Did you know you can make a decent income from freelance blogging?
Blogging for money is a great way to add additional cash flow. The trick is finding good clients so it’s worth the effort.
While not every website pays for guest posts, there are many brands and businesses that invest in blogging and pay freelancers to write for them.
If you do an online search for freelance blogging rates, you’ll find everything on the spectrum, but the average rate in North America is between $0.10 per word and $0.50 per word.
I say this to give you a framework for pricing your blogging services, but also so you have realistic expectations if you decide to pursue freelance blogging. And keep in mind the more specialized you are, the more you can charge.
The Different Types of Freelance Blogging
Blogging gigs can look different from client to client but in general, they are either recurring or one-offs.
Recurring means clients rely on regular posts from you, perhaps every day, week or month.
One-offs means you receive an assignment or have a pitch accepted and after you deliver the content your work is done.
There are two main styles of writing for freelance bloggers, B2B and B2C.
What is B2B Writing?
Business to business writing, or B2B writing, is creating content from one business for another business.
When a business invests in a product or service, it’s often a large purchase and therefore, the buying cycle can be long. Blog posts help sway readers by answering questions they may have, or giving them information they need in order to feel confident moving forward.
To be successful, these types of blog posts are written to the business’ ideal customer—the person or business who would be the most interested in their product or service.
This style of writing is practical and to the point. The goal of a B2B blog post is to nudge the reader closer to making a purchasing decision.
Strong B2B blog posts take big ideas or numbers and break them down into relatable examples. These show potential customers how the product or service could help in their context.
Visual aids also help readers better understand the product or service. This could be behind-the-scenes screenshots of what the software setup looks like or images of the finished product in use so they can picture it in their context.
B2B writing is often longform, with blog posts starting at around 1,000 words and spanning to 5,000 words or more. This style is information and data heavy and often dives into a specific aspect of a product or service.
What is B2C Writing?
Business to consumer writing, or B2C writing, is content written from a business to a customer. In general, these consumers are regular folks like you and me, and the businesses are stores we would shop at and buy directly from.
B2C blog posts tend to be lifestyle articles, which means they lean on storytelling and connecting emotionally with the reader. These are shorter in length compared to B2B writing, under 1,000 words in many cases, and have a shorter life cycle.
Large consumer brands often have blogs in order to maintain a connection with their target customer. The lifestyle focus of the blogs means they’ll rely on more articles in a shorter time period and will lean towards content based on seasons, holidays, hobbies, life hacks and more.
Freelance bloggers who follow trends or have a genuine interest in a consumer brand will find it easier to land gigs with B2C companies.
There is also an education aspect to B2C writing. You may end up writing about a new product and demonstrating how consumers can incorporate it into their lives. Or, you may be asked to provide a list of interesting and creative ways they can customize the product on their own. The objective of these blog posts is to engage the target customer and build a case for why they should purchase this product or shop this brand instead of choosing another company.
The most successful B2C blog posts are written to one person, the brand’s ideal customer. Your articles should be easy-to-read narratives that tell the story of the avatar and how they can use the brand’s product in their own lives.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Writing
You don’t need to be an expert in SEO writing to incorporate it into your freelance blogging services.
Any business will tell you they’d like their blog posts to show up on the first page of Google or other search engines’ results pages. SEO is how this happens.
You can optimize your blog post content for search engines by using specific keywords that will help the site rank well in search results. The keywords will vary based on the topic of the post, but the best ones will be an industry-specific term and a frequently-searched term.
It’s important to businesses for their blog posts to rank in search engines so they will be discovered by their ideal customers. If you have the technical know-how and the writing skills to deliver high-quality blog posts with SEO optimization, this will give you a leg up in freelance blogging.
I’ve written about finding keywords and other SEO writing tips on my personal blog if this is something you want to learn more about.
How to Brainstorm Topics for Blog Posts
While you may find freelance blogging clients who give you topics, many times it will be you coming up with the ideas.
This is a little exercise I picked up over the years to help my ideas flow. I’ve summarized my method below and have written up more extensive notes in the article How to Brainstorm Ideas for Writing.
My approach combines keyword research and understanding your reader.
Steps for Brainstorming Ideas
- Put yourself in the shoes of your target reader and jot down a list of what they would be interested in reading
- Make a quick list of every topic you can think of writing about for this reader
- Compare these lists and look for intersections. Try and find a handful of topics from this process, maybe four or five
- Take these topics and break them down even further. Think about questions these readers are already asking. Do some research and see what others are saying about the subject. Answer these questions: what will your target reader resonate with? What problem can you solve for them?
By now you should have a list of specific ideas for future blog posts. If you’re brainstorming for a recurring freelance blogging client then you’ll have a good number of topics to work with. If you’re coming up with ideas to pitch for one-off clients this is still a good exercise, although you may need to do it a few times with different readers in mind.
Freelance Blogging Pitching Tips
There’s no way around it, freelance blogging includes at least some element of pitching.
If you’re working with a repeat client you may need to pitch ideas for your next blog posts. This is where having a list of brainstormed topics will come in handy! In this situation, your pitches can be informal and will often involve a back-and-forth discussion with your client or editor.
If you’re trying to land new clients or find new blogs to write for, then pitching is even more important. Some websites or blogs have contributor guidelines and if that’s the case, follow the instructions.
However, you may also find businesses who could be a good client but you’re not sure if they work with freelance bloggers or not.
Here’s an easy and repeatable approach to cold pitching
- Make a list of 10 businesses in your target market (LinkedIn will be a gold mine here)
- Send them an email asking if they work with freelance bloggers. Keep it short and to the point
- Once you’ve sent your 10 emails make a new list with 10 new businesses and repeat as necessary
If you’re having trouble deciding what type of business you want to approach, think about what you’re already interested in and skilled at. Start with what you know and care about.
The important takeaway here is to start. After you gain experience with freelance blogging you’ll get a better idea of what writing style suits you and which businesses are the best fit for you. When cold pitching, prepare for the long game. It can take some time and a lot of pitches to get traction, but once you have experience it will get easier.
Are You Ready to be a Freelance Blogger?
As a freelance blogger, you’ll likely write B2B and B2C. Either can be profitable but you will need to weed through low-paying clients in order to find businesses with budgets to sustain professional writing rates. As you gain expertise, you will be able to raise your rates accordingly, so hang in there while you figure out where you fit.
Robyn Roste is a professional writer who spent more than a decade working at an international non-profit as a marketing manager. She runs a freelance writing business providing content marketing services to small businesses. Her blog is listed in The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2020 by The Write Life.