If you’ve got kids and you like writing, chances are you blog about parenting.
Maybe you don’t even mind when people call you a “mommy (or daddy) blogger”. After all, you’re a parent. You’re a blogger. And your family inspires your writing.
Maybe you started blogging as a kind of baby book, a way to remember all the cute things your kids did. Maybe it was just a way for you vent about your experiences as a parent. But at some point, you realized that what you’re doing is different from what most “mom bloggers” do.
Not to be rude about it, but you’re damn good at this.
The truth is—and I don’t want to sound mean, but it’s a fact—a lot of parenting bloggers aren’t that great at writing. And many of them don’t even want to be. Some of them struggle with basics like grammar and word connotation. Others are good writers but don’t really understand blogging style, so their blogs rarely gain traction. Only a handful write at a professional standard.
Luckily, you’re one of them.
So it ought to be easy for you to make good money writing about parenting, right?
But it’s not. In fact, you’re starting to think it might be impossible.
The trouble is that your potential clients—all those parenting businesses and websites—don’t seem to understand the difference between average and awesome when it comes to blogging. So many moms are happy to write for free, or for rock-bottom rates, that clients are shocked you’d want to be paid more. Why should they pay you $50 a post when someone else is happy to write for free?
But don’t give up and start looking for a new niche yet. The secret to making money as a parenting blogger is simple: you just need to be more valuable than those cheap writers—and then find clients who know the difference.
So how can you become a parenting blogger who’s worth $50/post or more?
Follow the Number One Rule of Blogging
I hesitate to talk about blogging “rules”, because really they’re different for every client. But one rule—the #1 Rule of Blogging—is true for almost every site you’ll ever write for. It’s this: Your post is about the reader.
And this is an easy way to set yourself apart, because the majority of parenting bloggers write about themselves.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean you won’t ever write stories about yourself and your kids. But you’ll always bring it back to the reader. Whether you’re offering practical tips for parents or sharing a universal story that readers will identify with, you’re not writing about you. You’re writing about them. Keep that in mind with every word you’ll write, and you’ll see the caliber—and traction—of your posts start to rise.
Be of Service
In journalistic jargon, a “service” piece is a how-to article—something that gives the reader practical advice on how to do something. This kind of post is the backbone of most high-paying parenting sites. And while it’s great if you can offer information out of your own knowledge, it’s even better if you can write a researched piece with expert interviews and quotes.
The bonus? This type of article is also the staple of most print magazines about parenting. Get good at it, and you could open the door to a whole new market for your writing—one that pays as much as $2 per word.
Give other parents tips for navigating this crazy new world of discipline and diapers, and you’ll find plenty of paying clients for your work.
If you’re willing to put your parenting opinions out for the whole internet to criticize, you can quickly gain a niche for yourself. Many websites love controversy, because it gets readers engaged. And every mom has an opinion about other people’s parenting styles, so if you’re confident enough to jump into the debate, you can have a certain type of site lining up to buy your stories.
Be bold enough to write opinionated pieces about hot topics, and your linkbait posts will start going viral.
Break Out of the Parenting Box
You don’t have to stick to parenting sites to sell posts about parenting.
There are hundreds of high-paying lifestyle, women’s, and health sites that buy parenting stories. Parenting is a near-universal experience, so general interest sites often buy parenting posts as well. Expand into these markets, and you’ll find plenty of places eager to buy your stories about trimesters and tantrums.
Avoid Cheap Markets
In the sea of parenting sites—where a new one pops up almost weekly—it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. While it’s okay to send pitches (even the same pitches) to multiple sites, you don’t want to waste your time emailing the editors of sites that don’t pay.
Fortunately, there’s one easy way to estimate whether a site pays professional rates: look at the bylines of the posts. Find a few names and Google them. If a writer for the site you’re wondering about has a professional-looking writer website and a portfolio that includes big sites and national print magazines, you’ve found a winner. A writer of that caliber won’t waste her time writing for a site that doesn’t pay real rates. But if the site’s bylines all link to small blogs of writers with no portfolios, don’t bother pitching.
And if you want a shortcut to finding high-paying markets for your parenting posts, get a free copy of the updated Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs, which now includes 6 high-paying parenting sites!
Image: nerissa’s ring