Medium Gives Twitter Referrals Preferential Treatment

If you’re not familiar with the details of what the term “zero rating” means you’ve likely still encountered it in some manner. The concept has been applied by wireless carriers to help lure customers concerned that streaming services, social media and so on are eating too much of their monthly data allocation. So a company like Verizon will sell its services by promising customers usage of something like Netflix or Spotify won’t count against their data package. Those select services are given a “zero rating” classification, with the costs absorbed/subsidized by one or both companies involved.

Such practices have raised the ire of those in favor of net neutrality protections because it’s the kind of deal that can only really be made by companies of scale. An upstart video service might not be able to afford such an arrangement and so will be used less often than Netflix, which can. The wireless companies are choosing winners and losers based on who can pay and while it seems like such deals would be good for customers, they’re actually not.

When it comes to media paywalls such arrangements have been in place for years. It used to be that articles on sites like WSJ.com were locked to non-subscribers, but could be accessed via search. So if you clicked a headline and found you couldn’t read it, you could copy the headline, paste it into Google and find a link that worked. As more companies paywalls are erected by more companies, such workarounds have been eliminated or discontinued.

Medium.com has, for a while now, allowed publishers using that platform to decide to make some articles available only to those paying a $5 monthly membership fee that’s not publication or author specific but applicable to the entire site. Non-paying members could access up to five locked articles a month before they were shut off, though they could still view unlimited articles not put behind the metered paywall.

Now founder Ev Williams is changing that, announcing recently that all stories would be free without limit…as long as the referring click came from Twitter. Coincidentally, Williams was also a cofounder of that social network.

That sounds like a good deal for Twitter users, who no longer have to worry about being hit by a “you’ve read as many stories as you can” message when they click on a Medium.com link.

Unstated by Williams is how that change – just the latest pivot in the site’s monetization strategy – will impact publishers. Medium has raised $132 million in funding since it was founded in 2011, most recently doing a Series C round in mid-2016, and has plans to do more with a valuation of $600 million. So it’s not clear how much cash it has on hand given it can’t find a revenue model that works for more than eight months at a time, epochs marked by the appearance of glowing profiles of Williams that talk at length about his desire to save journalism, the internet or both.

In May of last year, coinciding with yet another change, the title of the latest such profile was the ambitious “And for His Next Act, Ev Williams Will Fix the Internet.” Disappointingly, this latest change is just the kind of thing that will destroy the internet.

Any time you give preferential treatment to one platform or another, something dies. Wireless companies are killing competition in media services by offering the biggest players in a category zero-rating classification on their networks. Facebook is killing legitimate news and civil discourse by prioritizing sensationalistic trash.

If there was a heyday on the internet, it was the early days of Web 2.0 when links were love and we embraced the open web and all the possibilities and potential it offered. One of the best examples of that was Blogger, the first publishing platform founded by Williams, since unlike other early blog software it didn’t require installation on a server.

Instead Williams wants to make Medium into an extension of Twitter, it seems. That’s unsurprising given his involvement with both, but by extending a benefit to Medium that’s not available to others he’s 1) seeking to prop up a product (Medium) that has struggled to find an identity over the last several years, unable to define itself as a publisher or platform, and 2) seeking to play a role in deciding who wins and who loses on the internet, since with such a system in place people may be more likely to click on a Medium link than to one on The Washington Post or other sites where a fully-functional paywall is still intact.

Those aren’t the sort of decisions that should be made by someone who wants to fix the internet. They are the sorts of choices, though, made by someone with a vested interest in advantageously changing the experience on only a portion of the web. It’s the same sort of thinking shown when Facebook introduces Instant Articles to siphon traffic away from publishers. That wasn’t good for the open web and neither is this.

Let’s Get Back to Owned Media

“Should We Replace Facebook with Personal Websites?”

I had to audibly sigh when I saw that Vice headline considering Facebook (and other social network platforms) are what replaced personal websites in the first place.

Back before status updates were a thing, we all had our own blogs and sites where we shared our thoughts and opinions on the matters and topics of interest to us that day. While we were very much subject to the whims of Google’s search algorithm (as well as that of Technorati), it wasn’t deemed as oppressive as Facebook’s is now.

Not only that, but the backbone of personal blogging was open source, at least in mindset. The software might be proprietary, but the publishing platform itself didn’t have some vested interest in burying some material while promoting others, nor was that opaque process one that could be overridden by a company who wanted to buy their way into people’s attention.

