Social Media Profiles – How Important Are They to Writers?

BIC032Are your social media profiles and bios effective? Do they tell the world who you are and what you do? Do they tell what you want to tell the world? Remember, your profiles on social media sites are visible to anyone who goes to those sites. The world can see you.

Yes, even writers need to have good profiles. Let’s look at the Twitter bio as an example. Does your Twitter bio tell the business world what you do? Are you a technical writer like me? Do you specialize? Does your Twitter bio entice people to follow you?

Niche Profiles

If you have a niche that you write about, make sure that is in your profile.

“Writer” is a broad, general term.

“Technical writer” narrows down the field.

“Technical writer specializing in accounting software” is specific.

Granted, in a Twitter bio, you have a finite number of characters to deliver your bio (160 characters – 20 more than you get for a tweet). So, you need to create some abbreviations: Acctg s/w tech writer

Your SM Goal

You need to determine how you are using your social media. If it is strictly for business, your profiles need to emphasize the business aspects of your life. Yes, you can add personal information, but leave it for the end and keep it brief.

If you have an account on a platform that is generally on the personal level, such as Facebook, you can lead off with your personal interests. However, if you plan to use such sites for business, again lead with your business profile information.

Keyword Rich

Use lots of keywords. Ask yourself, “How will people look for those who do what I do?” Use those words. For example, if someone were looking for a senior technical writer who has experience using Dreamweaver and in devloping web content for companies that manufacture and sell toys for toddlers, what would they put into a search field? Write your profile as if you were searching for someone with your skills:

Sr. technical writer for toy manuals, esp. toddlers.

That is far more specific than “Technical writer at ABC Company,” which is what appears in many LinkedIn profile headings. On LinkedIn, the heading under your name is the first thing that people see when they go to your profile. Be extremely specific and concise. You have the remainder of the profile information to get verbose.

Learn More

If you want more assistance with writing your profiles, there are two events happening on Monday, June 29th. Both will be full of tips to write or improve your profiles.

  • The first one is a tweet chat at 11:30 am EST, which, of course is free. You can join the conversation in the DIYMKT chat room. I am hosting the chat for Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketing.
  • The second is later in the day at 5:00 pm EST. It is a one-hour teleseminar that I am facilitating. The cost is just $24.95. I will explain how to write powerful, effective profiles for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can even ask questions! Go to https://www.regonline.com/63380_745627J to register.
Published in: on June 26, 2009 at 11:19 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Can Technical Writers Write Business Plans?

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The other day, a colleague asked if I write business plans. My first thought was, “No, except for my own.”

Then, she said, “After all, it is rather technical.”

Well, of course, technical writers are perfectly skilled for writing business plans. Let’s see, what does it entail?

  • Research
  • Presenting information in a nontechnical manner
  • Designing pages that are readable.

Need I go on?

I then went to the Internet and searched “what to charge to write a business plan.” That became a guessing game. I found everything from $500 to thousands of dollars. It really depends on several things:

Are you an expert?

By nature of what we do, technical writers are experts at writing business plans. We know how to do the research, we know how to write, and we know how to present material clearly. If we are not sure how to do something, we look it up. That is how we always work.

If you are familiar with the industry for which you will write the business plan, all the better. Your credibility will allow a higher fee.

What type of business is hiring you?

For business startups, it is best to keep the fee as low as possible without putting yourself in the poorhouse. Remember, startups do not have a lot of money. At this point, it is the principal’s money. The business plan will help get the new company investment capital – that is, if you do your job in writing the business plan, the company will get their working capital.

If the company is already established, the likelihood of it affording more is higher. Although you might not need to do as much research, you can charge more for creating the new plan.

How much information already exists?

If you do not need to do a lot of research, you can charge less as the time spent on the project will be less. Many companies already have stastitics about their industry that you can use in the business plan.

If, however, the company has no research data, you must consider how much time you need to complete the research. Research could take a long time.

If the company already has an older business plan, you might have enough data to create a better, more resourceful business plan. Consider the amount of time saved if you have a document to use at the start.

Where do I find out what goes into a business plan?

There are literally thousands of web sites that talk about business plans. I found one that seems to have all the answers, including examples of over 500 business plans. That site is www.bplans.com. I found a wealth of information on the site.

I am sure there are other good sites, but this one came up on the first page of search results. It gave me everything I needed, so I highly recommend it.

OK, how do I start?

Write a business plan for your own business. See how much time it takes you. How much research do you have to complete? How long does it take you to actually write the plan?

Look at the outline on Bplans web site. It is rather extensive, but it is a place to start writing your own business plan. Then, you can figure out how long it would take you to write one for a client. Most of the information I found suggested a month if one person were to do the plan fulltime. I saw one site that said they put five people on each project and can get it done in one week. Lucky them.

How should I charge?

You need to set a project fee to write business plans. Businesses shy away from the hourly rate we technical writers tend to use. However, remember to include what constitutes a complete business plan. For example, how many edits will you include in the project? There just has to be an ending point.

Get going

OK, now get started on your business plan. See how it goes. Then, you can add “business plans” to your inventory of services

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 1:51 PM  Comments (5)  
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