The Easy Way to Get a Good-Paying Blogging Gig that Most Writers Ignore

Easy Street roadWould you like to get paid $100 a post or more as a professional blogger?

I often get asked what the secret is to finding clients willing to pay those rates.

All the ads on Craigslist seem to pay $20 bucks a post, maybe $40 if you’re lucky.

Here’s the difference: The good-paying blogging gigs are not waiting on an ad.

But once you know how to get them, it’s a fairly straightforward process.

You need to do three simple things if you want to find better pay as a freelance blogger:

  1. Have a strong personal blog
  2. Find the right prospects
  3. Make the right pitch to them

Unfortunately, most freelancers are messing up at least one of these steps.

So let’s look them over one by one so you can nail this.

1. Making your blog a sales tool

Does your blog resemble a business blog? You want to set up your blog to make business owners feel that you understand business blogging when they visit.

That means:

  • Clean, uncluttered design (take that widget of your tweets off)
  • Single, focused niche topic
  • Scannable posts with bullets or subheads
  • Strong headlines with key words
  • Photos half-column wide at the top of each post
  • Social buttons are there and getting used
  • Comments are happening

If your blog is a random mess, you’re not going to be able to convince businesses with real budgets for blogging that you’re their writer.

So clean up your blog and make it as strong as you can. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to discover the hidden market for paid blogging.

2. Find the ideal business blogging prospect

You’ve probably already figured out that to find better pay in blogging, you’ll need to proactively prospect, rather than responding to online job ads.

Instead of random websites, you’ll be looking for real businesses with a track record of successfully selling a lucrative business or service. Usually, they’ll be big enough to have at least a few employees.

Next, you have to recognize the ideal situation for landing a blogging gig. I get emails all the time that say this:

I found this small business in my town, and they don’t have a blog yet.

I’m meeting with them, trying to talk them into starting a blog I could write for them.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Companies that don’t have a blog yet are not good prospects.

They do not understand how blogging could help their site rank better in search and bring them new customers — or they’d be blogging.

So you begin at the dawn of blog time here, explaining what a blog is and what it could do for their business. This is going to be a long sales process…too long to pencil out for you as a freelancer trying to make a living.

Even if you can talk the business owner into it, there are too many steps between that light bulb going on and this company being in a position to hire you to blog.

They’ve got to get their webmaster to add a blog. They’ve got to design it. They have to name it. They have to pick a topic for it.

In general, it’s not going to happen. At least not in time to pay your rent.

Instead of grabbing any old business you see that doesn’t have a blog, take the easy route.

Here’s your ideal prospect:

  • The company has a blog already…but it’s abandoned. Updates haven’t happened for a long while, or there’s only a new post once every few months.
  • Their business is something you understand — you’ve used their product, worked in their industry, or written about their topic before

Bingo! This is the sweet spot.

This company understands blogging. They have a blog. They have tried to post on their blog.

And they’ve realized nobody in-house has the time to do it.

Or they had the time, but they hate writing. Or don’t understand blogging. Or ran out of post ideas.

Maybe they tried a few posts, didn’t get traffic, and gave up.

They wish they had a happening blog, but the owner is overwhelmed with all the other responsibilities of running a business. So now they have an embarrassing, dusty, out-of-date blog that’s more of a hindrance to their business growth than a help.

If they knew where they could find a really talented blogger, they’d jump on them — but they don’t have time to look.

This is where you come in. By targeting businesses you know, you can make the case that you are the answer to their problem.

3. How to pitch the owner of a dead blog

Once you’ve identified these prime prospects, from here it’s easy. You call or send them an email and say something like this:

Dear business owner:

As a freelance writer who specializes in X, I ran across your company recently. Love what you’re doing with (product/service).

I loved your [website feature], but the one thing I noticed is that your blog isn’t being updated. If you’d like to attract new visitors and convert them into customers with interesting, relevant blog posts that get shared in social media, I’d love to help you with regular weekly posts.

Check out what I’m doing on my blog (or this blog I do for X client) — then give me a call if you’d like to kick your blog back into gear.

Sincerely,

I’ve seen a lot of writers I’ve mentored get great, steady blogging gigs pitching businesses with abandoned blogs. One writer I know even signed up his local tattoo parlor, for once-weekly posts at $100 each!

If you’d like to find some steady, ongoing blogging clients at nice rates, take a look at the successful businesses in your town — the ones big enough to have a marketing budget. Or look at bigger businesses nationally, within your chosen niche.

Then, start hunting for those ghost-town blogs. Those businesses need your help.

How do you find paid blogging gigs? Leave a comment and share your tips.

