Why Would Anyone Pay $100 for a Blog Post?

Baffled business woman If you’re trying to find paid blogging gigs, you may be looking at a sea of job listings that pay $10 or $20 a post.

Meanwhile, you may have heard that some writers get much more than that — $100 and up.

This is an odd situation, hm?

Makes you wonder where all those better-paid blogging gigs are hiding…and why your prospects aren’t willing to pay you real rates.

One Freelance Writers Den member wrote me:

I was asked this question recently — why would anyone pay $100 for a blog post?

If a prospective client asks me this, what should I tell him or her? What exactly goes into blogging that makes it worth $100 per post?–Sara

Here’s the thing: There are two basic types of blogging customers. To understand who pays well for blog posts, let’s take a look at their profiles:

Customer 1: SEO seeker with easy topics

Most of the paid-blogging gigs you see on the Problogger job boards and Craigslist fall into this category. Many of the ads you see are from startup companies.

They have a business model that works like this:

  • Do key word research on what gets a lot of searches online
  • Slap up masses of content on scads of popular topics
  • Stuff posts with search engine optimized (SEO) key words
  • Put ads on all the pages this content creates
  • Search engines send visitors interested in the key words they’ve targeted
  • Visitors click the ads and earn the business some affiliate sales revenue

The big problem with this model: The vast majority of sites that try it don’t do very well. Also, Google is cracking down on these junk-content sites and many of these sites are seeing their search rankings decline. That means less ad revenue for them, and less pay for you.

Even Demand Media doesn’t earn much, with huge traffic flowing to its network of sites.

Here, the content quality isn’t really important. The content’s true purpose isn’t to educate or entertain — it’s to get Internet visitors to click to the page. Period. From there, the hope is the reader will be distracted by the ads and start clicking.

These are the sort of posts that content mill writers report they crank out at a rate of three or more articles an hour. A little bit of Internet research, and then blurt it onto the page. Lather, rinse, repeat.

With popular topics, legions of writers exist who could do the work. And the websites need thousands of posts to make their model work.

This is simple math:

Easy assignment many writers can do

+ need for mass amounts of content

+ weak profitability

= low rates

The big thing to know:

These posts are meant for search-engine robots to read.

I’m confident this is the sort of customer Sara was talking to, who was astounded to hear her ask for $100 a blog post.

Because quality expectations are so low (despite endless requests for ‘high-quality posts’ from these very clients), and the possibility of earning well from the post so slim, it’s not possible for these sites to pay fair wages.

What should you tell these clients when they balk at your professional rates?

Nothing.

They are not the right kind of customer to pay what you want to earn.

You’re banging your head against a jagged brick wall here. The wall is not going to give, but you will get some nasty, frustrating bumps that will hurt your business, because you’re wasting time.

Instead, move on.

Which brings us to…

Customer 2: Reputation builder with sophisticated topic

This second customer has a completely different reason for blogging. Their business model works like this:

  • They sell a real product or service in the real world
  • They are established, profitable, and successful
  • What they sell is complex, expensive, and changes frequently
  • They need to explain their thing in detail and get customers excited about it
  • Their industry is competitive
  • Often, the customer is a sophisticated business owner or executive
  • Blog posts establish them as an authority in their niche
  • High-value, informative posts help them attract new customers to their site
  • Blog posts help build their email list of marketing leads
  • The business makes more sales off their growing list

To sum up:

These posts are meant for people to read.

The content of these posts is both critically important and difficult to do right.

Not every writer can blog for these companies, which sell everything from software to surety bonds.

The blogger will need some understanding of the industry to write interesting, informative posts customers in that industry will find valuable.

These customers also want bloggers with a proven track record of driving traffic and engagement — getting a lot of comments and retweets. They’re hoping you will do the same for their blog.

This is the profile of a $100-a-post blog client.

When you quote this type of prospect a pro rate, they will think it’s fine. In my experience, most will approve a $100 rate without a blink.

They are making good money, and in the great scheme of their marketing budget, what you’re asking for is pin money.

Few writers go after these gigs, though, because they are rarely found on a job ad.

You have to go out and find these clients. But when you look at the difference in how writers are paid and treated between these two types of clients, isn’t it worth doing a little prospecting?

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91 comments on “Why Would Anyone Pay $100 for a Blog Post?
  1. Mark says:

    I think the harsh reality is that there is an overwhelming competition today. The secret probably lies in a writer’s ability to promote the content they have, and most don’t really know how to do that. Yes, selling your material for $20, doesn’t make sense. But promoting your brand (your name as a writer, your blog, or your content) is really important. To succeed today, you must be seen and heard. Meaning you must achieve the important balance between quantity and quality. You cannot ignore the importance of SEO if you want to succeed as a blogger. As this page actually proves.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Mark, there’s only overwhelming competition at the BOTTOM of the ladder. Learn to write more sophisticated products, or about more sophisticated topics, and there’s a whole lot less competition, and professional rates are still strong.

  2. Andy NAthan says:

    Carol,

    As always your content rocks!

    Quick note! I know that Craigslist rarely has high paying jobs, but I have found a number of awesome opportunities on Pro Blogger for jobs that range anywhere from $100-$300 per post.

    Not every person on this site is looking to pay $10 per post.

    However, you are correct! High paying customers have a distinct difference in their approach then low paying customers.

    Generally a low paying customer does this, because they do not have the revenue to pay for top-notch articles.

    A high-quality client needs high-quality writers.

    Thanks!

