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Elizabeth Hanes BSN, RN

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Elizabeth Hanes has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Freelance Writer, 'the nurse who knows content'.

I'm an RN but make my living as a freelance writer. I produce health articles, patient information, web pages, blog posts, video scripts - and so much more - on behalf of clients like hospitals, health systems, insurers and digital magazines. I work from home, set my own hours and find plenty of time to care for my elderly mother, go to the gym, take vacation, fill my house with antiques. In fact, last year I earned $143,000 from writing.

TL;DR: Life is sweet!

Discover the BEST Nursing Career You've Never Heard Of!

I don't want to keep this fabulous nursing "specialty" all to myself. I want as many nurses as possible to discover this path to financial freedom and work-life balance. So today I teach other nurses how to become freelance writers, too.

It's easy to get started. Just download my ebook, Design Your Dream Career as a Nurse Writer. It costs $5.90.

Then watch this FREE one-hour webinar: Complete Guide to Content Marketing Writing for Nurses. You'll learn...

  • What "content marketing writing" actually is
  • Why your nursing background can help you earn big bucks in this unique writing niche
  • The 3 core content writing skills to master
  • How to find high-paying clients

I’m NOT talking about writing for research journals or writing a novel or memoir about “My Crazy Nursing Adventures.”

No, I’m talking about WRITING YOU CAN GET PAID FOR: health articles for the general public, web pages for health systems, blog posts and newsletters and social media messages for healthcare businesses. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

But why should you listen to me? What makes me a nurse-writing guru?

Well, for starters, I've earned my living as a writer for the past 10 years. And not just "earned a meager living." Actually, I built a six-figure writing business in my spare time. Major brands like Healthgrades, WebMD and Anthem keep my number on speed dial. And now I'm devoting my talents to helping other nurses – like you –build and grow lucrative businesses that can give you financial and personal freedom.

So ditch the office politics for a career that lets you use your nursing knowledge to help millions of people – and puts plenty of money in your pocket, too. Sign up for my FREE newsletter!

Elizabeth Hanes's Latest Activity

  1. Elizabeth Hanes

    How to Write a Press Release to Promote Your Nurse-Owned Business

    Hi Patti! Thank you for the kind words. You made my day! Press releases are sent to members of the media. So, for example, a nurse who owns a business might send a press release to her local TV station to announce her "employee of the year" or something. Just to be clear, freelance writers don't use press releases to promote their services. Press releases are used by businesses to announce company news or other items of interest to the general public. Hope this helps! Beth
  2. If you’re interested in launching a side hustle that can bring in extra money (and eventually even become your full-time profession), you may be surprised to know you can become a freelance writer in as little as one hour. It’s super easy to get started if you choose one of these two “entry points” to the profession: health reporting or content marketing. When nurses approach me for tips on how to become a freelance writer, I often tell them I consider health reporting to be the “fastest” way to enter this profession. I consider content marketing writing to be the “easiest” way, but in my experience, it can take a little longer to ramp up. Either way, though, it’s super simple for nurses to launch a freelance writing career. How Freelance Reporting Works To become a freelance health journalist, you will need to develop article ideas and then pitch them to editors who buy stories from freelancers. Most publications and media outlets pay freelance writers to produce at least a portion of their stories – and some outlets rely heavily on freelance writers for most of their content. Because the news cycle moves very quickly, I’ve found that many nurses can get started fast just by developing some article ideas and then pitching away. It’s a numbers game, so the more stories you pitch, the more sales you’re likely to make. Freelance journalism follows a predictable process that goes like this: Ideation: developing a salable story idea Pitching (also called querying): sending the idea to an editor, in hopes s/he will buy it Assignment: having an editor assign the story idea to you to write Writing/Reporting: creating the article, including finding and interviewing sources, locating and evaluating secondary sources, adhering to style guidelines, etc. Revising: receiving the draft article back from the editor and making the requested revisions The most successful freelance health reporters are actively engaged in almost every step of this cycle at all times. In other words, they’re always developing one story idea while pitching another, while they’re writing an article that was previously assigned and revising one they sold earlier. That’s the path to rapid, sustained success. How Content Marketing Writing Works I said that I consider content marketing writing to be an “easier” path to success, and I feel that way because content writing doesn’t require you to develop story ideas constantly. Maybe it’s just that I, personally, find that “easier” because I’m not strong at developing article ideas. Content marketing writing involves creating a wide range of marketing materials for healthcare corporations, such as: Blog posts LinkedIn articles Web pages Patient education materials Infographics Video scripts Webinar slides Digital newsletters …and many, many others. This type of writing doesn’t require you to pitch ideas because you’re generally writing to the client’s specifications. For instance, you probably wouldn’t “pitch” a blog post idea to a health system’s blog. Instead, the system’s marketing director would contract with you to regularly write blog posts on topics they assign you. Content marketing writing follows a process, too, just like journalism does. But you work the sections of the process only as needed to expand or advance your career: Identify prospective clients Send Letter of Introduction (LOI) to them Hop on a phone call to discuss providing services Execute a contract Perform the services specified in the contract Lather, rinse, repeat. Many times, you can secure ongoing work with content marketing clients. For example, I’ve worked with Healthgrades [for more than four years now. This ability to nail down steady work is part of what makes content writing an attractive option for nurses just starting out. On the flip side, it can be hard to identify prospective content marketing clients. And the LOI approach (like the article pitch approach in journalism) is a numbers game. You need to send a high volume of LOIs before you find one prospect interested in talking more about how you can help them with writing services. No matter which of these paths you choose, though, you can get started pretty quickly and easily as a freelance writer. Take an hour this weekend to figure out which path you want to try, and then start pitching stories or sending LOIs and see where it leads! You just might find that you’ve become a professional writer over the course of a weekend.
  3. Elizabeth Hanes

