Sorry it is a gimmick. I do not have the answers of what you should do and not do when you are trying to start freelancing; after-all I am but a newbie myself.
I do know that there are a lot of opinions and a lot of experts. Since longform writing is out and lists are in, everything is in lists. Even blog posts must be kept short, because our attention spans are short. We need something catchy to grab your eye, but don’t use a cliche. While you are at it, “passion” and “innovation” are over. Everyone has a lot of passionate and innovative ideas, you need something to indicate that you are more passionate and more innovative than the general schlub hawking $2 articles.
After a whole day of reading advice on the internet, it can be pretty discouraging. You realize that you made mistakes. I made a typo. I didn’t “research” the company enough. This work of trying to work is so much… work? It is hard not to feel discouraged and also slightly bemused at the state of freelance writing on the web. Oops, you will have to forgive me, I made my blog post too long….