This from a blogging ad on Craigslist: “no compensation available at this time, but you will get great experience, visibility, a bio and a byline.”
Really? Not only do I get the opportunity to work for free but also I get the opportunity to let everyone know I am the writer who works for free? That should look good on my resume.
I wonder does this offer work with anyone’s physician?
No compensation, but I’ll tattoo your name on my healthy chest.
Or maybe with the electric company?
No compensation, but I’ll spell your name in lights this Christmas.
Of course not. Everyone expects to get paid for their work. Everyone understands that much as they hate it, they have to pay the people they hire to work for them. So why do some feel differently about freelance writers and other creatives?
Because we love our work we should love to do it for free?
This practice dates back to a time, not so very long ago actually, when freelance writers had no access to publication starting out. Back then visibility had cache. Getting published in the right place where important people would see your bio and byline could make your career.
In the Information Age, anyone with a computer and internet access can publish for free. And any online venue with the clout to promote you to greatness should operate under a plan that makes enough money to compensate the people they hire. If the blog cannot afford to pay its freelance writers, it might review its business plan or adjust its opinion of itself.
Of course, there are exceptions. There are blogs so big that other bloggers line up for the opportunity to guest post. In those instances, the writers know the benefits they hope to receive. Usually these bloggers have a money funnel in place on their own blogs to take advantage of the added traffic their byline will draw. They are not working for free.
The term “freelance writer” does not mean “works for free.” If you want to write for free to get experience, do it on your own computer. Do it every single day if you want to be great. You do not need some website’s permission.
If you want to get exposure:
- Start a blog or comment on other blogs and in forums.
- Use social media like Twitter and Facebook.
- Learn how to promote yourself so you will know how to write promotional pieces.
- Connect with other freelance writers to find paying clients.
Just please think long and hard before you start giving your time and skills away for free. You tell the world what you are worth, not the other way around.