It seems like there are always new sites coming into the market, offering to give freelance writers a little pay. But few sites pay based on traffic anymore (which makes sense, since traffic does not equal dollars).
Blasting News is one opportunity that is new to the U.S. and does pay based on the number of visitors you attract. They contacted Carol about referring writers to the site — and she asked me to take a look and learn about the pay and requirements.
We decided to find out more, and talked to several writers around the world with experience on this platform. Here’s our report:
How it works
Blasting News is a citizen journalism site with versions in many countries. It was first launched in 2013 in Italy, and has grown to 34 countries and more than 513,000 writers (they call them “blasters”).
Pay is based on traffic, and rates varies from country to country based on the amount of traffic driven to a specific subject area. Writers can also earn for editing if they work their way up to senior blaster level.
You don’t need formal experience. According to Sophia Matveeva, the news site’s head of communications and business development, Blasting News was founded by Andrea Manfredi, who was turned off by what he saw as rampant nepotism in Italian journalism. When Manfredi graduated from college, “he really wanted to be a journalist, but he couldn’t get a job because he had no experience. But how can you get experience without a job?” said Matveeva. He wanted to focus on transparency and meritocracy, so he created Blasting News. “It doesn’t matter if your dad is the editor of the New York Times,” if you write a good article, people will read it, she said.
You can write on your passion. Writers pick their own topic areas and write stories based on their interests. Pierluigi Crivelli, a blaster in Italy, choose football (or soccer for the Americans) and school issues as his beats. Rita Guerra, a blaster based in Los Angeles, writes about Portugal. And Jane Flowers writes about wildlife poaching and conservation in Africa, where she lives.
You get a byline. Nancy Jobes is a freelance writer in Johnstone, Pennsylvania. “One of the problems writing for clients,” she said, “is that you’re writing for someone else. I wanted something where I could get a byline.” And she wanted to earn income while she was getting that all-important byline that will help her get more work.
Writers work together. The site has Facebook groups where writers can ask questions and connect, and Jobes really likes to collegial atmosphere among all of the writers.
Crivelli also likes the way he can work with his fellow blasters. Crivelli said the senior blasters “don’t work in solitude, it’s a team.” One activity he particularly enjoys is teaching the ropes to others who are new to Blasting News, he said.
Blasting News is syndicated in Google News and Apple news. This helps increase search engine and direct traffic to the site, which can help writers earn. This high profile helps its writers get press passes to cover events, as Guerra pointed out.
The pay is low. Blasting News is completely transparent about their pay rates, which is good news. If you go to their site, you can see exactly how much you’d get paid for an article based on how many people view it. Matveeva shared the pay structure for the U.S. site as of Nov. 30, 2015:
- $4 per 1,000 readers who come from search engines, direct traffic, and referral traffic
- $6 per 1,000 readers who come from social media referrals
The minimum number of readers to earn is 150, said Guerra, and the maximum payout per article according to the site is $150 for U.S. writers. Matveeva said they also pay a 10 percent bonus to writers who earn more than $500 in a month.
Jobes said “my most recent article has been out for about a week, and I’ve made $16. If I’ve spent two hours on this article, then I’ve made about $8.00 an hour.”
It takes a lot of work to earn well. Crivelli earns about €2,000 per month, but “there are months in the summer when I’ve worked a lot that I’ve earned €3,000-4,000,” he said. Those aren’t bad earnings (about $2,150-4,350, based on the current exchange rate), and Crivelli was able to quit his other job to focus solely on writing for Blasting News.
But, he told me he works 8-9 hours a day, seven days a week to earn that. He writes for about 6 hours per day, then edits other writers’ articles for 2-3 hours per day, he said. At the low end, that puts his earnings at about €8 per hour.
Guerra earns $60-70 on average per article, she said, and “each article takes 20-40 minutes, an hour, tops.” With the higher pay rate for social media traffic, Guerra said writers need to learn how to share on social media and how to write good headlines that people will want to share. That means adding in time for sharing posts on social media.
But, as she pointed out, “traffic is essential for earning.”
Flowers said in an email, “There is no way a writer can make a full time living writing from Blasting News.” Because of that and the hourly rates the writers interviewed have shared, I can’t recommend it as a place to write and earn a good living.
However, all of the writers I spoke with enjoy the experience of writing for Blasting News and they all would recommend it.
Jobes said Blasting News could be “a side source of income for someone who wants another egg in their basket or who wants to be able to work every day.” And if you’re looking for your first clips, it’s probably a better bet than a content mill because it has a better reputation and you get a byline.
That said, writers will still likely earn more by proactively marketing their services to clients and pitching better paying online and print markets.
Have you written for Blasting News? Tell us your experience in the comments below.
Jennifer Roland is a freelance education, healthcare, and technology writer — and the guest-blog editor here at Make a Living Writing. Her latest book, 10 Takes: Pacific Northwest Writers, was recently published by Gladeye Press.