Now I work as a full-time, Web-based freelance business writer, but that wasn't always the case. When I first went into business for myself, I specialized in music PR - writing on the Web was something I soon after started doing on the side. But how did I go from music PR to freelance Web writing? A reader emailed me yesterday asking me to share a bit more about my music background. I agreed - so I'm going to give you the brief background about how my music work led to my very first content site (since we've been talking about alternative revenue streams here lately).
I wasn't a complete stranger to freelance writing during my music PR days. I started freelancing offline back in college (nearly 10 years ago). However, I really didn't think of it as being a significant contributor to my income moving forward (I'm glad I was wrong).
At the same time, writing was already a big part of my PR work (writing press releases, press kit contents, PR plans, and such for artists).
I still run my first content site. It's an indie music webzine, now being run on WordPress - AudioXposure.com.
I launched the site as a static site, very poorly designed by me. I specialized in reviewing and interviewing bands in my local area (the Philadelphia region). The idea was to get the attention of local bands (my prospective clients). It worked - well.
It was so effective that word started spreading. Before long I had bands coming from all over the region. Then nationally. Then internationally.
Running a website was new to me. I needed help figuring it all out.
I began spending time in a few webmaster communities to ask questions and learn about managing my site - eventually spending most of my time at the DigitalPoint forums (where I'm now a moderator and where I do a good amount of business).
How That Led to a Web Writing Career:
That's where the changes really started happening.
While I was in the forum to ask questions and learn about improving my website, I noticed there were a lot of webmasters talking about something I knew quite a bit about - press releases. That was when they were starting to get some online attention as a promotional tool for webmasters. I noticed something else - there was a lot of misinformation going around about them.
I started sharing my expertise and offering advice - giving back to the community that helped me keep my site surviving and growing. As it turned out, that fledgling market was about to grow - and I was there to take advantage of it.
More and more webmasters wanted press releases, and from someone who knew what they were doing. So I spent a lot of time posting, building a reputation in that community in that niche, and ever since that's been a huge portion of my press release writing projects (not the bulk of work overall though - so please don't take that as a suggestion to focus on one specific place for your clients).
The more visible I became, the more types of projects people were coming to me for.
Communities like that really played a significant role in my seamless transition from part-time to full-time Web writer (it's all a part of the networking I talk about all the time - not the only part though; content networks, private networking groups, blogs, etc. all also played signifcant roles).
So there you have it - launching a website can do more than you might think. They can earn you income now. They can build your reputation over time and get you exposure with your client base (like mine did with my music PR clients). And who knows? They just might introduce you to a brand new target market you hadn't even considered.
So tell me... how did you start your first content site or blog (and why)?