How Will Freelance Writers Earn Well From Longer Blog Posts?

photodune-3393975-money-bag-with-question-marks-xsHave you noticed that blog posts are getting longer? Many top blogs are standing out with detailed posts of 1,000 to 2,000 words.

New survey data shows why — longer posts get more and better quality traffic.

I’m definitely a fan of detailed posts that offer examples and case studies on this blog, as you’ve probably noticed. I believe offering more value has made a big difference in growing my blog.

But growing interest in longer posts poses a problem for writers who do paid blogging, as well as for writers looking to promote their own blogs through guest posts.

Popular blogs that could drive traffic to your own blog are looking for longer posts from their guest posters, which is a big commitment when it’s an unpaid marketing activity. Which brings me to this important rule:

Think before you guest post

Suddenly, its not dashing off 500 words off the top of your head for a guest post. Which calls into question whether devoting hours to writing a free guest post is still worth it.

It may be worthwhile if you’re writing for huge blogs that have the potential to be a game-changer for your visibility as a writer…for less powerful blogs, possibly not. I’ll say I find myself checking Alexa or PageRank more often now before deciding whether I’ll write a guest post for a site for free.

My advice here: Weigh the pros and cons carefully, especially in light of the recent raging controversy over whether all guest posting is a spammy SEO gambit that will be penalized by Google. Writing a truly fresh, informative, 2,000-word guest post could take the better part of an entire work day. Only you can decide if that’s a good investment of your time, or if there might be a better way to draw your audience.

One possible solution to the problem of free longform guest posts is to refuse to do them. There is another way to approach guest posting that may work better as longer posts become the norm.

Look for paying guest posts

One way I worked my way out of the free guest-post trap was to focus on blogs that pay writers for guest posts, sometimes on an ongoing basis.

Personally, I was guest posting for free on Copyblogger when I got an opportunity to guest post for a modest fee for Freelance Switch (now Microlancer). Even $50 or $75 a guest post, if you’re doing it regularly, will start to add up. When I was writing for them regularly, I often billed Freelance Switch for $300 a month or more — a nice chunk of change for guest posts I might have written free for another site!

I was lucky that FSw paid more for longer posts, too. That’s another thing to look out for in future, as longer posts become more desirable — sites that have a higher rate for longer wordcounts.

Another plus to guesting for pay: I believe guesting on paying sites is also a better lure for attracting clients.

The fact is, if prospective business blogging clients are impressed that you’re on Huffington Post, they’re going to be more impressed when you’re on a site with a reputation for paying its writers. If you find paid guest-post opportunities, you’re crazy not to take them.

Problem: longer posts, same low rates

At the same time that longer posts are increasingly desired by top blogs, businesses are quickly picking up on the long-post trend, and wanting to hire freelance writers to write longer posts for their blogs.

Problem is, they don’t necessarily want to pay any more than the going rates for shorter posts.

For instance, we got a request on our Freelance Writers Den job board not long ago from an employer who wanted to post a job listing for 1,500-word posts that paid only $100.

Since that’s our floor for posts of 500 words, we passed. But it points up a big problem.

Having struggled mightily to educate businesses about why a blog post should pay $50 or $100 instead of $5 or $25, now paid bloggers face a new challenge: How can we get paid appropriately for long blog posts that are really a lot more like magazine articles than the dashed-off, 300-word posts of old?

As Den member Bree recently put it:

” I’ve been reading more and more that longer blog posts are what Google’s going to consider legitimate and helpful for readers. If this is the case, should we still be suggesting to clients that they pay us for 500-word posts? Or is that a good starting point that we can later jump off to convince them to up their word count (and rate)?”

Yes — it is a puzzle.

I used to do just that — discourage clients who wanted long posts, and sell them on the idea that short ones at $100-$125 a pop would get the job done.

But now there is a compelling case to be made that longer posts will be more effective for your clients.

Which means we need to help clients understand why writers should be paid more for longform blog posts.