    Andy
    Andy NAthan recently posted…Help Me Help YouMy Profile

  3. Hi Carol,

    Thank you very much for this informative post .

    In beauty niche, it is very difficult to find good customers, most beauty related industries are working with PR agencies, and those agencies prefer to work with the same bloggers. Any suggestions? How and where can I find good customers?
    Dima Al Mahsiri recently posted…The Changing Face of Beauty and CosmeticsMy Profile

  4. Robin says:

    Hi everyone!

    In doing a little research for a potential client I came across this blog. It has now been bookmarked and I am officially a huge fan. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading all the comments and have learned so very much in the last 20 minutes. I have a wedding blog and have been approached by a company who would like me to blog about their products (wedding related) 2 to 3 times per week. They said they’d like a combination of posts on their company blog, as well as articles on other wedding related blogs to help drive targeted traffic back to their site. I have been blogging for the last 2 years and publishing daily for the past year. I know the wedding industry and am certain I can produce quality content for this company and meet their over-all goals. I feel confident charging $100 for each fully optimized blog posts on their company blog, but I’m not sure what to charge them to have these articles published on other sites. I would have to incorporate more time in pitching story ideas and researching publications that may be interested in this particular product. Does anyone have any suggestions for this type of pricing? I’d want to also promote these articles on their social channels to maximize our efforts. Does anyone have any personal experience with charging for blogging + social media? I’m very excited about the opportunity (both creatively and financially!) and would greatly appreciate any feedback specifically for pricing & proposals.

    Many thanks!
    Robin

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Robin —

      I think this post will help fill you in on the challenges of trying to place guest posts for clients (spoiler alert — you may be less excited about this kind of opportunity after you read it):

      Writing Paid Guest Posts for Clients — My Nightmare.

      • Rob says:

        I was bored with writing about writing, so about a year ago, started accepting guest posts. I didn’t care about who or what the guest poster chose to link to in the final paragraph, but did want the blogs to be writing related. It didn’t matter. I just got slapped with a “manual spam action” by Google for having “unnatural outbound links.” I’ve removed them, but it’s going to take awhile to recover.
        Rob recently posted…Slapped by Google for Unnatural Links!My Profile

  5. Gavin says:

    Just another point i would like to make. Before I started writing for this online magazine publisher his ranking was around 2,000,000. After I started writing for him his ranking improved tremendously to around 860 top sites in my country, within a three to four month time period.

    So this is what convinced me that i am actually pretty decent in my work. Yes i know i am charging pretty low at the moment, but the publisher freaks out every time i tell him i am going to stop contributing. So its a matter of time before I tell him how much and not the other way round.

    Anyhow, i can usually get all my my thoughts down with a bit of twist in about 4-5 hours of writing, worst case scenario is when you have nothing good to say about a car then its 8 hours. The testing of the vehicle is the one that takes time. And at times its dangerous. Only by pushing the vehicle close to its limits do you began to know if it will safe you or kill you in a critical situation. So that’s me finding out these scenarios at 5-6 am on a Sunday morning, when everyone is asleep. This is when i began asking the question, is this really worth it. Most car reviewers don’t do this, but usually just regurgitate facts from the brochure. I have been testing cars for the past 5 years, only just began writing reviews for the past couple of months.

    In the end of the day Carol is right. U need to know how to market yourself, but firstly is finding the right magazine/publishers that will appreciate your work and pay u accordingly.

    To all you other wanna be writers, good luck and stay creative.
    A proverb: “a successful person is the one that gets up one more time every time he/she falls”

    • Rob S says:

      Hi Gavin, I can really relate to your story because:

      1) You have specialized knowledge in your niche and
      2) You’ve been asked to do outside research.

      Although destination/hotel/restaurant reviews and cars are 2 different topics, the same kind of research is needed to do it right. As I mentioned before, I quit writing for one travel site because the $40 they paid me wasn’t worth it. Just this morning, I had an article accepted by a much larger online magazine for $400. Ten times the money for an equal amount of work and they want me to continue writing for them.

      I undersold myself for about 3 years before I started to get clued in. No need to wait that long if you’ve already proven yourself.
      Rob S recently posted…Why Google SucksMy Profile

      • Carol Tice says:

        Nice job on the new client, Rob! Wish every reader of this blog could realize they might be making 10x what they are now, if they would just do some marketing. When you know the magnitude of how much more you could earn, you can see it’s really worth a little effort.

  6. Gavin says:

    Hi Guys

    I am very new to this industry. But I would like to inquire about writing car reviews. At the moment i am paid about USD50 per review. Each review takes me at least a day to complete. I am in the process of learning photography as well to complete the process of being a good car reviewer. I sometimes test drive at odd hours sometimes as early as 5 am in the morning on my free Sundays to get the best results from a car that i test. After the testing i spend another 6 to 8 hours recalling and putting in pen of the experiences and shortfalls of the car. This is usually on the second day of test drive. Each article is about 1800 words of fun and factual criticism. Well that’s how i like to put it down anyway.

    According to my current publisher i am worth about USD60. The question is….is this a decent amount for what i am doing. According to him i am one of the best in the industry. Not sure if he is saying that because i am cheap or its for real.

    At the moment i am just sticking with this publisher because i have a sincere passion for cars and yes i do love to put down words and share my ideas with the general public.

    Again this is part time, there is no way i can live off USD60 per review. Its for fun at the moment and just wondering if i could make this into a decent living one day.

