Transform Your Blog into a Paying-Gig Magnet in 7 Steps

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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12 comments on “Transform Your Blog into a Paying-Gig Magnet in 7 Steps
  1. Paula Dean-Boutcher says:

    Hi Vonnie,
    I am a new mom of 40 plus with a exciting idea to start a blog about just that! Being a type of support system and letting all the new moms out there go on this new journey that seems to be a sort of trend. I’m a very social person and my social life has somewhat came to a halt so why not share my new life with the many women out there who can relate;) would love to have your imput.

    Thank you

  2. Rebecca says:

    As my freelance interior design & personal shopping gigs dwindled due to the economy, I decided to start a blog. Being new to the blogging world, I’m still not sure HOW to get people to join my site. Also, I’m not sure on how to turn some of my links into paying links. Do you have any tips on those two things? Thanks

    Don’t forget to visit my webpage: http://www.keepingupwithdafashionista.com or like my Facebook page: Rebecca DaFashionista. Twitter: @DaFashionista1

  3. Thank you for this post! It is good to know that I’m on the right track. I still have some work to do on my consistency; that’s always my one shortfall as my web design business is so unpredictable. I have a solid set of blogging goals planned right now that are going to help me in organizing my writing goals simultaneously. Can’t wait to get started! πŸ™‚
    Krissy Brady, Writer recently posted…What Do You Do When Your Writing Gets Rejected Over and Over and Over…?My Profile

  4. > Clean design also means not having .blogger or .wordpress or something in your URL.

    Is Typepad an exception to this rule?

    FWIW, I intend to stick with my own domain name – I’m just curious, since quite a few famous bloggers live on Typepad.
    Edward Spurlock recently posted…Design Inspiration Countdown #7 – One Bit IncrementMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      There are a few bloggers who seem to have made it despite having that .typepad or whatever still in their URL…but they’re really few and far between, in my experience. For most writers starting out now, it’s important to look professional, and while that might have been OK when a few of today’s big bloggers started out 5 years ago, I don’t think it works anymore.

  5. Linda says:

    Your information is helpful in many ways. The information you provide is hands-on experience and gives good direction to beginners on how to break into the freelance business and step out of their comfort zone to get started. It’s encouraging and helps pinpoints what may be missing or lacking in a struggling writer’s efforts. For me, it’s been the lifeblood to get moving. I’ve learned a lot from reading your web site, listening in on calls and registering for The Freelance Writer’s Den. Thank you for your ongoing efforts and encouragement. Your candid approach is one of the best and following it has been a huge help.

  6. Stefanie says:

    Hi, Carol!

    I really liked your tip about eliminating “naked links.” Typed out links look unprofessional, and informing new bloggers about the importance of anchoring links to keywords is great advice!
    Stefanie recently posted…7 Rock (Star) Solid Tips to Write a Press Release Like Lady GagaMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I’ve looked at hundreds of writer sites and blogs and the naked-and-dead link problem is pretty widespread…and as you say, doesn’t look pro.

  7. vonnie says:

    I’m going to read your Twitter tips, but I guess I better check out my blogs first. I moved one over to my website last night so that might be the problem.

    Yes, I can’t wait for the Blast-off!! :>

  8. vonnie says:

    I do most of those tips but still only a couple of visitors. πŸ™

    I do need to social network more. I’m still not sure if I understand the whole Twitter concept. Is anybody really paying attention? What’s the trick?
    vonnie recently posted…Dating Again? Rule out deal-breakers before committingMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Vonnie — hopefully you saw my post on Twitter Tips a while back.

      I’m glad you’re signed up for the Blast-Off class — I see plenty of things that could make the blog stronger, and in week two we do site reviews. Or should I say blogs — tried to look at your writing one but it’s locked. Making it public I’m sure would help!

  9. I’m inspired by your post. As a freelance writer, every post is vital & yours is no exception.
    Michael Chibuzor recently posted…Are You Blogging for Fun or To Make Money?My Profile

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