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How are you handling 250 word limits on OJB? Options
Jessica-51860
Posted: Sunday, May 29, 2016 10:30:06 AM

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Joined: 3/23/2015
Posts: 72
Okay, this is sort of an open ended question about how you guys are handling these limited scope auditions? 

I have actually been having remarkably good luck with the audition system thus far, and it has encouraged me to take a few more risks on new clients. However, I am finding myself in a bit of an unsure spot when it comes to the word limit. 

On the one hand, I have auditions that are very vague and a 250 word limit is sufficient for me to summarize everything I would typically cover in a 500 word post without all the meat, per se. 

On the other hand, I just did an audition piece for a client who really put the emphasis on depth in their instructions. They really wanted to see that you *could* get into the meat of the topic. The end result was that in 250 words I had gone deep on only one aspect, but there was still plenty to be said on the other two important points that I had not even touched yet, leaving me with an obviously unfinished piece. 

So far that hasn't come back to bite me. In fact,  I have had clients send the audition back for revisions and simply increase the word count to 600 words, telling me to go ahead and finish it out. That's easy. 

But my old school "Thanks for letting me write this piece. If you need revisions I'm happy to help," note isn't quite cutting it now. Instead I am personalizing more notes to clients to say "Hey, based on your directions and what seemed most important to you, I have submitted the first 250 words of what could be a 500-600 word piece that goes into X, Y and Z." 

Anyways, just curious what your thoughts are on submitting audition pieces with a trailing end that obviously says there is plenty more to say on the subject... or just trying to cram it all into 250 words while leaving out the finer details just to show the breadth of the topic instead. 


Steve-Admin
Posted: Sunday, May 29, 2016 11:00:21 AM

Rank: Administration
Groups: Administration , Member, Moderator

Joined: 2/20/2013
Posts: -120
Jessica, thanks so much for sharing your experience with the new job board changes. Glad to hear it's worked out well for you so far. So far, we are seeing that the great majority of jobs posted are being quickly accepted by writers, and the buyers are paying the writers for the pieces, which is how we designed it to work and were hopeful it would work.

This is a very insightful post so im eager to hear how others are handling the new 250 word limit for these initial jobs. Several writers have told me they're glad they dont have to spend as much time on these pieces, but at the same time, sometimes it can be challenging to demonstrate depth in fewer words.

Eager to hear from others.

 
Nancy M-49020
Posted: Sunday, May 29, 2016 12:20:41 PM

Rank: Advanced Member
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Joined: 1/7/2015
Posts: 70
Location: Los Angeles
I've had pretty good luck as well, and enjoy the new process. My approach varies for different pieces. Some I do a very loose outline type piece that covers enough points so the client knows I know the subject. Others I write like a fully formed albeit short blog post. On a few I have put a note saying what I would have included in a longer piece. Like Jessica, I have had clients send pieces back saying "write the whole 600 word piece."

I always include a note if the general and specific instructions vary. For example, on one I did the other day, the general instructions said it was important to have a full grasp of SEO and hyperlinking, but the specifics for the audition said no outbound links. So I sent a note making it clear I followed the audition instructions and did not include any hyperlinks.

I haven't done that many under the new system, but so far none have been declined (not paid for), though there are still a few pending.
ian-36546
Posted: Sunday, May 29, 2016 1:18:33 PM

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Joined: 4/3/2014
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I agree. The brief audition pieces are not difficult, and I've had good responses from clients.
Jay-68781
Posted: Monday, May 30, 2016 4:43:11 AM

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Joined: 3/18/2016
Posts: 20
Location: Nelson, England
I have had a mixed response, though I am now changing how I approach the audition process. I have attempted to "skate" across the top of each piece and this has not been successful, however I have also gained a high quality DA too! It's new to clients as well as us writers so I think time will settle things, plus experience. The format is generally good though.
Nancy M-49020
Posted: Monday, May 30, 2016 9:45:34 AM

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Posts: 70
Location: Los Angeles
Thought I'd come in with an update. Though one audition I did was "cancelled," it was DA re-assigned to me at a very nice rate for the full 600-800 words. For me, a small "price" to pay for the DA and any future work.
Jennifer-51790
Posted: Monday, May 30, 2016 8:44:06 PM

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Joined: 3/25/2015
Posts: 25
I also appreciate the new format. I've always been inclined to take auditions, when they were available, because the few that have worked out have resulted in consistent, well-paid work. Over the past few months, I've transitioned away from the open board more anyway. 