    How to Write a Press Release to Promote Your Nurse-Owned Business

    And sometimes the not-so-successful stories are much more interesting and entertaining! Beth
  4. Many nurse entrepreneurs focus on marketing and sales to propel their business forward. And that makes sense, because marketing, advertising, and direct outreach all can generate rapid success for any business venture. Earned Media But nurse business owners should not neglect the power of earned media. “Earned media” refers to mentions of your brand or business in news stories. Unlike advertising and other paid outreach, earned media wields great power in your target audience’s mind because they know no business can buy coverage in a newspaper or magazine. Press Releases Press releases (more properly called “news releases”) represent one tried-and-true method for garnering earned media mentions. You can use news releases to attract the attention of journalists who might feature your news in a story. Here’s how to write and format a great press release that generates earned media mentions. 1. Start with your contact information at the very top Above the body of your news release, include the contact information for your company’s spokesperson. If you’re a small, nurse-owned business, that’s probably you. Make it easy for a journalist to contact you to follow up on the release. Include your best phone number – and answer it! That could be a reporter on the other end, anxious to interview you for a quote. If you’re planning to publish your news release on the web, you may not want to include your telephone number. In that case, put your best email address on the release – and check your email frequently after you issue the release. Respond promptly to reporter inquiries. Remember, media relations is a relationship game. If you’re responsive to journalists, they’re more likely to reach out for your expertise in the future. 2. Add a dateline The TV show “Dateline” takes its name from the news publishing term for the city and date information that precedes any published “hard news” story in a major publication. Examples of datelines: Sept. 29, 2020 [NEW YORK] – The Supreme Court today… 09/29/2020 [SAN FRANCISCO] – Tech giant XYZ Corporation today announced… You can choose to format the date portion of the dateline in whatever manner you’d like. The city name should represent your corporate location and should be typed in all caps within brackets followed by an “em” dash. If you are not located in a major city, then include your state information, as well. When I issue press releases for my company, the dateline looks like this: 09/29/2020 [ALBUQUERQUE, NM] – RN2writer announced today that it has launched… After the em dash, start the body of your news release. The dateline is not just a silly formatting thing. It actually provides vital information at-a-glance to reporters. It tells them where you are located and the precise date you issued the news contained within the release. 3. Write a great “hook” The opening sentence of your news release must be compelling. Intriguing. Startling. It needs to “hook” the attention of the journalist receiving it, and it’s OK to pull out all the stops to grab the reader’s attention. Boring opener: “XYZ Company announced today that it will be offering free fall risk assessments to the first 100 seniors who request them.” Compelling opener: “Each year an estimated 265 local seniors die from falls, yet many [local area] seniors cannot afford to pay for a fall risk assessment of their home environment. To help area seniors live more safely at home, XYZ Company announced today it will offer a free fall risk assessment to 100 local, economically disadvantaged seniors, starting this weekend.” 4. Use the inverted pyramid style Journalists need you to get to the point rapidly in your news release, so use the classic “inverted pyramid” style by putting all of the most important information at the top and then working downward toward the less-important things, like your company history. Include the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How (if applicable) within the first paragraph so that a reporter need only scan your release quickly to figure out what it’s about. Then drop in a good quote from yourself or another principal, and then use another paragraph or two to dive deeper into the news you’re sharing. Keep your press release to two pages, tops. 5. End your release with ### Just below the last sentence of your news release, type either ### or -30-. These marks indicate the end of your news release and alert the reader that no pages or paragraphs are missing. By writing and formatting your news release like a pro, you’ll stand out to local and national journalists looking for newsworthy story ideas or industry experts to interview. And then you might find your earned media mentions rising.
  5. Elizabeth Hanes

