How One Writer Landed His First Paid Blogging Gigs – for $100+ a Post

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.

Conclusion

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 writes at Blogtweaks and sets up beautiful WordPress sites for writers. He also provides guided blog transfers from WordPress.com and Blogger to self-hosted WordPress. Subscribe to his site to learn how to become a better blogger.

  1. Sue says:

    Hi Joseph

    Carol’s advice is really wonderful, I was lucky enough to talk to her a couple of weeks ago. I am currently putting this advice into practice and looking forward to seeing results.
    Sue recently posted..Why Your Business Needs a Blog

  2. This is a great article. And I’m inspired to start reaching out to other businesses. Thanks for the tips!

    • Carol Tice says:

      The sweet spot is when you find businesses that HAVE a blog, but it hasn’t been updated in a long time. That means they get that blogging could help their business, but they don’t have time to keep it up — they need to hire a writer!

      It’s a harder sell convincing a business without a blog that they need one.

  3. Hi Joseph/Carol

    Thank you for providing this step by step guide to getting a profitable gig. I have two questions that I hope you can help me with.

    1)How to focus on one topic – I have several blogs because I like to write about different things. I will be adding a “Hire Me” page to the main ones but I have also got this central hub – Victoriavirgo.com – Is this ok or is it still to scattered and confusing? Should I use this central hub as another type of blog?

    2) I added a starting price to my site because I wanted to deter the $5-$10 article buyers. How can I achieve the pricing that you have without attracting people on a lower budget?

    Thank you.

    Victoria

    • Carol Tice says:

      If you have several blogs, I don’t know why you have to focus on one topic. They can each be about a different topic. The key is just for each blog to stick to one niche topic.

      Maybe you want to turn your central hub Victoriavirgo site into a writer site, where you have a landing page describing your services, and you put your portfolio there (even if it’s just links to all your blogs)?

      To your second question, I don’t put prices on my site. You never know what special project I might want to take where the rate would be lower, but it achieves some other goal I have for my writing career — connects me to a huge or targeted niche audience I want, gives me a type of clip I want, etc.

      You convey your value through the quality of your blog and your writing clips. There is no magical barrier you can erect to keep out people who want to make lowball offers — but you are free to ignore them.

      • Hi Victoria,

        I have the same advice as Carol which is to not mention pricing on your site. This keeps your prices open ended which is good for negotiating. Once you list a price, people will expect to get the lowest price, and you’ll miss out on any opportunities for clients who are willing to pay more.

        A lot of times it feels like you need to quote some sort of price, but you may be surprised with what happens when you don’t. I recommend trying it to see how it works for you. And if it doesn’t, you can always quote the prices. Everyone is different so you can figure out how this advice works for you. :)

        Good luck!

        • Thank you Joseph & Carol for your feedback.

          I will definitely take the pricing off my website.

          And congrats to Peter Zink who also gained a high paying gig using the “Hire Me” format.

          Victoria.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful post! I will be starting my own blog and looking for paying gigs in the new year, so this advice is just what I’m looking for.

    (Please excuse the nakedness of my blog. It’s nothing but bare bones. I will be working hard on it in the new year when Kristen Lamb’s blogging class from the Who Dares Win Publishing? site starts in January.)

    An additional comment. I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but there is a link in your post that does not work. It’s the link leading to Joseph Putnam’s worpress-starter-kit. I keep getting a 404 error every time I try it out.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Yeah — we’re on the broken link! Stand by on that.

      • Carol Tice says:

        We’ve ended up just taking it down — you can see Joseph’s site from the ‘hire me’ link and the other bio link at the bottom.

        • Hi Kristy (and everyone else),

          I’m so sorry about the broken link. When I wrote this article the link was working, but I took the page down since then in order to work on the content.

          Sorry again that it didn’t work. If you have any questions about WordPress or need some help setting up a writer’s site, feel free to visit my Hire Me page and send an e-mail. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. :)

  5. This was a really good article. I noticed a glitch, however, when I clicked on the link which opened up BlogTweaks. I think that it would be a simple matter for you to fix.

    At the top of the BlogTweaks page was an error message–”Not found, Error 404. The page you are looking for no longer exists.” The content was there, but some of the bullet points and text did not line up right. The next sentence had a link to the homepage, and clicking on that did work.

    On another note, Joseph, I need some help with setting up a Writer’s website. I have a WordPress blog with the Thesis theme and would like to set up my Writer’s site using the same theme. I wonder whether you could contact me at mkolb5@yahoo.com about that job.
    Madeleine Kolb recently posted..Exercising for Life: What’s Your Plan

  6. Thank you for the tips Joseph. Very encouraging for a simple blogger like me.
    Jonan Castillon recently posted..Blog About Your Life Now!