On top of all that, RSS feeds were a primary way material was distributed to the audience and that platform as well doesn’t engage in trickery or filtering. If you subscribe to a feed, you get the feed until the publisher stops offering it. It’s not going to only show you two percent of what someone publishes because it wants the publisher to pay to achieve more significant reach.

While specific stats aren’t available (or at least can’t be found by me), it’s not hard to see a correlation between social networks gaining prominence in both personal and corporate usage and the falling from favor of RSS. Publishing platforms continue to be offered, but those that don’t have some sort of algorithmic network feature as their main distribution method are less common, as is the usage of RSS.

We should absolutely replace Facebook with personal websites. For all the talk about how people should delete Facebook in the wake of its many and varied privacy violations, as well as the way it keeps changing the ground rules for individuals, publishers and brands, that movement has never gained much traction in the general public. It’s just too hard to completely move away from all those network connections that have been established, to say nothing of those for whom it’s an essential lifeline to a supportive community of some kind.

If there were more adoption of personal websites (I recommend WordPress as it’s the perfect mix of powerful, simple and flexible), though, it would chip away at the power Facebook has accumulated. It could still be used by those who get value from it in some manner, but it becomes less monopolistic. It wouldn’t be in a position where it can dictate quite so many aspects of the conversation and discourse and wouldn’t be quite as attractive to those looking to manipulate those conversations.

Again, there’s still the other part of the online advertising duopoly – Google – to consider and account for, but even there adoption of personal site creation would be somewhat of a check on its power. At the very least, there would be more people watching how Google rankings and rules were impacting their success and standing, which leads to additional oversight and questioning.

Let’s get back to personal sites and personal blogging. Facebook may claim it allows anyone to have a voice, but by deciding which of those voices is actually surfaced it does a disservice to the public welfare, all in the name of corporate gain. Distributed, non-centralized publishing is much more inclusive and powerful for that and comes with the added benefit of being always available, able to be retrieved with only a little additional effort.

Who Needs to Maintain a Blog? Everyone.

You see posts like this all the time: “Do [Insert Name of Professional Category] Need a Blog?

Let’s just get this out there right now in as simple and clear a way as possible: Everyone should be maintaining a somewhat regular blog. Everyone. No matter what job you have, no matter what your interests are. Everyone.

Do it to increase your standing in your industry.

Do it to give voice to something that’s frustrating you.

Do it to express your interest in a topic.

Do it to add context you feel is missing elsewhere.

Do it to reclaim some of the power from data collection companies masquerading as social networks.

Do it to sell whatever it is you’re selling.

Do it to help a friend sell whatever it is you’re selling.

Do it because a topic close to your heart is being underrepresented in other media.

Do it to clear up confusion on a topic you’re an expert on.

Do it to be weird.

Do it because you know you’re the only one who can.

Do it to burnish your reputation.

Do it to be free.

Do it because you want to practice being a better writer.

Do it because you want to show off how you’re already a really good writer.

Do it for your readers.

Do it for yourself.

Do it. Today. Start a blog. Make it yours. Make it awesome. Make it unique. Make it messy.

Just make it something that can’t be controlled and won’t be controlled.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

[Grumpy Old Blog Writer Post]

Your Numbers Don’t Impress Me

I don’t usually like to call people out directly, but this post irked me.

I Wrote 100 Blog Posts In 100 Days. Here’s What I Learned.

ORLY?

As of this writing I’ve published 6,304 posts on this blog (counting those I’ve imported from other, now defunct site) and 482 on Cinematic Slant. I don’t even know how many I published on AdJab, Cinematical, TV Squad, MarketingVox, Voce Nation and elsewhere. Let’s conservatively say all those together add another 1,500 posts to the total. The first dated post on this site is 12/9/03.

So, 8,286 posts divided by 5,337 days = 1.55 posts per day over the course of 14+ years.

Yeah.

Now I haven’t published every day. Heck, there were entire weeks where I posted nothing new on any blog I owned or contributed to. Of course other times I published five posts a day.

I don’t want to demean anyone’s experience. If you picked up something valuable over the course of the slightly-more-than-three-months you consistently wrote and published new material, good for you. And good for you for being that consistent.

