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Five Ways to Make More Money Blogging for Other People

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When I first started blogging, I did so on a freelance basis, providing content for clients rather than running my own blogs. Today, I have a foot in both camps, but the majority of income has always been from my freelance work.

Initially, I was paid pennies for my work, but eventually I learned how to make an actual living in this industry. Zac Johnson wrote a great post about how to create content that clients will reward, but it takes more than killer content to be an in-demand freelance blogger. Here are five skills to master if you want to make more money blogging for others:

1. Reliability

As someone who has hired freelancers as well as being a freelancer herself, I can confirm that reliability is at least as important as actual writing talent. At one point, I had anywhere from eight to twelve people working under me, and there were always at least ten unreliable people who would disappear without a word for every one legitimate worker.

Do your job. Do it on time, and do it well. Stay in close communication with your client, and don’t leave them hanging. Most clients reward freelancers who they don’t have to chase. It sounds simple enough, but you’d be amazed how rare this is in the freelance world.

2. Availability

Flexibility is a trait admired in most industries, but clients respond best to this trait when paired with availability. In other words, it’s not enough to be flexible with the content you’re writing so you fit the client’s needs, but you also need to have a flexible schedule to finish changes quickly or take on extra projects. Sometimes, bloggers have to burn the midnight oil, so if you’re a 9-to-5-only type of person, it will be hard to command the big bucks. Clients want to know that when there’s a breaking story, you’re on it.

3. Networking

You might be hired for your skills as a writer, but clients will pay you more if you’re also a savvy networker. Building your social media followings means that posts you share reach a wider audience, and while it may not be in your contract that you have to tweet about new clients post, doing this at least occasionally is a smart professional move. Not only does this allow you to showcase your work, but it also helps you drive traffic to your clients’ blogs – which means you’re a more valuable commodity.

Networking skills go beyond getting others to like your Facebook posts, though. Clients also like to work with freelancers who can make connections. When they’re looking for a new editor, do you know someone perfect for the job? Can you connect your client with a new investor? Can you bring business into the company not only in your content marketing efforts, but also by introducing your clients to potential customers? If you bring in more money for a client, there will be a trickle-down effect to you.

4.Traffic Consulting

As Zac mentioned in his post, clients will pay more for content that really brings in the big numbers. However, the “if you build it, they will come” approach doesn’t always work. In other words, it takes more than killer content to drive traffic to your blog (or in this case, your clients’ blogs).

So, you have two options: you can put your nose to the grindstone and set them up for success with the best content possible, leaving the rest of the work to them, or you can tell your clients when you see ways for them to improve. I’m a fan of speaking up, since it means more money in your pocket!

If your clients truly need a consultant, you need to work out a contract with them so you’re paid fairly, but offering simple tips for free is a great way to become more valuable as a writer. Can you recommend a great plugin that will help them attract more readers? Is there something about their blog design that is a little off and causing high bounce rates? Would a different blogging schedule give them more bang for their buck? Speak up, and as their traffic increases due to your advice, you can ask for a higher pay rate per post.

5. Independence

Lastly, almost all clients want freelancers who can work independently. You will come across the occasionally obsessive micro-manager, but most of the time, your job as a blogger is just a very small cog in the machine of a business. They don’t have time to answer 17 emails a day from you. Be careful not to overstep your boundaries by making decisions without asking the client, but take the initiative to solve your own problems whenever possible. If you’re an independent worker who is (going back to point #1) extremely reliable, the client will trust you, and in the freelance world, trust equals money.

I don’t want this post to downplay the importance of providing quality content for your clients, which should always be your biggest goal. These are just five ways to go even further with the service you’re providing. Definitely check out the blog track at NMX this January, paying special attention to sessions about content production. The skills these speakers will teach you about creating content for your own blog can, and should, be applied to creating content for your clients’ blogs as well.

How to Use Your Blog to Get Freelancing and Consulting Work

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Recently, we talked about 17 plugins you can use with WordPress to make money on your blog, and while I think this is a great place to start, not every blog needs to be monetized so overtly. Just because you don’t run ads or work with sponsors doesn’t mean you can’t make money with your blog. In fact, one of the most lucrative monetization efforts for me has been gaining other work through my blog. You can be hired as a freelancer or consultant, or you can even be offered a job in your field, all due to your blogging activities.

Before you go about monetizing in this way, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Every time you take on outside work, you have less time for your blog.
  2. When you take a full-time job in your field, you might ultimately have to give up your blog if it is a conflict of interest.
  3. If your main goal with your blog is to use it to get hired, you might have to heavily filter what you say in op-ed posts.

Now that you know some of the drawbacks, are you still interested in making money this way? If so, here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Create a page for your services.

Sometimes, the people who visit your blog might not realize that you’re looking for work even though they’re looking to hire someone with your skills. Once, I worked with a client looking for a web designer. He said, “Can you help me find someone like such-and-such blogger? Her work is perfect!” My response was, “Have you asked that blogger?” My client ended up hiring that person, who almost missed out on the job simply because she didn’t have a “hire me” page on her website.