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53 comments on “The Easy Way to Get a Good-Paying Blogging Gig that Most Writers Ignore
  1. Mary Meyer says:

    Excellent advice Carol! I’ve been wondering how to pitch a blog to a client and this really streamlines things.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Glad to help, Mary!

      I think many writers waste a lot of time trying to pitch the wrong clients for blogging services, while I know writers getting great results with this approach.

  2. Holly says:

    Great tips here and I think you pointed out a mistake that is easy to make. I love the idea of going after the established… yet neglected blog.

    • Carol Tice says:

      It’s the sweet spot, Holly. Breaks my heart when I see writers banging their heads against the wall trying to evangelize about blogging to the unconverted. Way too much work!

  3. Julia says:

    This is one of the next things I’ll be doing with my business Carol. Thanks for highlighting this. It’s actually one of the ways I also pitch prospects that aren’t interested in my other services. I pitch them the higher-paying one first, then if they’re not ready, I look at their blog and pitch that one.
    Julia recently posted..How to Use Content Marketing to Be Boring

  4. Carol,

    For me, one of the best ways to get your blog up to standard and working as a sales tool is to study what other successful bloggers do.

    For instance, many of the features on your own blog, such as a call to action inviting people to comment, a newsletter sign-up form and personal touches to the sidebar shout out to your own prospects that you really know what you’re doing.

    They’re also why I keep coming back for more.
    Kevin Carlton recently posted..5 non-existent words that make YOU look a halfwit copywriter

  5. Hi, Carol. I appreciate your advice. I keep all of your articles and print them out too. You’ve given me so many ideas, it’s hard to know where to start. But even if I start with one, that’s a start!

  6. Cheryl Rhodes says:

    Definitely good advice and some that I’ve already learned in the Writer’s Den. Next week I have a meeting with the tourism department in the city next to mine who I contacted after noticing their abandoned blog so I hope that pans into an ongoing writing job. However I’ve also contacted an organization without a blog and contacted them that I thought a blog would be a great source of additional, timely information. They responded they’ve been discussing creating a blog not only for this site but for another site they operate, but didn’t have a writer.There I came along at the right time with an introductory email. They asked me for some ideas for each site, and they liked them and asked my rate. They operate under government funding – tourism based – and have put in a request in their budget for two blogs. The budget meeting is in April and I’m crossing my fingers the blogs gets approved. So don’t discount companies that don’t have blogs. They might be open to the idea and just haven’t got around to putting the blog into action.

  7. Erica says:

    Great advice, Carol. When I was still an in-house copywriter, I was responsible for maintaining the company’s blog. And having this perspective from the inside (they didn’t have time, couldn’t come up with topics, no resources for research, no traffic) will help.

    Thanks for the idea!
    Erica recently posted..A Freelancer’s Uncelebrated Milestones

  8. These are such wonderful points Carol. I had never thought of this approach. I will definitely try this method of getting more work. Thanks.

  9. This is awesome Carol.

    My professional blogging work comes through the agency I work for but I have been compiling a list of local businesses to approach on my own. Building up my personal blog is taking some time and is in limbo as I develop a website, but this is a great reason to carry on.

    I’ve been crafting a sales letter to send out and I’m going to try yours.

    Thanks Amy
    Amy Dunn Moscoso recently posted..How to Not Blog Like Alabama: Write a Business Blog Strategy

  10. Brandy says:

    Freaking brilliant! Thank you so much! I just sent in a pitch to a company I know would benefit wildly from regular blog postings. Thank you again – exactly what I needed today!
    Brandy recently posted..Love in the Middle of the Suck

  11. Lee J Tyler says:

    Carol, I love all of these tips, but two in particular stood out:

    1) The business that doesn’t have a blog…I’m paraphrasing here but the length of time between the light bulb going on and getting the whole mess started is way too long for anyone to help pay their rent!!! So true.

    2) Your tips on sidebars (and always; bullet points, easily scannable posts) and cleaning up your sidebar. I had already done some of that but need to check out your tip on Social triggers.

    Two questions: I have affiliate links on the side of my blog plus rss feed (which won’t last past this summer…), search bar and ‘presence’ as in a face which I took off but was encouraged to put back on. What do I do with those affiliate links?
    And also, I always forget the cardinal rule of blogging: scannable posts. (Yes, you may kick me.) Isi it worth it or disingenuous if I redo just the layout of my old posts?

    Thanks for the great advice. As always, I learn so much!
    Lee J Tyler recently posted..The Writers’ Read

    • Carol Tice says:

      If your old posts get any traffic, it’s worth a couple minutes to make them more scannable in my view.
      I have affiliate items under subpages — check out my Products I Love and Useful Books for how I do it. I really like them off the home page.

