You can use your blog posts to attract paid blogging gigs.
Good-paying ones, too — not $20 a post.
Ever wonder what company marketing managers and publication editors look for in a personal blog, when they’re checking you out and thinking about hiring you?
I’ve done a lot of paid blogging… for companies, publications…even a TV network.
In my experience, there are some basic elements prospective clients want to see on your blog that make them go “Aha! This person is a pro blogger who could help me build my audience.”
Many blogs have some of these features, but most blogs don’t have them all.
How does your blog stack up? Here are seven features that in my experience really help you get hired off your blog:
- You physically know how to do it. Most of you will have this one nailed, but to take it from the top, they want to see you know how to put up a post. It looks nice and clean, in a big readable font that’s consistent through your blog. They see you’re posting regularly — at least a couple times a month.
- Your design is uncluttered. There aren’t a bunch of goofy widgets, flashing ads, mutiple sidebars, or dark backgrounds with white letters. Clean design also means not having .blogger or .wordpress or something in your URL. Pay the tiny fee and get hosting — it really makes you look a lot more pro.
- You understand blog style. Your posts are short and scannable, with numbered or bulleted points, or useful subheads that guide the reader through your post. Paragraphs are short, too. Each post has several links to other useful information that are anchored to appropriate key words. Let your links be neither dead (non-working) nor naked (typed out in full as in . rather than linked to anchored words).
- You stick to a niche. In my experience, it doesn’t really matter what your niche topic is (as long as it’s not your love of porn or something). I’ve gotten gigs writing about surety bonds, unsecured credit lines, and other business-dorky topics off this writing blog. What matters is that you show you understand niche blogging and the prospect can see you know how to develop a lot of post ideas on a single topic. You’re not blogging about what your cat ate or whatever comes to mind that day or weird YouTube videos…just about your chosen subject. Every paying client will want you to stick strictly to their niche, so it’s really important to show you get this.
- You know how to find, add and properly attribute images. They should be simple, clean images installed at the top of each post, nice and big, half-column width (not taking up the entire top of the post so that the first paragraph is pushed down below it). If you’re really slick, you understand sightlines, and eyes in faces or diagonal lines in photos point readers toward your copy, not away from it. If they’re not paid photos, you have a citation and link to where they came from.
- You use social sharing buttons appropriately and are active in social media. Most paying clients are hoping you’ll know how to retweet your posts and help promote your content. Buttons on your site (that are hopefully getting used by your readers) show you get social-media marketing, while a lack of buttons leave them wondering.
- You get and respond to reader comments. Prospects want to see you know how to write the kind of posts that can draw in readers and engage them enough to leave comments. If people do leave comments, they can see you respond appropriately.
You might also want to add a “hire me” tab to your blog to make it plain that you are interested in paying work. I’m hearing from some writers that helped them start getting nibbles from prospects, though it can work even without one. I had clients contacting me before I put one up.
Are you using your blog to get paying gigs? Leave a comment and tell us your approach.