  7. Peter Zink says:

    What a great timely post for me, I literally picked up a $100+ client per blog post yesterday using a similar method. Like you, the client found my sailing blog and really liked it. When he found out I was a freelance writer, he hired me to write blog posts for his company’s web site. Like you said, it doesn’t matter what the topic is as long as it’s not offensive. His business has nothing to do with sailing but my writing style was enough to convince him. Great post.

    • Carol Tice says:

      LOVING the success story, Peter! A really well-written blog makes a great writing sample.

      Promote it a little and you never know who will see it. When you’ve got that ‘hire me’ tab, that lets them know you are open to writing for others. And sometimes that’s all it takes.

  8. Carole Schor says:

    Great advice! Thank you.

    Does WordPress offer a “Hire Me” button?
    Carole Schor recently posted..R is for Retreats – Rest and Revujenation for your Natural Health

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Carole –

      You can create a ‘hire me’ Page in WordPress, which will then generate a ‘hire me’ tab in your navigation.

      I personally am against doing a ‘hire me’ button they click. I actually know one writer who had that, where it went straight to a PayPal payment, and I advised her to take it down.

      Why? Each job is so different, it’s sort of impossible to have one ‘hire me’ button. What would it go to? You couldn’t set one price every client would be paying, right?

      So you want a page that describes your writing services, and then contact info so you can start a conversation about what they need and what you could do for them.

      Hope that explains it…

      • I second Carol’s recommendation. A ‘hire me’ page is better because it begins a conversation which is the starting point for writing projects like these. WordPress also makes it easy to add the ‘hire me’ page into the navigation.

  9. Carol Tice says:

    You know, reading this over, I think there is one point missing — guest posting!

    Joseph has guested on Problogger and other high-traffic sites, which probably helped build his own site’s ranking in search results and helped those prospects find him.

    • Hi Carol,

      I thought about that this morning after the post was published. Guest posting is critical because it provides valuable links back to your site, and it also gets your name in front of thousands of potential clients. Writing for sites like ProBlogger and Copyblogger are both great for this.

      I had a post published on Monday at KISSmetrics.com which has led to three leads for potential writing gigs. If one of these three leads pans out, it will have been totally worth it.

      So yes, guest posting is critical for creating awareness for your services and for generating valuable links back to your writer’s site.

  10. This is really fantastic advice, especially the point about visiting other blogs and interacting with other bloggers. It seems like it should be common sense, but it’s amazing how often people seem to assume prospects are just going to find their website if they blog often enough…
    Julie M. Rodriguez recently posted..Making a Living or Saving the World: Two Sides of Internet Marketing

    • Hi Julie,

      I love your comment. Not only is it important to comment on other blogs, but it’s also important to make a connection with the authors. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many fantastic people around the internet by showing an interest in what they’re doing. You can actually make friends that will be able to help you along your journey.

      Isn’t there a book about this? Something like “How to Win Friends and Influence People”? :)

      (One secret is to get to know people that are talented but aren’t huge yet. The biggest bloggers are very, very busy which makes it hard to get to know them, but smaller bloggers who are talented are very flattered when you show interest in their work.)

  11. Josh Sarz says:

    Great tips. Thanks for the good read. I’ll be adding a “Hire Me” tab on my nav bar pretty soon.
    Josh Sarz recently posted..Christmas – The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

  12. Great to see you here, Joseph!

    I discovered you, as you recall, through Martyn’s blog and was instantly enamored with Blog Tweaks.

    Sounds like thirty minutes with Carol really paid off. :)

    Guest posting on the proverbial “authority” blogs will definitely get you the kind of exposure you need to showcase your writing talents. It’s a bit tricky to get in the door and it helps to have some (clout) backing. So when I submit a guest post to Darren’s blog or Brian’s blog …

    I’m going to say, “Joseph Putnam sent me.” LOL!

    Better yet …

    I’ll use that line when I submit a guest post here. Might hold some weight with Carol. ;)

    It’s wonderful to see you spreading your magnificence around the blogosphere in all the right places. Wishing you continued and tremendous success!
    Melanie Kissell recently posted..The Sea Of Infocrap

  13. Great advice, especially for newbies to the online world. I maintain a blog on my writers site. So far, I’ve had no bites on the professional side. I’ve created a tab called Professional Services and a sub-tab listing starting rates. Should I change the Professional Services tab to Hire Me? Also, based on the comments, I should take down the rates page altogether. Do you agree?

    • Carol Tice says:

      Yes, to both, Shauna. Don’t be coy about what you want people to do — spell it out simply.

      And to me, rate sheets are only a good thing if you find you are getting hit with a ton of lowballers and want to send them away so they don’t waste your time.

      Otherwise, why lock yourself into rates before you find out how much of a pain a client is going to be? Every client is different. There might be a great client that I’d work for for less than my usual stated rate, just to be able to put them into my client list…but they’d be sent away by my rate sheet, and I’d never know. Other clients are agony to deal with, want everything on a rush or want 3 rewrites of everything and I’d like to charge them double. See what I mean?

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