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
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.
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 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.