In the soul of every true writer is the hope to earn money for the craft they put their blood, sweat, and tears into.
It is true that any motivated writer can jump on the web and start blogging about their passions. You can write posts, put some links to affiliates, and even offer a product. However, if you want to make a living as a blogger, then you need to know as early as now that building a profitable blog will take much time.
The truth of the matter is, the bloggers you read on a daily basis have been working for years to get where they are. The success of The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson, SixSistersStuff, to name a few, did not happen overnight. Their blogs were built on years of writing and publishing content until they got the recognition they deserved.
Therefore, you need to find a way that allows you to pursue your blogging passions and make money at the same time.
Why Not Blog for Clients?
Becoming a writer for different blogs is the most sensible way that allows you to make ends meet while still writing. There is a need for webmasters and site owners for actionable blog content, and this is where you come in.
At the same time, the market for professional bloggers is a rather crowded one. Even if you are a great writer, it is not just the writing you have to worry about. As a blogger working for different clients, you will also serve as your marketer, promoter, and accountant.
Before you get overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a blogger, you can take a break and read this post as I guide you on how you can carve a career as a freelance blogger.
Have a Perfect Pitch
You are not going to get any clients by sitting around and waiting for them to come to you. You need to go out and find them. A perfect sales pitch will let your client know what services you offer and your plan for the delivery of said services.
When done right, the pitch will answer all questions that could come up and can help to prevent misunderstandings. It can be crucial that a client understands what they will be getting, especially if they are not exactly sure what they want.
Sometimes a client has an idea of what they want, but can’t visualize the exact execution. By answering a few basic questions in your pitch, you have a greater chance of your work living up to their expectations.
- First, address what the product is that you will be delivering. Let the client know exactly the style of content you believe will fit their blog or the language of the niche that their blog fits in.
- Second, sell them on why they need this content specifically written by you. Show them that you have done your best to become an expert on their blog subject by doing research, knowing the competition, and figuring out the kind of audience the blog attracts.
- Last, make sure that everyone involved has the same end goal in mind. What does this content need to achieve and why does it matter? Show the client that you are not just writing content, but providing a solution to a particular issue.
Be Savvy in Your Planning
Getting organized and having a plan is crucial when setting out to accomplish freelance work. Your plan needs to be constructed well enough so that no matter what happens when all is said and done your client is happy with your work.
When constructing your plan on how to get your client’s writing done, it is essential to be real with yourself about how you operate when you are writing. Below are questions you need to ask yourself to determine the kind of blogger you are:
- Are you a self-starter or do you need a push?
- Is it easy for you to get the copy down, but then you obsess over editing?
- Are you an all-around procrastinator who will only be productive when working against a deadline?
Be honest with yourself about how you work and come up with a plan that will keep you on track. Build extra time in if you need more for editing. Trick yourself on the deadline if you know you will come too close to it. Think something else could pop up along the way? Give yourself leeway to finish with a product you will be proud to deliver to your client.
As far as organizing yourself and your project management; some people can handle the chaos of a handful of sticky notes and ideas forged on napkins. Some only need to lay out a timeline in Google calendar and then be prompted with simple reminders.
However, for those of us who are either forgetful or ultra-controlling, Trello is the tool for you. Trello is web-based software that allows you to create boards for each project. On the boards you make Lists, and then under the list cards are added that hold information about each task at hand. It is an organizer’s dream, and best of all it is free.
Let’s Talk About It
If you have any client related issues, they most likely will not be because your skills were not up to their expectations or that your final product is lacking. Most likely it will be due to communication or the lack of. Email can be a great way to have a back-and-forth conversation with one client. However, as you start taking on more clients, a simple email program will not be able to manage all of your crucial communications between you and your clients. Staying on top of all communications is essential because if you miss an urgent message or task, you could lose a major client.
