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The Starving Writer’s Quick Guide to Finding Good-Paying Freelance Blogger Gigs


Are you sick of seeing job ads for blogging that only offer $20 a post or less? Scanning the online job boards, you might think there are no good-paying blogging gigs.

But there are. I know because I've earned as much as $300 a blog post, and often get north of $100 a post.

What makes the difference? It's all in the type of client you're blogging for, and the type of business they have.

What sort of clients pay more for blog posts? Here is my guide for sleuthing out a better class of blogging client:

Ad-Click Model vs Lead-Generation Model

Most low-paid blogging offers come from online-only companies or content mills. These businesses all have the same way of making money: ad clicks.

The problem? This model doesn't work well for most of the people who try it. So they don't have a lot of money to spend. Even when the sites are able to attract big traffic, the strategy may not be profitable.

Instead, look for companies that sell a real product or service, usually in the physical world.

Their model is also reliant on throwing a ton of quickie, keyword-loaded content on their site, to drive traffic and create lots of pages for the ads. Because they need large numbers of posts with this strategy, each post can't pay much.

Instead, look for companies that sell a real product or service, usually in the physical world. For instance, they sell cars, or insurance, or in-person consulting services. They are looking for blog posts that will draw in new leads and get them to join their email list, so they can sell to them later and turn them into customers.

Companies that pay for various forms of lead generation understand the value of a sophisticated, well-written blog post. When there's a direct correlation between your blogging and their ability to build their marketing list and generate new revenue, companies are happy to pay a decent wage.

How can you connect with successful companies? Target companies you'd love to blog for and scan their company job board online for openings. Or reach out to them directly with a phone call or marketing email introducing yourself.

Complex Topic vs Easy Topic

Unsurprisingly, the pay is better for subject matter not every writer could tackle. For instance, at one point I got $125 a post to blog about surety bonds. On the other hand, blogging about pets or gardening is unlikely to pay well, because legions of writers can do it.

Companies that sell a sophisticated product or concept need a writer with industry knowledge. If it's a sector where it's hard to find a writer with experience, rates go up. It's simple supply and demand.

Big Company vs Little Company

When it comes to writing clients, bigger truly is better. Three reasons: First, bigger companies tend to already understand the value of promoting their site, and usually have a web development budget.

They've also worked with freelancers already, so you won't have to train them how that relationship works. Finally, in the great scheme of their substantial marketing budgets, $100 a blog post is small money. By contrast, ask a solopreneur or small shop owner to shell out that kind of money for blogging, and they'll look at you like you're crazy.

To get familiar with big companies near you, read your local paper's business section, or your local business weekly. Watch for news about growth, acquisitions, and new funding -- all likely situations where marketing budgets are growing.

Expensive Product vs Cheap Product

Without exception, well-paid blogging gigs I've had were for high-ticket products, usually marketed to an audience with a high annual income. The more money the product or service sells for, the harder it is to make that sale -- and the more that company has to invest in marketing to bring in more leads.

Track Record vs Startup

In general, better-paying blog clients have been in business a while. When you research the company, you're able to see it has a great reputation -- you can find testimonials from customers and notices of awards they've won in their industry. When you ask your writers' network, you can find writers who've written for this company before, and had a positive experience.

The exception is well-funded startups that have received venture-capital funding (which is a tiny fraction of all startups). In my experience, these rare, plucky newcomers spend like the Fortune 500 -- because it's someone else's money. Flush startups also need to quickly grow their business to satisfy those investors, so they often spend more to get fast results.

Mass Job Board vs Niche Job Board

If you're looking on Craigslist for a great-paying blogging gig, I've got some bad news -- it's probably not on there. Established, well-heeled companies don't usually place free ads on Craigslist, because they don't have time to wade through the 400 resumes they will get. They're also not skulking around placing blind ads.

Good prospective clients place ads on job boards where a select audience of the right sort of writer will read it -- for instance, on the job board of a professional association for healthcare, technology, or science writers. Also look for job boards where companies have to pay to be listed, as they do on LinkedIn.

Have a Blog vs No Blog

Many aspiring paid bloggers waste time pitching websites that don't yet have a blog, and try to convince the owner to start one. That's a tough sell.

First, you'd have to convince them a blog would drive traffic to their site. Then, that the blog would get them good quality leads. Then, that you are the blogger they should hire. Next, they'd have to learn to install blogging software...you get the idea. This is too long of a row to hoe.

The sweet spot for prospects is when you find a company with a blog -- but it hasn't been updated in months. That means the company understands blogging could help their business, but has discovered it lacks the in-house talent to keep the blog going. That's the perfect opening for a freelance writer.

Where have you found good-paying blogging work? Leave a comment and let us know.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by italianestro.

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