If you missed the big news this past week: The Huffington Post (now officially known as HuffPo) ended its free-contributor channel, which had over 100,000 participating writers. Many writers online have bemoaned the death of free HuffPo posts, but I have a different reaction.
The end of unpaid HuffPo articles is part of a trend we’ll likely see more of this year — and I think it’s a good thing.
Yes, a tiny handful of writers seemed to get good clients through their unpaid HuffPo bylines, though the value of HuffPo exposure declined over time.
And quite a few writers were earning good money ghostwriting free HuffPo posts for thought leader/speaker/CEO types who didn’t have time to write their own authority-building pieces. So it wasn’t all bad.
But in the main, hordes of writers writing for free isn’t good.
Whether you’re happy or sad about the end of free HuffPo content, it’s important to understand what this change signifies in the marketplace. There are plenty of ways writers can benefit from these changing tides.
Here are seven key action items for freelance writers as the free HuffPo contributor channel fades away:
Most bloggers write about whatever’s on their minds that day. If you’ve tried that, you’ve probably noticed it isn’t very effective in growing your blog audience.
To build your blog into a serious business (or just a great writing sample for getting freelance gigs), you’ll need to change your approach.
It’s also essential to know the popular post types if you’re blogging for paying clients and want the project to be successful, so that they keep paying you to blog for them. More and more clients want to at least partly base pay on traffic, so results matter.
And of course, more readers on your blog gives you more chance to get hired or to sell readers your products.
Below are a compendium of post types I’ve used that are reliable attention-getters. This list combines the most popular post types I’ve used on this blog, and the types that I’ve used to drive a total of 2 million pageviews on my Forbes blog, posting only 3-4 times per month, over the past 2 years. I’ve also thrown in a few great formats I haven’t used yet as well (but hope to soon!).
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