Just don’t, if I may be so bold, come like you’ve unlocked the keys to successfully managing online writing in that time. Some of us out here have been at this for quite a bit longer than that and have lessons all our own to impart.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Content Marketing Has Always Been About SEO

All due respect to the writer of this post at MarTechToday, but if you’re just coming to the realization that content marketing and search engine optimization are the same thing you’re approximately 12-15 years behind the curve.

Back in the day when corporate blogging was the hot new marketing tactic, the pitch to clients was usually along the following lines:

  • The blog will allow you to take select messages directly to the audience, allowing you to offer commentary and expertise in a way you control and respond to inaccuracies and other problems.
  • The blog will significantly expand your search footprint because search engines *love* current content, so let’s be sure each post URL uses the MM/DD/YYYY structure.
  • The blog will allow you to use keywords important to the business (though not in an obnoxious way) so you’re found in relevant searches.
  • The blog will allow you to link to other sources and give other people somewhere to link to when they reference the valuable material you’ve published.

Three out of four of those points are directly SEO related. I speak from experience that a whole group of marketing professionals spent a good chunk of time obsessing over XML sitemaps, keyword lists, post slugs and more specifically because of how important they all were to search.

As social networks came on the scene around 2007 and especially as they went mainstream in 2009 or 2010, the focus of blogging – either for corporate or personal purposes – became more about the first “communicate directly” point while the other three were cast aside by many. That point was initially about the media, whose gatekeepers were hard to get past. Your press release might be ignored completely. A three hour CEO interview might be cut down to two quotes in a larger piece. With a blog, you could reach the end user audience without that filter.

Initially social networks offered that same promise, though now the filtered feeds in place on Facebook and elsewhere making breaking through almost as hard as it was through media relations. In that time, blogging was seen as either less hip or less essential. We forgot that 3/4 of the rationale for doing so was that it offered substantial search benefits social networks simply couldn’t match.

It’s good that it’s coming back. Recent studies have shown the share of traffic to media publishers from search engines is rebounding, taking that resurgence directly from social networks that are now more questionable propositions. Even corporate blogging seems to be coming back from a few years of declines. More people are realizing that while social media might give you a quick spike, long-term value is derived from owning your content and making it visible via search.

If, though, you think content marketing – which is just the most recent label affixed to a practice we used to call “new media marketing” or “social media marketing” – has ever not been about search engine optimization, it’s possible you’re new to the field. I and my colleagues have known this for over a decade.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Titles Have Never Been My Strong Suit

By the time you read this, the title of this post will likely have changed at least a half-dozen times. That’s not unusual for me as the process of coming up with titles for my posts generally follows a pattern consisting of:

  1. Quick note in a Google Doc that’s meant to just kind of remind me of an idea I had for something to write about
  2. Let it sit there for a few weeks as I deal with more timely things first, glancing at it and trying to remember what my damn point was
  3. Write a couple paragraphs of the post under the title because it’s fine, right?
  4. No, it’s not fine. Let’s cut it from eight to three words
  5. Well that seems like I’m trying to be overly clever, so take it back to the original
  6. No one will get this
  7. Hmmm…maybe I should straight up optimize it for search
  8. Hahahahaha no that’s lame and come on
  9. Something self-effacing?
  10. OK, that works
  11. Change it in WordPress just before publishing, usually back to something similar to my initial thought-starter note, because I panic

Does anyone else struggle with titles more than anything else about writing? I know there are all kinds of tips and tricks on how to make your headlines and post titles pop, but honestly they seem always seem to me like a recipe to make them as bland and unextraordinary as humanly possible.

Titles should be representative of not just the material appearing under them but also the writer themselves, at least when it comes to personal publishing. The whole point of this self-publishing movement was to bring more identifiable and interesting personalities into the conversation, not create a system where everyone adhered to the same framework to the point you couldn’t tell one blog from another. That’s what media was doing and we were supposed to be different.

Coming up with a title may be the most difficult aspect of writing for me, but the good news is that if I’m still needing to struggle through that it means I’m still writing, which is a good thing.

So forgive me if the titles to my posts seem off or non-ideal. There’s a lot of thought that goes into them, it’s just not all of that is super-productive.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

WordPress At 15

Up to October, 2005 I had been using Blogger as the platform for my personal blog. It was fine, it was free and it was commonly used at the time for the above reasons. Unless you were savvy enough (which I wasn’t) to hand-code your own blog platform or install Movable Type on your own server, Blogger was pretty much the best game in town.