    allnurses® Defeats Test Prep Firm in Defamation Lawsuit

    CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU for waging this fight. Your win provides yet another legal ruling that will benefit all organizations that publish anonymous, user-created content. Bravo!!
  6. This is an absolutely excellent point! Thank you for this, Joe. The E-A-T is also why I keep telling nurses now is the best time there's ever been to become a freelance content writer. Bylined content with an RN credential holds great sway with the Googlebot right now! Thanks for weighing in. Beth
  7. Marketing your nurse-owned business can feel challenging even in the best of times. And this pandemic certainly isn’t helping the situation. Depending on the type of product or service you offer, getting customers to buy right now can feel downright impossible. However, there’s one technique that always should be part of your strategy – and it may help you now, more than ever. It’s called “social proof,” and you can implement it without spending a dime. What is Social Proof? "Social proof" is actually a psychological concept that refers to people’s desire to “follow the crowd” when it comes to making decisions. Many people believe the crowd’s actions are more informed or correct than their own. This belief is particularly strong when it comes to the influence of family and friends. Think about it: If a friend enthusiastically expresses praise for a local espresso shop, aren’t you more likely to try it? That’s because your friend’s endorsement holds great sway in your decision-making process. That’s how social proof works, in a nutshell, except it doesn’t involve only your closest acquaintances. Oh, no. Many studies have shown how much people like to conform with the crowd when it comes to decision-making. Using social proof techniques can influence your target market to “follow the crowd” that purchases your own products and services. Social proof can take many forms, including: Testimonials Reviews Celebrity or influencer endorsements Earned media coverage Social media sharing High-profile clientele Professional certifications Examples of Social Proof in Action On my website, I run a “logo parade” near the top that displays the logos of prominent companies I’ve worked with. This is a very common example of social proof. It works like this: When prospective clients visit my site and see those major brand names like WebMD and Anthem, the prospect basically “takes their word for it” that my services must be trustworthy and valuable. Another example: Have you ever visited a web page selling a specific product, and a popup box floats up that says something like, “Elaine in Orchard Park just purchased one!”? That’s a more intrusive form of social proof – and it’s highly effective. Some vendors of social proof popups claim they increase sales as much as 15%. These popups work by capitalizing on the concept of “FOMO” – fear of missing out. As the prospective customer sees popup after popup saying someone else bought the product, they feel more compelled to buy it themselves so they’re not left out. A non-digital example of social proof is the restaurant that downsizes its lobby so that most customers waiting for a table must queue up outside. As passersby see others lining up to dine, they think this must be a great restaurant. And they also want to literally become part of the crowd by lining up for a table, themselves. How to Use Social Proof to Market Your Nurse-Owned Business To make the most effective use of social proof in your nurse-owned business, choose techniques that align best with your business model and overall marketing plan. For instance, if you don’t sell a tangible product online, then it won’t make sense for you to use social proof popups. A few excellent social proof techniques any nurse can use effectively include: Education/licensing/certifications – Be sure to tout your credentials, because it reinforces your target audience’s already favorable opinion of nurses as the most trusted profession Client testimonials – Whenever a customer says something positive about your product or service, ask if you can use their words as a testimonial on your website or other marketing materials Reviews – Ask select clients to review your product or services on their own well-trafficked blog or on public review sites Social media sharing – Ask your customers to share your social media posts, along with their own positive commentary Logo parades – Fly the logos of your most prominent clients (with permission) on your website and in other marketing materials Social proof is a very potent marketing concept that can increase your customer base and drive sales. Don’t overlook it as an important component of your overall marketing plan.
  8. I think it's awesome they're teaching this in your business class! It definitely will help you find success more quickly in private practice!
  9. Elizabeth Hanes

