If you’re a freelance writer with blogging experience looking to get quality jobs from quality clients, how do you go about it?
When it comes to increasing your chances of earning more as a freelance writer and getting more quality offers, one major thing I advice is that you expand your services. In other words, don’t just restrict yourself to doing one form of freelance writing; expand your skills, expand your offering, grow your database of clients and earn more money.
I’ve been an advocate of guest blogging for almost as long as I’ve been blogging. And even though guest blogging wasn’t that popular when I started, it is now being used by almost every business online. Individual bloggers, big companies – they’re all using guest blogging. This creates new opportunities for you to make a living as a writer.
The tips in this article will be tailored towards those who want to learn more about making money online as a guest blogger. In other words, you need to have prior guest blogging experience before the tips in this article are applicable to you. If you’re not familiar with guest blogging and need a quick-start guide, I think this article will cover all you need. Read it first, and come back to this article later.
The Evolving Guest Blogging Market
The concept of guest blogging only started to become popular around 2 – 3 years ago. I’m not trying to say that guest blogging hasn’t been used before then, though. There were highly successful bloggers who have built a great audience for their blogs just by guest blogging, but very few people paid attention to it then. Now, not only are individuals guest blogging, big companies are making use of it too!
Guest blogging has a lot of advantages. It can help an individual/organization dominate a market, it can help build a brand, it can help garner SEO backlinks and then increase rankings, and it can be used as a medium to write quality content to represent your brand. It doesn’t matter which aspect of guest blogging you’d like to focus on, there is someone out there waiting to hire you.
So that you know the potential in this, even big brands and companies (yes, fortune 500 companies) are using guest blogging to position themselves as experts in their fields and for SEO backlinks. A lot of these companies will be happy to pay you well if you have the skills they need.
I made tens of thousands of dollars from guest blogging in the last year alone (2011), so I think having the skills of a guest blogger has potential. You can get more clients than you can handle if you market yourself properly.
This article shows you how to look up top brands in your field to let them know about the importance of guest blogging for their brand, and help them get published on relevant blogs in their field. Instead of using guest blogging to build your blog and brand, you write guest posts on other blogs to help your clients build their own brands, and you get paid for it. The good news is that many of these brands already know how important guest blogging is, so you only need to let them know that you have the skills they need, and that you’re worth being paid well.
What You Need to Know before You Start Offering Your Services as a Guest Blogger
Like I said above, I have been offering my services as a professional guest blogger for almost a year now, and I came to realize some things the hard way. Below are a few things you need to know before you start offering your services as a guest blogger.
Being Prolific has its Advantages: If you want to be able to make enough money guest blogging, you need to learn, and master, the art of being prolific. In other words, you need to be able to write a lot of articles at a faster rate without sacrificing quality. You need to be able to research effectively without wasting time, and you need to be able to cover topics you have no previous experience of.
The good news is being prolific isn’t inborn, it is learned! It might be easy to pass up a guest blogging job opportunity because you’re not yet prolific, but you don’t have to worry about that; your skills will improve over time. Just work on writing more guest posts to promote yourself outside of your client’s guest posts, and you will learn a lot from that.
You Only Get Better with Time: I didn’t start guest blogging until after 3 months of starting my site. I began writing guest posts on a regular basis, and I’m getting better with time.
Perfectionism can be your greatest enemy as a writer. I’m not trying to tell you not to strive for the best, nor am I telling you to be writing junk articles for your clients. Instead, you need to be creative with your writing, and you need to realize that your guest blogging skills will only get better with time.
Succeeding as a Professional Guest Blogger takes More than Just Good Writing Skills: In fact, sometimes, your writing is just a minor part of the process. Guest blogging involves you knowing how to write well, it involves you knowing how to format your articles for blog usage, and it also involves you knowing how to research effectively. You need to make Google your friend, because you will need it for most of your activities sooner than later.
Of course, there are a lot of other tools that can aid your work as a guest blogger, many of which I will be sharing later in this article, but with Google, you can easily find anything you want online.