It was then that I got my “golden ticket” to use WordPress.com, something I was eager to do having heard good things about the nascent software from the techier side of the “new media marketing” world. It was invite-only as the team scaled up, though, so I had to wait until my number was called. As soon as I set it up, I was in love.

The interface was clean and professional, not as bubbly and slightly goofy as Blogger’s was. Writing in it was dead simple and offered much more in the way of categories, tags and other features that weren’t available in Blogger’s shallow end offering. That’s not to knock that platform as Blogger helped many people such as myself develop the online writing habit and begin to build our presence. Getting into WordPress, though, definitely felt like moving into the advanced group.

This weekend marks 15 years since the creators of WordPress first released it to the public and it’s humbling to think I’ve been using it for 13 of those. Over time my appreciation for WordPress has only grown as I’ve used it more and more and in a variety of different ways. It’s been my platform of choice whenever someone asks my opinion on starting their own blog or site, be it in a personal or professional context. My seven years working alongside the Voce Platforms team only deepened that love since they truly showed me the ways this incredibly powerful but also incredibly flexible software could be utilized on countless projects.

As we go deeper and deeper into a world governed by black box social algorithms and corporate platform ownership, WordPress remains that weird cousin who never got a job but who’s now a grown ass adult, unexpectedly thriving because he’s always surrounded by people who owe him favors and are happy to help because he’s helped them. It’s truly powered by the community and remains an open-source platform that, if you’re using the .org version you install on a server yourself, you’re free to modify as you wish as long as you don’t violate that open principal.

Automattic, the organization that manages WordPress, encourages people to pay into the system – contribute to the commons – in whatever way they can. Often that’s through building plugins, designing free themes or some other technical offering. That’s not my area of expertise but I *can* shout from the rooftops about how wonderful the platform is whenever I’m given the opportunity and do so with gusto.

I’ll admit I’ve flirted with Tumblr, Posterous, Medium and others, but I keep bringing it back to WordPress because dammit, it works and this is what I believe in. Don’t show me your curated feed, don’t feed me recommendations and cut off everything else. Just let me do my thing in the way that works for me and offer an RSS feed so I can broadcast to whoever’s interested.

There are things I wish WordPress would do more of, but very few times over the years have I thought it went too far, either in control or features. That, in our current online environment, is the right side of the line to be on.

So, all that being said, happy birthday, WordPress. Here’s to many happy, community-powered returns.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

I Don’t Understand Needing to Search Out Blog Post Ideas

There’s a significant cottage industry online of people and companies who want to help people come up with ideas of what to write about on their blogs. Search for something like “how to get blog post ideas” and you’ll be confronted with an endless stream of lists as people offer places you can turn to and tactics you can employ to keep your blog active and attractive to readers.

I don’t mean to sound trite about it, but I’ve never really had that problem. There have been times when I haven’t published anything to one or another blog, but that’s usually because of time constraints, not a lack of ideas on what to write about.

The advice offered generally falls into three categories:

  1. External – This is where you go looking for topics and ideas. You’re running searches, you’re looking at industry news and trends and so on. It’s either commenting on some of that news or adding your own point of view to the conversation.
  2. Internal – This is where you basically look at your own audience’s preferences to see what you should be writing about. By analyzing your own metrics and seeing what’s popular with readers you may choose to write more about that to keep the traffic coming and keep them engaged. Corporate or business-related blogs employ this often because there are real goals to achieve.
  3. Self-Generated – This is basically where you make it up as you go along. Advice along these lines generally encourage writers to go for a walk, visit a coffee shop, doodle or engage in some sort of other activity to expose you to new situations and experiences that can be used for blog post fodder.

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog you’ll probably realize I rely heavily on the first and third categories. If I’m not countering or commenting on some recent news story, I’m writing posts like this one, which is a topic that occured to me while I was writing something else. Other times I get an idea while walking down the street or in the middle of a retail shift. There are probably a dozen topics just this week that I’ve had but wasn’t able to jot down quickly enough and so were forgotten.

I fully realize and admit that saying “I don’t need your advice, thank you very much” is a bit of a high-handed stance to take, but it’s more or less true. For myself, the act of writing is akin to breathing: If I’m not doing it often and in bulk, problems are going to develop quickly. Right now I have so many posts I literally don’t know what to do with them all. It’s a good problem to have, I know.

