How many blogs do you read every day?
You’re reading a blog right now, so that’s one. Did you check Buzzfeed this morning? That’s two, and the link you followed on Facebook is three, and the New York Times Well section is four, and you can probably get up to 10 without having to think too hard.
All of these blogs need writers, and if you’re interested in becoming a freelance blogger, there are plenty of ways to get your foot in the door and start making money.
Start with these seven ideas, courtesy of The Write Life’s 71 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer (which, full disclosure, I helped write — so I know it’s good). Then pitch your first blog post this afternoon!
1. Guest blog
Guest blogging is a great way to get your byline out there and earn a little cash while you’re at it. Many of your favorite blogs accept — and encourage — guest posts from contributors; it’s one of the ways they’re able to keep providing compelling content, day after day.
Read The Write Life’s 7 More Writing Blogs That Want Your Guest Posts to get an idea of which blogs to pitch. Or check out Be a Freelance Blogger’s The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs for a list of 75 blogs that pay $50 or more.
Before you pitch, familiarize yourself with the blog you’re pitching so you can craft a guest post that its readers are sure to love.
Be sure to follow any posted guidelines as well; some bloggers have specific rules for word count, and others have a list of preferred topics they’d like to see guest bloggers cover. Some even include a “password” you have to include in your pitch — and emails without that password go straight to the trash!
2. Ghost blog
Ghost blogging is like guest blogging, except you won’t get your byline on the post!
When you’re a ghost blogger, you work with another person to ghostwrite a post that’ll run under their name. They often give you the post topic and the examples they’d like to see you use, and then you craft a blog post draft which they can shape into their own voice.
Ghostwriting is a long-standing literary tradition, so consider earning money as a ghost blogger. If you and a client build a good relationship, you might be asked to ghostwrite bigger projects, such as e-books — and those bring in even more money!
3. Blog for businesses
A lot of businesses have blogs as a way to share news and ideas with their customers. These businesses need people to write blog posts — they don’t always have someone on staff with that particular skill — and that’s where you come in.
I’ve written blog posts about A/B testing for landing page company Unbounce, for example. That’s the kind of work you’re going to want to look for; businesses that need interesting posts on specialized topics. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of an A/B test before; if you’re a freelance blogger who knows how to research, you can write for just about any business.
4. Become a SEO blogger
Plenty of clients hire writers to write blog posts in a way that makes them easily searchable on Google. If you know a little bit about SEO, start looking on job boards for clients who want SEO bloggers — or put out your own shingle, the way Kevin Cole did.
Whenever you get into SEO, you run the risk of working with people who want low-value or unethical content; think “spun articles,” where you grab somebody else’s work off the internet and rewrite it just enough to pass plagiarism filters.
That’s not the type of SEO writing we want to promote. To quote The Write Life:
“Our definition of SEO writing involves high-value writers and bloggers who know how to create compelling, readable articles and blog pieces that simultaneously rank high in Google for both trending and long-tail keywords. No stuffing, spinning or spamming required.”
So look for those kinds of blogging jobs, and see what SEO can do for you!
5. Blog for pop-culture sites
Pop-culture sites are, as the name suggests, popular — and they’re ready to pay writers for listicles, quizzes, hot take, and other pop-culture blog posts.
6. Edit blog posts
All these blog posts need editors, right? Some sites will let you write directly into WordPress, add your own images and post; others have an editorial team who edit blog posts to match the house style and add the all-important images.
Look online for blog editor jobs, but keep in mind that one of the best ways to get these jobs is to spend some time working directly for a blog as a writer. If you become a regular contributor, they’re going to eventually ask you to take on some editing responsibilities. Trust me on this one.
7. Monetize your own blog
You’ve been keeping up your own blog this whole time, right? A well-written blog, in conjunction with a compelling writer’s website is one of the best ways to bring clients to your door (or email inbox, as the case may be).
But don’t just write your blog posts; make sure to monetize them, too. Whether it’s putting a few ads in the sidebar or including a “donate” button, there are plenty of creative ways to monetize your personal blog.
If you feel uncomfortable asking people to donate, for example, you can make your donate button read “Buy me a cup of coffee!” Everybody knows writers love coffee.
These aren’t the only ways you can make money as a freelance blogger, but I hope they jumpstart you into pitching a new guest post or adding a new sidebar ad to your own blog.
Don’t forget to read the other 64 ideas in 71 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer, and let us know which ideas inspire you to take action and start earning more money!