To stay on top of client communication, you must want to employ a Customer Relationship Management System (or CRM). These web-based tools that are either free or available for a nominal fee are wonderful in that they will integrate with your current email system while organizing your communications with clients. The system can be used to keep clients apprised of the progression of their project at predetermined date and time intervals. Never again will you lose a major client due to miscommunication. One free CRM worth checking out is Streak. You can do it yourself or pay a small fee to have them host and manage it for you. Check out Nimble or Highrise for more advanced CRM solution software.
Write Like You Mean It
Although you could have a hundred clients, you want to make sure that when you are working with a client to deliver their product, you want them to feel like they are the only one you care about.
You want as many people as possible to read your writing, so making it aesthetically pleasing will draw people in, especially on a blog. Using visual content helps draw in the eye and peak their interest. It is also wise to break up text with additional images throughout the article.
If data is being shared, it is helpful to make a graph or some infographic to illustrate this information. While these tasks may seem to be outside your pay grade, a great blogger adapts to the needs of the target audience to deliver them content that they want. For starter, you can use online tools such as Visme or Google Charts to create these graphics. Having writing that is as clear as possible is important, but having a graphic such as a chart can help to better explain numbers and data. The drag and drop feature of these image builders will help design-challenged bloggers to come up with compelling visuals.
As a writer, there is always room for improvement in how you express your ideas. You, of course, want your writing to be flawless, but using spell check is not enough. Consider using the Hemingway App. It highlights the common errors every writer makes, but it also shows you long, complex sentences that could be edited for precision. The app allows you to make changes right on the spot. By using this app, you can also see recurring patterns in your writing that could be a hindrance to its effectiveness. If you see the same pattern, again and again, you can make some adjustments to your writing style for the future.
You are done with your writing, editing, and obsessively polishing, and now you have a bright and shiny blog post to deliver to your client. While many people do use Microsoft Word, sending them, a Word document may not be the best way to get your newly minted product to the client. This is because people have many different versions of Word, or possibly use other products such as OpenOffice or Pages for Mac. Because you do not want your hard work to be lost in translation, or for the product to be altered in any way when it is opened by the client, it is best to find another delivery solution.
Google Docs is one of the easiest ways to deliver your content. It is a cloud storage service that allows you to store documents, spreadsheets, and files online. Instead of sending a large attachment that could get lost out on the world wide web, you send the client a simple link they can click to. You have the option of letting the client simply review the work, or you can allow them to make comments. One of the greatest advantages of using Docs is that your creation is backed up online. Through fire, flood, or computer crash, you will not lose it.
Wake Up, You Need to Make Money
This writing thing is great, but is it supporting your coffee and obsessive book buying habit? Do you know how much time you are spending on each project, how much clients are paying you for each project, or even if you are getting paid at all? You may be thinking “well I have it all on my spreadsheet.” That is all well and good but once again, how much money are you making?
Make all of your accounting problems disappear by using free accounting software such as ZipBooks. Zipbooks allows you to keep track of the time you work, track your expenses, set up accounts for your money to go in and out of, and automatically generate and send invoices to your clients. It also allows your clients to pay you online with a credit or debit card, so no more waiting for that check that is in the mail. By using Zipbooks, at tax time, all your information is in one place. You can also set up an account for your clients to login to if they want to see your progress or to know how much they owe you, with an accounting of all expenses logged while working on their product. Using a simple product like Zipbooks to keep track of the money will save you much time and headache in the long run.
Making a career out of freelance blogging is not easy, but it can be done. To do a quick recap of what has already been mentioned:
- You need to be very proactive when it comes to obtaining work, taking care of your client’s needs, and giving yourself the time and space to do your best possible work.
- Don’t be afraid to create a brand for yourself, and to sell it to your clients to get hired. Plan, but don’t be afraid to alter your plans to fit the needs of all involved.
- Ensure that your clients can communicate easily and more efficiently with you.
- There are plenty of support apps out on the internet that can help you with the thing you are not good at, such as creating graphics, spotting problems in your writing, staying organized, and keeping track of where the money goes.
By following the advice featured in this, and use your charming talent to impress your clients, you will be able to make a fun and fabulous career as a freelance blogger.