9 Tips for higher blog post pay

If clients want longer posts, what should you do? Here are my tips:

  1. Define the project. Writers need to ask careful questions about what the client imagines will be in this long post. Interviews? Survey data? Infographics you’re supposed to create? I’ve heard too many sob stories of writers who didn’t find out — and ended up with an appallingly low hourly rate for writing longer posts.
  2. Think hourly rate. Remember that ultimately, wordcount isn’t as important as what you make per hour. If these are posts you could dash off in two hours because you know all about antique tractors or bathroom remodels or whatever it is, maybe $100-$150 a post would make sense to you. But usually, I think long posts take loads more time than that. So be realistic.
  3. Learn about rates. Going rates for these are still emerging, but I’m going to say $300 should be a floor. That’s still below the bottom rate I’d expect for a 2,000 word magazine feature (even at $.30 a word, a low-end print article rate, that would be $600). So it’s in line with the tradition that blog posts cost less than magazine articles, but is still a major hike from $75-$100.
  4. Charge more. If that rate discussion above doesn’t compute with what you’re earning now, do this: Whatever you charge for short posts now, charge 3-5 times more for longer ones. Or your earnings are going to take a hit.
  5. Work with their budget. Some clients will say they can’t afford to pay fair rates for longer blog posts. But they may be able to if you consider their overall blogging budget instead of their per-post rate. For instance, if a client says they can’t pay more than $50 for a blog post, but they want three long posts a week, sell them on the idea that they could get good traffic with four two long posts a month at $300 each — that’s the exact same budget. Or maybe a mix of short and long posts with less frequency could get it done affordably. Be creative to come up with an answer, but make sure you don’t end up writing 2,000-word posts for $50.
  6. Educate your client. If clients want long blog posts and balk at paying $300 or more for them, they need education about how much more valuable these are than shortie posts at grabbing attention and building their authority. Don’t compare a 2,000-word post to a 300-word one — compare it to having a feature article placed in a magazine, or placing a paid print or radio or Yellow Pages ad. These are the marketing alternatives in many companies’ budgets — and compared to them, blogging is still a terrific bargain, even at $300 a long post.
  7. Find better clients. Yes, the type of clients with the budget for longform blogging will tend to be bigger clients with bigger marketing budgets. If you’re targeting small businesses and startups now, think about moving up if you want to write longform posts for good pay.
  8. Sell repurposing. A long, fully fleshed-out guest post can be combined with a few other long posts and turned into a special report, a short e-book, sent out as part of a newsletter, and more. Explain to clients how much mileage they might get from creating longer posts — and why they will get their money’s worth if they pay $300-$500 or more for them.
  9. Flash your article writing skills. As I’ve mentioned, long blog posts often closely resemble magazine articles. If you have article-writing experience, be sure to play that up to clients — they’re getting journalistic reporting and quality storytelling delivered right on their blog. If you don’t have magazine clips, consider learning more about article writing to get some published credits and strengthen your cred for writing long blog posts. My experience is business clients are heavily impressed by magazine credits.

The rise of longform blogging could be a financial boon for writers — or a sinkhole for writers who don’t stand up for themselves and get paid more for longer posts.

My forecast is that article writing is the killer skill of 2014, and the rise of longform blogging is one of the big reasons.

The era of hastily slapping together a few paragraphs and calling it a blog post is over. So it’s time for writers to up their skills to ride this trend to better pay.

Have you written long blog posts? Leave a comment and give us your take on the rise of longform.

How to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger

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51 comments on “How Will Freelance Writers Earn Well From Longer Blog Posts?
  1. Sherri says:

    Why not charge per word like for print magazines? Based on 20 cents per word a 400 word post would be $80, a 500 worder – $100. These days, I don’t see writing blog posts as being much different than writing print articles. Makes sense to me! 🙂

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, I love the idea…but I think there are few clients ready to pay $400 for a 2000-word blog post! So far, I’m seeing offers around $150-$200…we have to keep educating clients about where longform rates need to be. At this point, I’d be happy to see $300 as a floor for 2000-word posts.