    • Rob says:

      That’s obscenely low. I wrote short hotel reviews for the town I live in for a travel site for awhile for $40 a pop and quit because they took too long. By the time I’d visited the hotels, taken a few pics and written the article, half a day was gone. $40 is the least I charge for blogs now and they take less than an hour to write. I think $40 may be too low, too. I’m sure someone else here will be able to give you a realistic rate to charge for the car reviews.
      Rob recently posted…Why Google SucksMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I think the problem with reviews is they’re fairly easy to do and there are many writers willing to do them.

      Think about moving up to car magazines and other better-paying markets for your niche, I’d say.

      And you’ve got to get faster to make your hourly rate better…shouldn’t take you an 8-hour day to write up a car review. Consider writing shorter, too — think 1,200 or 1000 words for starters instead, if they’ll allow it. Stop giving them so much for such a low fee.

      Also consider pitching car dealerships and the carmarkers themselves — many automakers have high-end magazines for owners. You’ll need to get beyond the websites trying to earn off ads to find better pay.

  7. Ray says:

    Carol,

    Tips that you offer for writers are sincere. I’ve notice your passion within each post. Many writers follow your advice for greater confidence in their abilities. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, as well as your articles on Entrepreneur.com

    Keep up the good work,
    Ray

  8. Jacob Arvin says:

    It’s really true that there’s a fundamental distinction between these two categories of writing: notably, the number of people who can provide quality, unique content is significantly smaller, so they’re able to charge a much higher rate just from that alone.
    Jacob Arvin recently posted…How To Become A Freelance Content WriterMy Profile

  9. Kat says:

    I found your article really informative. I was once confused how the market on paid blog posts works. Yes, sometimes a client offers a cheaper pay while other offer lavishly. I noticed those high end company offers tempting pay and i just buy the idea that the website itself has key role whether it deserves a $10 pay or more of that…
    Kat recently posted…Generate Natural Web TrafficMy Profile

  10. Jason Rogers says:

    Great article! I stumbled across this after searching for information on how/what to pay writers for two niche sites I’m building about Gun Laws and Off-Grid living; Topics I chose purely based on huge spikes in Google Trends.

    I have to say that delivering content based on what people are searching for is not a bad idea. The problem, as you so well stated, is that many site owners fail to realize this and look for quantity.

    That said, the best kind of SEO is providing valuable content. This will rank you higher than all the on-page optimization you can possibly perform because it promotes engagement, linking, sharing, increased time on site, comments, social engagement, etc. So…good writing will inherently include good SEO practices. If you are an exceptional writer, your page will inherently need less SEO than most others.

    “These posts are meant for search-engine robots to read.”

    You should write for BOTH. There are ways of seamlessly making your content appeal to both humans and search engines at the same time.

    I am an SEO consultant and I am all for leveraging as much SEO value as you squeeze out of a blog post. At the same time I know a great writer is key, or IT WILL NOT WORK.

    The conundrum: Between a client and myself, it is not uncommon to spend a combined 5-8 hours one post. Usually for law firm clients – notoriously known for cheap tactics.

    It is also not uncommon to bill a client $500+ for one blog post. I mention this because you, as a writer, may be selling yourself way too short if you only charge $100. Especially if you are required to to do SEO or social media promotion as well.

    Here is why: Let’s say you are writing a post for a law firm who is a top ranking firm, with an active blog and well known attorneys. They know that blog, if written properly, well optimized and well promoted can stay in the top search rankings for more than a year – heck we have seen blogs in the #1 spot for 2 1/2 years!

    Now, when you consider that over the course of two years, all that blog has to do is convert one visitor into a client that could potentially be worth anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000 in firm revenue. Just one client.

    Now, when you put things into this perspective, how much do you think your writing is worth?

    • Carol Tice says:

      It definitely depends on the type of blog post clients want, Jason. When we talk $100 blog posts, we’re talking about something we can write in 60-90 minutes. So for what you’re doing it should definitely be in the $500 range!

  11. Carol,

    Thanks for covering the topic. I started my writing career in 2011. Unfortunately, I started off with the freelance bid sites, where we accept crumbs – $3 to $5 for a 500-word article!

    Recently, with the help of your blog, I’ve found out that the quality of my writing fits the high paying gigs. So, I launched a new blog. Since then, I’ve been attracting clients that pay much higher.

    Although I’ve not reached the $100 level, I hope to get there very soon:)
    Abass Toriola recently posted…Are You Finding It Hard To Quit Smoking? These 10 Tips Will Help You Quit Forever!My Profile

  12. Hello Carol,

    I just wanted to follow up and let you know it’s official.

    I’m offering $100 per guest post.

    Thank you for the inspiration.
    Darnell Jackson recently posted…35 reasons why I’m paying $100 for guest postsMy Profile

  13. I agree 100%, Carol.

    No matter what, the work must be done.

    When you work alone, chances are that means struggle.
    When you work with someone more talented, that means
    accelerated results and better quality. Most writers would
    choose the latter. Sorry if I wasn’t clear about that earlier…

    Thanks again for the post, Carol. As you can tell from the
    comments, this topic is very thought-provoking…

  14. Jake says:

    @Michael Hicks, agree completely with your leverage insights. That’s exactly what I’m saying too, I’m just taking it to the next logical step.

    Carol wants to teach writers to be salespeople, but I’m guessing many or most readers of this blog (those who are reading instead of joining) so don’t want to sell that they will choose starving over selling. Writers are famous for making such artist-like choices.

