When creating web content, be sure to accommodate different learning styles.

address different learning styles with web content

The science of learning styles is based on the presumption that not all of us learn in the same way.

There are various systems or models out there, including David Kolb’s model, Honey and Mumford’s model, Anthony Gregorc’s model, the Sudbury model, and Fleming’s VAK/VARK model…and more.

Each model breaks down the ways in which we learn into different learning styles. Some models were created to address the needs of the educational system, while others are better suited to business.

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The key to writing anything well is to look your reader in the eye.

always maintain eye contact with your audience

always maintain eye contact with your audienceLet’s start with an analogy.

You are giving a presentation to a group of people in a meeting room. You have a PowerPoint presentation on the screen.

During the course of that presentation, part of the time you will be facing your audience, looking them in the eye, and talking directly to them.

At other points, you will turn your back on the audience and speak to a slide on the screen. You might be pointing to some figures, a chart, or some bullet points.

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Are your freelance copywriting services perceived as an expense, or as an investment?

cash registerMaybe you don’t think about your services in this way.

But your clients and prospects do.

As a prospective client looks at your estimate, she will perceive it in one of two ways.

“This is going to take a chunk out of my budget for this quarter. I wonder if this is really the best use of my dollars.”

Or…

“This is going to cost me a few bucks, but it’s going to generate a truck load of extra sales.”

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Compare 2 hours spent on social media with 2 hours having lunch with a client, peer or colleague.

Let me preface this by saying I am a big fan of social media as a business tool for freelancers, or for any other kind of solopreneur or business.

The smart use of social media can be a great way to connect with people in your industry and reach out to potential customers, clients or partners.

However…

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Do freelancers really have to become celebrities? Good grief, I hope not.

Thirty years ago, when I first started out as a freelance copywriter, I networked by phone and by shaking hands at various industry events.

The most productive of those events were when I was collecting an award for some work I had done. There I was, being shown in my very best light, surrounded by my very best prospects.

All I had to do was keep doing good work and appearing at those functions.

There was no email. No Internet. No social media.

My marketing strategy was simply to keep doing good work.

Nobody even knew what I looked like, or even how young or old I was. I was known and judged by my reputation alone.

In the late 1990s I switched from print to online.

By the year 2000 I needed a website for my freelance, consulting and speaking business. After all, if you are on a stage, speaking to a group of 700 prospects in the audience, you need to give them a url.

The day I started speaking was the day I was no longer judged simply by my work. From that moment, other factors came into the mix – like what kind of speaker I was, what I looked like, whether I was amusing and likeable.

By about 2002 I had to update my website. The first version was beginning to look a little old. Websites are like that. The appearance of your website is a bit like fashion in clothes. If you are wearing last year’s collection, you don’t look cool any more.

It was probably back then that I added a photo to my About page.

And, of course, since 2003, my website has gone through some additional upgrades.

But in one sense I am horribly behind the times when it comes to how I market myself.

Marketing yourself as a freelancer or consultant seems to have become less and less about the quality of the work you do, and more and more about how you present yourself as a person.

The casual headshot has given way to the professional studio shot….or the professional “casual” shot.

And I dare say many of those studio shots have had a quick wash and rinse through Photoshop.

“About” pages are becoming less to do with a person’s qualifications, experience and results, and more to do with who they are as individuals. Less about the results achieved for clients – more about someone’s love for surfing or raising puppies.

It’s like we are no longer promoting ourselves as industry professionals, but have turned to promoting ourselves as industry celebrities.

The rise of social media has simply accelerated this trend. Less about performance, and more about the cult of the personality.

If you are under 40 and good looking, so much the better.

You think I’m kidding? I’m not. A while ago I had a conversation with a publicist who specializes in getting book authors on TV shows. I asked her whether a good looking author was more likely to get invited to talk about his or her book. She said, “Absolutely, that’s about 90% of it.”

Scary. Never mind the quality of the book, let’s see if the author is cute.

Can it be that this is how we are going to have to promote ourselves as freelance professionals?

What’s next? A little Botox before taking that $5,000 “casual” photo to stamp all over your homepage?

Count me out.

If I’m lucky, the tides will turn one day, and clients will say, “Hang on, we don’t need a cute freelancer who enjoys surfing, we want a grumpy old professional who can deliver results!”

There is no single recipe for freelance success.

As a freelancer or entrepreneur, it’s only natural that you follow the career of others in your field, particularly those who have done extraordinarily well.

I do it myself.

I watch other copywriters, other web writers and other coaches who appear to be more successful than I am.

There is nothing wrong with that. It makes good business sense to track the success of others, and to learn from them.

However, there is a difference between conducting some careful business intelligence and trying to make their dream your own.

In particular, watch for those folks who offer to teach you how to follow in their footsteps and automatically become as successful as they are.

It doesn’t work that way. It really doesn’t.

The ingredients for success are different for each and every person.

There is no secret recipe that anyone can follow. The truth is, any given “success recipe” is unique.

I have built my own career in a way that is unique to me. I have done it in ways that work for me. I maximize my gifts in certain areas. I look for ways to overcome my weaknesses in other areas. My character is well suited to certain ways of promoting my business, and poorly suited to others.

Also, my values are different than those of other people. I’m not saying they are better, but that they are different.

I have a dream for my future that is unique to my own life and circumstances.

My vision for how things can unfold over the months and years to come is built from my accumulated experiences as a freelancer over the last 30 years.

If I were to analyse what I do, and then publish my own recipe for success, there is certainly no guarantee that it will work for you or for anyone else.

I’m not saying I can’t publish some guidelines and best practices based on my own experiences and success as a freelancer. I have done that, and I believe they are genuinely useful.

But If I were to tell you that you too can achieve exactly what I have achieved, in the exact same way I have achieved it, that would be less than honest. And when I see marketers make wild promises to people just starting out as freelancers, telling them they just have to follow a one-size-fits-all “success recipe”, I think that is less than honest too.

So how can you figure this out? How can you separate factual advice from subjective advice?

Well, let’s look at an example.

If I were to advise you to pay more attention to social media, that’s pretty good advice for almost all freelancers. There are a ton of studies and reports I could turn to in support of my recommendation. Social media engagement has become a best practice for freelancers.

But if I were to tell you to focus on Twitter more than on any other social media site, that’s subjective. It’s part of my success recipe, but might not be part of yours. Your character and style might be better suited to the creation of videos you can publish on YouTube.

Next time you listen to some guru tell you that success is just five proven steps away, be wary. Pause and think about whether those steps are genuine best practices, suitable for anyone, or whether some or all of them might work great for the guru, but wouldn’t work so well for you.

Bottom line – there is no single success recipe.

First, build the foundation of your recipe with proven best practices, then add your own unique mix of herbs and seasoning to make it work for you.

NOTE: As I mentioned in the article – “I’m not saying I can’t publish some guidelines and best practices based on my own experiences and success as a freelancer. I have done that, and I believe they are genuinely useful.” For more on this, check out my program, Marketing Confidence.