Background: The Highlights
Michelle Honeyager, a freelance writer, tackles both corporate blogs and print journalism. B2C and B2B clients, from designers to recyclers, trust her versatility. Beyond bylines, she ghostwrites, adapting her voice to diverse brands. Home, green living, and health ignite her passion, but her expertise covers a wider spectrum.
Print journalism? Honeyager mastered it. Home magazines and newspapers honed her storytelling, captivating readers with features and articles. Consumer, industry, niche websites, digital mags, even news sites – she’s left her mark across print and digital.
Her 2009 English degree from Mount Mary College honed her skills in effective communication. This foundation and her natural talent for crafting compelling content allow her to excel across various platforms.
nDash’s Discussion with Michelle Honeyager
Jenn: What motivated you to focus on health/wellness, personal finance, home/garden, and sustainability in your writing?
Michelle: The one unifying point of all these topics is that they help people. I like focusing on solutions to help people make their lives better, whether in their health, home, or financial lives. Writing useful and helpful content can also improve brand authority and visibility.
Jenn: As a full-time freelance writer, how do you manage your schedule to remain available for ongoing projects throughout the business day?
Michelle: I work from home full-time and am available for ongoing assignments. Otherwise, I also make sure to have a list of tasks to complete daily, prioritizing items by deadline and complexity. I pride myself on adhering to deadlines.
Jenn: Could you share your experience working with top sites like CNET, Bankrate, and Metacritic and how it influenced your writing style?
Michelle: Each of those sites has their own editorial styles and guidelines. It helped me hone my writing skills to match a wide variety of topics and audiences. I handled everything from fun TV show roundups to serious health topics that required expert interviews.
Jenn: How did nDash become part of your journey as a freelance writer?
Michelle: I was looking for a resource to help me connect with brands easier. I like the setup of being able to pitch ideas to brands. Additionally, I enjoy connecting with websites that might need the type of content I enjoy writing.
The Rest of nDash’s Conversation With Michelle
Michelle’s freelance writing blends deep research, data-driven examples, and a friendly tone. She’s written bylines and ghostwritten posts for businesses and even edited an entire remodeling magazine. Her internship at the Irish American Post sharpened her research and deadline skills. Based near Milwaukee, WI, she’s available full-time for ongoing projects.
Jenn: How do you balance the requirements of byline and ghostwritten blog posts while catering to different business clients?
Michelle: I usually start by getting a feel for the overall voice of the website/brand. I read through articles, reviewed any guidelines multiple times, and checked overall topics covered in the past. I enjoy writing in different styles. So, I check if the source has a more fun, irreverent tone or an expert, serious one. Then, I tailor my research and writing to the individual client’s needs. This may involve finding interview sources or looking up primary data sources.
Jenn: What key lessons did you learn from editing a remodeling magazine from cover to cover?
Michelle: Multiple reviews matter. I run everything through literally three different spell-checkers (Word, Google Docs, and Grammarly). I also do a close-line read for typos on my own. Additionally, I conduct a broader substantive read where I put myself in the shoes of the reader.
Jenn: How has your experience in a virtual workforce at a publisher specialized in remodeling magazines impacted your communication skills?
Michelle: It helped me make sure my emails were very clearly worded, as well as helped my phone communication skills. I learned how to manage entire projects through shared documents, as well.
Jenn: During your internship with the Irish American Post, can you discuss the challenges and successes of meeting tight deadlines for 2,500-word articles?
Michelle: That was lifestyle feature writing, so the clearest challenge was drawing the most interesting information from the sources. I had to make sure my questions and follow-ups delved into their backgrounds, motivations, and thoughts.
Otherwise, it’s easier for people to just look at you and give yes or no answers or very surface details. For instance, I interviewed an author. During the interview, I had her open up about her experience in Ireland and how that shaped the novel she wrote. I also learned about the massive struggle to get the book published.
Jenn: Could you discuss your experience writing for consumer and industry print magazines, niche websites, and digital lifestyle magazines?
Michelle: I wrote for a publisher who did home remodeling magazines, which were the official publications of homebuilder associations. I also wrote for a lifestyle magazine that was on Celebrity Cruises.
I also contributed to a yearly newspaper insert featuring lifestyle topics all over the local county. I’ve ghostwritten for interior design blogs of home brands. I’ve written for a variety of websites featured on the first page of Google.
Jenn: Can you describe a particularly memorable project or article you worked on and what made it stand out?
Michelle: I’ll tell you an interesting one: I once wrote about someone who put a pickup truck in his tree. He put it up there as a fort for his kid back in the day. It was right along the highway, so it gained some local notoriety. And then eventually featured in national shows/books about US roadway oddities. I lived about an hour away, so I drove out there to interview him.
Sure enough, I saw the truck up in the tree, like a tornado had put it there. Luckily, I set up a time beforehand because the property was covered in “no trespassing” signs. Kind of intimidated, I drove in to meet him. He turned out to be an interesting guy who also tried to get some reality shows going.
I also took a variety of pictures of the tree truck to go with the article. It’ll probably always be the most unique story I ever wrote, but I guess never say never.
Jenn: What advice would you give to an aspiring freelance writer who wishes to enter the fields of health, personal finance, or sustainability writing?
Michelle: Try to find primary and reliable sources, like doctor interviews, the CDC, valid academic studies, and the FTC. Editors love that, and with good reason.
[Editor’s note: Yes, we do!]
Work With Michelle Honeyager on nDash Today!
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