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There are two certainties in life: death and taxes.
Obituaries are writing assignments that few writers relish. But, chances are, if you’re considered the scribe in your tribe of family members and friends, at some juncture, you’ll be asked to pen an obituary for someone you know.
And, though it doesn’t offer the same glitz, glamour, or excitement of other forms of creative work, well, it helps to pay the bills.
According to The Book Mechanic: Pick up any daily newspaper and the chances are you’ll see a page or column reserved for obits. Someone, a writer like you, is both performing a valuable public service by honoring the deceased with a well-written commemoration, and making a living by getting paid for their writing service, year after year.
Consider this. Though it’s a somewhat gloomy undertaking, a well-crafted obituary can help to bring comfort and closure to a grieving family, and help the departed to be remembered in the best way possible. It s a win/win.
I should know. As a veteran writer, and prolific poet, I have written more obits than I care to mention. And you can, too.
Here’s why you’re a dead-ringer for this kind of work:
1. In your career as a writer, you’ve probably already crafted profile pieces, bios, or tributes in the past. An obituary is similar in nature.
2. Typically, (if the gig comes from a personal associate), you have some kind of background information or connection with the deceased. This gives you inside knowledge of their special characteristics or cherished traits, thereby shortening the learning curve.
3. Bonus points if you dabble as an essayist or poet. The brevity of those styles of work lends itself well to obituary writing as well.
HERE ARE A FEW MARKETING METHODS AND STRATEGIC APPROACHES TO GET ON BOARD:
1. ADVERTISE ON YOUR BLOG OR WEBSITE
Simply create a tab or page labeled Services or Hire Me. Place your offerings there, along with an hourly rate or per word fee for potential clients. Glassdoor.com reports that the estimated total pay for an Obituary Writer with 0-1 year experience is $83,616 per year in the United States area, with an average salary of $67,084 per year.
2. PITCH A LOCAL FUNERAL HOME (OR EVEN YOUR CHURCH) TO OFFER YOUR SERVICES
Many times, family members are too busy, too emotional, or ill-equipped to write an obituary that is suited for a proper send off. Even if funeral homes provide this service in-house, it s possible that they hire freelancers to meet this growing demand. It never hurts to ask. You have not because you ask not.
3. INCLUDE A MENTION IN YOUR ONLINE BIOS
Sometimes business can be cultivated from unexpected sources. Why not add your offerings to your online bio when you submit articles and guest posts online? It’s an inexpensive and effective form of marketing.
4. MARKET YOUR SERVICES AT FIVERR.COM
Fiverr.com has many opportunities for creative professionals to provide an array of services at different price points. They already have an active marketplace and global following. Tap into it.
5. LOOK FOR WORK LISTINGS AT REPUTABLE JOB BOARDS
Pay rates will vary based upon the organization or individual needing assistance.
Lastly, it might prove beneficial to register with the Society of Professional Obituary Writers for additional opportunities and benefits.
Obituary writing is a great way to apply your creativity to meaningful work that makes a difference in the lives of others. Follow these timely tips to get started and to increase your creative offerings and your bottom line.
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JENNIFER BROWN BANKS (a frequent contributor to WritersWeekly, as well as a vendor on WritersWeekly Marketplace) is an award-winning content creator, ghostwriter, editor, and publicist. Learn more at her site: PENANDPROSPER.BLOGSPOT.COM.
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