  12. Bree says:

    I just tweeted to Carol about how much this post verified that I was doing things right. :)

    I wanted to point out to others who may be looking to use this process that what I have been focusing on first is figuring out what products I use and love. For example, one of my favorite shampoo companies has a blog that hasn’t been updated in over four months. SCORE.

    Focusing on contacting companies with products I use has gotten me… I’d guess about 1 out of 5 responses of interest. No paying clients yet, but definitely more leads here than pitching magazines, for example!

  13. Hi Carol,

    This approach has worked well for me. I only contact companies that have a blog (based on your recommendation about a year ago), and I reach out to companies I’m interested in and feel competent writing for. This ends up being a win for me and the company. I’ve also found that there are lots of companies that want to have a blog but struggle with supplying it with fresh content. In these cases, a writer at $100+ per post ends up being a friend more than an expense. Hopefully this post will help your writers to land more fair-paying gigs, and having a competent looking blog and excellent writing samples goes a long way as well.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Joseph — great to hear the strategy of targeting abandoned blogs is working for you, Joseph!

      I wish more writers understood that at $100 a post, you are saving the company a fortune of money vs hiring a full-time copywriter on staff, AND you’re potentially bringing in new business and growing revenue. You’re the best thing that ever happened to them.

  14. Lee J Tyler says:

    One big question after looking at products and websites: Should you address an email to Media Inquiries or go straight to the top? If I would like to find out the names of the people I send emails to and don’t have a business directory, do you have another source that would be sufficiently up to date?
    Thanks!
    Lee J Tyler recently posted..The Writers’ Read

  15. Heidi Thorne says:

    So true, Carol!

    There’s an old sales story I once heard that goes something like this (I think I heard it in a Brian Tracy program). Two salesmen went to a country to sell shoes. No one there wore shoes. The first salesman said, “not worth pursuing since no one wears shoes.” The second said, “huge opportunity since no one wears shoes.” Now the point of the story is that you should always be looking for the “opportunity.” I totally disagree and side with the “not worth pursuing” guy. Why? Some groups, while they may have high “potential,” may not have high “readiness.” You must have a ready, willing and able buyer. Once I really understood this, I spent a lot less time spinning my marketing wheels.

    I’ve found, too, that some businesses have resources stretched so thin, that the prospect of adding a blog or social media to their marketing mix–even though a good idea on the surface–is not even a reality. Plus, with these types of clients, there’s a high level of education investment on my part (again, which they cannot afford and neither can I).

    It really comes down to knowing your prospect.

    Thanks for the great reminders!
    Heidi Thorne recently posted..Learn Advanced Twitter Strategies at Social Media Summit, March 21

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Heidi —

      Thanks for crystallizing what I’m saying about the blogless businesses. They have no readiness to hire you as a blogger!

      So you don’t want to spend time on them.

  16. We should call you ‘The Hammer’ because you NAIL so many great posts Carol,

    Bookmarking this one TOO.

    I have an up coming post where I’ll share my best how to find a lead tips you get 2 early:

    #1 – Spam comments. The URLs that they are trying to build links for are obviously companies who are paying money to promote their website. Other than the viagra clowns etc, follow up with these sites.

    #2 – New Apps. Apps are being written by any and everybody but very few of these dudes have time to write articles for their app blogs. Target new iTunes and android apps.
    Darnell Jackson recently posted..Guest Posting vs Social Media which is best for traffic?

  17. clarabela says:

    Thanks Carol!

    You just set my marketing goals for next week. I have been struggling to increase my freelancing income in the past few months. I have tried Craigslist and Elance and the high paying jobs are not there.

    I will spend the weekend making a list of companies with outdated blogs and start contacting them on Monday.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Clarabela —

      I’d like to get a poster made up with that: “Craigslist and Elance: The High-Paying Jobs Are Not There.”

      So many writers waste time on these places, and then commiserate with their friends, “Can you believe they only pay X?” Yes, I can. That’s what you get in these places.

      To get more, you’ll have to look OTHER PLACES. I think so many writers instead think, “What’s wrong with me, that I’m only finding these low-paid opportunities here?” It’s not you. These are simply crummy places to find good writing gigs!

  18. Mike says:

    Good article Carol.

    I’ve been trying this approach for several weeks now w assisted living/nursing homes – through phone calls and emails. One mistake I was making was spending too much time crafting the email…I wanted it personalized but was doing it to the 9th degree! I try and limit how much time I spend on the company’s website (5 – 7 min) and get the email out (a template that I can tweak as needed) asap. I’m aiming for 5-7 companies a day.