  2. Z. Love says:

    Longer posts are good, but they need to be properly optimized for SEO.
    Z. Love recently posted…Sci-fi Show, ‘The 100’ Season 1 on the CW Gets a Season 2 with RatingsMy Profile

  3. Kostas says:

    Another great post Carol! I think the key is that longform blogging gives more of a guarantee of quality than a short post that anyone could knock out after some Google research. The longer posts are properly researched and more valuable to the reader and site owner. Of course they should pay more! More and more I am finding that effective guest posts are the longer ones.
    Kostas recently posted…How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Guest PostsMy Profile

  4. Carol Tice says:

    I just have to pop back onto this thread to note that I heard this morning from a former client of mine at a well-regarded group of websites.

    They told me — surprise! — they are upping their game to 2,000-word longform posts. And also, that they want to pay $250 a post for those.

    The struggle to educate clients on the work that goes into 2,000 words and get good pay continues…

  5. CJJohnson says:

    This post was an ACE! As a freelance blogger, I’ve truly tried to influence my clients to embrace long-form posts. It’s been surprising that some simply just continue to order their standard 4/400 word posts every month. But I have had some luck though and are providing 1K-1.5K posts for some of my clients, but I am stuck at receiving $125 for these posts. Hitting that $300 + rate I do believe is within reach for me though.

    Your advice was so on time. I especially appreciate the idea of re-purposing content, which I’ve long said I need to do.

    I once ghost wrote a long-form blog post for a client titled, “101 Ideas for Using Linked-In To Grow Your Business” and only charged him $300. I am not too mad at myself about it (anymore), because I’ve came to the resolve to dress it up, write an introduction in my own “writer’s voice” and add several additional resources to it and package it as an e-book or “free report” with my own byline.

    Being a writer entrepreneur is all about how to flex YOUR OWN muscle to establish value (i.e. create your own products, mock portfolios, webinars, guest posts, clips, etc.) in order to truly be in the driver’s seat and to make the money that our talent deserves.

    It has taken me a long time (3 years to even get to $125 posts and to come to the above epiphany) but I now know how to make writing a bona fide BIZ…because when you “know better, you do better.”

    This website ROCKS! Thanks Carol for providing timely resources, ideas, and tips for writer-entrepreneurs!

    • Carol Tice says:

      CJ, $125 for long posts is definitely not an appropriate rate — when I was doing a ton of small business blogging, that was actually my rate for 500-word posts!

      But I LOVE your idea of retaining some rights to long posts to expand/repackage/republish them elsewhere. Maybe that’s an angle that will help make longform affordable for more businesses! You can charge them less because you can resell and reuse the content.

  6. Thank you for clarifying some things for me. I’m new to freelancing and the toughest part for me is quoting prices for my client. Not to mention getting paid for guest posting. This was helpful!

  7. Esther says:

    I’m definitely seeing a lot more postings seeking bloggers to write in-depth, 1000-3000 word posts. But even the best of those tend to be offering something like $200 max, which is insane for the amount of work involved.

    You’re absolutely right, these are as labour intensive as any mag feature (more so in many cases I’d argue, a lot of mag features are heavily quote-based and much of the work is in the transcribing, whereas with the informative longform posts a TON of research ifs required).

    • Carol Tice says:

      I think just like $20 short posts, there will be plenty of lowball offers to write longform, Esther. Our job is to find better clients willing to pay real money for these.

  8. Matt says:

    Much depends of course on your target market.
    If your writing to a market in the technology field for example shorter articles to the point are better. This market seeks how to information they can grasp and use.
    On the other hand writing geared towards personal development may do better with a longer format. Posts and articles full of useful information can be appreciated by them.
    Matt recently posted…4 Ways To Choose An App For Your Job SearchMy Profile

  9. Dan Stelter says:

    Google’s actions have been indicating it wants these posts for some time now. I’m getting lots of requests for these blog articles from all sorts of clients. Even SMBs – the very small guys will pay well for them.

    2014 truly is the year of the writer. For topics I know verywell, I’ve found I can write 1000 words in about 1.5 hours. That works for the very small guys.

