I hear this question on a weekly basis: Can I actually make money writing blogs?
Not only is the answer a resounding Yes, but I’m happy to say that blogs have morphed into extreme power-wielding tools for the savvy content marketer…
Which means they’re an excellent skillset for any Barefoot Writer to have — both the beginner and experienced writer.
Plus, it remains an underserved specialty, offers terrific pay potential, and is in demand in virtually every niche out there…
So today I’m going to share the ins and outs of how to launch and sustain a well-paid blogging career and make money writing blogs.
Major Blog Myth: Busted
For a lot of writers, blogging is the perfect opportunity: short, informational, conversational, and rarely salesy. Plus, since the most successful blogs need multiple posts each week, a blogging career easily could land you recurring pay with a long-term retainer contract.
But first, let me address a major myth about blogging. It’s that the online world is overrun with so many blogs, they’ve lost their effectiveness.
True — there are millions of blogs out there. Maybe hundreds of millions.
Consider this though: most blogs are not launched as marketing or communication tools. Sometimes they’re simply the equivalent of an online diary written by someone who wants to tell their ongoing story.
Other times, they are launched for a business purpose, but then tend to wane when they’re mistakenly seen as a “nice to have” instead of being treated as a marketing tool.
The reality is that most blogs are not created with a clear and measurable marketing goal in mind. And they aren’t written with an eye toward communicating with an audience or promoting a strong brand relationship. And finally, many are not published consistently, or often enough to keep an audience engaged.
That whittles the pool of effective, persuasive bloggers down to a much smaller number — while the number of businesses needing effective blogs remains in the millions.
In fact, according to Forbes.com, blogging remains a key part of the major content marketing trends for 2017. But at the same time, Forbes reports that bloggers need to up their game. Gone are the days when people can blog just for the sake of blogging and expect to land readers.
These days, a blog needs to connect with and engage its audience. And then keep them there by telling stories and sharing good content.
Turn a Single Blog Into Multiple Paychecks
Along with a big demand for well-written blogs, blogs are also a great long-term, paid writing opportunity because they offer you numerous opportunities to get paid.
Every day writers and business owners ask me where to focus their efforts: posting on social media, putting together videos, filling their site with SEO content, writing emails, or writing a blog.
The answer is easy: writing a blog, because with a well-written blog, all the other content channels practically write themselves.
Let me explain…
A good blog post is simply a well thought out, well written, to-the-point “article” that is optimized for the search engines and posted on a website. After posting, the blogger can also send the content out in email form. Some marketers will even email the beginning of a blog post to subscribers and then invite them to click over to their website to finish reading the post or share their comments.
From there, blogs can easily be broken up into several social media posts. Then when someone on social media clicks the posts, they’re taken back to the blog.
All of this helps with SEO for the website, too. And while the Google algorithms still look for quality writing that features keywords and keyword phrases, they also rate your site pages on the amount of engagement you get. In other words, you get rewarded for having people who come to your site and stay for a period of time.
See how that works?
One blog post, numerous marketing channels. And that means numerous paychecks for you as the freelancer writer…
When you sign blog-writing agreements with clients, remember to add on emails, social media posts, and keyword optimization. You’ve already done the heavy lifting by writing the blog. You may as well leverage it into additional writing fees!
The 5 Common Mistakes in Blogging
When done properly, blogs have the power to increase traffic to a website, build a strong relationship with readers, move them towards making a buying decision, and a whole lot more.
But most companies continue to make the same five mistakes that impede their goals, including:
1. Not sticking with a consistent publishing schedule.
Whether you publish daily or weekly or even (in rare cases) monthly, readers will come to expect to hear from you with a certain frequency. Disappoint them by not showing up at all or suddenly showing up too often and you risk losing them.
2. Not making use of white space.
Break up your paragraphs with subheads and images when possible. Vary the length of your paragraphs between one line and three or four (five at most). Don’t scare your reader off with a massive wall of text.