    Dr. Pimple Popper Thinks Nurses Have No Place Educating Patients

    Well, howdy, everyone. I'm the nurse/writer at the center of this. Like everyone else, I found it kind of amusing that Dr. Lee would question my...authority? Expertise? Audacity?...in writing about sunburn. It strikes me that this reflects the age-old physician attitude that nurses are their servants and nothing more. In fact, I'm writing an essay sort of along those lines. I do appreciate everyone's support! It's no fun to get called out (even anonymously) by a celebrity dermatologist on Twitter. LOLOL
  10. Elizabeth Hanes

    3 Writing Skills Every Nurse Entrepreneur Should Master

    You are welcome! I'm glad to know these tips help! Beth You're welcome! Let me know if you have any questions about these tips! Beth
  11. Communicating with your target audience – whether through your website or blog posts or social media – can generate leads and increase conversions for your nurse-owned business. And, sure, you can hire a professional writer to do this content creation for you, but many nurse entrepreneurs don’t have the budget for that early in the life of their business. If you’re a nurse entrepreneur who falls into the DIY-content-creation camp, I’d like to share three skills that can help you write content quickly and painlessly. 1. Outlining If this brings up horrible memories of freshman English class, relax. Outlines do not have to be formal documents that involve the use of Roman numerals. When I say “outlining,” I’m really talking about sketching out your composition on paper before you start writing. Let’s say you’re going to write a blog post. You’ll be a more efficient writer if you take five minutes and jot down these points: Focus/topic of the post Format of the post (narrative, list, etc.) Main point you want to get across A couple of sub-points that support your main point, if you want I went through this process before I began writing this very article. I decided to write on the topic of “writing skills every nurse entrepreneur should master.” Then I determined this article would benefit from a “list” format (hence: “three writing skills…”). Then I considered what my main point should be: “help nurse entrepreneurs write content quickly and painlessly.” Lastly, I decided I would not include any sub-points, because the three skills in the list can stand on their own. That wasn’t too painful, was it? 2. Pre-writing Once you’ve outlined your composition, take a moment to consider what research you need to conduct before you start writing. Using the example of a blog post, what pre-writing activities should you perform to support your point(s)? Pre-writing activities include things like: Reading expert articles or news coverage on the topic Finding and reading research studies Looking up statistical information Finding resources to link to in your piece Interviewing sources Watching expert interviews or webinars and taking notes Creating a more detailed outline or roadmap for your writing By taking time to perform these types of pre-writing activities before you sit down at the keyboard, you’ll enjoy a smoother, uninterrupted writing process because you won’t have to stop periodically to look up a statistic or source to validate some point you’re making. Plus, your first draft will be much stronger and require less editing. 3. Lousy first drafts I work with nurses who are pursuing freelance writing careers, and some of them get very uptight about achieving perfection in the first draft of an article, blog post or whatever. That’s a sure way to reinforce the idea that writing is a painful, torturous activity. To counter this, I recommend taking the reverse approach: aim for a really lousy first draft. This advice comes from Anne Lamott, and I’ve employed it successfully throughout my career. Basically, use the first draft as a means to quickly get your thoughts down on paper, following the outline you originally created. Don’t worry about the elegance of your prose or whether you used too much passive voice or if you nailed the grammar. Instead, focus on simply getting the idea down. On the second (or third or fourth…) pass, you can smooth out the grammar and transitions, convert some of the passive voice to active and generally clean everything up into something you can be proud to publish. If you’re a nurse entrepreneur who creates her own business content, my hat’s off to you! I hope these tips will help you become a more efficient and confident writer moving forward.
  12. Elizabeth Hanes

    23 Ways to Market Your Freelance Writing Business

    I did always love to write. My mother was an aspiring writer who, unfortunately, never managed to get published. But I think her example of persistently working at selling articles helped me realize that making money from writing was not a crazy idea. Straight out of high school, I thought I was going to be a journalist. For various reasons, that didn't happen. Then in 1989 I had the opportunity to get a job as a PR coordinator for a local non-profit. The bulk of my job there, for the next five years, consisted of writing press releases and marketing materials. From that experience, I came to understand that many publications use freelance writers. I started freelancing on the side, for extra money, in the early 2000s and went full-time around 2011 (I can't actually remember when!). Getting started as a freelancer isn't hard. Decide on the type of writing you want to do (articles, essays, marketing materials, etc.), then identify outlets that publish that sort of work, search for a contact (marketing manager, editor, whoever), and send an email introducing yourself as an available writer. That's really it, in a nutshell. Let us all know how it goes!! Beth
  13. Elizabeth Hanes

    What is Content Marketing for Nurse Entrepreneurs?