    I agree such writers are not necessarily inept. Some will be, but many are instead a very normal kind of writer, people who became writers so they could write.

    That’s why they go to the content mills, they want to write and earn, not sell. Lecturing sales pages may persuade some, but more would be persuaded by the opportunity to write and earn more, and still not sell.

  15. Jake says:

    Carol said, “I just don’t think most writers make enough to give up a percentage to a marketer…just my thought on it.”

    Some readers, the minority, will take your advice, join your site, find their own clients, do it your way, and make the full salary.

    But as is true of any sales page, most readers will read and dream, and not act.

    This set of writers, the majority, those perhaps writing for the content mills now (the kind of people you’re blogging to here) would see their pay doubled or more if they used an client finding agent, assuming of course the agent can deliver the kind of clients you’re talking about. (If agents can’t do this, it seems unlikely writers can.)

    My guesstimate theory is that if you’re willing to serve this set of writers, in the way they wished to be served (instead of continually insisting they do it your way) you might considerably expand your business.

    A content mill, for a higher class of better paying clients (not the SEO types).

    Clients should love it, assuming the agent does a good job of screening out the unqualified writers. It’s more efficient for the client, as they would no longer have to review writers one at a time. Once they trusted the agent, they’d have access to a number of good writers. That added benefit might boost the price.

    Disclaimer: I’ve not done any of this myself, and am just thinking out loud. If there are problems with this analysis, feel free to share them.

  16. This is a great differentiation, Carol. And, it’s accurate in my experience. I’ve gotten paid more than $150 per post for real content. I’m so glad you are pointing people in the right direction.
    Sandra Pawula recently posted…Promoting Blog Posts on Social Media: Does It Work Anymore?My Profile

  17. A few words about writers who might be perceived
    as incapable or unwilling to market themselves
    and find their own gigs:

    Writers who choose not to market on their own aren’t
    professionally inept. They are taking advantage of an
    incredibly valuable business tool: Leverage.

    Some of us wash our cars. Others go to a car wash.
    Paying someone to do something you can do doesn’t
    mean you can’t do it. You simply choose not to,
    for whatever reason.

    When a new or experienced writer joins Carol’s site,
    for example, they are paying for a short cut. In the same
    way going to a car wash saves you time, seeking the
    prowess of a seasoned writer flattens your learning curve
    and opens doors that might take you years to access.

    In other words, marketing and finding quality gigs on
    your own is like taking a walk. Partnering with Carol
    is like taking the Bullet Train. Less effort in less time
    creating much greater results at professional rates
    and no content mills or SEO robots.

    That’s why folks like me are or will be tapping into
    services like Carol’s. It has nothing to do with being
    lazy or unable. It’s about making a smart business
    decision that gets things done better and faster without
    falling into the quicksand of underpaying markets
    with inanimate readers.

    This is the ultimate win-win in my book…:-)

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, I certainly agree that learning from pros provides a shortcut…but you’ve still got to get out and find your own clients in the end if you want to leave the Craigslist world behind and get better clients.

  18. I actually agree with paying higher price for top content. I look at this from the other side since I’m a client.

    I run a blog on being an author/writer and on Aztec history, but I’m so damn busy that I hardly have time to write my own content. So for a while, I’ve been trying to find a good copywriter on Elance. I’ve posted a few jobs, leaving the price open just to see what bids would come.

    In most of the bids I got, writers asked $20-50 for a blog post. At first, I was so happy, as I was ready to pay up to $105 (that’s what I’d want to get paid, because I value my own talents!). But when I received the actual posts, I was so disappointed that I ended up publishing none of them.

    I just found your site, and will now look around here to see what I can learn as a client! 🙂
    Austin Briggs recently posted…How to Build a Powerful Writer’s Platform in 90 DaysMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Austin, if you need a solid writer at those rates you can send me a job listing, and I’ll post it in my Freelance Writers Den Junk-Free Job Board — we have 700+ writers in there with a lot of expertise. Our writers would ask $100…and deliver material you could actually use on your blog!

      Sounds like you learned the hard way how you do get what you pay for hiring writers, as with any other industry.

  19. Chris says:

    Yeah it’s sad when great writers are paid the same as someone just throwing some boring content together. I’ve been working in the SEO industry for 8 years and there’s a lot of junk out there… you just need to take the time to make sure you’re hiring quality.
    Chris recently posted…Get More Out of Your Most Popular Blog PostsMy Profile

  20. Vidya Sury says:

    Point very well made, Carol. Most of the time, the issue is this: clients hustle, citing that another writer is practically giving it away. In fact,one client never edits emails when they reply or forward them – and much as I don’t want to, I can’t help reading their communication with other writers. 🙂 The bigger issue is this: many writers are afraid to quote fairly and don’t think they deserve it. The general attitude is the client is doing the writer a favor, which is so sad.

    I’ve got a couple of clients who pay fair rates but it didn’t happen without some marketing and convincing.

    Reminds me of my previous life, when I worked in Sales and Marketing, where we sold office automation products…. but presented ourselves as solution providers. On one particular meeting with a rather tough client, I remember asking why they chose to use a Parker pen rather than cheap unknown pen that did the same job of writing. Mission accomplished.

    Thanks, Carol. I enjoy each and every newsletter from you tremendously.
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Are you a blogger? Stop Writing. Now!My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Love that Parker pen story, Vidya!

      I think the bigger problem isn’t writers underbidding each other, but that most writers are all competing for the same wrong kind of client…the #1 type instead of #2.

