How to Earn Top Dollar Working as a Freelance Blogger
I am a freelance blogger and an online copywriter. Most people look at me in amazement when I tell them that.
Do you mean you can actually make money doing this thing? I am asked this question – a lot.
Isn’t blogging for people who want to share things online? Isn’t it really hard to make money from your blog? How do you find clients? Do they pay well? The questions keep on coming. There is genuine puzzlement on their faces, I can see that. So I thought it would be good to answer all these questions for you who wonder the same thing.
Yes, it is possible to make decent wages by offering your freelance blogging services. Very much so. Let's look at how.
Kinds of Blog Monetization
There are ‘hobby’ bloggers, but there is another kind of blogger – professional bloggers – who monetize their blogs using a variety of methods. These can be categorized into two popular models.
Just like one can offer their editing, proofreading, resume writing, copywriting, content creation services, you could also sell your blogging services, at a very good cost.
You can monetize your blog by displaying advertising, participating in affiliate marketing, selling your own products, running continuity programs and things like that. This means that you have to generate a huge number of clicks and drive insane amounts of traffic to your blog to be able to monetize it successfully.
This is what most people think of, when they think of making money from their blog.
There is another way to make money blogging. You can sell your services on your blog.
Like any freelance professional, you could have a site where you sell coaching, consulting, writing, design and other sorts of valuable services. I am mentioning them because they operate online, as do freelance bloggers.
Just like one can offer their editing, proofreading, resume writing, copywriting, content creation services, you can also sell your blogging services, and at a very good cost.
Read a classic article, written by Leo Babauta, that was so popular that it was recently republished here on FreelanceSwitch. The post How to Become a Freelance Blogger has 244 comments so far and many people are raving about this exciting opportunity.
Is Freelance Blogging Right for You?
Okay, let’s talk about this for a minute: Do you enjoy this style of writing? I know some people who think bloggers are not real writers – especially the ones who have a very dry, stuffy writing style.
Do you write in a conversational manner and enjoy connecting with your audience? Are you able to write quickly so as to make a good hourly wage?
Do you have a blog of your own? If so, how long have you been blogging for? What is the niche like? Do you find it easy to come up with new ideas and fresh content regularly?
Are you active on Social Media platforms, especially the big ones like Facebook and Twitter? Have you got a decent amount of followers? This is relevant because sometimes companies that hire you expect that you will be promoting the posts in your network.
And the most important, do you have a special qualifications, skill set, or expertise that will make you more attractive to your prospective client? For instance, if you have a degree in IT, you are currently working or have some prior experience, you can approach technology based companies with confidence because you already have the technical chops to speak to their audience. They don’t have to spend time training you and teaching you about the industry. You are already well–versed with the language and expectations.
Okay, so now you see that you are suited to this kind of work. Let’s dive into the juicy bit now. How do you actually find the clients?
How to Find High Paying Clients
Carol Tice explains the difference in her post The Starving Writer’s Quick Guide to Finding Good-Paying Freelance Blogger Gigs and writes in detail about client profiles. She lists factors to consider, such as: size of the company, kind of gigs you're looking for and the importance of developing your popularity as a blogger.
That being said, let’s have a look at 3 great strategies you can use to identify these opportunities. I have been using them with great success.
Quality Job Boards
Look for blogging jobs on quality boards like here on the Freelance Switch job board. I was able to successfully land an ongoing blogging gig with Open Colleges using this method. Now I work as their resident blogger and they are paying me a great rate, upwards of $100.00 for every post I write for their blog.
When looking through the jobs, you need to be looking at a few things: Give priority to those ads where the advertiser has gone through the trouble of giving you important details about the nature of the gig and their expectations. Also give preference to those positions where they haven’t chosen to remain anonymous. This way you can do your research and write a stellar application.
Finally, really take time with your application. Don’t send out a cut and paste kind of email. Work on your cover letter.
Sometimes you come across a position that you would have killed for – except it's full time. There is no harm in writing to them anyway. You might be able to renegotiate hours or even create a position for yourself.
Warm Email Prospecting
Hate cold calling much? Well, there is a much easier and more dignified way to find clients. And we have to thank Ed Gandia (of International Freelancer Day) for it.
You can start by identifying 10 companies that you would love to work with.
Ed Gandia is the man behind the concept of ‘warm email prospecting’. His philosophy is based on creating a connection with your prospect first before you hit them with your offer.
For this you need to create a tightly focused prospect list. This list should match your ideal client profile and you don’t need hundreds of names for it – that’s the beauty of it. You can start by identifying 10 companies that you would love to work with.
The next step is to do some research on your prospects and try and find an angle to connect. You might discover some news about them online or come across some job openings. Then you make that into your initial point of contact.
Get in touch with them with this reference and introduce yourself. Ask if you could help them meet their goals and explain how you could bring value to the table. Finally, ask if they work with outside writers and finish.
Keep your emails short and resist the temptation to list each and every single accomplishment. Give them a chance to get back to you.
This method really works. It has a better success rate than using direct mail or cold calling combined. Every bit of success will depend on your research and your value statements.
It is very hard to land a gig with a high profile company. They usually have a team of in-house writers or work with an agency.
This means that you could potentially work with an agency as they do hire freelance writers or bloggers. Research 10 or so companies that offer content marketing, link or brand building services, and approach them for work. Again, do not send out a mass email and contact each one of them individually.
How to Get Your Foot in the Door
And finally, here are three ways that will help you go pass the initial test.
Guest Post Portfolio
Work on your guest post portfolio. Where have you guest posted so far? For instance some of my own guest posts have been published on Problogger, Lifehack.org, Daily blog Tips, Kikolani, and I am also a regular contributor to Write to Done.
Needless to say, the more impressive your ‘clips’ are, the better chances you have of negotiating a higher rate.
Can you educate your client about the benefits of business blogging and the ROI? Could you help your client use their blog as part of their overall marketing strategy?
Could you offer a mini blog review on top of your service? Make recommendations to improve navigation/usability or freebie offers to increase signup rates, etc.
Can you advise your client on their content strategy? Help them with an editorial calendar and blog topics?
Can you help them with tracking their efforts and interpreting the results of blogging?
Work on Spec
Agree to work on a short assignment without any guarantee of payment. Only do this when the client fits your ideal client profile perfectly. This is your kind of gig, the kind of gig that you have been dreaming of. And you feel confident that you would be able to impress them with your work.
Be clear up front that this is the only spec work you can do for them. Try and reach an understanding that if they like your work, you will be paid for it and given more work. For this to happen, be careful with the companies you choose, they must have excellent reputations.
What’s the pay like?
And finally for the all important question, what can you expect to earn as a freelance blogger.
It all comes down to your expertise, qualifications and experience. If you can show you are an expert in writing about Asthma because you have a family history and you practically have as much, if not more, knowledge than your GP, you could blog for all sort of markets and charge a higher rate.
If you have been a teacher for a number of years, you could tap into the higher education market and demand decent pay. Most professional bloggers make around $100+ for one post. If you are a beginner, $40-50 pay bracket is a decent place to start off with.
Remember, have a professional blog of your own, show off a killer portfolio, identify companies and then get in touch. You can do it!