3. Not including hyperlinks to relevant sources, stories, or additional sales material.
Why go to all the effort to get readers to visit your blog and then not give them a place to go from there?
4. Not focusing on quality.
Never give in to the idea that quantity outplays quality. Write well, edit, and reread your posts. If you’re able to work with a professional copy editor or proofreader, all the better.
5. Not researching your audience.
This is true of all persuasive writing and content marketing. You must know and understand your audience if you want true engagement with your readers. If you don’t take the time to understand their core desires, you’ll never keep them reading your blogs for the long-term.
And now that you know the “don’ts,” let’s take a look at the “do’s”…
- Focus on growing a relationship with your audience.
- Take the time to research your readers and understand their motivations, fears, and hopes.
- Write to them as if you’re having a one-on-one conversation in a coffee shop.
- Establish yourself as likeable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable about the product or service you blog on.
Doing this will set you up with the authority to later convert and sell to that very same audience.
Ideas to Spice Up Your Blog Content
Variety is the spice of life! And with blogs, you don’t have to stick to just written content…
Use every creative tool in your bag to jazz up your blog and make it interesting to your readers. Here’s some of what you can incorporate into a blog:
- Contests and giveaways
- Shareable infographics
- Audio clips
- Commenting opportunities
You can cycle through these different options or consider mixing and matching. Always think of your reader and what the experience will be like for him or her when incorporating different communication approaches.
Blogging Fees and How They Escalate
Before pricing your posts for an eager client, consider the following:
1. Post length.
Short blog posts run between 300 and 600 words, and rates range from $50 to $200 per post. Long posts run between 700 and 1,200 words and start at $100, often going up to as much as $500 a post. (In some industries, this fee can even exceed $1,000!)
2. Post frequency.
Blogs are terrific writing opportunities because they’re recurring. After all, the most successful blogs are updated consistently. That said, frequency depends on your client and expectations. Some clients post daily, some a few times a week, and some weekly. If you end up writing a post just once a week, charge for a longer, more in-depth post.
3. Post proximity to the point of sale.
Meaning, are your posts intended to persuade a potential buyer to read a sales letter or learn more about a program? Or are they just meant to build a relationship between the reader and the product/company/service? The closer you are to the point of sale, the higher you can go with your fees.
Once you have a few blogging clients, you easily can set yourself up for recurring monthly paychecks in the four- to five-figure range. Even at the low end, a daily short-post contract for $100 a blog easily could net you $2,000 a month. And that’s just from one client!
4 Simple Steps to Launch Your Blogging Career
So how do you get started?
- Find a company you’d like to write for. The best prospects already will have blogs on their sites, which shows they value blogging as a communication tool. But even companies without blogs might be approachable about starting one, given what a key role blogs play in the marketing landscape these days.
- Brainstorm a series of three to five blog posts for the company. Stick to a core theme.
- Pitch the company on your blog post ideas.
- Assuming they like the ideas and hire you, over-deliver until you’re able to strike up a retainer deal or a long-term blogging-with-payment contract.
And remember to put together a few samples you can show to clients. Include some variety in length, focus, and topic so they can see your range and style.
Keep an Eye Out for Current Trends and Long-Term Value
One last thing. Make sure your blog, or any blog you write for a client, is easy to read and easy to share. You especially want it to be easy to read on mobile devices, since increasing numbers of people are consuming content on tablets and smartphones. So plan everything you write with an eye toward mobile consumption, and take the time to see what your blog looks like to someone reading it on their phone.
And, keep in mind: No matter what new types of content rise in popularity, the core of good communication and content marketing will always be about engaging your audience.
That means understanding who they are, what they’re looking for from you, and building on that relationship. Nail that talent and the sky’s the limit in terms of how much money you can make writing blogs.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to learn more about how to become a skilled blog writer, check out How to Write Blogs for Yourself and for Clients by Heather Robson, an expert in user experience and all forms of online copy.