  • Talk about prices.

Every time I see Marcus Sheridan speak, he preaches the importance of talking about prices on your website. I think this is a great tactic if you’re selling services online. People like to know what they’re going to have to pay in order to hire you. Of course, sometimes, you can’t give an exact price, but even giving a range is better than not giving any pricing information at all.

If your ultimate goal is to get work from your blog, there are times when you might not want to post about certain topics. Potential employers could be turned off by highly opinionated pieces, posts where you are negative about a company in your industry, or too many guest posts on your blog. Yes, you want traffic, but if you are using your blog as an online portfolio, you should choose each post with care.

Ultimately, you don’t need ads to monetize your blog; you have other options as well, including using your blog to get freelancing and consulting work. If you’re a blogger looking for this kind of work, consider coming to the next NMX event. It’s a great place to network and meet the type of people who want to hire someone like you!

The Truth about Blogging for Other People (part 2)

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Today, we’re talking about blogging for other people. Head over to Part 1 first to read about what you can expect to be paid and the perks of blogging for clients.

Let’s jump right back into it by talking a little about what you can expect when blogging for other people

The Freedom

When you blog for yourself, you and write whatever you want whenever you you want. When you blog for clients, that’s not the case. Some have extremely detailed instructions and others have no idea what they want and are looking to you to be their expert in blogging. In my experience, the more freedom I get, the better, but I’ll also take on projects where they have very specific requirements if the price is right and the topic interests me.

But what you have to understand that no matter how much freedom your client gives you, what they say goes. A client can come along and take down or edit your post, or they can even fire you if you write something they consider to be a major problem. I highly recommend that you have a contract with your client, and for this contract to outline just how a post with your name attached can be edited. I once had a client complete butcher something I wrote, making me look like a fool and misrepresenting my opinions. Sure, he was well within his rights to post whatever he wanted on his blog, but it had my name attached to it, so it was a problem.

Work with clients who are a good fit for your personal brand so problems are less likely to arise. For example, I’m an extremely opinionated, and although I’m willing to “play nice” on a client site, I won’t change who I am on Twitter for the sake of a blogging gig. Some clients have a problem with that because I occasionally curse or post NSFW material on my own sites and social media profiles. That’s okay – those clients aren’t a good fit for me and I’m not a good fit for them. Remember that ultimately your brand is most important, so stay true to who you are. If you change yourself for a blogging gig an that gig ends, then what? few jobs last forever.

The Tasks

When you blog for yourself, the entire success of your site rests on your shoulders. You write, edit, promote, respond to comments, find sponsors/advertisers, create products, run mailing lists, write newsletters, attend in-person and virtual events, develop your social media outposts…the list goes on and on and on and the work never ends.

When you blog for other people, you might do all of the above or you might do a single task. Most of the time, it’s somewhere in the middle. You’ll write posts but are also expected to do at least a little promotion and help develop the overall brand of the blog. The more you’re expected to do, the more you should get paid if you’re paid a flat fee. Of course, if you’re paid on performance, the more effort you put in beyond just writing, the more money you’ll make.

Remember to outline exactly what you’re being expected to do in your contract. Some clients expect to see results, but that isn’t possible if someone isn’t promoting. If you’re not being paid to do that, make sure that your client understands that it’s necessary to be successful. Otherwise, they may assume that you’re not doing a good job writing posts and fire you.

It benefits you to do at least a little promotion with your posts, even if you’re not being paid for it. You don’t have to spend hours a day tweeting, liking, stumbling, and the like, but taking a moment to push out the link once can help drive a little traffic, which is an incentive for the client to continue working with you. It also can help you – as a writer, you always want to proudly promote your work, since it could lead to more clients in the future.

As a freelancer, you’ll benefit if you can offer more services. Clients want to hire one person when necessary, rather than hiring different people to write, handle social media, format posts, etc. Not every client will pay for every service you offer, but the more things you know how to do, the better.

The Truth

The truth is this – blogging for other people is hard. You don’t have the stress of trying to make your own business succeed, but there are a whole host of other stresses that come along with this job. Here are a few last pointers if you’re consing this career option:

