I am so happy that my good friend and freelance blogger, Heather Ritchie, agreed to write this guest post on how to start freelance blogging. She’s the author of Freelance Writing for Beginners: The Basics, which details the entire process on how she went from zero experience to making thousands a month! And she’s sharing some of her best advice with us below, yay!
Are you looking for a freelance job that allows you to work from home so you can spend more time with your family and friends? Freelance writing is the perfect work from home job and one of the most popular writing gigs is freelance blogging.
Whether you’re a new writer with no experience or an experienced blogger looking for other ways to make money blogging, this side hustle is perfect for you. You can even turn it into a full-time freelancing job like I did!
Freelance blogging is one of the easiest freelance jobs to break into. My very first freelance writing job was a blog writer for businesses and I landed it with no experience or degree in writing. You can do it too!
I’m going to tell you how to start freelance blogging even if you’re clueless about where to start (and no, it’s not the same as blogging though it’s close).
Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. Though the opinions remain my own
What is Freelance Blogging?
Freelance blogging is writing blog articles for businesses versus writing for your own blog.
It’s the perfect job if you already have a blog because you understand the basics of blogging.
But don’t worry, if you haven’t started one yet, you can still be a freelance blogger.
Businesses of all sizes need engaging content to attract and retain customers. Home Depot has a blog and here are examples of other businesses that have blogs too:
– Barnes and Noble
These are just a few examples but as you see, they are from various niches. Every industry uses content marketing.
In 2018, 86% of B2C and 91% of B2B marketers either used or planned to use content marketing for their business. Clearly, businesses need content.
And if you put in the work, you can get paid well to write online too. The key to earning more money is choosing a profitable niche.
So how much money can you make freelance blogging? We’ll cover that next.
How Much Money Can You Make Freelance Blogging?
Over time you can easily earn four figures per month while some writers even make five figures each month. And guess what? Many of them started with absolutely no experience.
Freelance bloggers can make anywhere from $5.00 to $500 a blog post and more. According to Zip Recruiter, freelance bloggers get paid an average of $61,453 per year, and approximately $5,121 a month.
Since we’ve established that businesses need content, it shows that freelance bloggers are always in demand. Almost every company understands the need for great content and if you choose an underserved niche, you can command higher rates.
Avoid Content Mills
But beware of content mills. They are a fast race to the bottom where writers have to place low bids to get writing gigs. Businesses that seek content from places like Upwork and Fiverr don’t understand the true value of good content.
Unfortunately, when new writers search for freelance writing jobs, Upwork is often the first platform to appear. But I’m going to show you how to avoid content mills and go where the real money is.
How Do I Become a Freelance Blog Writer with No Experience?
There are several things you need to do to become a freelance blogger but anyone can easily follow along with this step by step process.
1. Choose a Profitable Niche
The first thing you want to do is choose a profitable niche to focus your freelance blogging services on. In the beginning, many new freelance writers want to be a jack of all trades and write about anything.
But the best way to position yourself as an authority and command higher rates is to niche down.
You can niche down by project or industry or even niche down from both as I did. I write blog posts for businesses in the security industry.
I often write other content like website copy or press releases but for the most part, I write blog articles. I recommend that you choose an industry regardless so you can become an authority.
How To Decide on a Freelance Blogging Niche
So how do you decide what you want to write about? It’s often a combination of the following things.
What is your career and educational background? If you’re a math teacher, you could write blog articles for accountants.
You also want to make sure you’re passionate about the niche you choose because you’ll be writing a lot in that field. Maybe you love projects around the house. In that case, you could write for businesses that sell home décor.
It also needs to be profitable. Do the businesses you want to work for have the budget to hire a writer and pay them well? For instance, non-profits don’t always have the budget to hire freelance writers.
Are other writers making money in the niche? Is it a market that has a high demand but not enough writers? These are some questions to ask yourself.
You can also use Google Trends to see if the topic you want to write about is popular.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a combination of the three elements mentioned:
– You have an educational background or career experience in it OR you have the time to learn it
– You’re passionate about it
– It must be profitable
2. Start Your Own Blog
After you pick your niche, you need to improve your blogging and writing skills, especially if you have no experience. There’s no better way to do that then by starting your own blog.
This blog post explains how to start a blog including the process of choosing web hosting, the importance of your host and other essential elements you need.
Starting a blog is one of the first steps I suggest all new freelance writers do because it’s one of the best ways to market your writing. Plus, you need to create a freelance writing website anyways so might as well add a blog to it at the same time.
Why Starting a Blog is Recommended
One of the reasons I suggest people start a blog on their freelance writing website is that it’s a great way to show prospective clients your writing skills and personality.
Blogging about your chosen niche allows you to establish yourself as an authority and create quality samples for your freelance writing portfolio.
It also helps you improve your writing and practice blogging skills. This practice will be a huge help because you can demonstrate that you know how to write engaging and interesting blog posts that attract new customers for your client.
Related Post: Increase Income Potential by Starting a Blog
3. Educate Yourself on the Basics of Blogging
The thing about writing web content is that it’s completely different than academic writing. I really had to get used to writing content for the internet.