The More Clients You Have, the Better: Like with most other markets, the amount you’re paid for your services would soon be impacted by the economy and competition, and it can become a little bit difficult to continue working with some clients. The solution in this case is to have a lot of clients. I used to believe you should only have as many clients as you can work for, but my perspective has changed with time. Have more clients than you can handle – distribute your workflow for them equally without sacrificing quality, and quickly move towards the favorable ones over time. Also, don’t reject potential clients; just tell them you are not that available at the moment, and that you will be able to work with them once you’re less busy. One of my clients I “postponed” early in my guest blogging career has now made me over $10,000. I’d have lost that much if I had rejected that client downright.
How to Get People to Hire You
Since I’ve given you a rundown of some things you should know before venturing into offering your services as a guest blogger, the next step is to get people to hire you.
There are several ways to get “potential” guest blogging clients to hire you, and below are some of the top ways I recommend. All the tips listed below are from my own personal experience. I have even used some of them for my friends, and personally for myself.
Guest Blog to Market Your Skills: My favorite approach for getting guest blogging clients is by guest blogging on other blogs, and it is through this that most of my clients got in touch with me. Think about this, what better way to hire someone to guest blog for you than to find them through a guest post on another blog?
Write and maintain a quality blog that showcases your skills, create a hire me page, publish a few guest posts on related blogs in your field and start getting clients. It’s that simple! To be sincere with you, some aspects of being a professional guest blogger are challenging, but getting clients isn’t one of them.
You might think you need to write hundreds of guest posts to get people to hire you, but you’re wrong. In reality, you only need around 5 – 10 guest posts to get great results. Write around 2 – 3 guest posts for top blogs in your field. Write a few more guest posts for smaller and relevant blogs, and make sure to include a link to your hire me page, and a small statement in your bio telling people you’re offering your services as a guest blogger.
It doesn’t have to be in the blogging/internet marketing niche alone. It can be in any field. As long as there are companies that need marketing and as long as there are top blogs that accept guest posts, this approach will work.
I recently released Stop Pitching Clients, a program that details my approach towards building a blog and optimizing it so that well-paying clients will reach out to you on a consistent basis through your blog. Be sure to check it out!
Use Freelancing Job Boards: If you aren’t that confident about guest blogging working for you (which is a mistake if you really want to make a living guest blogging), you can try using freelancing job boards to find guest blogging jobs that apply to you. There are a lot of quality job boards online, and you can also search the top freelancing networks and forums in your field to see if there are people interested in hiring you.
My brother – and a friend of mine – have used this approach successfully, so I can assure you that it works.
One thing you should know, though, is that with this approach and some of the other ones listed below, the best way to get people to hire you is by including up to 3 – 5 samples of your guest posts in the first email you send to them. Potential clients can get a lot of offers, mostly from people who don’t know their stuff, but by showing them you have great experience with guest blogging you will be able to get on their priority list.
I will be recommending one or two job boards in the “tools section” below, so make sure you keep reading!
Contact SEO/Marketing Companies: Sometimes the big companies may not trust you enough to hire you. After all, which big brand will want to leave their marketing to a single individual? The good news is that most big online brands have already handed their marketing to SEO/Marketing companies, and you can use this to your advantage.
Research for a list of 10 or more SEO companies that offer link building/brand building services, send them an email telling them that you know how important guest blogging can be to what they do, and include a link to two or more quality guest posts you have written. More often than not, you will get more client replies than you expected, and a lot of them will hire you.
If you are to use this approach, it is important not to send mass emails to these companies. Research any company you’re to contact, look for important but relevant figures in the company, and send a personalized email to each of them letting them know about your offer.
Use Google to Track Guest Blogging Offers: Google is my favorite website online, and for good reasons. Google already has everything you need to get quality job offers within it, so all you need to do is learn how to leverage them to your advantage.
You can also get guest blogging job offers through Google. First, you can use the Google search engine to research paid guest blogging opportunities, and you can also add your keywords to Google Alerts so that you will be notified whenever a new page that has what you need is indexed.
You can use Google effectively for quality results by searching for keywords you think people will use when looking for paid guest bloggers.
Sample keywords are:
paid guest blogger needed
guest blogger for hire
guest blogger needed for quality backlinks
You can also get more refined results by adding your field to your search after a plus e.g., “paid guest blogger needed + weight loss” (without the quotes, of course!)