  • Sometimes, clients don’t pay. They promise you money and they just disappear, argue that you didn’t fulfill the contract, or whatever. It isn’t always malicious – sometimes clients just run out of money. A strong contract can only protect you so far. Make sure you work with people you trust and people with great business plans.
  • You aren’t always going to agree with the direction a client takes with the blog. You should always politely speak your mind, but not all clients will hear you out or take your advice. It can be frustrating.
  • A client can hurt your business if they feud with other people. Online, people often take sides when there’s an issue, scandal, or problem and if you’re working for a client, you might be lumped in with them even if your opinions differ. Yes, you can leave, but sometimes it’s hard to reverse damage is done to your online reputation.
  • Clients can be very demanding. They often don’t realize how much time your tasks take. Don’t be afraid to say no or ask for more money if you’re asked to take on additional tasks.
  • The customer isn’t always right, but sometimes you have to do things you think are silly to please them. For example, I have a client that insists on meeting every single week on Skype to catch up with what we’re doing and go over blog goals. That would be fine if we actually had new stuff to go over, but every week, we talk about the same things. The meetings are completely unnecessary from my point of view, but to him, they’re necessary, so I do it. I also had a client who insisted that I watch a very 101-level WordPress video before working on his site. I could have produced a better video with my own WP experience, but it made the client feel assured that I’d be right for the job. Sometimes you just have to do these things.

The ultimate truth I suppose is that blogging for other people is right for some and not right for others. Personally, I love it because it allows me to do what I love most – write – without worrying as much about all the other blogging work that has to be done. Some people don’t like giving up that control, though. Do your research before you jump into freelancing, and take projects that are right for you. Some of you out there might love it as much as I do.

The Truth about Blogging for Other People (part 1)

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If you would have told me, back in the late nineties, that I would someday be paid to blog for other people, I would have laughed at you. Not just giggled. We’re talking sort-milk-out-of-my-nose laughter. I loved blogging back in those early days, back when LiveJournal and Xanga were all the rage and all of us high school kids poured our hearts out online…of course, behind a protected screen so only our friends could see.

I never imagined that blogging could become a profession.

Yet, today, that’s exactly what I spend 99% of my time doing. When I first started freelance writing, I took on all kinds of gigs, but over the years, I’ve noticed that the majority of the jobs out there are for blogs. Some clients are hiring bloggers to work on an ongoing basis, where you’re required to help promote and build the brand as well as write, format, and otherwise prep posts for publishing. Others order groups of posts sent via email and they take care of the rest. Clients also order ebooks to sell or give away in conjunction with their blogs or sales letters to promote products based on their blogs. But the point is this: if you want to be freelance writer, you want to learn about blogging.

Blogging for other people is very different from creating your own blog, however. Most of the advice you’ll read online is for those who own their own blogs, and while some of that advice certain holds true, there’s so much more to it if you want to be a successful blogger for a client. And the truth about blogging for other people? It isn’t easy. Let’s go over some of the basic information you need to know about this blogging path to get started.

The Money

Okay, I’ll start with the question that everyone has but that is a little embarrassing to ask. How much do you get paid to blog for other people? The fact of the matter is, there’s no one easy way to answer this question.

First, there are a few different ways to get paid. Some bloggers are paid a flat fee per post (or a flat fee per month with a minimum post requirement). This is great for the blogger, since you can plan your budget more easily and schedule your time in a way that makes sense. You can also get paid based on performance. When your posts do better, driving more traffic, you’ll make more money. The advantage here is that many clients see it as more “fair” and affordable to work this way, and as a blogger, you have the potential to continuously earn more from posts you write, since posts can get popular even long after they initially go live. Some clients combine these two payment methods, paying a smaller flat fee and then monthly performance bonuses.

I recommend staying away from performance-only based payment unless the blog already has a track record of success. The main draw to blogging for other people is the guaranteed money; if you want to be paid based on how good you are at SEO and post promotion, you might as well create your own site and upload ads yourself. It’s almost as much work as doing that.

But just how much can you expect to make?

To be honest, I’ve seen clients offering gigs that pay anywhere from just a few dollars per post to hundreds. It depends on the content and nice, the blog’s current traffic/revenue, and what skills you can bring to the table. In general, you’ll be paid less for news posts and paid more for op-ed or how-to pieces. My non-scientific guess at average (once you dismiss all the jackholes that want you to write for free) is $10 to $20 per post.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should only take jobs paying at least $10 per post. It might make sense for you to take a blogging job that pays much less, especially if they can offer a ton of exposure to your personal site. If you spend hours creating long, thoughtful, heavily-researched posts, though, even $20 probably seems laughable – in this case, you should expect to be paid $100 or more. There’s no one right answer when it comes to what you should charge or what offer you should except.

The Perks

When you blog for others, there are perks beyond a paycheck. These fringe benefits might make a lower-paying gig worth your time. Some benefits you might get include:

  • review items related to your niche
  • access to celebrities in your niche for interviews
  • free travel to conferences and other events
  • links back to your own blog if you have one
  • links back to your freelance writing site/portfolio, which can help you get more clients
  • free company products like t-shirts and tote bags
  • name recognition in the niche

The perks really vary by blog. Once, I wrote for a blog and someone sent me free candy to review. Another time, the company gave me a complete profile page where I could post links to everything from my social media accounts to my writing portfolio. And of course, writing here at the BlogWorld blog allows me to go to the best conference in the world!

Click here to continue on to read Part 2, where I talk about freedom, tasks, and more.

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