The Professional ‘Selfie’… is it time to invest?

by Rebecca Hass

photo

The many headshots of Rebecca Hass. Styles change through the years, but the value of a professional headshot remains the same.

 

As freelancers, we know that our work comes from the connections we build. Who you know is almost always as important as what you know. But however you manage to find your clients, the image you present online is extremely important.

Part of that image is the picture you choose of yourself. Whether it’s for your website, Facebook, Twitter, or even Google+, you have to provide a photo. What will be your public face?

It can cost how much?

The New York Times recently ran an article about the increasing popularity of professional ‘selfies.’

One of the people they profiled had spent $3500.00 on magazine-quality shots of herself to use for for self-promotion.  As a freelancer on a budget, I had to ask myself, is this money well spent? The answer is: yes and no.

 

“In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen-really seen” Brené Brown, Author and TED speaker
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Posted on July 30, 2014 at 8:05 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer July 21-28

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

 

From Canada: 

 

From the U.S. and beyond:

 

Last week on Story Board:

 

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.  

 

Posted on July 28, 2014 at 9:05 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Nonvella aiming to get writers paid “what they should be paid”

Trinity 2

 Nonvella’s publisher, Vancouver writer Tyee Bridge

by Rachel Sanders

 

Tyee Bridge remembers the moment he first had the idea for Nonvella.

“I was sitting at my kitchen table toiling away on a book proposal project for what was going to be a fairly long book about the end of the world – our fascination, obsession with it,” the Vancouver-based freelance writer told Story Board via phone this week.

“And I realized that I didn’t really want to write that book. I had allowed myself to go in a direction that I didn’t totally want to go in because I needed to fit a certain length that the book publishers were after. And I felt it would be nice to do 15,000 words. It would have been quite good at that length. And there really was nowhere to publish that,” he said.

Around the same time, back in 2011, Bridge was also starting to hear about innovative digital publishing projects like Byliner and the Atavist. He realized he wanted to try something similar.

Thus was born Nonvella, a digital publisher that produces works of non-fiction between 5000 and 20,000 words long. A partnership with Vancouver science writer Anne Casselman helped get the idea off the ground.
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Posted on July 25, 2014 at 9:05 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

5 tips to maximize your Twitter potential

by Amber Richardson

 

In the Information Age, it is near impossible to sell yourself (and your work) without using a multi-platform approach. While your story may have warranted a large headline on the front cover of a national paper, chances are it’s not far-reaching unless you promote it via social media. Ashley Ramirez, an employee at Twitter, spoke to a large audience at the Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, MI last weekend about how to captivate and maintain an audience when you only have 140 characters to work with.

 

Know your audience

The most essential ingredient for Twitter success is knowing your audience. Establish a voice that allows you to connect with your intended demographic. Use language that is reflective of your audience, and tweet at peak times. For example, if you’re looking to target middle-aged businesspeople, tweeting during the morning and afternoon commute might prove to be most efficacious. If you’re looking to target college students, hold off on tweeting until past noon.

Use rich media

Ramirez emphasized the advantage of using rich media in your tweets. Tweets with links or photos generated 86% higher retweet rates than those without. While it’s easy to Google an image to throw on Twitter, it’s essential to always remain relevant. A picture of an adorable cat should not be used as bait for your story pertaining to public policy. Creating a Vine video, a relevant meme or using a picture of the people or events that you are covering are all appropriate and effective ways to enhance your tweets.

Respond in real time
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Posted on July 23, 2014 at 9:05 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer July 15-21

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

 

From Canada: 

 

From the U.S. and beyond:

 

Last week on Story Board:

 

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.  

 

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Freelance health benefits information video

Freelancers who are thinking about getting extended health insurance should take a few minutes to watch this video, which was recorded at a recent CMG Freelance info session about the ACTRA Fraternal Benefits Society (AFBS) health benefits plans for freelancers:

AFBS is a not-for-profit, member-owned company that offers financial services exclusively to people working in the arts. The company’s mandate is to provide financial security for people in careers where financial stability is rare. No medical exam is required to sign up for an AFBS benefits package.

For more information on the health plans available to CMG Freelance members check out this post on the CMG Freelance site.

And for more information about CMG Freelance membership, you can contact freelance organizer datejie green at datejie@cmg.ca.

 

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer July 8-14

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

 

From Canada: 

 

From the U.S. and beyond:

 

Last week on Story Board:

 

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.  

 

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 9:05 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The Born Freelancer on the Merits of Unplugging

This series of posts by the Born Freelancer shares personal experiences and thoughts on issues relevant to freelancers. Have something to add to the conversation? Your input is welcome in the comments. 

 

This blog’s recent hiatus reminded me of the importance (to me anyway) of occasionally unplugging from the internet in order to properly recharge.

Some of you may find this a completely heretical suggestion to make. To you, I offer no apologies but understanding of your addiction. It afflicted me once too.

As freelancers, we are in the unique position of being able to choose the how and when of our work life. Nine to fivers do not share this luxury. And so at least once a year (summer time is ideal) I choose to exercise that ability and unplug to reassert my independence from the net.

At least for a week or two.

It enables me to feel that I have redressed (to some degree) my dependence upon it. A delusion? Perhaps. As freelancers, the internet is our lifeline to employers, potential employers, colleagues, resources, etc. But that very dependence can feel counter-productive when it relentlessly seems to control us rather than the other way around.

To me, it is all about rebalancing internal boundaries and priorities. And that is no delusion.

First, a bit of history.

I did not arrive at my annual sabbatical from bits and bytes overnight.

It began slowly.

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Posted on July 11, 2014 at 9:01 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Freelancer Stephen Leahy on crowdfunding his environmental journalism

copenhagen-press-passby Rachel Sanders

Stephen Leahy was at a conservation conference in Mexico five years ago when the dire state of freelance journalism became clear to him. After the event, he spoke with several other freelancers, all of whom had received travel awards to attend the event. Most of them had not been able to sell a single story about the conference.

“These other freelancers were supremely experienced. The former bureau chief from Asia from the New York Times, the former chief of some bureau at Reuters AFP, all these guys had really impressive credentials. And they couldn’t sell any stories as freelancers,” Leahy told Story Board during a recent phone interview.

“And one of the big pronouncements there was the need to protect 50% of the planet. Which is a number that is outrageous and had never ever been uttered before. And I was like ‘wow that’s a really good story.’ But they couldn’t sell any stories. I was the only one who had sold two or three stories.”

Leahy, who is based in Uxbridge, Ontario, says that several of those journalists quit freelancing after this dismal experience. Some made the switch to PR. But he wasn’t prepared to give up.

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Posted on July 9, 2014 at 6:00 am by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , , , , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer July 1-7

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

 

From Canada: 

 

From the U.S. and beyond:

 

Last week on Story Board:

 

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.  

 

Posted on July 7, 2014 at 9:05 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,