Blogging gigs are beyond awesome, because your blog clients need regular content. Regular content means regular money entering your bank account, less time spent looking for jobs, and lots of content for your portfolio.
The easiest way to get a paid blogging gig is, of course, to respond to a job ad (get my free email templates here to increase your chances of getting a response to your emails).
But even if you don’t see anything interesting on the job boards, you can still find a freelance blogging job. Many open positions are never advertised because the client finds someone through a recommendation or hires a writer who has reached out to them previously.
So, if you want to become a paid blog contributor, start being that smart writer who reaches out!
Here’s how to do it…
Assessing Your Own Skills
Start by thinking about your own skills and interests. Long-term blogging requires a passion for the topic, because you’ll be writing thousands of words within a single niche. It’s not always as easy at it sounds, even when you do love the topic, but if you aren’t passionate about the niche, you’ll start to dread the work. Trust me; I’ve been there!
Take some time to also assess your own writing voice and style. If you work with long-term blogging clients who like your natural voice and style, it is a lot easier to deliver blog posts on a regular basis. You certainly can write in a way that reflects your client’s voice and style instead, but it is definitely more difficult.
Lastly, think about what you do well. When you “cold call” clients (I’m calling it cold calling even when it is an email), you really have to pitch yourself and your writing services. So, be aware about your best attributes and let those skills shine.
Keep one thing in mind: You are the bomb diggity.
Seriously, the number one reason most writers fail is that they do not have confidence in their own abilities to hustle and get jobs! I have been in do-or-die situations, and I’ve always made it work. Why? Because I throw my shoulders back and approach clients with confidence.
Yes, even when it scares the poop out of me.
So, when assessing your own skills, be realistic… but don’t be so afraid of overselling yourself that you choke on your own words and end up underselling instead. Being humble is good, but these people don’t know you. Don’t be scared to tell them that you’re a good investment.
Guest Posting Versus Contributing
Before we go any further, let me break down the two different ways you can get your work published on blogs.
Guest posting is most common, and while it can help you to write some guest posts, especially if you are a new writer looking to build a portfolio, guest posting typically isn’t a job. Usually, guest posts are unpaid, though I do know some blogs who pay for posts. Typically pay is in the $50 – $100 range, which certainly isn’t bad, but guest posts are a one-time deal.
In other words, they’ll barely cover the cost of your Starbucks, let alone pay your rent or mortgage.
Contributing, on the other hand, can mean that you’re writing a guest post or (more commonly) it means that you’re writing for the blog regularly. It’s like being a magazine columnist versus writing one article that runs in a single issue.
Being a contributor also sometimes means you given more responsibilities, such as uploading your posts to a blogging platform (usually WordPress), formatting the post, adding links, adding graphics, and more. You may receive assignments with topics you’re supposed to cover, or you may have to come up with topics on your own. If you develop your own topics, you might have to pitch them to your client first, or you might be given free reign to write and publish the content you determine is best.
If you can’t find any work as a paid blog contributor, try serving as a guest poster first. Sometimes guest posting can evolve into a job.
Which Blogs to Approach
When reaching out to tell clients you are available, look for blogs that have at least some of the following characteristics:
- Multiple writers – Someone who writes a personal blog is less likely to hire a writer than someone who owns a blog that already employs several writers.
- A clear funding source – If the blog makes money through selling some kind of product or service, they might be able to afford to hire writers.
- A hole in content you are uniquely qualified to fill – What can you offer that no one else can? You have the best chance at getting hired if you can demonstrate that your skills and knowledge will add something to their blog that they can’t get elsewhere.
What to Say
When reaching out to blog owners, it can be awkward to just introduce yourself and ask for a job… but that’s exactly what to do! Don’t beat around the bush. Be confident in your abilities and write a short, sweet email that outlines what you bring to the table.
My free email templates include a template to use when you are “cold calling” via email, but remember, every situation is different. Do you research with each potential client to find answers to the following questions:
- Who is the blog’s ideal reader?
- How long are the blog posts?
- How frequently are new posts published?
- What topics have they covered in depth?
- What topics are most popular on their blog?
- Have they accepted guest posts in the past?
Read the blog before you pitch! It sounds silly, but I’ve gotten countless requests for guest posts and contributor gigs from people who clearly skimmed a few posts on my homepage and called it a day. Show that you know what their blog is all about.
Blog Contributor Pay Rates
As with all freelance writing jobs, paid rates for blog contributors vary greatly.
Sometimes – very occasionally – it makes sense to work for free. This is not an opinion shared by all freelancers, but I personally believe that you have to weigh the pros and cons. If writing for free for a blog will get you more clients, it might make sense for you.
The rule of thumb is that the more profitable a blog is, the more they can pay their writers. However, this is also dependent on the number of writers they are paying and the number of posts they are publishing. For example, a very profitable blog that publishes twice daily will pay more per post than a very profitable blog that publishes twice hourly.
For shorter posts that don’t have longevity (such as posts published by news-type blogs), you can expect a pay rate of anywhere from $10 to $50 per post. For longer posts that are more “evergreen” (i.e. they are relevant long-term), you can expect to earn anywhere from $20 to $200 per post. These rates are not set in stone of course. I’ve seen gigs that pay just $5 – $10 per post for a ridiculous amount of work to gigs that pay $1,000+ per blog post because the writer brings something extra special to the table, such as a large network for followers who will read the post or in-depth knowledge about the topic.
Before you email any bloggers, make sure you set your rates so you know what to ask. Bloggers who post open gigs on job sites typically have a number in mind, but if you send out an unsolicited email, the first question you’ll be asked is, “What do you charge?” Be ready with an answer. This post is all about how to set your rates to meet your income goals.
Is a Paid Blog Contributor Gig Right for You?
Paid blogging isn’t for everyone. Even if you love the topic, the work can get tedious, because you’re writing about the same topic all the time. I encourage to give it a try, though! When I first started freelancing, I thought blogging was silly. Granted, this was 2006 or so, before professional blogging was really a thing. But even so, I would probably still think it is silly if I wouldn’t have tried it for myself, and today, a good portion of my income comes from blogging gigs!
So get out there and try it. If all else fails, you can look for new gigs. One of the best things about freelancing is that you are your own boss, so you get to “fire” clients if you aren’t feeling it anymore.