    For clients above that, I’d at least double the rate and the time.
    Dan Stelter recently posted…What is a SEO Copywriter?My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      In the right niches like enterprise software, smaller companies probably will pay well for longform. I actually had one client in that category, that I wrote articles for. It wasn’t couched as blog posts but articles, though.

  10. Kathy says:

    My ‘head’s spinning from reading all of the comments – which I’m loving as much as the post itself. Allen’s last remark, that he’d write 2000 words for Copyblogger for free echoes one of Carol’s points which is to be hyper-aware of why you want to write guest posts in the first place.

    My first 2000 word guest post, at present undergoing revisions by an editor and myself, will (I hope) be published on one of the authority autism blogs. (I did a ton of research – aka Jon Morrow’s blogging strategies plus what I’ve learned from the Writer’s Den before I wrote it.) It’s a personal essay, which this autism blog accepts and, the content is in a niche that doesn’t get a lot of attention in the autism community. The challenge was to write “fresh content without the “fluff” that John Soares mentions. I’m pretty excited because I believe that I did both. Will I re-purpose this material? Turn it into a e-book perhaps? Yes to both questions. All in good time.

    If you want to get in front of an audience who has a problem that you can solve, guest blogging can put you exactly where you want to be.

    But, “Show me the money!” is next up on my project list.

  11. Allen Taylor says:

    This is a great post, Carol, but I take issue with the idea that longer posts equate to more traffic and links, or higher quality (agreeing with John Soares).

    This is the start of a new round of the old Cat and Mouse game that SEOs play with Google year-in, year-out. It used to be, you had to write 300-500 word posts every day. So everyone started doing that and the quality of the posts went down because most people who write blogs are 1) not professional writers by trade; and 2) got into the habit of writing fast without revising. This resulted in several algorithmic changes that had SEOs and Internet marketers scrambling for new ways to boost their search rankings.

    Matt Cutts recently announced that a popular blog network was penalized because people adopted guest blogging en masse and followed the followers right into posting for no good reason but link acquisition.

    It’s the same old game.

    What will happen is, long form blog posting will gain popularity but too many people will do it without purpose and before you know it, it will be no good again. I’ve reached the point where I just don’t want to write a word unless I get paid for it. I don’t care about links, rankings, what Joe Schmo thinks about my reputation, or who’s providing coffee at the office party this week. Show me the money.

    Unless Brian Clark calls and invites me to write for Copyblogger. In that case, I might write 2,000 words for free.
    Allen Taylor recently posted…Why Case Studies Make Powerful StoriesMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Yeah – I’ve got a link to the whole thing up in the post. Follow that first link and you’ll see that in fact there IS hard data that longer posts are getting more traffic…and when you think about top blogs, many have been doing longform for ages already.

      I think it’s really beyond the Google issue…the Internet is growing up. People have consumed all the shortie posts they can stand, and now they want real HELP. Details. Actual interviews. We are coming to look to blogs to be an information source on a level with the magazines we read. I don’t think that trend will cycle back — think it’s here to stay.

      But certainly trends and flavors in SEO will keep evolving.

      I think I agree with what you’re saying about guest posting, which is — be selective. I get a lot of offers to guest post on sites that my research shows really don’t have much traffic…and I’m passing, at this point. There are better ways to grow my network, especially as the demand for more sophisticated posts grows.

  12. Jake Poinier says:

    Very interesting, Carol–thanks for bringing it to our collective attention.

    As a writing sprinter rather than a marathoner, I’m not too thrilled with this news. I really try to keep my own Dr. Freelance posts 300-500 words, and counsel clients for whom I ghostwrite to skew short and tight as well. I guess this old dog’s gonna need a new trick! (And clients will need to find some extra budget…)
    Jake Poinier recently posted…When your freelance writing business needs emergency resuscitationMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I wouldn’t think short posts are going to disappear overnight…but you do need to watch out, as Google is on the hunt for short-n-spammy.