  21. Great post. Knock out title. Will start trying to cultivate a sophisticated company .do you know the comment luv will not let my most recent post show?

  22. Jake says:

    Very well written as always, but…

    The reason you keep having to make this pitch in every other post is because readers who haven’t already joined your site….

    1) Don’t believe they can find such clients, and/or..

    2) Don’t want to hunt for clients, preferring those opportunities that are more readily available (but lower paying).

    You wouldn’t have to sell so hard if you could find a way to offer what these readers actually want, somebody else to find the better paying gigs for them.

    Say a reader is currently making $20 per article. You find them a client who pays $100, and you and reader split that fee in some way. You get say, $30-40 for each and every article that reader writes, for years to come. Everybody wins.

    Kinda beats a $25/month subscription fee from that same reader, yes?

    If you don’t want to find these clients, that should help explain why the reader doesn’t either.

    Hope this is helpful, good luck!

    • Carol Tice says:

      I know there are marketing firms that work with solopreneurs and do this kind of stuff. Would love to hear if someone has successfully used them!

      Maybe they’d be good for doing prospect research, but to me the marketing is so personal. Like I say, would love to hear if someone has a win with this. Also, most writers I know who could benefit from using an outside marketing firm couldn’t afford it!

      • Jake says:

        Hi Carol, thanks for replying to my comment.

        Do the clients really care that much about the personal connection, or would they be satisfied with access to the quality product they are seeking? I don’t claim to know, and will welcome a report based on your experience.

        Cost isn’t an issue to the writer, if the marketing is done on a percentage basis, as I suggested above.

        Cost could be an issue to the marketer though. This might be overcome by a long term contract between writer and marketer. The bottom line question is, can the marketer deliver their end? If yes, they should be able to profit if they get a percent of many articles.

        If we can’t locate marketers who can’t or won’t find $100 per article clients, that would seem to raise the question of why a writer should try to do what the pro marketers either can’t do, or have decided not to do.

        My guess is that if writers can find such well paying clients, a pro marketer who is focused only on that task and not distracted by writing, should be able to as well.

        I realize that what I’ve suggested in these comments isn’t for everybody. I’m attempting to address that segment of readers who keep reading but not signing up to your service, ie. the people you’re writing to here.

        If my suggestions turn out to be full of #$#%, it wouldn’t be the first time. I seem to have expertise in that area, so if you find a client who requires such services, keep me in mind please. 🙂

        • Carol Tice says:

          I just don’t think most writers make enough to give up a percentage to a marketer…just my thought on it. If anyone out there is using a pro marketer and paying them, I’d love a report on it.

    • Dana Sitar says:

      That’s an interesting suggestion, Jake, and you make a good point: Why do we have to keep reminding writers there’s better paid work out there? I don’t think the answer is that we can’t or don’t want to find it, though. I think it’s more about a fear in (especially new) writers of putting themselves out there. Every time I make a pitch to a prospect, I have to fight the nagging demons that say, “Why would they care about YOU?” That fear drives a lot of writers to job boards; when the work is of the lowest quality, you can be sure you’re at least good enough!

      This post is actually a great way to answer that nagging question, both to ourselves and to prospective clients. Thanks, Carol!
      Dana Sitar recently posted…The Advice You Need to Hear Before Leaving for a “Working Vacation”My Profile

  23. Carol, Thanks for the explanation of Customer 1. Now it’s crystal clear to me- how that all works. Your article makes it easier for me to recognize and avoid SEO-driven customers.

    When you said “These posts are meant for search-engine robots to read”. It made me think twice.
    I want to be a true writer; not a content regurgitator! Great article!

    Sherri

    • Carol Tice says:

      No kidding — I want to be read by people. That’s not too much to ask!

      It breaks my heart when writers tell me how they put a lot of extra work into their content mill articles because they want them to be really good quality…then wondering why they’ve been at it for years but still don’t have a portfolio they can show to get a better gig.

      It’s because writing for those client #1s has no applicability in the world of writing for people.

  24. art williams says:

    Good article Carol. As usual, I learned a lot also from the comments.

    The comments reminded me of some industries I know something about from previous involvement. One of them is automotive repair equipment. Another is outdoor electrical signs. I’d be willing to bet that a person could call up dealers for either of those business and simply ask them if they need any help writing …..and you’d find customers real quick. I know what those shops and businesses are like. They don’t have time for or want to do that stuff.

    Regards,
    Art

    • Carol Tice says:

      Great prospecting tip, Art!

      One I always loved is to walk industrial parks to find companies. Those are always low-glamour firms with no retail storefront…and nobody markets to them. And they often need marketing help very badly.

  25. Customer 1’s business model is flat, stale and short sighted.
    You end up writing this copy to generate a click. Think of it as
    pay per click advertising. And because there’s no long term
    usefulness, the copy becomes expendable and dies after
    serving its purpose. A one hit wonder at 10 bucks a pop.

    Customer 2’s business model is scalable and creates value.
    You write this copy to help build a brand and generate a sale.
    The customer can leverage your posts by including the content
    in other marketing materials which are also used to fatten profits.
    And depending on how well the customer positions himself, this kind
    of copy can prove to be priceless. Your $100 blog post is a seed that
    could grow into thousands of dollars down the road. No wonder
    high-caliber customers don’t think twice about paying such fees…

    So it all boils down to whether you want to write for a one trick pony
    or a horse farmer who owns and races thoroughbreds. Just make sure
    you have your blinders off when deciding who to work for.

