By Laura Spencer
Those interested in paid blogging often ask me how I got my start as a blogger. When I think about it, I have to admit that for me the answer is that I took baby steps to get to paid blogging positions.
While no doubt there are a few bloggers who become overnight sensations and earn six figure incomes for their very first blog, I tend believe that those bloggers are the exception and that my experience is more typical for most paid bloggers.
Before becoming a blogger, I already had a successful freelance writing business (specializing in business and technical writing). I actually began my blogging career as a reader of blogs. For about six months, I read dozens of blogs each and every day. My initial focus was on business and writing, but I also began to read blogs about how to blog.
The next baby step was starting my own blog. At first, very few people came to my blog and I quickly learned that there is much more to blogging than simply writing a good blog post. Blogging is dynamic. It is about interacting with your readers. It is also about driving traffic to your blog.
At this point, I began to look for blogging mentors. I even joined an informal network of bloggers run by seasoned and successful bloggers — Gayla McCord, Char Polansky, and a few others. The informal network was a great learning experience for me and it introduced me to some bloggers that I otherwise would probably not have met. (Unfortunately, the network has since disbanded, or I would link to it here.)
The informal network of blogs also opened up many guest blogging opportunities for me. Through the connections that I made, I was able to write guest posts for a wide range of blogs. This expanded my reading audience and gave me additional sample posts.
As I grew more confident about my blogging I moved on to my next baby step, I began to apply for paid network blogging positions. Since network bloggers have to post regularly and often, I tried to target my applications specifically towards topics that I already knew a lot about.
At first, my applications to network blogs were unsuccessful. Finally, however, I landed my first paid gig as a blogger. I was ecstatic!
In general, I can tell you that the network blogs were looking for two things:
* Did I have a blogging voice? By this, they meant could write in a conversational fashion that was somewhat unique to me.
* Was I able post often? To determine this second criterion, the network blogs looked at my personal blog to see how frequently I updated it.
As a network blogger, I was exposed to the network’s training – much of which was general enough that it could be used for any blog. I was also encouraged to get involved in social media. My pathway to learning about social media was much the same as my pathway to learning about blogging. I read everything that I could find about social media and then I got directly involved.
Finally, my experience as a network blogger led to some higher end blogging opportunities as well as to some professional ghost blogging opportunities.
As you can see, my baby steps to paid blogging didn’t lead me to overnight blogging success. However, it did lead me to some interesting and comfortable blogging gigs. I also have to say that along the path I met some wonderful and interesting people.
What’s your story? Are you a paid blogger? Leave a comment and share how you became involved in blogging.
(Laura Spencer is freelance writer and blogger. She has 19 years of professional writing experience, seven of those years as freelance writer. Laura is currently on the blogging team at Freelance Folder. In the past, Laura has blogged for b5media’s Business and Blogging and for Know More Media’s WorkFromHomeMomma. You can learn more about Laura on her blog, WritingThoughts.com.)