    • Allen Taylor says:

      I wouldn’t make a point to change, Jake. If your short posts are good content, they’ll pass muster. There’s still value in daily short posts as long as you provide value to your readers. Even great magazines have short articles in them, and some of them can be the best articles in the magazine. I know a lawyer who is still copying several paragraphs at a time from other blogs and linking to the original source, like 5-10 times a day, and he adds a paragraph of commentary at the end of each post for original content. That practice went out years ago, but he’s still doing it and gets thousands of readers every day. Why? He’s an expert in his field and his one paragraph of commentary is brilliant.
      Allen Taylor recently posted…Three Imperial AmigosMy Profile

  13. Nadia McDonald says:

    I definitely believe writing a longer blog post would be an advantage for writers. When the writer has targeted their niche, then they can use social media and well researched material. Carol when you stated that it is up to the writer to be firm with clients on the costs, I totally agree. The writer should take charge and let the client know that the work is quality. Therefore, quality should be top dollars. Writers who negoiate charges and payments are getting the back end of the stick.

  14. John Soares says:

    Very good points here Carol. I have two thoughts:

    1. Longer posts doesn’t equal better posts. It’s very unfortunate that Google has decreed that it will now favor more words over fewer words. As professional writers, we should strive for clear and concise writing. With this new rule, we’ll often do what so many college students do when an essay has to be a certain length: we’ll use more words than necessary to convey a thought, and we’ll add in extra fluff content to pad the word count. This is bad for readers and bad for writers.

    2. Many companies may not be able to afford to pay 2-3 times as much for a post that still brings only the same number of visitors that a shorter and cheaper post did under the old rules.
    John Soares recently posted…How I Chose My Freelance Writing NichesMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Both good points…see my comments all through here about not using longform as an excuse to simply blather and not write tight.

      And yes, this puts many small businesses into a challenging situation. Some may stick with short form because it’s all they can afford. But it’ll be up to writers to hold the line on this and not let scope creep find us writing 1000 words for $100 instead of the 500 words we used to do.

      I’ll be fascinated to see what some big markets do. At Entrepreneur, back when I blogged for them they actually had a 500-word LIMIT and would send a post back to be edited down if it was longer! I wonder if they’ll be changing that policy.

      • While I can see your second point, I’m not sure I necessarily agree with the first one.

        It’s bad for writers (and everyone) if people respond to this change shallowly, as many people tend to do when Google makes updates. If your takeaway is: I need to stretch every post I write from 300 words to 1000 – then the quality will definitely suffer!

        Instead, there are a lot of really great 1000-2000 word posts that pack a ton of value. They require more research on the writer’s part to do well, but that doesn’t mean they have to be watered down.
        Kristen Hicks recently posted…The Benefits of Content MarketingMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          Kristen — I think I was clear that writers need to realize this isn’t an invitation to write sloppy and longer, but a call to add more value — more research, interviews, data, insights.

  15. Very timely and important post Carol.

    This is something I’ve faced myself. Many blog owners and small business owners are shocked to discover that a 2000+ word post costs significantly more than a 500 word post. Yet, it often takes more than an eight hour day to write a single longer form post.

    I definitely agree with not writing longer form posts as free guest posts. In most cases, the benefits will not outweigh the cost of the time spent. In fact, this is one trend that may set serious writers apart from the bargain writers. Short of plagiarism, a bargain writer who undercharges for his or her services won’t be able to churn out enough long form posts to survive.

    Thanks for addressing this topic.

  16. William says:

    WOW!

    Carol I must admit, I was not aware of this dramatic change of desire from short blog post to long ones. This is one of the major reasons why I follow your blog and newsletter!

    You always keep me informed with the latest information that is essential for the success of us Freelance Writers.

    Knowing this information is like discovering pure gold! Not only does it give me ideas for blog post on my own website, but it also means the demand for Freelance Bloggers are beginning to rise.

    I really appreciate all your tips and insights! And I wish you the very best!

