with free tips and advice. According to statistics from August 2011, there were 131,709,724 active blogsites.

The blog has become a great vehicle to bring you to the reader. It is an excellent way to show readers what you have to offer. The information you provide will hopefully not only draw readers, but keep them coming back for more. Using my own blog as an example, I found that if I don’t offer beneficial information, I lose followers.

Another vehicle to bring you to the reader is the free online magazines. This is where you can write and have your articles published. While you don’t get paid, you do get published. Although it doesn’t have the credibility of paying markets, it is a great way to hone your craft, expand your visibility, and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.

One more source of visibility is writing guest blogs or articles for other blogs or sites.  Often the writers are looking for new and fresh content for their sites or newsletters.  If the offer arises take advantage of it, or ask bloggers if they would be interested in a guest blog from you.

Every marketing teleseminar and workshop I have been to encourages writers offer information through blogs or free online magazines. According to marketing experts the name of the game is visibility. Free information draws readers. I can confirm that this is true because I make it a point to attend all the free teleseminars and teleclasses possible. 

The businesses that offer this free information want to draw you there so they can sell you their services. This is understandable. It is a win-win situation; they acquire some new customers and you, whether you take advantage of their services or not, receive valuable information.

The best strategy is to start out offering free tips and articles until you can provide your own expert information and advice.  It’s important to remember that this free information will draw readers and show them that your posts and articles are helpful and needed. Once you feel comfortable enough that the information you are providing is of substantial value you can offer it in the form of e-books, newsletters, teleseminars, workshops, or other means for a fee.

But, to what extent should a writer offer their services for free? 

While taking this path of visibility it’s important to remember that submitting to free ezines or guest blogging is not just a lack of financial gain, it’s the time loss incurred while preparing these articles – this is called opportunity costs, the cost of choosing one path over another, and the related loss of opportunities because of that choice.

You should consider writing for free as an investment in your writing career and as an effective tool to attract clients or buyers.

It should also be noted that even when you reach the point of being considered an expert, it’s still a good idea to publish articles in the free ezines for continued visibility and as a means of drawing new readers/customers to your sites and services. And, don’t forget that while you’re providing free information you can also be submitting articles to paying markets.

Karen Cioffi is an author, ghostwriter, and freelance writer. For writing and marketing information visit Karen at and sign up for her free newsletter: A Writer’s World. You’ll get 2 free e-books on writing and marketing in the process, and two more just for stopping by.


  1. Good suggestions, Karen. One thing to remember, though, is not to give "free" postings for anything you want to submit for publishing. Once something is posted online, it is considered published unless just an excerpt is used.