    A wonderful article as always, Carol. We can always count on you
    to write about what’s on our minds in terms everyone can understand.
    Thanks so much!!!

  26. Traci Browne says:

    Carol, great explanation on the difference in the strategy behind the posts. Yes, corporate clients are willing to pay for quality writing…and they place that value even higher than $100 per post. But they also expect the writer to do a fair amount of research to get the data needed to write that quality post their customers find valuable. It’s not something you can kick out in a hour. Just like a journalist, most of your time will be spent on reporting. But that’s what makes for a quality post and they understand that’s what they are paying for.

    I would also add, if you can’t convince a client, through a well written query why they should hire you to write for them; you probably can’t write a blog post that will convince their potential clients to use their products or services either.
    Traci Browne recently posted…Does Your Content Marketing Enthral Your Audience (aka customers)?My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I usually DON’T spend a ton of time researching and interviewing for a $100 blog post.

      I’m always wary of situations where really, what they want is a fully reported story that should cost $500 or more, but they want to pay $100 and call it a blog post.

      Blog post to me is light research and something I can execute in 1-2 hours, where the value I bring is my knowledge of the niche topic and ability to find and develop good blog topic ideas that will get traffic.

      • Julie says:

        That’s my experience, too – the €125 posts I write are based on 7 to 10 minutes podcast my client records for me. It’s actually them doing the research, as they have access to professional resources that I don’t, and they know exactly what they want to say / talk about. They’ll record a short podcast giving their opinion and send along a few links to stats, figures, articles etc., and it’s my job to write a well-turned article out of that. It usually takes me around an hour and half to write a post.

  27. Thank you so much for publishing this. As a freelance writer living in an expensive area of the country (the San Francisco Bay Area) I have been long boggled by Craig’s List ads offering $10-20 per blog post. I finally had to stop reading Craig’s List ads because they made me feel so degraded. In fact, I seem to recall this advice coming from you? I charge the same for all content work I do, whether it’s writing blog posts or web site copy or press releases: $90 per hour. I ramped up to this price after a talk with a friend who is a professional business consultant. At first I was terrified to charge this much. But you know what? My business actually went up when I made this change, not down. And when potential clients balk at my pricing, I know that we are probably not going to be a good fit for other reasons as well (namely, they don’t value content).

    • Carol Tice says:

      Glad I was able to help you kick the Craigslist habit, Joslyn! I do think it kills writers’ self-esteem to keep reading those sort of low-pay listings. Writers start to think that’s all there is. And then for them…that’s all there is.

      Isn’t it amazing how when you start valuing your time, others do too? 😉

  28. Thank you, Carol! This is genuine high-quality content –useful, well-written and throrough– that illustrates exactly what makes a post worth $100+.

    I can imagine how it might look if an SEO/affiliate business commissioned a $15 post on the same topic: bland, keyword-stuffed, poorly constructed and of little use to the reader!
    Sophie Lizard recently posted…Why You Should Step the F*ck Up to Be a Freelance BloggerMy Profile

  29. I’m still just a small one-man band. But even I would be prepared to pay $100 for a guest post that got good quality traffic, loads of comments and new subscribers to my blog.

    Why on earth would anybody pay anything for junk content, unless they’re completely stupid? And that’s why these types of clients don’t end up making very good money.
    Kevin Carlton recently posted…5 non-existent words that make YOU look a halfwit copywriterMy Profile

  30. I think it comes down to positioning yourself as a business that provides a service–thought leadership posts can’t be written by just anyone. I have a few clients that pay $100 for posts, and I agree–you have to scout for them but again, that’s taking the “I’m a business” approach instead of the “I’m looking for the job” mindset.

    • Carol Tice says:

      So agree —

      Or really, it’s the mentality of “I look at Craigslist ads and whatever’s there, I think that is the universe of available freelancing.” vs “I proactively research, identify and market to the prospects I want.”

      The first one gets you lots of client #1…and the second can get you client #2.

  31. Erica says:

    The cheaper clients sound like they’re working on the same basic principle as content mills. Get writers to churn out over-SEOd garbage for pennies and hope to make money on the advertising. No regard for the writers or the audience for whom they write – no thank you, not for me. And they’ll find you without much effort on your part (the allure of an “easy” gig?).

    The good-paying clients are like any other quality client: willing to pay for quality because it’s better for their business in the long run. But, like any other quality client, you gotta go out and look for them. Which means you’ve gotta know your worth and be willing to ask.

    Thanks, Carol, for articulating the argument so well. Sometimes we know but have trouble putting it into words, especially when asked to do so on the spot.
    Erica recently posted…Dealing with Writer’s Performance AnxietyMy Profile

  32. I agree with your list of the type of people who pay well, especially those having a physical product in the real world.

    I practically fell of my seat when someone emailed me out of the blue and offered me exactly $100 to write a blog post for them. They found me through one of my blogs. Before then, I was messing around with Hubpages, considering Demand Media – all that stuff. But that single email made me realise it is absolutely right that there are people willing to pay decent rates and what’s more, I CAN do it. I did take about 4 hours to write it because I was a little nervous but I was paid within 10 minutes of emailing the completed article.

    I’m concentrating on writing my own e-books now (three on the go!) but I wanted to comment because I am sure there is someone who, like me in the past, is wondering if it’s really possible that they can get paid a professional rate. It is!