    Sincerely,

    William Ballard
    William recently posted…Generosity: The “Writer’s Success” Starts in the “Writer’s Heart” My Profile

  17. Julie Anne says:

    The news about longer blog posts is better for us as writers I think. I often find it tought to say what I have to say in a few short words. Of course, I realize they have to be well-organized so people can glance at them quickly on their phones, right?

    • Carol Tice says:

      Being concise is always a challenge…but the rise of longform is not an invitation to simply blather on longer and be less disciplined in boiling down what we say. It’s an opportunity to stand out by being more in-depth and detailed than competitors and cramming our posts with lots more useful info.

  18. Lisa Baker says:

    Oops, sorry – you defined “long” as 1000-2000 words in the first paragraph. Ha. Don’t you hate writers who can’t read? 😉
    Lisa Baker recently posted…3 Childcare Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re MakingMy Profile

  19. Lisa Baker says:

    Carol, thanks so much for this! Super useful for me. I’ve been experimenting with longer-form posts for some of my clients for exscly this reason — lots of evidence showing that Google likes it and it gets better traction long-term. And since blogging is still my favorite form of writing, I’ve been thinking about how I can make more while still doing a lot of blogging projects. I will definitely be referencing this post as I’m selling the idea of long-form blogging to more clients!

    And, of course, I’ve been undercharging for this. 🙂

    One question: are you thinking of posts with interviews or extensive research when you say $300 as a floor? I’ve got one publication I write for that pays $350 for 750 words with one interview, and that’s worked out to a great hourly rate for me. My gut says that if I’m charging much over $200, I want to be doing one interview for the post so it really has fresh insight and value. Do you think $300 is a bottom rate even without interviews, just because of the length and research?

    Also, when you say long-form posts, are you talking 1000 words or 2000 words? I can see how 2000 words should probably be $300 even without an interview…

    Lots to think about! Thank you!
    Lisa Baker recently posted…3 Childcare Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re MakingMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Answers to both of those depend on what’s in those 1,000 or 2,000 words. I’m with you — for 1,000 words you’d hope there is at least one interview or some interesting research or a chart or something that adds value.

      I’ve certainly seen scenarios where long posts priced at $500 or more. And the real question is — at what point do we just say, “This is an article.” And if it’s a business, I want $1 a word for it. I think number of interviews plays a factor in that decision.

      Writers should be on their guard against clients who really want fully reported stories that should be paying $600 or more but because they’re categorizing it as a “blog post” and publishing it on their blog, want to pay half that or less.

      • Judy says:

        Well said, Carol! I’d really like a working definition of “blog post” vs. article. I was asked to write a 1,200 word healthcare “blog post” requiring interviews with physicians and analysis of data. After I submitted it for $50. the “editor” said she loved it, but wanted more…content. I still haven’t gotten back to her. I’m embarrassed & ashamed at all the work I did for a lousy $50! As I told you in an email, I’ve basically committed myself to magazine articles. I just wrote a 1,200 word business piece for a print pub that was far less “challenging” and I was paid $750! I think we all need to be very wary of in fact writing articles that editors call blog posts. To me, a blog post is much like a column. When I write columns, it’s “out of my head” and I can bang it out in about 2 hours, assuming I’ve thought it through in my head first. If research, interviews, analysis & side-bars are involved, it’s an article. Maybe we need a “barticle” (!) that is an article published on the internet.

        • Carol Tice says:

          Sorry to hear about the $50 article there — it’s happening all too often. Writers need a clear sense of how much work is involved before they accept a rate.

          There are a lot of businesses out there looking to capitalize on the low-pay reputation of blogs by casting their article assignments as ‘blog posts’ — and writers need to watch out, and ask a lot of questions.

  20. Suchi says:

    Excellent information!

