Why Would Anyone Pay $100 for a Blog Post?

Carol Tice

Baffled business woman If you’re trying to find paid blogging gigs, you may be looking at a sea of job listings that pay $10 or $20 a post.

Meanwhile, you may have heard that some writers get much more than that — $100 and up.

This is an odd situation, hm?

Makes you wonder where all those better-paid blogging gigs are hiding…and why your prospects aren’t willing to pay you real rates.

One Freelance Writers Den member wrote me:

I was asked this question recently — why would anyone pay $100 for a blog post?

If a prospective client asks me this, what should I tell him or her? What exactly goes into blogging that makes it worth $100 per post?–Sara

Here’s the thing: There are two basic types of blogging customers. To understand who pays well for blog posts, let’s take a look at their profiles:

Customer 1: SEO seeker with easy topics

Most of the paid-blogging gigs you see on the Problogger job boards and Craigslist fall into this category. Many of the ads you see are from startup companies.

They have a business model that works like this:

  • Do key word research on what gets a lot of searches online
  • Slap up masses of content on scads of popular topics
  • Stuff posts with search engine optimized (SEO) key words
  • Put ads on all the pages this content creates
  • Search engines send visitors interested in the key words they’ve targeted
  • Visitors click the ads and earn the business some affiliate sales revenue

The big problem with this model: The vast majority of sites that try it don’t do very well. Also, Google is cracking down on these junk-content sites and many of these sites are seeing their search rankings decline. That means less ad revenue for them, and less pay for you.

Even Demand Media doesn’t earn much, with huge traffic flowing to its network of sites.

Here, the content quality isn’t really important. The content’s true purpose isn’t to educate or entertain — it’s to get Internet visitors to click to the page. Period. From there, the hope is the reader will be distracted by the ads and start clicking.

These are the sort of posts that content mill writers report they crank out at a rate of three or more articles an hour. A little bit of Internet research, and then blurt it onto the page. Lather, rinse, repeat.

With popular topics, legions of writers exist who could do the work. And the websites need thousands of posts to make their model work.

This is simple math:

Easy assignment many writers can do

+ need for mass amounts of content

+ weak profitability

= low rates

The big thing to know:

These posts are meant for search-engine robots to read.

I’m confident this is the sort of customer Sara was talking to, who was astounded to hear her ask for $100 a blog post.

Because quality expectations are so low (despite endless requests for ‘high-quality posts’ from these very clients), and the possibility of earning well from the post so slim, it’s not possible for these sites to pay fair wages.

What should you tell these clients when they balk at your professional rates?

Nothing.

They are not the right kind of customer to pay what you want to earn.

You’re banging your head against a jagged brick wall here. The wall is not going to give, but you will get some nasty, frustrating bumps that will hurt your business, because you’re wasting time.

Instead, move on.

Which brings us to…

Customer 2: Reputation builder with sophisticated topic

This second customer has a completely different reason for blogging. Their business model works like this:

  • They sell a real product or service in the real world
  • They are established, profitable, and successful
  • What they sell is complex, expensive, and changes frequently
  • They need to explain their thing in detail and get customers excited about it
  • Their industry is competitive
  • Often, the customer is a sophisticated business owner or executive
  • Blog posts establish them as an authority in their niche
  • High-value, informative posts help them attract new customers to their site
  • Blog posts help build their email list of marketing leads
  • The business makes more sales off their growing list

To sum up:

These posts are meant for people to read.

The content of these posts is both critically important and difficult to do right.

Not every writer can blog for these companies, which sell everything from software to surety bonds.

The blogger will need some understanding of the industry to write interesting, informative posts customers in that industry will find valuable.

These customers also want bloggers with a proven track record of driving traffic and engagement — getting a lot of comments and retweets. They’re hoping you will do the same for their blog.

This is the profile of a $100-a-post blog client.

When you quote this type of prospect a pro rate, they will think it’s fine. In my experience, most will approve a $100 rate without a blink.

They are making good money, and in the great scheme of their marketing budget, what you’re asking for is pin money.

Few writers go after these gigs, though, because they are rarely found on a job ad.

You have to go out and find these clients. But when you look at the difference in how writers are paid and treated between these two types of clients, isn’t it worth doing a little prospecting?

91 Comments

  1. Mark

    I think the harsh reality is that there is an overwhelming competition today. The secret probably lies in a writer’s ability to promote the content they have, and most don’t really know how to do that. Yes, selling your material for $20, doesn’t make sense. But promoting your brand (your name as a writer, your blog, or your content) is really important. To succeed today, you must be seen and heard. Meaning you must achieve the important balance between quantity and quality. You cannot ignore the importance of SEO if you want to succeed as a blogger. As this page actually proves.

    • Carol Tice

      Mark, there’s only overwhelming competition at the BOTTOM of the ladder. Learn to write more sophisticated products, or about more sophisticated topics, and there’s a whole lot less competition, and professional rates are still strong.

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