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Murphy's Law

I was contacted by the owner of a copywriting and copyediting company today. Which would have been nice, since I'm a freelance writer. Well, it would have been nice if that phone call had just come 5 minutes earlier today. Or 5 minutes later today. However, I just so happened to be cutting through my local mall at that time, while en route to the train station. Which just so happened to be having a hip-hop dance competition today (the mall, not the train station)

Guess where I was standing when I received the call :P

Anyway, I did manage to catch her name, and after my attempt to maintain a conversation failed miserably, I established that I would call her later.

So, I called her after 5 minutes and a couple of questions later, she asked about what type of assignments I took. I replied that I usually wrote SEO articles.

She then asked me what was SEO. (I presume her company hasn't taken online assignments before, though she didn't directly state that, so I might have been given the wrong impression) After "search engine optimisation" drew a blank from her, I was kind of at a loss where to start.

I am fairly confident about explaining the term to someone online, where I can provide links to various articles and examples of SEO articles. I think I could probably manage it face to face, since I can tell from the blank look that someone gives me that I have been using too much tech-speak. Plus I'm the sort of person who tends to use a lot of hand gestures when I'm talking about something(not the rude kind), so I'm just more comfortable with face to face.

Compared to explaining over the phone.

So, I eventually fumbled my way through some semblance of an explanation that I'm not sure I would have understood if I had been the one it was being explained to.

She did bring up something else in the course of our conversation that had me thinking. She mentions that her company wants to know the profile of her clients, what industry they are involved in, the deadline and so on before taking an assignment, after I mentioned to her that I don't always know the profile of the clients that I worked with, and that I only know what they want, their requirements and the deadline.

I have to admit that I'm often quite curious about just what my clients are doing. I have concluded that I don't ask mainly because of two reasons.

1. I'm not sure how comfortable a client I'm working with for the first time feels about revealing information that he or she feels that a writer doesn't need over the web. I might get around to asking what the publisher actually does after I have worked with him or her for some time. But generally, I don't ask publishers who I'm working with for the first time just what it is that they do unless they provide that info themselves. Which brings me to my second reason.

2. I don't need to know. Writing a SEO article is mainly about selling the site to search engines. What I need to know is what the publisher wants, and what the search engines want.

Anyway, I was so inspired by this series of unfortunate events that I put together a Hubpage explaining the difference between online writing and offline writing.

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FAQ

Why is the date for this post set way in the future?

When I started this post back in 2008, I wanted this post to be at the top of my blog. Since the more recent blog posts appear higher at the top, I hit on the idea of setting this blog post way in the future. (In hindsight, this was a rather inelegant solution.)

What is Iakul's List?

I stumbled into online freelance writing back in 2008. Started complying a list of sites where I could get paid to write, and hence Iakul's List was created.

Is Iakul's List still being updated?

I used to investigate a site quite thoroughly before I was willing to put it on my list. It took a lot of time and effort, which at this point simply isn't worth my while to expend. However, I'm still unwilling to compromise on the checks I put a site through. I do still plan to update and add new sites to Iakul's List, but expect my updates to be more sporadic. Quite a number of the site descriptions are also outdated, and rewriting…