One of the biggest differences is how you cite things in your post.
It’s not like you do in your college papers, but you do need to back up any statistics or facts that you use by linking to them.
For instance, when I mentioned the content marketing statistics above, I linked to the article I found the statistics in. Linking to the article or website you get statistics from is every bit as important as citing in a formal paper.
Blog posts need to be written a certain way so that they are easy to read, introduce a problem and then solve it. It should also be optimized for search engines like Google.
Here are some basic things about formatting a blog post that you need to know:
The title is H1 and then you break the rest of the blog post into sections using headings like H2, H3, H4, etc. You can find the headings in Word under styles or Google Docs in the toolbar just to the left of the font tab. It usually says normal text.
Numbered Lists and Bullet Points
Presenting information using numbered lists and bullet points makes it easier to read and separates big chunks of paragraphs through the post.
Short Paragraphs and Plenty of White Space
Paragraphs in blog posts are usually one to three sentences. One to two lines is even better. Plenty of white space makes your article easy to read.
High Quality Stock Photos
Beautiful pictures also break up long lines of paragraphs and illustrate what your blog post is about. While paid stock photos are better, there are plenty of places to get free stock photos that are legal to use like Unsplash and Pexels.
Clear Call to Action (CTA)
At the end of your post, you need to tell your readers what to do next. Do you want them to leave a comment, share your post, sign up for your course, etc.? This step is super important.
Do Proper Keyword Research
Before writing your post, you need to do keyword research to find problems that your ideal reader is actively searching solutions for. You don’t want to end up writing a blog post on a topic that no one is looking for and that’s where this comes in.
Write Compelling Content That Solves a Problem
Writing great blog posts is a skill you can refine and improve over time. Here are some tips on making an article helpful and share-worthy:
– Have a catchy title so they click the post
– Hook readers by starting with a compelling question or statistic that peaks curiosity
– Present a problem and then use the rest of your post to solve it
– Understand on-page SEO – this amazing Easy On-Page SEO eBook can help you learn and master it
Every time you sit down to write an article, whether it’s for your blog or a client’s, think about that problem. Make sure your blog post provides a solution for it and ends with a strong call to action as to what your reader needs to do next.
My suggestion is that you practice writing daily. I can count on one hand the days I skipped writing in the past three years. So whether that’s your own blog posts, client work, emails, or social media posts, practice your writing.
The more you practice, the faster and better you can write, so you can get more work done in less time.
Related Post: Steps to Do Before Publishing Your Blog Post
4. Set Up Social Media Profiles
Once you understand the blogging basics, now it’s time to tell the world you’re a freelance blogger. An important part of marketing your freelance blogging business is by creating social media profiles that match your website.
I advise you to sign up for all the major social media networks under your business name even if you don’t plan on using them right away. I didn’t sign up for mine on Twitter and then someone else took it so don’t make my same mistake.
LinkedIn is Key
One of the best places to find freelance clients is on LinkedIn. It’s quite popular with many professionals and businesses, and if you optimize your profile right, clients come right to you.
Most of my freelance writing retainer clients found me on LinkedIn and saw that I have experience and knowledge in law enforcement and security.
Study Your Clients and Competition
So look for your dream clients here and study their blogs. Study the websites of companies in your niche and look for ways you can help them as far as content. I found that some businesses didn’t even have blogs or only published a post once a month. Research and study freelance writing and blogging articles so you can increase your knowledge.
Also, study your competitors’ social media profiles and content for inspiration and ideas. Do not copy them though. That is a serious no-no.
5. How to Find Freelance Blogging Clients
So there are a couple of ways to find freelance blogging clients. You can look on job boards for your first writing clients or cold pitch to businesses and brands.
Cold Pitching to Potential Clients
Cold pitching is really an art and it’s the process of emailing strangers to convince them that they need a writer-YOU.
I know the term cold pitching sounds scary, but it gets better over time and it’s a must for freelance writers.
As I mentioned earlier, many of my clients found me. That was so gratifying but in the beginning as a newbie, you have to hustle a little bit.
The best way to find high-paying freelance writing jobs is pitching to people in your niche.
There are several important things to remember to cover in your pitch:
– Your niche and experience. If you are stepping outside your niche, make sure they know what kind of experience you have that makes you their perfect writer
– Writing samples from your portfolio
– A link to your portfolio and/or website
– The other businesses or publications that you’ve written for
– How you can help them and why you are the right writer for them. This really isn’t about you, for the most part. It’s what you can do for their business. It could be attracting more clients for them through the conversational tone in your writing, headlines that make people want to click through and read, etc.
Pitching needs to be a regular part of your routine every day or weekly if you want to batch your tasks. It’s better to pitch daily though. My Freelance Writers for Beginners eBook shares more tips on how to cold pitch potential clients.
Freelance Writing and Blogging Job Boards
Job boards are one of my favorite places to find freelance blogging clients. This method of finding writing jobs is MUCH better than starting at content mills.
Now I know I separated cold pitching and looking for blogging writing clients on job boards. But you kind of need to pitch to the jobs you apply for here.