Before the change, I'd occasionally pick up a piece that was not designated as an audition but then declined without feedback or the opportunity to revise. I'd much rather provide a short sample, even if there is a chance of not getting paid, than spend a great deal of time on piece that I assume is going to be paid for and then gets declined. 

Each and every piece that I've written for a DA client has worked out well, and just knowing that a client likes my style from the get-go reduces my stress level. 

I understand how this could be confusing for someone who hasn't yet established a client base, but I think that the new way of doing things will help new writers to do so. For anyone who is feeling discouraged, it's taken a little over a year, but I now have enough steady work coming in that I could easily rely only on this platform for a steady income (if I wasn't such a fan of the whole not keeping all the eggs in one basket philosophy). 
Emily-69415
Posted: Monday, May 30, 2016 8:46:01 PM

Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 5/1/2016
Posts: 3
HI! I have completed one audition and the client cancelled the order. I found that 250 words were not enough for me to write as in-depth about the subject as needed. The client messaged me and explained why she cancelled the order and said that she liked my writing style. So, I told her where I would go with the article if she increased the words and sent the order back to me. She was very pleased, added me to her favorites and said that she planned to check with her client to see if they would approve a longer order, which she would send to me as a DA. 

So, I am hopeful that, although I did not get paid for the audition, I will get more orders from this client:)

My question is: If I have a cancelled order, does this count against me? I am a newbie (5-star and only 5 articles completed so far) but I see no orders available to me-at all. I wonder if the cancellation is the reason for this... Before that, there were at least some orders on the board. Does anyone know? 
Alexandrea-23206
Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 2:11:27 AM

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Joined: 3/4/2013
Posts: 14
Oh so those are audition pieces! And there I was, wondering why the titles don't seem to match the word count haha.

I'm still figuring out how to approach this. I just finished a piece asking for "7 things to do ..." and I struggled with keeping the word count to 250. That meant I was unable to go deeper with the topic, but I'm hoping the client would see the short piece as more of an outline than a full article. Oh well, I'll see what happens.
Jay-68781
Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 3:56:56 AM

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Joined: 3/18/2016
Posts: 20
Location: Nelson, England
Hi Emily. From what I can gather, cancellations involving an audition have no effect on the job board and cannot be seen by prospective clients. If it is any consolation, I am a five star newbie too, with nine acceptances and I cannot see much on the board at the moment.

Edit.. Make that 10!!
Kirsten-19262
Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 5:14:32 AM

Rank: Advanced Member
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Joined: 3/5/2013
Posts: 58
Location: South Africa
I think the problems with 250 word pieces arise for me because I'm used to a fairly complex structure and I take a while to build depth. I'm learning how to jump straight into a few good thoughts instead of trying for an inverted pyramid or anything more complex. I can write a fairly decent 250 word piece if I achieve that, but at the same time, client expectations of those short briefs has been realistic thus far. I've not had anyone asking for 20 points in 200 words. 
Emily-69415
Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 9:53:43 AM

Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 5/1/2016
Posts: 3
Thanks Jay, 

That helps! Hopefully things will pick up soon. 
Tyler-23785
Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 11:19:49 AM

Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 3/17/2013
Posts: 2
I was under the impression that if a client decided to not select you for an audition order it was cancelled, not declined.

I received a message from the system earlier saying a client has chosen not to select me for the audition and it is showing up in my declined stats.
Johnny-Admin
Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 12:56:39 PM

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Posts: 457
Location: johnny@zerys.com
Hi Tyler,

If the client adds you to favorites but does not purchase the content, then it will go to your Cancelled folder. 