    Thanks.
    Mike recently posted..Calculating the Value of Volunteers in Senior Housing

  19. Mchael Hicks says:

    This is phenomenal content and further proof that
    the bigger the problem, the bigger the paycheck.
    Thanks so much, Carol!

    A quick question: besides “sweet spot” blogs we know
    from personal experience, is it possible to use a resource
    like The Writer’s Market for an additional targeted search?
    I’ve read your previous posts about how handy WM’s online
    feature is, so I’d be curious to learn if it’s possible to use
    their database for this purpose.

    Many thanks again for the killer post. Enjoy your weekend!

    • Carol Tice says:

      Writer’s Market isn’t really a good resource for finding blog clients, Michael. You need to do company research in the industries you’re targeting. Better resources are places like the business section of your local paper or your weekly business journal.

  20. Damien says:

    You’ve really made it simple, Carol. Another great thing you can do, once you’ve got your foot in the door and you’re at the proposal stage, is throw in some added value, such as offering to write the email teaser for free, or offering to upload it onto their website and format it, add photo, etc.

    These little value added things can be enough to tip them over the edge if they were on the fence :)
    Damien recently posted..Cold Calling for Copywriters

  21. Mchael Hicks says:

    Thanks so much for the followup, Carol.
    Greatly appreciated!

  22. Hi, Carol. I just started researching this in my neighborhood. Do you suggest sticking with blogs in our immediate region? I was just wondering about that.

  23. Thanks for this. I will be doing some work on my blog!
    Lorraine Marie Reguly recently posted..My Wonderful Day

  24. Thanks Carol. This was exactly the type of help I needed.

  25. Antoinette Hayes says:

    Great article! Finally, someone understands how discouraging it can be searching for low paying gigs on freelancing sites. Now, I can restructure my marketing plan and go after businesses who have solid foundations. Thanks for the tip. -Antoinette

  26. Nice article!

    You may want to double check this section!

    “Clean, unluttered design (take that widget of your tweets off)”

    If I had any tips on blogging and marketing in general and this is surely an “accident”, but Spelling is of utmost importance to consider. I don’t care if you are a Doctor or a Lawyer, your intelligence will be put on the block if the user encounters even a accidental misspelling, which then puts the material the reader is reading into question.

    If you want to sell a product, a blog post, how authoritative you are on a subject….Don’t let a misspelling crush that dream ; ]

    Thx Again!

    @AaronAlexander_

    • Carol Tice says:

      You know, Aaron, you can read any of the big blogs and find a typo in the post any day.

      My posts are pretty clean generally, compared to a lot of others…and if a rare typo creeps in, I’m letting it go.

      It’s more important that I get more useful information out to readers than that each one be flawless…that’s the decision I’ve made. We’ve had nit-pickers comment before, and the consensus from my readers is always the same: They’d rather get more learning from me.

  27. Holly Bowne says:

    This was awesome! Great cut-to-the-chase info in three succinct points. And the included blog-related LOI was really helpful. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom, Carol. It’s much appreciated!

  28. Beth Hewitt says:

    Great advice Carol – It is so important to get paid what we are worth, especially when we are good at it. There are so many bloggers out there, with very little time. If you have a list already. It really isn’t hard to find a few who are in dying need of your services.

    Beth :)
    Beth Hewitt recently posted..Why Did you write THAT?

  29. Hey Carol,

    Awesome advice! Utilized your strategies on finding abandoned blogs and here were my results:

    4 emails sent out, 3 responses, and 1 company wanting to see samples of my writing. I work in sales as well and those response rates are unheard of. (Granted, I need to do more outreach, but more to come)

    Also, want to point out that this was done all within 30 minutes of crafting a template, finding companies on LI, and then reaching out.

    If you’re not using this strategy for your gigs you definitely should be!

    Thanks again Carol!

    P.S. Would love to hear if anyone hear gets the objection of a company working with an agency – just move on to other companies or is there a way to overcome it?

    Thanks again!

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Andrew —

      Glad you had success using this tip and targeting abandoned blogs!

      If a prospect tells me they use an agency…ask them which one. Then, call the agency. ;-)

      Working through a middleman the earnings may not be as great, but there are a growing number of agencies that manage a LOT of blogging for a lot of clients. I know several that do nothing but lawyer blogs, for instance. So they may have a volume of work that can make up somewhat for the lower rate, as you’ll do less marketing.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "The Easy Way to Get a Good-Paying Blogging Gig that Most Writers Ignore"
  1. [...] provided an email template for contacting these types of business owners (which you can view on this post.) I edited it a little bit to better suit me and sent it to these agencies along with my phone [...]

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