By Joseph Putnam
If you are interested in making money from writing — and open-minded about exactly how you do it — consider paid blogging.
Recently, after a half-hour consult with Carol, I decided to target paid blogging as a source of income.
Within a month, I landed two writing gigs at well respected, medium-sized tech firms. One offered to pay $100 per post and the other offered to pay $125 plus a bonus based on how many times the post gets shared in social media.
Pretty good rates for first time, paid blog-writing gigs.
How did I do it? Here is my formula:
Step 1: Start a blog
If you haven’t already started a blog, you need to start one. Your blog provides an easy way to audition for paid blogging gigs.
Potential employers will read your site to determine if you have the chops to write for theirs. Make sure you have a beautifully designed WordPress site, and you’ll be on your way to landing your first paid blogging gig.
Step 2: Focus on one topic
Focusing your blog on a single topic shows you know how to write for a niche audience. Business owners want to know you’re capable of writing for their specific crowd and holding their interest, week after week. If you write about business one day, fashion the next, and cute little puppies the day after that, they won’t be confident you can consistently write targeted content.
If your subject matter is different from your prospect’s business type, that’s OK (as long as it’s not about porn or murdering babies or something). Writing about a single topic proves that you know how to develop a lot of post ideas around a single topic.
Step 3: Write excellent posts
If you treat each post like an audition for a business blog, you’ll write better content. Business owners need to know you can produce consistently good content, so proof, edit, and re-edit each post like it’s a paid piece. If you act like you’re getting paid, it’ll up the chances that you soon will be.
You don’t have to post every day — even regular posts once a week will provide enough of a good sample for prospects.
Step 4: Craft standout headlines
You’ve likely heard about the importance of crafting headlines that stand out. Headlines are important for two reasons.
First, headlines are the number-one item that draws new readers to your site, including potential employers who will hire you to write for them. Second, writing standout headlines shows prospects you can write headlines for business blogs that will get more readers to their site.
Step 5: Add a “hire me” tab
In my 30-minute consultation with Carol, she advised that I add a “hire me” tab to my site to advertise for paid blogging gigs. Taking this simple step landed me my first two assignments.
Within two weeks of adding the tab, a business owner e-mailed asking if I’d be interested in writing for his Internet-marketing company. It’s a successful analytics company that’s well known in Internet-marketing circles. I said yes, landing my first gig. After writing for them, I was contacted by another owner to write for his site.
Step 6: Network with prospects
Another critical step was networking with other professionals. The first business owner who asked me to write is also a blogger I’d been in contact with for six months. After finding his site, I occasionally left comments, and we had a few e-mail conversations. Before getting hired, I sent an e-mail asking him to check out one of my posts. This led him to find my “hire me” tab and offer for me to write for his site.
Don’t overlook commenting and e-mailing with other bloggers. You never know where those connections will lead.
This is exactly how I landed my first paid blogging gig: I started a blog, wrote the best content I could, learned about headline writing, paid for a quick coaching session with Carol, added a “hire me” tab, and networked with other bloggers. It ended up being as simple as that.
Got questions about how to land paid blogging gigs? Leave a comment and Carol and I will do our best to answer.
Joseph Putnam is a freelance writer with a marketing degree from the University of Texas at Austin.