How One Paid Blogger Got a 33% Raise

business woman making money working on line on computerIf you want to boost your freelance blogging income, you’re probably doing all the things you’re supposed to do:

  • Regular marketing
  • Checking in with past clients
  • Asking current clients for other projects

But here’s another income-boosting approach I stumbled on: Pitch extra services on the same work you’re already doing for clients as a paid blogger — in a context that matters to your client.

Those of you with sales experience already know this “want fries with that?” strategy. When I saw how well it worked, I about smacked myself in the forehead, because I didn’t think of it sooner.

 

Why my original offer flopped

I have a long-term business blogging client I write for quite a bit. The company — an established business-to-consumer (B2C) service business — has invested a lot of time, money, and effort into developing its blog. They have several writers posting regularly.

When I was hired, I offered two blog post rates, $220 with expert interviews and $165 without interviews.

The client went for the no-interview option — still a good rate, but not the premium rate I was hoping for.

Why didn’t the client bite?

  • At the time, the company was hiring several writers and wanted to stay within budget — not much I could do about that.
  • I failed to spell out how the interview option would add value by increasing the likelihood of shares and visibility on social media.

Even if I had elaborated on the value that expert interviews add, budget considerations might have trumped potential shares while the client was ramping up its blog. But I didn’t try, so I don’t know.

The revamped offer that made the sale

About six months after I started blogging for this client, I was researching topic pitches for them. Scanning their existing posts, I noticed that many weren’t getting as many social-media shares as I’d expect.

I decided the time was right to pitch the interview package again — this time, as something that costs a bit more but adds value to a blog that client invested a lot of resources into developing. My approach:

  • I mentioned that my posts for other clients get many more shares when there’s an expert quoted, because the expert and their colleagues, PR team, and friends share the link with their networks. For a bit extra, I said, I’d be glad to provide the same service for this blog.
  • I also offered to tweet each post through my professional Twitter account, with a shout-out to the interviewee to get the ball rolling.

Turning one raise into many

My client agreed to try it out with the next few posts I write.

So I’ll be getting 33 percent more per post and making my work more valuable to the client, without backbreaking extra effort on my part.

If it works, I hope the client will see the value in continuing with the interview approach, and I’ll earn more on every post in the long run.  Hopefully, I’ll also have a success story on traffic growth and social-media sharing to market to other prospects, when I pitch the interview option for their blogs.

Anyone who blogs for clients can use this method to raise their rates — without the discomfort of raising your rates based on experience alone. You’re adding immediate, measurable value for the client. Who wouldn’t expect to pay more for better results?

How have you negotiated a raise? Tell us in the comments below.

Casey Kelly-Barton is a business, travel, and parenting freelance writer based in Austin.

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30 comments on “How One Paid Blogger Got a 33% Raise
  1. Rachel says:

    I couldn’t help thinking about how anyone can do this if only they try. Many moons ago I waitressed at a Steakhouse, and they ran a contest for upselling things like side orders and desserts. I never made a lot of effort on the upsells because I naively thought that if the customer wanted something they would just let me know. Because the prize offered in the contest was something I wanted to win, I upped my efforts in the contest and viewed it as a bit of an experiment. As it turned out, I won. I was by far not the most competent server in the restaurant, nor was I anywhere near as experienced as some of my co-workers, but I upsold EVERY customer, on EVERY item, EVERY time. I am still amazed when I think of it today that so many people do NOT know what they want until you tell/show them.
    Rachel recently posted…Racing headlong into possibilityMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well…if you have the wrong kind of clients (content mills, Elance) it’s hard to upsell the client — they pay a pittance and only want you for one thing. But with any decent client, there’s always room for upsell.

  2. Vicky Poutas says:

    Casey,
    Great post! The technique of selling the value added rather than the writer also helps newbies like me to ask for that raise. Thanks for the tip.
    Vicky Poutas recently posted…Anxiety: It Isn’t Just For Breakfast AnymoreMy Profile

  3. Amel says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing your success story. I really appreciate posts containing actionable items that I can use in my own business and marketing strategies.
    Amel recently posted…Are All Writers Vain, Selfish, and Lazy? George Orwell thought so.My Profile

  4. Gina Horkey says:

    And here I thought social sharing was a normal part of the deal;-) Good to know it’s an add-on and not expected by all clients. Valuable post, thanks for sharing!
    Gina Horkey recently posted…February, 2015 Freelance Income ReportMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I personally think beyond me sharing it once to my audience when it comes out, if they want anything further, it’s a social media contract and extra.