If they do not add you to favorites and do not purchase the content, then it will be in your Declined folder. However, jobs taken from the New Clients Job Board do not affect your declined stats — on the dashboard, under Service Stats, you can see your effective decline number and percentage. It only includes direct assignments and orders from the My Clients Job Board.
Kristi-23117
Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2016 3:04:16 PM

Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 3/16/2013
Posts: 0
At first I was a little upset and let down.  I mean, before you could just grab jobs that were on the open job board and that was that.  When the new system was put into place there was a straight week where I saw NO work on MY clients board or the potential new clients board.  However!  These last few days there have been a lot on both boards.

I think one of the most challenging things is getting the nerve up to grab a new client for a 250 word article.  I have grabbed I think 5 new clients articles and I believe 4 I received work from, they accepted my 250 word article AND added me to their fave writers list.  That 250 words though, can be scary.  Essentially its a test article.  So yea, that can be scary and a little intimidating.  Plus, I mean, come on its 250 words.  For someone like me a topic that is super general and only 250 words can feel incomplete.  But, I think the clients are aware that the 250 word article IS a test piece.  I'm sure its difficult for them as well, gauging your "writability" over a 250 word article!

I grabbed one article for one client for that 250 word article for $13.  He accepted it and sent me another for $126.  Its 4000 words so its not spectacular if you really think about it.  But, its a topic I CAN easily write 50,000 words on so there's that.  In fact, its about marketing and I have written 3 or 4 ebooks on Marketing so it should be pretty easy for me!
Crystal-39932
Posted: Sunday, July 3, 2016 5:03:03 PM

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Joined: 5/31/2014
Posts: 4
This is a little late reply, mainly because I have only just recently started taking those types of jobs (meaning with low pay, low word limit--although I have also written some with the 250 word limit that had a higher payout). To be honest with you, I write it as if I don't have a word limit.

I generally open two word documents: One where I write and the other is left blank where I will copy and paste to. For me, when I'm writing any article, regardless of how many words it is, I will write the intro, headings, if there are to be headings, and then the conclusion. It's a way for me to sort of outline what I will eventually write about, kind of a brainstorm, too. I will generally copy and paste this empty "shell", if you will, to the blank document and save it as the title. It will become what I submit to the client. Then, I go back to the original document and write it without confining myself to a word limit. When it is complete, I take the first couple of sentences from each of the headings and paste them in their respective position on the document to be submitted. This will most often give me the 250 words I need.

I know it seems odd and more work than it's worth to write it like that, but it has been my experience that unless the article has a higher pay rate, the client will come back and ask that you expand on what you've already submitted. At that point, I've already written it and just need to adjust to their specifics and word count.

Crystal
Nancy M-49020
Posted: Monday, July 4, 2016 1:09:05 AM

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Joined: 1/7/2015
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Location: Los Angeles
Crystal - I work similarly to you. That way, I have a finished article that works either way - when the client asks for an expanded version or, if declined, that I can use later or submit somewhere else. As way of an example, I recently auditioned for a new client. Was declined. About a week later I got a DA on the same topic. With some minor changes (every piece can use a re-write!) I used the article I had already written and was rated 5-stars for it. Happiness all around.
Kirsten-19262
Posted: Monday, July 4, 2016 6:00:31 AM

Rank: Advanced Member
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Joined: 3/5/2013
Posts: 58
Location: South Africa
Now that system is pure genius. 
Zoe-22282
Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 5:34:36 PM

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Joined: 3/6/2013
Posts: 153
Location: London, United Kingdom
Crystal, that *is* genius - I'd just checked in to see if anyone had useful hints or tips, and that's perfection. 

I've managed, but it's taken waaaaaay longer than I'd want to be spending writing 250 words...your way is much easier. 

EDIT:  I'd just like to say thanks to Crystal again - I've gained four new clients out of four writing her way, so I reckon she's got this sussed!
Jay-68781
Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 1:22:29 PM

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Joined: 3/18/2016
Posts: 20
Location: Nelson, England
I will be giving this system a proper go! It just sounds 'right'!
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