I never expected to have a freelance writing job. This week, I celebrate my one-year anniversary as a professional blogger! One year ago, my husband was gone for his 6th deployment and I started writing helpful tips to encourage military spouses who were facing their first. The past year has been exciting, busy, and filled with new opportunities. When I started, I didn’t know much about blogging. I just knew that I didn’t want it to be a hobby. I was a busy mom of four trying to survive a deployment, so I wanted my work with the blog to be “worth my time.” Now, one year later, I can officially say that it is!
I didn’t take a traditional profit approach with my blog, so you will not see me writing sponsored posts, selling products, or dropping many affiliate links on my blog. That strategy works for some people, but the purpose of my blog is to encourage people and explain military life. I needed to figure out how to make my writing profitable without all those revenue sources. That’s why I focused on income as a freelance writer.One way to make money blogging is from freelance writing. Here's how to do it. #amwriting Click To Tweet
Within three months of starting my blog, I was offered my first paid writing opportunity by another military spouse website. Within nine months of blogging, I received a call offering me a part-time job to be a writer and editor for Military One Click. I now have steady paid work every day. While I realize that there are many bigger blogs who make my monthly salary in a week, it is a huge step forward for me. I can work from home with minimal childcare costs doing something I love!
Want to turn your blog into a freelance writing job? Here’s how:
- Your blog is your business card. Make it professional looking and easy to contact you. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend money on a theme, designer, or logo. (So far, I haven’t). Keep your blog uncluttered and include a “Contact Me” page that will serve as your resume. Include links to any published work or paid posts on other sites. List your rates, packages, and areas of writing experience.
- Focus on content. Quality is better than quantity. Don’t be in a hurry to post every day on your blog. Instead, focus on quality writing free from errors that you would be proud to attach to a resume. (In fact, you WILL link blog posts when you apply for jobs.) You never know which post a potential employer will see first, so make them all your best work.
- Network in your niche. Not all freelance writers stick to a niche. You could be experienced in several different niches or write about multiple unrelated topics. That’s fine. But your best writing will come from topics you are passionate about. Decide what those topics are, then reach out to other social media groups in that niche. One big lesson: other bloggers in your niche are not your competition–they are your collaborators. Create a professional social media account on all the major platforms, then use those accounts to collaborate with others. Join Facebook blogging groups where you follow and like each others’ pages. Follow blogger Pinterest boards in that subject area. Look at other bloggers’ Twitter followers and follow all of them with your blog account. Don’t just drop your links everywhere. Engage and interact with others so they see you as a real person.
- Guest post, guest post. Before you can get paid to write, you have to write for free. Contact some of the bloggers in your niche and read their guidelines for submitting a guest post. Sometimes, bloggers will exchange guest posts so that you get something to post on your blog to compensate the time you spent writing on theirs. Other times, you volunteer to write about certain topics for a website. Either way, remember that this is an important part of building your reputation in your field. Do quality work so you stand out among other guest bloggers on their site.
- Constantly research and apply to new sites. It takes a while for work to come pouring in. For the first few months, you may feel like you are applying everywhere without any job offers. That’s ok. Just keep applying. Some companies responded to me one or more months after my original inquiry. During that time, I continued to follow their websites, read their articles. and comment on social media. The more they saw me as an influential presence in that field, the more likely they were to review my writing pitch.
- Get organized like a professional. Even if you are doing small projects, treat them like a job. Pay attention to deadlines and word count targets. Proofread your work. Provide visuals or images if appropriate. Have a professional-looking invoice, a professional email address, and organized records of bills sent and paid.
- Know your worth. This one is hard to determine at first, because no one wants to talk specific numbers. You need to realize how many hours it takes you to write an average blog post. Is it 1 hour or 3 hours? Your pay should compensate your time. At first, I didn’t hesitate to accept offers that only paid $15-$25 per article because the exposure on a large site was worthwhile to me. Now that I have steady work, I know I can turn down offers less than $100/article. Pay is always “based on experience,” so don’t be afraid to re-negotiate rates as experience increases.
- Publish a book. I had already written and self-published a book before I became a blogger. My book is called “Welcome to Rota” and gives advice to military families stationed in Rota, Spain. The market is tiny, limited to that one duty station, so I didn’t realize my more general blog could improve book sales. However, since writing for the military community, I have seen my book sales increase from 4 copies per month to an average of 15 per month! That passive income is a result of branding and name recognition on a variety of platforms in my niche. If you are considering writing a book, your blog and freelance writing can be an indirect form of advertising.