    Well, it's a good question. You certainly can't just sit around and wait for people to organically find your content. Content marketing is most effective when there's a promotion plan to support it. So, for example, sharing blog posts on social media or creating LinkedIn-exclusive articles. Sharing content with relevant reporters can be effective for garnering what's known in the industry as "earned media" or mentions in news stories. That's often the best kind of publicity there is. Writing the content is only one part of the entire content marketing process. You definitely must promote the content regularly. Also, it's highly cost effective to create one content asset and then repurpose it into other types of content (for instance, repurposing a blog post as an infographic or a short video) and then promoting those assets regularly, as well. Hope this helps answer your question! Beth
  14. Among the first questions any nurse asks me about being a freelance writer is: Can you really make money at that? Usually I chuckle before replying, “Oh, yes. You definitely can make money at that.” But you can’t make any money as a writer unless you find a client willing to pay you. Marketing is the name of the game, especially when you’re first starting out. Then the question becomes how should I market my business? I can think of 100 things I could do to attract a client, so how do I narrow down that list into something manageable? I have 23 suggestions for you… Marketing Strategies for Nurses Who Write1. Write some articles for allnurses.com to develop your skills and generate some search juice for your byline. 2. Send story pitches to likely editors. 3. Take your own hospital’s marketing director out to lunch and express an interest in writing for her. 4. Reach out to organizations you’ve written for in the past, even in a charity capacity. 5. Network with other writers to share leads. 6. Network on LinkedIn by making strategic connections and also by publishing articles related to your writing specialty. 7. Contact healthcare marketing agencies. 8. Check reputable job boards like JournalismJobs.com https://www.journalismjobs.com/ for freelance gigs and also to identify publications to pitch health stories to. * 9. Publish a blog to demonstrate your expertise. 10. Publish a periodic (quarterly is fine) newsletter with updates about your business and articles of relevance to your subscribers. 11. Attend local business functions, such as Chamber of Commerce events and other in-person networking opportunities. 12. Attend a writers’ conference, such as the Association of Health Care Journalists’ annual event, where you can meet editors in person. 13. Set up social media accounts for your business. ** 14. Offer to speak to local marketing organizations and other entities on topics like how to develop a content marketing plan. 15. Author well-placed guest posts or articles. 16. Mail postcards to local marketing directors. 17. Contact editors of university publications, especially alumni magazines and medical school mags. 18. Send letters of introduction by email to prospective clients. 19. Build a website that draws inquiries from prospects. 20. Offer a free download (ebook, white paper, case study – whatever) in exchange for adding a contact to your mailing list. 21. Participate in relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. 22. Serve as an expert source for a journalist when it’s a good fit. *** 23. Join writers’ associations, set up a public profile (where available) and participate in their forums. A couple of likely candidates are AHCJ and AMWA (https://www.amwa.org). * I recommend staying away from freelance marketplaces like Upwork, which tend to proffer extremely low-paying “opportunities.” ** The key here is to do this strategically. Use business social media accounts strictly for business: posting links, commenting on relevant posts, curating business-related links – that sort of thing. *** Be sure to mention your business in any interview! As I said, there may be thousands of ways to market your freelance writing business, but these 23 strategies should help you get started. Which marketing tactics have you found most effective? Please share them in the comments!
  15. Elizabeth Hanes

    Nurses: This One Tiny Writing Tweak Makes Your Articles More Engaging

    Gosh, me too! You would think after so many years of writing we'd be good at it, but for some reason it requires extreme vigilance to stamp out the passive voice. LOL
  16. Elizabeth Hanes

    Nurses: This One Tiny Writing Tweak Makes Your Articles More Engaging

    I didn't get quite so granular as "divide into paragraphs" (always excellent advice!), but I did delve into a little bit about formatting articles in a different post on the topic: Mastering grammar and punctuation can be challenging, but I do agree it undermines a person's credibility if they cannot communicate well in writing. An excellent resource for refreshing one's memory about these basics is the Purdue Owl Lab. Thanks for your comments! Beth