Use Social Media: Twitter and Facebook can also be a good source of clients for you if you do your research. A client contacted me for guest blogging work using Twitter in the past, even though I ended up rejecting the offer (due to the payment per article). Either way, my point remains the same; social media is increasing in influence every day, and it will only be disastrous to ignore it.
You can try searching Twitter or Facebook for example keywords listed in the Google section above, and you can even post a Tweet or Facebook update to ask if there is anyone interested in hiring you for their guest blogging needs.
7 Tools You Need to Make Your Work Easier
To succeed as a professional guest blogger you need quality tools, and below are some of my favorite tools that aid my effectiveness as a guest blogger.
Tool #1: Yahoo! Answers. To really succeed as a guest blogger you need ideas. Some of your clients will need you to write dozens of guest posts a week and some of them will need you to write hundreds of guest posts a month. The only way to ensure you’re able to get unique ideas without compromising the quality of your blog posts is to make sure you have good source of ideas. Yahoo! Answers is number one on my list for idea generation tools, and getting ideas for your next 20 guest posts is as simple as searching for your keyword in Yahoo Answers, reading the responses, and generating ideas based on the questions asked and the responses to them.
Tool #2: Delicious. Once you’ve gotten ideas from Yahoo! Answers, the next step is to research your ideas so that you have enough information to write your articles. Using Google might be a smart idea, but it is even smarter if you can find articles to read through Delicious. Just do a quick search of your keywords using Delicious, read some of the top posts you come across, jot down points you discover and the new lessons you just learned. Use this to form the basis of your article, and repeat the process for every new article you write.
Tool #3: Technorati. Technorati should also be your friend if you want to succeed as a pro guest blogger. Guest blogging isn’t only about the ideas or your article, but also about the blogs you contribute to. Technorati has a database of thousands of blogs in almost every niche, and you can easily find blogs related to your client’s project by searching for your client’s keyword in Technorati. You should be broader with your keywords when using Technorati, though – to get the best results. E.g., if you were to write an article on the benefits of exercising to improve your health, instead of searching with your whole keyword, you can just search for “health blog” or “health tips” and you will find a list of top health blogs to contribute your articles to.
There’s no limit to what you can do with Technorati, so make sure to put your imagination to work!
Tool #4: Alltop. Alltop is also an online directory that helps you find the top blogs in your field. Alltop has categories for almost every niche available online, and each category has at least a hundred blogs. All you need to do is look for your own category to see the top blogs listed to determine which ones you want to contribute to.
Alltop contains links mostly to top blogs, so if your focus is on the best blogs in any field, make sure to check it out!!
Tool #5: Google Search. Google can also be very useful for you when looking for top blogs to contribute to. All you need to do is search for your niche keyword + write for us (and other variations of it) using Google.
Some example keywords you can use if you were writing in the blogging field are listed below. Make sure you replace the quoted keywords with your client’s niche keyword.
“blogging tips” + write for us
“blogging tips” + submit guest post
“blogging tips” + contribute an article
“blogging tips” + guest blogging
Make sure to replace “blogging tips” with the keyword your clients provide you with.
If you also want to have a better understanding of how to research blogs on which to publish your clients’ guest post, make sure you check out my ultimate guest blogging guide.
Tool #6: Problogger Jobs Board. If you’re looking for quality job offers from clients that will appreciate you, make sure to check out the Problogger jobs board. New jobs are added almost every day, and you will come across guest blogging jobs every once in a while. Make sure to check it out every week (or even subscribe to its RSS feed) for new jobs!
Jobs posted on the Problogger jobs board get a lot of responses, so being quick to reply to an offer might give you the upper hand.
Tool #7: BloggingPro Jobs Board. The BloggingPro job board is similar to the Problogger jobs board, and you can find some relevant guest blogging jobs on it every once in a while.
5 Lessons Learned from Offering My Services as a Guest Blogger
As someone who has been guest blogging for clients for over a year now, and who has made thousands of dollars in the process, to say I have learnt nothing won’t be true. Below are some of the top lessons I have learned guest blogging for clients. I recommend you go through them all, they’ll be useful to you at some point!