However, with clients you find on these job boards, I consider it warm pitching because these people are actively looking for writers and expecting responses. This type of pitching is a little different because you include the pitch in the cover letter you send with your resume.
Best Freelance Blogging Job Boards
One of my favorite places is the ProBlogger Job Board. The ProBlogger crew works hard to verify postings, so this helps reduce the likelihood of your running into a scam with the jobs they post.
Blogging Pro is another good job board that posts freelance blogging and writing jobs. They tell people who want to hire freelance writers that their job board is the place to advertise for high-quality bloggers. So, you won’t have to deal with people that want to find articles for the lowest price here.
Be a Freelance Blogger is another job board to specifically find blog writing jobs. Every writing job on this board is $50 and above, so it’s an excellent place to find well-paying blogging jobs. There’s even a Facebook Group for it too.
Advertise You’re Available for Hire on Your Blog
Remember I said it’s super important to start a blog for your writing business? This is one reason why.
Adding a hire-me page on your blog is another way to capture possible leads from the people who visit your blog.
Include some of the blogs that you’ve guest posted on and samples of client projects or your portfolio. Make sure you make it easy for clients to find you.
Also, mention your niche or the topics you write about. Add it to your primary menu so people can see how to work with you.
If you’re freelance blogging for a living and started your own blog, you likely want to collaborate with other bloggers, get more eyes on your blog and monetize it. There’s no better way to do this than by networking.
It’s also another way to get more blogging clients. I’ve been tagged in Facebook groups by fellow bloggers when someone says they need a freelance writer or more information on the topic. Referrals are a great way to get new clients.
There are many ways you can network, so here are just a couple:
Facebook groups are an amazing way to meet other writers and bloggers. There are many groups that have share threads where you comment and share other blogger’s articles, and they do the same for you.
I really couldn’t understand the concept before I joined some blogging groups myself. There are some groups that focus on Pinterest, groups where you can find freelance writing jobs, groups for moms, and much more.
It’s the perfect way to meet other bloggers and collaborate. I’ve made lifelong friends with other bloggers like Lucy, who have helped me grow and learn so much.
A word of caution though and I fought with this too. Don’t spend too much time in threads that aren’t your niche or aren’t helping you. It’s a great networking strategy in the beginning but not sustainable long term.
Spoiler alert – I’ll actually be starting my own group for freelance writers so stay tuned.
Related Post: Best Facebook Groups for Bloggers to Join
LinkedIn is another platform that uses groups to connect with other entrepreneurs. These groups are like those on Facebook; only they are geared more towards businesses and making career contacts in specific industries.
I’ve personally used mine to grow my contacts to over 450.
Guest posting is a great way to network and collaborate with other freelance writers and bloggers. It’s a great way to build authority because it proves not only can you write, but other people trusted you to write content for their website.
One of the easiest ways to find guest posting opportunities is in those blogging Facebook groups I mentioned. Many of these groups have a thread for people to post their guest post requests and find people to work with.
You can also use search terms like your “keyword” + guest post. For example, freelance writing guest post or accounting guest post opportunities. These searches will either return websites that need guest posts or resources that can help you.
When guest posting, make sure to focus on writing for blogs in your niche or those that complement yours. Otherwise, it won’t help you build authority on a topic.
Networking brings you opportunities you would never find on your own. It helps you take a step out of your comfort zone, and that’s where truly great things happen.
7. Scaling Your Freelance Writing Business
Now you’ve learned how to find freelance blogging jobs, you’ve started your own blog, and learned how to write great content as well as network. Now it’s time to scale your business.
You’ve already set up your social media and clients may start coming to you soon. But how do you scale when you are the sole content creator and have a business to run? There are a couple of things you can do.
Outsource Certain Tasks
First, you can outsource the things in your business that you hate doing, aren’t good at, or don’t have time to do. Yes, there can be some nightmare stories. I have my own to share but hiring my Pinterest manager Esther was one of the best things I ever did.
Outsourcing frees you up to work on the money-making aspects of your business, and that’s key to your success.
Raise Your Rates
One of the best ways to scale up is to continually raise your rates. Work smarter, not harder by commanding higher prices for your blog articles. Over time this is easy to do and totally necessary even though it can seem overwhelming.
If you provide an invaluable service to your clients, you deserve to get paid well to do it.
Freelance Blogging Final Thoughts
Working from home as a freelance blogger is a rewarding career and an excellent way to make money as a blogger.
If you follow the steps in this helpful guide, you can begin your freelance writing career quickly and start making money sooner.
Remember to keep networking and scaling your business to the next level so you can reach your dreams of being a six-figure blogger. With hard work and dedication, it’s totally possible.
About the Guest Contributor
Heather Ritchie is the Founder of Writer’s Life for You, a blog that helps women leave their 9-5 to work from home as freelance writers. She also runs Ritchie Writing where she ghostwrites for businesses in the security industry.
Heather is the author of two eBooks and a free email course Freelance Writing Path to Profits that teach new writers how to start a freelance writing business with no experience.
And remember, there is always something to be happy for… Cheers to blogging! What are you cheering to today?Lucy