Sure, you want your blog to attract a huge audience and earn bazillions while you sleep. Lots of people are blogging their hearts out trying to achieve this dream.
But while you’re waiting to hit it big, you don’t have to starve. There’s another way to earn from blogging. It doesn’t have the same strike-it-rich potential, but it’ll pay your bills right now.
You can use your blogging skills and blog for pay, for publications and corporations.
No, not for $5 a post. Ignore those ads.
There are blogging gigs out there that pay a very good hourly wage. Taking freelance paid-blogging jobs can let you earn while still leaving time to work on your own site. As a bonus, you get more practice writing blogs, which may improve your own blog’s chances of success.
Here’s how to find good-paying blogging clients and get them to hire you:
1. Make your blog posts awesome and engaging. Even if there are only a few posts on there, make them great — concise and focused on your niche. Think of your blog as a rolling audition for paying gigs. In my experience, paying blog clients want to see three things: that you know how to get comments, stick to a niche topic, and use common blogging platforms such as WordPress and Blogger.
2. Select your targets. Consider where you might likely blog for pay, based on your own interests and work experience. For instance, I was once a legal secretary, so I’ve done some paid blogs for lawyers. Develop a list of publications, companies, or Web portals that might hire you and pay well. Don’t ignore trade publications, as they are often good payers. Once you’ve got some possible prospects, take a look at their websites to see if they lack a blog, or perhaps have a blog that’s short on visitors and infrequently updated.
3. Research your targets. Next, do some sleuthing to discover who might pay well. In general, I find more sophisticated topics and target audiences command better pay and have less writer competition. So blogging about parenting or your dog will not pay well, but writing about acupuncture or business finance likely will. Next, find out if the publication is growing or the company is well-funded. Writers’ groups on LinkedIn are a great place to ask around about a prospective employer. In general, bigger companies will offer better pay.
4. Promote your blog posts in social media. Start spreading your content around. Connect with popular users of social media in the niche where you want to blog for pay.
5. Target prospects with your posts. When you have a post that makes a good audition piece, send it to your prospects (or top social-media influencers) with a note: “I thought you’d enjoy this post.” You can use Twitter, LinkedIn, or just plain email — whatever you think that prospect would respond to best. Even better: Write a post for your blog specifically tailored to appeal to your prospects, then send it to them.
6. Leave comments on key blogs. Another way to connect with well-paying blogs is to leave articulate comments on that blog. Become a regular participant and link to your own blog posts. You may get read, discovered and offered a paying gig.
7. Call on prospects and ask for the job. If the steps above haven’t gotten you asked to blog for pay, it’s time to get proactive. You might call editors and marketing managers on the phone and ask if they need a blogger, send postcards, or perhaps use InMail on LinkedIn (that last boasts an impressive 30% response rate). Experiment and see what works for you. In your pitch, be sure to mention specifics you observed about their Web site, and offer suggestions for how you could improve it with well-written, regular blog posts.
8. Gain visibility. Once you land a paid blogging gig, be sure to get your byline as a live link to your blog, so prospects can easily find you. As your paid blog gets rolling, begin the above steps over again. Make the paid blog great and immediately begin promoting it to better-paying prospects in that niche. Always be aware of how much traffic your paid-blog sites receive, and look to move up to busier — and better-paying — sites.
9. Your paying blog finds you clients. Once you are blogging on a popular site, you often will be approached by other companies in that niche with job offers. At this point, paid blogging markets itself, and you have your pick of additional gigs. I’ve found that one of my paid blogs brings a steady stream of paid-blogging offers. As a bonus, readers of your paid blog may click your byline link and discover your blog as well, giving you possible new readers.
10. Keep raising your rates. As you move up, your rates should increase. Gradually drop lower-paying blog clients in favor of better-paying ones. Think in terms of how long it takes you to create a post, and aim for a rate of $50-$100 an hour. Don’t forget to charge by the hour if the client also wants you to do social-media promotion of your posts, or needs advice on blog-marketing strategy. I’ve seen rates as high as $300 a blog post, and $100 a post is fairly common. Don’t settle for peanuts — keep looking until you find clients who understand how a powerful blog will help build their business.
Have questions about blogging for pay? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them here on the post.
Carol Tice helps writers earn more at the Making a Living Writing blog, which she used to get paid blogging gigs that earn her more than $5,000 a month. Grab her free report, 40 Ways to Market Your Writing.
Note: Carol’s blog, Make a Living Writing is a winner of the Top Ten Blogs for Writers 2011 Contest
Joining the A-List Blogger Club is like pouring accelerant on your blogging career. I know I’ve cut YEARS off my journey to monetizing my blog by belonging here.
~ Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing
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