For those who need those kinds of prompts and guidance on where to find ideas for topics to write about, good luck to you. I hope you can eventually find a more sustainable approach than constantly spending cycles determining topics before you even get around to writing. Figure out how to make that process more efficient and do it quickly.

On top of that, don’t be afraid to get weird. The problem with the “actively go look for things” approach is that it inevitably leads to a lot of very similar material because everyone’s taking the same advice. You might be able to stand out a bit more clearly and uniquely if you give yourself a bit of latitude and give public voice to your interior monologue.

It comes down to this: Are you writing for yourself or to be popular? Your approach to establishing what it is you want to write about will be determined by the answer to that *very* important question.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

How to Use RSS to Power Your Blogging Strategy

It’s no secret that content marketing is having a moment. Brands, large and small, are becoming ever more aware that they need to publish a constant stream of blog posts, articles, and media to increase their organic traffic and engage with potential customers. In fact, B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month, according to HubSpot.

As many small business who are just getting started with content know, however, it can be hard to keep up. That’s where RSS feeds come in. As long as you’re not passing off content from others as your own, RSS feeds can be a great way to keep your content schedule consistent and continuously offer valuable insights to your readers. Here’s the lowdown on how to start using RSS feeds to power your blogging strategy.

What Is RSS?

RSS has been around forever. Developed in the late 1990s, Real Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary) is an XML-based format that captures new items from a website and allows them to be captured by special aggregation software. In the early days of blogging, RSS reading was the primary way to keep up on what people were self-publishing. Some sites offered full-text feeds, allowing you to read an entire post within the aggregator while others offered only headlines or headlines plus a short excerpt or summary.

As blogging went mainstream in the early 2000s, platforms like WordPress and other early players understood the power of RSS, baking that syndication technology right into the software. There was no additional setup needed, though there were also no subscriber metrics immediately available. Many publishers used services like FeedBurner to create a version of the default feed that also allowed them to see how many people had subscribed.

So the good news is that even if you don’t know it, if you have a blog you already have an RSS feed of your own. Want to see for yourself? Go to your domain and add “/feed/” to the end of the URL. That bunch of code is your RSS feed.

Great, you have an RSS feed. But that doesn’t help you find new content ideas or topics for your blog. For that you’re going to need to do one of two things:

  1. Curate and read feeds yourself
  2. Pull feeds into your blog

Let’s examine how to do both.

Curate RSS Feeds For Inspiration

That page of code you saw doesn’t look like “content,” does it? In order to parse and make sense of what’s happening there you’re going to need an RSS reader.

The market for RSS readers is not what it once was. There used to be dozens of options available before Google launched Reader and became so widely-used many other companies shut theirs down. So when Google discontinued Reader it left many RSS addicts scrambling for alternatives because we were *not* going to rely on Twitter to show us the news.

For a while Digg Reader and Feedly were the main RSS market players, but the former recently announced it was shutting down at the end of may, Feedly stands as the biggest fish in an increasingly small pond.

  1. On the site you want to subscribe to, find the feed. Some will clearly label it as either “RSS” or by using the radio wave-esque RSS icon. Others won’t list it at all. Right-click on and copy either the RSS-specific link or, in many cases, the main URL of the site.
  2. Open the “Add” or “Discover” button on your aggregator of choice and paste the copied URL into the available field.
  3. You’ll be asked to confirm your subscription to the feed. Or, if you pasted in a homepage URL, a list of available feeds will be displayed for you to choose from.
  4. The new feed will display in the menu on the left, usually pulling in the most recent 10 items to get you started.
  5. If you want, you can create folders to organize your feeds, something that can helpful as you add more and more. Many people organize by topic or subject.

You’re now ready to begin your RSS reading adventure, which is going to involve your “J” key a lot.

All RSS readers allow you to easily move down your list of unread items using the “J” keyboard shortcut. So keep hitting “J” and you skim from one item to the next. From there you can do a couple different things.

Either you can click through on an item as soon as you read it or you can save it for later using the “S” keyboard shortcut. Each works in its own unique way so you’ll need to take some time to explore and get used to what you’re using. Both Digg Reader and Feedly also offer integration with Pocket and other “read it later” services if that’s your preferred workflow.

Display RSS Feeds On Your Blog

There is a more direct route to using RSS feeds to help power your blog’s content. There are a number of plugins available if you use WordPress that will pull feeds into either a blog post or a widget displayed on your blog’s sidebar.