    I totally agree that at least for short posts, $50 or $75 a post can add up fast, especially when the topic is easy to write on. I’m kind of glad to hear that longer posts are the trend now because I’ve always enjoyed reading longer, more info-packed posts rather than posts that just fill up space. Lists are fun and easy to digest, but I always end up seeing some form of that same list in a thousand other places online! 🙂 I also tend to enjoy writing longer posts for my clients rather than shorter ones, and usually have to cut them down to fit into a small word count.
    Suchi recently posted…A Paradise Lost: House sitting in north Cyprus, Part 1My Profile

  21. Willi Morris says:

    Just saw your post in Writers in Charge, and these are some good tips. I really never considered them like magazine articles before, but they are. I think it’s important for clients to know how much effort and time these kinds of posts take, and that would help with getting the right pay. Plus outlining this on paper would give the client a map as to how the post will go.
    Willi Morris recently posted…How to Make Affiliate Marketing Less IckyMy Profile

  22. I have tended to stick to writing 500-800 word in general (my longer posts tend to be saved for more detailed tutorial style articles).

    Even then, if I do write anything longer than that, I prefer to break it down into a series of posts instead.

    Having said that, I do enjoy reading long-form blog posts (they somehow feel more informative).
    Katherine James recently posted…How To Listen Your Way To Freelance Writing SuccessMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Not just informative but more importantly, authoritative. And that’s why there’s a strong case to made to sell clients on doing long posts for more money.

  23. Nell Casey says:

    I’ve actually just started focusing on writing longer guest posts (and posts on my own blog) because of the higher level of detail and information they provide. I hadn’t yet thought about pitching those same reasons to my clients though (I know, duh!). But it definitely makes sense.

    I could see that writing long form guest posts is also a great way to set yourself apart from other writers when it comes to bidding for work and sending out your portfolio.
    Nell Casey recently posted…Overspent Again? The Surprising Reason Why You Can’t Stick to a Budget (and What to Do About It)My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Absolutely true, Nell, which is why it may still make sense to do some longform blog posting for free on popular blogs. I’m still making connections and getting gigs off long posts I did for Copyblogger that got a ton of social buzz. But as I say…choose your guest post situations wisely — and then *crush* your topic.

      I think the big danger writers will have to avoid is writing long just to be long. You should write long to deliver more value. As I’ll hope this post does. 😉

  24. JR John says:

    Fantastic post, Carol (I can identify with many of the points you brought up), excepting this:

    “For instance, if a client says they can’t pay more than $50 for a blog post, but they want three long posts a week, sell them on the idea that they could get good traffic with four long posts a month at $300 each — that’s the exact same budget.”

    $50 x 3 x 4 = $600/month
    $300 x 4 = $1200/month

    Don’t worry — the last thing I think when blogging is checking my math, too. 🙂

    Cheers,
    JR John

    • Carol Tice says:

      Whoops! Yeah, I do suck at that math there — thanks for catching that! It would have to be two long posts a month to be equivalent.

      But you know what? With the right two posts, that would probably draw more traffic than they would with a dozen short pieces of SEO junk, these days.

  25. A very interesting take on this, for certain. I have to admit I am just writing longform posts for free for guest posts on blogs I enjoy, but writing them for pay is a whole new area for me.

    Really, the longer format is better for the reader and gives more of an opportunity to the writer to express something instead of trying to get everything into a soundbite or two. That will lead to longer reads for the blog, some clicking around for certain themes, and even a buy or two depending on what the clicker is interested in the most.

    I’ll have to keep this in mind when I forge more posts. Maybe I’ll be able to get something going on the payment side soon. Thanks for the information, it was very informative!
    Matthew Eaton recently posted…12 Steps of a Successful Writer: Set Your DeadlinesMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      The longer format is better for the reader…if the writer has something detailed and highly useful to deliver that requires that format, Matthew. Otherwise, we’re just wasting readers’ time.

      If you’re writing long posts for free…be cautious. That’s a lot of time expended on a marketing activity. With the rise of longform, I wonder if in-person networking, social media marketing, and other methods might be as time-efficient for drawing new readers.

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  1. […] If you pay a writer to create longer posts, be aware that an in-depth post will cost you more. In How Will Freelance Writers Earn Well From Longer Blog Posts? by Carol Tice on Make a Living Writing, she puts the floor (that’s the lowest cost) for […]