1. Take as Many Clients as You Can: Like I said above, don’t just take one client, or two; take as many clients as you can handle, and you will end up thanking yourself for it in the near future.
2. Don’t be Afraid to Raise Your Rates, but Offer More Value with It: There are two sets of people in every field; people whose rates are never affected, and people whose rate are always tanking. Don’t be afraid of raising your rates. It might seem impossible, but it is totally possible if you’re ready to increase the value you provide. After all, every client appreciates more value even if they have to pay more for it.
3. Build Your Base: You might not like to hear this, but guest blogging is still a budding market and it will become overly competitive and ineffective over time. This is the hard reality, and you better face it soon. The solution instead, is not to be too dependent on what you’re making from your guest blogging efforts at the moment. Build your blog, invest in courses and online education, and venture into other fields. Having a base creates more opportunity for potential income, so make sure you don’t discount it.
Further more, check out my Stop Pitching Clients, my system for building and optimizing a blog in such a way that get clients to consistently reach out to you through your blog.
4. Think Outside Just Getting Clients: I recently wrote a post about me writing 31 guest posts in one week to improve my blog SEO. The reality is, at an average of 600 visitors from Google alone every day at the time of writing this post, those 31 guest posts had a huge impact on my blog, contributing to over an additional 250 visitors a day today.
While there are clients looking for people to write for them, why not think about ways to use guest blogging to build your own business. Focus on ranking your services pages, on building your own base and authority and on getting your name in front of a wide, new, audience. Guest blogging can help you with this.
5. Don’t Write Crap: Business success is all about providing value, and by focusing on value for your clients you will end up building your potential, creating chances for future opportunities, and making the blogosphere a better place. There are a lot of guest bloggers today contributing keyword-loaded crap to other people’s blogs, but that will only end up hurting their clients’ brand and the space for everybody. Make a difference by only contributing your best, and aside from making money by offering your services, you will also end up contributing to, and impacting someone else’s life.
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Guest Blogging for Income
Before writing this article, I sent an email to one of my lists asking them what questions they had about guest blogging for income, and here my answers to the most common (and relevant) ones.
1. Do you set the amount to be paid for your guest blog or does the other blogger–or is it negotiated? If it is negotiated, do you have any hints as to how you go about that successfully?
Actually, you will be writing for clients who want you to help them write guest posts for other blogs, and yes, you can set your rates. One piece of advice is to make sure you hear what they have in mind before suggesting your prices. When I started guest blogging for income, my first client asked me how much I would like to charge, but as someone with little to no writing experience I asked the client what he had in mind, and I was surprised to see that the client was willing to pay double what I had in mind.
2. Do you have a format, a model outline you follow when you write a proposed guest post or a regular post for that matter? Or do you just wing it each time?
I think your approach will differ based on how you write, and I’ve written some articles before on how I write my articles and guest posts. Here is the post on how I write a complete article from scratch, and here’s a post on my process for my guest posts.
And yes, I wing it every once in a while 🙂
3. What do you see as the strengths, the best aspects, of really good guest posts?
I think the strength of a good guest post is when a blogger doesn’t think of his/her guest posts as being different from his/her other writing. In other words, write your guest post like you write every other article you write – don’t treat it as special or different – just write your mind and let it flow.
With that in mind, quality research and referencing data in your guest post can also make a difference.
4. I wanted to find out; can you give a step by step guide on how you approached blog owners to guest blog?
Yes, I’ve written about this before here. I even included a sample email for one of my Problogger guest posts, so check it out!
5. I’d like to know more about the analytical side of guest blogging. How do we know a post has reached a successful metric? Do we lean on the host, or are there other solutions / services that provide an easy way of tracking the success?
I think it will be difficult to track this, especially when writing for clients. Some things to look out for are how many social shares or comments a guest post has, and how many visitors it sends if it is published as a guest post for your own blog.
After writing for so long now I decided to take a look at my writing and I noticed I have exceeded 4,000 words. I think this is the right time to stop so as not to bore you; if you have any questions about what I wrote above, or any other aspect of guest blogging, please do not hesitate to ask in the comments below. If you also have experience guest blogging, and have additional tips to share, please let us know in the comments below.
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