Publishers should, of course, be cautious when doing so, making sure they’re not importing someone else’s content and passing it off as their own. As long as you are a responsible member of the community, giving credit where it’s due while naming and linking back to the original source, these imported RSS feeds are great ways to add to what you’re already publishing.

Get Into RSS Today

Whether you’re using it as a discovery or content-creation tool, RSS is a simple and powerful way to keep your blog’s content engine humming along and a quick strategy to implement. Are you using RSS to power your blog strategy? Let us know how you’ve succeeded, or trouble you’ve run into in the comments below!

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

How to Use WordPress To Save Your Freelance History

A while ago movie writer Drew McWeeny posted this to Twitter:

That kind of problem has plagued the freelance writing field to a growing extent in the last few years as one site after another has folded for one reason or another. Too many times, writers and editors have shared their stories of trying to log into the CMS for the site only to be greeted by an error message or by archives that are suddenly gone, only finding out later that a billionaire owner has decided he’s tired of funding a pesky little journalism project.

I’ve had this happen my own self. While neither AdJab nor MarketingVox, two blogs I wrote for back in the day, were shut down and dismantled quite as capriciously as others, it was only later that I realized I no longer had access to my own work. All of that writing gone, like tears in the rain.

Because I hate seeing this happen to anyone, especially given my own regrets, here’s a super-simple way to save all that work for the day when the website you’ve published it on goes the way of all flesh.

Step 1: Stop Using Word

No seriously. Just stop. A coworker recently asked me if I knew how to do X in Microsoft Word and I replied “Yeah…I don’t use Word.” Start using Google Docs immediately and create a folder called “Freelance for [Site Name]” or whatever your preferred naming convention is. Just make sure you are creating new documents for each and every piece and then moving it to that folder.

Even if your editor wants things sent to them in Word, use Google Docs and then download the document into Word before attaching it to an email. Even better if you can use Docs and then just easily share it with them there, collaborating on edits and revisions within that system.

Step 2: Setup a Free WordPress.com Blog

If you don’t already have a WordPress account, just go to WordPress.com and create one today. If you already have a WordPress blog, create a new one just for this. Either way, give it a name like “ThilkFreelanceBackupFTWOMGBBQ” and a corresponding domain name. This won’t cost you anything, as the blog will be found at ThilkFreelanceBackupFTWOMGBBQ.wordpress.com. Be sure to make the blog private if you’re just using it as a behind-the-scenes backup.

Step 3a: Install the WordPress AddOn for Google Docs

One of the neatest and most convenient recent developments in blogging has been the ability to publish straight from Google Docs to a WordPress blog post draft via an add-on extension you can install here. Once that’s setup you’ll be able to access all your blog’s existing categories from within Google Docs and save documents as drafts. If you make changes to the Doc you can then update the post, though doing so will overwrite other post elements like uploaded photos and such.

If you want to make sure you have exactly what was published, 1) Save the final document you send to your editor and then 2) Copy the final published piece into that document and update the post from within Google Doc.

Step 3b: Install the “Press This” Chrome Extension

WordPress offers a great Chrome browser extension called “Press This” that can be added to your browser menu. If you’d rather save your final published stories this way, you can go to the page with your story, highlight the copy you want to add to the new WP post, and then click the “Press This” bookmarklet. That will open a new pop-up window with the highlighted text as well as a link to the original in a WordPress editing screen. Make whatever adjustments you want – tags, categories, images etc – and then either publish immediately or save as a draft for later revisiting.

Step 4: Publish Your WordPress Posts

Remember that you’ve set this backup blog to “Private” so no one is going to see it. Just go into the post you saved from Google Docs and hit publish. Now it’s live on the site.

What You Get From This

That might seem like a lot of extra work, but consider the advantages to you, the freelance writer:

  • You now have two copies of your work, one in Google Docs and one in WordPress
  • That WordPress blog can be turned on and made public with about three clicks in less than 30 seconds, giving you a great showcase for all that work that has otherwise disappeared
  • If you want to add those posts to another blog, just download the XML file from the private WordPress blog and import it to your other site

Take it from me, this will help you out in the long run. Suddenly you’ll have all of your writing just a few clicks away no matter where you are. With sites going under and platforms changing all the time, having your work where it’s not just available but exportable will give you peace of mind and help you use all that material to keep hustling for your next gig.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.