If you are a blogger trying to make money online and the recommended powerful ways to make money with advertising, affiliate marketing, and creating products is not working out for you, then you need to focus on doing something you’re already probably good at – creating content.
Writing is my number one source of income that has been a result of my blogging activities. The following are ways to earn income through writing that will also help you build your personal / professional brand and become an authority in your niche.
Become a Paid Contributor
Guest blogging isn’t just about getting exposure – there are plenty of sites that will pay you to contribute an article to their site. While the pay range varies, I typically only keep track of sites that offer a minimum of $50 per post and have found opportunities that go up to $200 a post, $1.25 per word, and $500 per month.
I record each opportunity I find in this spreadsheet which includes payment rates, site traffic, blog subscribers, whether the site offers an author bio, and additional details including a link directly to each site’s write for us page. Some sites in the spreadsheet include:
- SitePoint.com – Submit posts on topics related to business, web design, coding, WordPress, and more for a payment of $100 per post with bonuses based on pageviews. The site has 8,000+ subscribers and requires a 1,500 word minimum word count per post.
- PxlEyes.com – Submit posts on Photoshop, graphic design, and AutoCAD for a payment of up to $200 per post based on length and quality.
- UXBooth.com – Submit posts on usability, analytics, and design for a payment of $100 per post.
The following are my tips for getting a paid contributor spot on a great blog.
- If the site wants writing samples first, be sure to send them only your best and ones that specifically fit their audience.
- If the site wants you to pitch them ideas, be sure to research their blog in advance and find out what topics are the most popular. I like to subscribe to the blog in Google Reader and use the PostRank Chrome Extension to see the posts with the most social engagement and then send them some great headlines running along those lines.
- If the site wants you to send a post, be sure to format it as specified in the guidelines, verifying that images will look good at the size the blog will scale them to and that you’ve used a similar styling with regards to headers and other emphasized text.
Find Blogging and Freelance Writing Jobs
More and more blogs and businesses are looking for temporary and permanent content developers for their sites, and many advertise on job boards or popular outsourcing sites. The following are some great places to look for additional paid writing opportunities – you can visit the job listings on each site or subscribe to new job listings via RSS. Be sure to look for additional subcategories under each if you are looking to do a specific type of writing.
- ProBlogger Job Boards – Website or RSS – You can apply to these jobs directly with contact information provided in the listings. Sub-categories include Blog Networks (RSS),Co-blogging (RSS), Corporate/Business (RSS), Miscellaneous (RSS), and Podcasting (RSS).
- oDesk Writing & Translation Jobs – Website or RSS – To apply for these, you will need to have an account and profile with oDesk. Sub-categories include Technical Writing (RSS),Website Content (RSS), Blog Article Writing (RSS), Copywriting (RSS), Creative Writing(RSS), and Other (RSS).
- Freelance Switch – Website or RSS – To apply for these jobs, you have to be an active member of the Job Board with a subscription plan at $7 per month.
Depending on the site you go with, you will want to setup a strong profile as potential jobs will have plenty of writers from which to choose. Some sites also take a bit to setup, so you might want to start your profile before you plan to start looking for writing jobs.
Additional tips for finding freelance writing work include:
- Set up a portfolio of your writing. It can be on a separate domain like I have done with my freelance writing portfolio or it can be on your blog. Great places on your blog for writing samples include your archives pages or specific category pages. I use my blogging,business, SEO, and social media as a quick reference for people looking for posts by me on specific topics.
- Refer to yourself as a freelance writer. Blog owners or businesses will be searching specifically for freelance writers to boost their content. Be sure to refer to yourself as such in your social media profiles, on your blog in the sidebar and about page, and on your guest post bios so that people will know you are interested in writing offers.
Enter Blogging Contests
If you’re good at writing blog posts and promoting them, then you need to start participating in blogging contests. This year, I have entered and come in at first place in three contests, with a total of $1,500 in cash prizes, an iPad 2 (3G, 64GB), and over $6,000 in subscriptions to some awesome online marketing tools. So we’re talking five posts that earned a sizable amount of income.
Every contest is different in terms of their requirements. Generally you will submit a guest blog post and have a few weeks to promote it, and sometimes you will have to also write a post on your own site linking back to the contest sponsors. The winner is usually chosen based on the quality of the post and the amount of social engagement the post receives (tweets, likes, comments, etc.).
Some current contests include:
- Famous Bloggers Affiliate Marketing Blog Contest – First place wins a $1,000 cash prize. Entry cutoff date is November 30, 2011.
- The Blog Engage 1000 USD Best Guest Blogger of 2011 – First place wins a $1,000 cash prize. Entry cutoff date is January 1, 2012.
You can find more blogging contests by simply searching blogging contest on Google. I like to limit my search to the last month so you don’t find too many contests that are well past their expiration date.
My tips for winning a blogging contest include:
- Write amazing content. Make your topic something that almost everyone will love, from beginners to experts. Without amazing content that almost everyone will love, your chance for good social promotion will be slim.
- Monitor the competition. Stay on top of where the other contestants are in regards to promoting their posts and make sure yours is as strong, if not stronger than theirs.
- Don’t stop promoting your post. I’ve seen a lot of contests where contestants just give up promoting their posts after a few days. You have to maintain promotion pretty much every day that you can until the cutoff date (or when the judges start tallying up the votes).
- Promote using every resource in your arsenal. There are tons of ways to promote a blog post. Unless you’re only faced with weak competition which is not likely to be the case when the prizes are valuable, then you will want to spread the word any way you can and call in favors from everyone who owes you one. Get your mailing list subscribers, Twitter followers, LinkedIn group members, Triberr members, Google+ circles, and anyone else you can think of involved.
Promote Your Writing
No matter how you decide to make money online through writing, the one thing that you will need to do to make a good impression with the sites you write for is promote your posts. Blog promotion isn’t just for blogging contests. Blog owners and businesses will be more likely to want more content from you if your posts are some of the most popular ones on their site.