Writing may be an artform, but if you’re a professional freelancer, understanding the value of your work sometimes depends more on business interests than creative genius.
Publishers want clicks and shares and engaged time. Odds are you won’t be able to access advanced analytics for your work, but if you’ve ever wanted to measure the social reach of an article or blog post, but are freelancing for a site that doesn’t display share data, Muck Rack can help. Just plug in your post on WhoSharedMyLink.com, and the tool will spit out the number of social shares broken down by network. Facebook likes, comments, and shares are all tracked, along with data from Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.
“By using that kind of data and more general social media data, there’s more of an opportunity to measure one’s work than any time in history,” said Muck Rack CEO Gregory Galant.
Although Galant admits share data isn’t perfect, he sees it as a starting point for freelancers who don’t have access to analytics to track the impact of their work. “I have talked to many journalists in publications that don’t put share widgets for the site,” he added, “and they look up links all the time and bring it up in conversations with their bosses.”
“I have talked to many journalists in publications that don’t put share widgets for the site,” he added, “and they look up links all the time and bring it up in conversations with their bosses.”
So how can you use this data to try to get paid more?
If share numbers are in your favor, you can show your worth by comparing your articles to similar posts covered by rival publications. And if you’re feeling particularly brash, you can always compare your shares counts to share counts of an author from the site you’re pitching. You may come off as bold, but if you have a proven track record for engaging readers, editors should want to work with you.
Knowing your audience is another way to influence an editor during rate negotiations. Point out when influential people share your articles. Muck Rack’s tool offers Excel and PDF reports if you’re looking for more robust data to forward to an editor. However, you do have to sign up as a verified journalist (for free) or opt for Muck Rack’s Pro plan to access these features.
And if you’ve been writing guest blog posts for lower rates to gain exposure prior to an event or build a following before a book release, the number of social shares can help you figure out if your time is well spent. A high amount of shares does not necessarily indicate a good ROI, but a low share count is a definite red flag.
When trying to negotiate, making a case for yourself with relevant statistics, rather than an intuitive plea, is a smart way to ask for more money. You may get denied—budgets are fixed, after all—but editors love it when writers can anticipate their needs and simplify their administrative and accounting responsibilities. Muck Rack is a tool that can help you quantify your value. It’s up to you to use it wisely.