I’ve been writing for magazines for a long time, but with the print media struggling to retain readers gigs are harder to get, so I thought I’d investigate writing for on-line sources. From reading e-books and “pro” Blogger sites it seemed that a reasonable income could be earned this way. Some of the professional writer sites (not just bloggers) decry the skill levels of most Blogger forums and state that participating in them will actually hurt a good writer’s ability to get assignments from more reputable publishers.
I’ve been Blogging for Bucks only for a few weeks, but results so far are very discouraging as far as potential income, and I have felt as though participating in certain forums has hurt my chances with the better publishers.
What is your take?
Thank you for asking this interesting question. First of all, I think you have done the right thing by considering other ways to earn money writing rather than focusing solely on one type of market.
It is possible to earn money solely by running your own own blog. It does take time to build up a community and start making a significant amount of earnings from this method. If you can commit to a marathon and not get frustrated because this way of growing a business is not a sprint, you can make money. There are some bloggers who do earn a full-time (and in some cases a very high) income from their blogs, but they are also offering their visitors other things, like e-books or coaching services, as opposed to earning money solely from ad revenue.
I am familiar with writer sites where people complain about the quality of content contained in blogs and online generally. This is a medium that allows anyone to start a blog on the topic of their choice and start talking, no matter what their skill level is. They don’t even need to be particularly knowledgeable about the topic to get started. The Internet has become a place where everyone can have a voice, which means that there is a lot of noise out there.
Over time, the people who really have something to say and are adding value by their posts will be rewarded by having regular visitors. The first step to building a community and developing a solid reputation as a blogger is to become an expert in your niche. Make sure that everything you put out there online is something that helps your visitors solve a problem or gives them something to think about. (If this sounds a lot like a marketing technique, it is. You are selling yourself to prospective clients every time you post something.)
Will you be blacklisted from “reputable publishers” because of where your work has appeared before? I have read forum posts where certain editors have stated they would never hire someone who has clips from XYZ.com or what they consider to be an inferior publication. This kind of statement should only bother you if you believe that there are only a couple of places where you can sell your writing. The fact is, there are many, many markets for writers. If a particular editor isn’t interested in working with you, move on.
I visited your blog and I see that you have expertise in a certain niche. To market yourself in that area, you can approach site owners who do not have a blog and pitch them on the idea of having you write one for them. You can develop an e-book or a series of short reports that you can sell pertaining to your niche and approach site owners about a joint venture for marketing them, or sell them yourself. Another idea is to look for opportunities to work as a copy/content writer in your niche. You will have as many opportunities to find writing work as you make for yourself.
Do choose not to write for certain web sites or publications because you are concerned about the loss of future writing opportunities? Do you have a question you would like to see answered in a future column? Share your thoughts in the comments section.