  5. Casey, great post. There are so many things that writers can ‘add’ to a post to make it pay more as well as make it more valuable for the client. It’s really a win-win situation to pitch!
    This is a really valuable technique every writer should have in their toolbox.
    Jake Mcspirit recently posted…The Minimalist Guide to Self-AcceptanceMy Profile

    • Casey says:

      Thanks, Jake! I think it would be helpful for any writer to brainstorm a list of related add-on services for clients as a sort of a la carte menu and to also to use in creating tiered package offerings.

  6. Nora says:

    Carol, I can see a couple of things you can do with this in the future:
    You can ask this same client to give you a testimonial with information that will help you to market the benefits of interviews. This client can talk about the first job and the ROI she received without the interview relative to the ROI after your second job with her.
    In future marketing materials you can display pricing with/without interviews and pictures alongside this client’s testimonial and other such testimonials.

  7. Yolanda Joy says:

    It’s also a good idea to strike when a client really needs you services. One day I got an email saying: “I’m in a spot of bother with one of my regular writers for another sector not returning emails – would you be able to do these articles under a tight budget?”

    I responded by saying that yes, I could do them but I’d need 25% extra because I needed to do extra research and the deadline was tight.

    He then gave me a raise, “I’m happy to pay you that rate for all future articles you write for us.”

    Sometimes, all you need to do is ask at the right time!
    Yolanda Joy recently posted…How I used Elance to Become a Full-Time Freelance Writer (in less than 3 months!)My Profile

    • Casey says:

      Nice, Yolanda! Good for you for asking for a rush fee–and good for your client for seeing the value in what you do. That’s great!

  8. Sabita says:

    I had been thinking for a while to add expert opinion in the articles I write. But haven’t tried it yet. This obviously is a great idea.

    However, for a number clients, I’ve offered other services in addition to writing content such as designing their marketing content – it’s done through an expert in my team. This has helped me land a long-term client. So, no bad!

    Your post is great because I’ve gotten extra tips to add small tasks as value-added services that I earlier thought were a part of an assignment.

  9. Steph Weber says:

    Love this! I’ve been steadily raising my rates, but educating clients on the value of interviewed pieces is a great angle.

  10. Got a 33% raise yesterday from a client (from $75 to $100 per post). My strategy: I chose the client who gives me the toughest assignments and said (nicely) I couldn’t continue for less than $100. Had I been fired I would have spent the time freed up looking for higher-paying gigs or easier ones.
    Steve Gillman recently posted…More Than a Thousand ArticlesMy Profile

  11. Casey says:

    Timothy, that’s great. One of my first major clients was an affiliate/performance marketer who needed lots and lots of content on their site. Good luck!

  12. Something that I did was ask if my clients wanted images with the article, for an extra fee, and some of them agreed. Yeah, it takes sometime to find images, but not too long, and the pay raise makes it worth it. One client said that she recommended me to a full-time affiliate marketer, not sure what that means, and I’m still waiting for his email, but it’s nice to know someone thinks my writing is good enough to recommend.
    Timothy Torrents recently posted…9 Things That You Shouldn’t Do In Asia Unless You Want to DieMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Timothy — anytime someone tells me they referred me, I try to get their name and email, so I can reach out to them myself if they’re not in touch. Otherwise the connection may be lost.

      • Thanks Carol and Casey! But I think it’s a bit too late to ask for their contact information? It seems like he’s not really interested because she said she told him about me like a couple of weeks ago, might be too late. Do you think I should ask her about it?
        Timothy Torrents recently posted…9 Things That You Shouldn’t Do In Asia Unless You Want to DieMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          I’d do it — just say you wanted to follow up with them, who was that again? 😉

        • Casey says:

          I agree with Carol. Ask so you’ll know who they are when you hear from them. And don’t worry if you don’t hear from them soon. In my experience, client projects can sometimes take much longer to start up than expected. The client I’m writing about now was one I got referred to several months before they were ready to start contracting out work. (That time lag is a good reason to always be marketing, btw.)

  13. Great post Casey – and well done on raising your rates! These are some really useful tips.

    Personally I usually offer the option of sourcing images and sharing content as an extra service, but having read this article I’m definitely going to make sure I outline the benefits of this for the client – then hopefully I’ll get more takers.

    Thanks for posting 🙂
    Steph Simpson recently posted…How Rising Early Accelerated My ProductivityMy Profile

    • Casey says:

      Thanks, Steph,for the feedback, and for the tip about image sourcing. That’s another value-add that writers can offer clients, for sure.