    As Julie says above, just listen to Carol’s advice.
    Leah Whitehorse recently posted…A Little Note on the Cosmic TidesMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Thanks for adding your experience, Leah! I do sometimes think people read posts like this and think, “Well, yeah, CAROL could get more, but nobody else.”

      But with client #2 types, $100 and more a post is routine.

      Usually, they’ve been searching high and low to find someone who can make their complex and/or dull topic sound interesting on a blog, and they are thrilled to find you. And there’s definitely more good-paying blogging work out there than just for me!

  33. Rob S says:

    I’m going to copy/paste this blog and pretend I wrote it because it’s exactly what I’ve discovered the hard way. Okay, I’m not going to do that, but I am going to share it widely. I was in the $10 category and when I moved “up” to the $20 category, I thought that was the limit. Then I started doing some research (much of it right here on your site) and learned that $200 is not unheard of. It didn’t become a reality for me, though, until I recently got an assignment for 5 X 500 word articles @ $200 each. The company fit the business model you outline above to a tee. My brief included a very detailed style guide, which brought home to me just how important the right kind of content was to the company and why they were willing to pay so well for it.

    Getting that gig was kind of a fluke, but now that I know what kind of money can be made and that I can deliver what the client asks for, I’m going to make finding those kinds of clients my priority. Aside from the better money, the challenge made it a much more fulfilling assignment than most.
    Rob S recently posted…Brainwave Entrainment for Freelance WritersMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Rob — love this success story!

      Getting that gig was no fluke…it was the result of you being ready for that kind of client. Now that you know what they smell like, follow that trail!

  34. Julie says:

    Carol, thank you for this post! I almost never comment on your blog (shyness!), but I feel like I really have to this time. Sorry this is going to be a long comment, but I think it’s important to give a very concrete example of going after client number 2. It really does pay.

    I started reading your blog in 2011; a few months later, I found exactly the kind of client that you describe as number 2. When Freelance Writers’ Den opened again in November 2011, I signed up. I never looked back.

    I have been writing for the same client ever since. They pay me €1000 (yes, euros, not dollars, so over 1000 dollars) every month to write around 8 posts or articles. We publish on the client’s blog 4 times a month, and the rest is guest posts and articles for print pubs.

    So that works out at around €125 a post. A hundred and twenty-five euros. Times 8. Every month. I don’t say this to boast – I am in no way exceptional. Trust Carol when she says you can do it. I followed her advice and landed that client as a result.

    When I first approached the client, I didn’t have a website (still don’t), I didn’t have much of a portfolio (none of the things I had written for a few other clients had been published or uploaded yet). I didn’t even have much experience in freelance writing and I had never used WordPress.

    But I was confident in my writing abilities and I had Carol to thank for building my confidence in my marketing and negotiating abilities.

    I named my price and the client accepted it. They didn’t try to talk it down or anything, because they know the value of what I can do for them – I didn’t have to educate them.

    I did just like Carol recommends – I noticed their blog was completely abandoned and they hadn’t published in 8 months. I prepared a proposal with suggestions to improve the blog. Frankly that was easy because their blog couldn’t have been much worse – the posts were either just a link to an article on another website, or a good, but very technical and long-winded explanation of some finance concept. And the design!! RED TEXT ON A BLACK BACKGROUND!!

    When I listed my suggestions to improve and rewrite the website, they looked at me as if I was their guardian angel finally manifesting. No joking. They didn’t even have to go looking for somebody like me – and there I was, showing I understood and could solve all their problems.

    – They’re extremely busy, sometimes visiting as much as 3 European countries in a week. They don’t have time to catch their breath, let alone write a well-structured post.
    – They write fairly well, but I can write much better and faster
    – They’re an expert in their field (finance), which means they’ve forgotten what it was like to be a beginner. I’m a newbie who can express complex finance concepts in a clear, easily understandable way, once I’ve worked my mind around them.
    – They’re looking to grow their credibility and authority, and what better way to do that than through quality articles on a reputedly difficult topic?

    As a result of my working for this client, they are now regularly asked to contribute to trade mags (for auctioneers, insurance brokers and accountants) – guess who writes the articles?
    They have also published a book, which I helped them write. As a result of writing the book, they have been interviewed in consumer mags and asked to contribute articles to same consumer mags. Guess who writes those?

    And I’m getting a free education in finance and economics, which I will then be able to use to specialize in that niche. The client actually flew me out, all expenses paid, to attend a weekend seminar on investing in the stock market; they flew me out again for their book launch, to thank me for my help (on top of the fee they paid for that help!!)

    Do everything Carol says. Do it. It works.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Thanks for sharing your awesome success story, Julie! Thrilled the Den helped you steer your way to great paying clients.

      • Julie says:

        The best thing is, I didn’t even have to “steer” my way there. Thanks to you, that’s literally where I started! I didn’t know anything about content mills and Craigslit ads before I read your blog – and I still don’t know anything about them, apart from what you write!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      Excellent story. Matter of fact, this could be the first entry of a lovely lead-generation product called “Make A Living Writing – Success Stories From Hungry Writers.”

      The money’s out there. (Hell, I make that amount editing posts) But, as this blog’s slogan states, you must be hungry.

      • Carol Tice says:

        Hey, I love that title! I’m looking at doing some e-books out of my blog posts (got a 700+ post archive here!), and I have a ton of fantastic guest posts and have thought about doing an e-book out of all those. Thanks for that idea.

  35. Donna says:

    Hi Carol,

    Thanks for this post!

