Top 10 digital media trends (and what they mean for freelancers)

Whatever your opinion on the “print is dead/will last forever/will morph into something altogether new” debate, digital media is a big part of the landscape now. Any freelance journalist with business sense is surely seeking out ways to make their skills relevant in digital media as well as traditional.

American freelancer Michelle V. Rafter has outlined what she considers to be the Top 10 digital media trends of 2008 and then riffs on what she thinks it means for freelance journalists with “takeaways for freelancers.”

Here’s a couple of examples:

6. Writing for exposure free – There’ve never been more opportunities to write for the Web – for free. I’m not just talking about the start ups that advertise on Craigslist who promise to pay contributors “in exposure,” but also some of the biggest blogs around, like The Huffington Post.
Take away for freelancers: Don’t do it. No matter how exciting it might be to see your name on HuffPost, writing for free is not a business model.

10. The brand of you – Whatever the specialty – writing, marketing, blogging, Website design, etc. – self-employed workers are figuring out they are a brand and are marketing accordingly (see Julia Allison).  These campaigns include everything from professionally designed Websites, blogs and YouTube channels to email signatures that list the owner’s latest blog posts or book deals.
Take away for freelancers: Take the plunge. Even if you don’t have time or money for the big stuff, tacking your Linkedin, Twitter and blog addresses onto your email signature is a start. Blogging software is free and can substitute for a Website. And if you’re already doing all that, 2009 might be the year to take it up a notch by starting a monthly podcast or e-newsletter to showcase your work.

Check out Rafter’s WordCount post for the rest of the list.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of end-of-the-year list making, Mark Glaser at PBS MediaShift listed his Top 10 MediaShifting stories of 2008. His include: Twitter becomes important news source, TV audiences continue to fragment and non-profits, experimentation abound in journalism business models.