    I’d love it if you’d do a follow-up post on how to find/prospect for higher-paying blogging clients.

    Donna

    • Carol Tice says:

      Donna, we have a bootcamp coming up in April in Freelance Writers Den on how to get great clients…and actually, we have one in the can already on blogging, How to be a Well-Paid Blogger…so you might want to check all that out. Get on the waitlist and you’ll be first to hear about what’s going on with the new bootcamp.

  36. Exactly! I’ve always found that the clients who pay me $100-250/post do so because they know the content is going to bring them much, much more than that in terms of customer relationships, brand reputation and eventual profits. It’s easy to justify paying a few hundred for a post if you know it’s going to result in a few thousand dollars worth of sales!

    • Carol Tice says:

      So true.

      The fact is, blog content is the best bargain in copywriting, even at $100+ a post.

      That content is theirs to use and repurpose — forever! Such a deal.

  37. Kiesha says:

    Hi Carol,

    You are always so right on the money – literally! 🙂 There is a lot that goes into a post that would make it worth $100 – the time spent researching and synthesizing it enough to go beyond generic surface level knowledge – the time spent writing and rewriting. Depending on the skill level of the writer – high skill is also worth paying for to get something that’s truly original and thought provoking. But you’re right, not all clients are looking for that and I’m always so glad to find clients who value my time and skill. You definitely have to search them out or have dynamic content on your website that will also lure them in. Usually once you connect with them, if you live up to your claims and produce high quality work, they have no problem referring you to their contacts who are also willing to pay for your expertise and not try to lowball you.

  38. Thank you for so eloquently explaining the difference between writing for people and writing for search-bots!

  39. Willi Morris says:

    Oh! Almost forgot to add – they do fit profile number 2 to a tee!

  40. Willi Morris says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned the quality of posts on ProBlogger. A lot of them are really bad! But I did find my blogging client there! I am getting $50 per post from them – named my own price. So they aren’t all poor.

  41. Great topic!

    I’ve learned that not every “client” who approaches me is the right client for me. The important thing is to stick to your guns and not apologize for charging what you are worth.
    Laura Spencer recently posted…Book Review: The Freelancer’s BibleMy Profile

  42. Sara says:

    Just a quick thanks for dedicating an entire blog post to my question! You totally rock, Carol!

    • Carol Tice says:

      You’re welcome! As you can tell, I thought this was a great issue, and I loved using the question as a starting point to talk about writer pay for blogging, and why so much blogging work pays so little.

      I think if writers can understand that ‘why,’ they can save a lot of time and aggravation trying and wishing that somehow, client #1 types will wake up and start paying them fair wages. It’s not going to happen! You’ve got to go out and find client #2.

  43. Thanks for covering this topic. I find it disheartening when great writers are offered next to nothing for their expertise and attention to detail; it makes me want to fight their corner!

    I only ever deal with clients who understand the value of well written blog content, but that has come after years of writing for nothing and just being grateful for the opportunity 🙂

    The way I look at it is a client could spend $100 on a tiny ad in a newspaper or magazine that is ‘consumed’ for a few seconds (and not necessarily by their target audience) before hitting the recycling bin, or they could pay $100 for a piece of great content that stays on their site for ever. It’s a no-brainer when you look at it like that; especially if the writer offers to promote via social media too. Suddenly that $100 becomes a great investment!
    Rachelle Strauss recently posted…How to market your businessMy Profile

    • Sara says:

      That’s an excellent analogy! It definitely helps to explain the value of $100 blog posts in practice.

    • I started in freelance writing 10+ years ago when newspapers paid half way decent and the mills were just starting to show up (or at least I just started to notice them). I think the unfortunate part is when biz owners start to research hiring someone to write blogs for them, the responses or info comes from the info marketers mentioned in #1. The average freelancer knows they exist as well and often may not be armed as to how to explain the difference. Thank you for doing so so eloquently. I love that long term investment idea, because it really is, the piece sits there and works for them for a long time and they may even repurpose it later into other content forms. I’ll be using that idea myself from now on when I pursue that kind of client.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Exactly — it’s pin money in a marketing budget, and yet writers think they’re asking for too much.

      And fighting writers’ corner is why I started this blog! Love how you put that.

    • Rachelle, you just supplied us with one of the best arguments to face customers with!

      Carol, great post as usual.
      Helene Poulakou recently posted…Top 10 Greek Mythology Stories updated Tue Mar 19 2013 6:16 am EDTMy Profile

    • Yes! Great article and great, great way to put it Rachelle! It’s definitely made me think more of my rates and the quality I put into each post. It stays forever, and forever indexed on Google and blast through social media, which is truly a great value!

      Love it!
      Linda Mendible ( recently posted…5 Reason’s Why it’s Important to Network | @FlyWheel’s & TriFABB EventMy Profile

3 Pings/Trackbacks for "Why Would Anyone Pay $100 for a Blog Post?"
  1. […] Tice, C. (2013) Why Would Anyone Pay $100 for a Blog Post? Make a Living Writing. Retrieved from: http://www.makealivingwriting.com/pay-100-blog-post/ […]

  2. […] the value and role of writers – as businesses start to recognize the benefits, good writers won’t have to defend why they charge $100 or more for a blog […]

  3. […] spells it all out for you in detail. Such was the case in a recent blog by Carol Tice called Why Would Anyone Pay $100 for a Blog Post? In the post, Carol outlined clients on both ends of the pay spectrum: those who paid $10-$20/500 […]