By Jennifer Chait
Last week Karen asked, “Any advice for those of us who can’t seem to land a blogging gig? I’ve kind of given up on it as I’ve applied for a few for which I was super qualified but never heard a word. Is it a case of “who you know”? Or is there just too much competition out there?”
It’s a good multi-layered question and while there’s no magical spell for getting paid blogging work you can do it.
Step one: Be a blogger.
The first step to working as a professional blogger is to have a blog. If you’ve never had a blog before try Blogger or WordPress. Then blog… a lot. Lately I’ve been considering getting help for a new blog project and if I do I won’t be hiring a non-blogger. I don’t care if you’ve read hundreds of blogs and write for the web. There are blogging quirks that experience with other writing projects just cannot provide. I’m not the only one who thinks so either. All my blog editors have always asked me my blogging history.
Step two: Know where to look.
Know where the blog jobs are before anyone else. Get up early and check job sources. Apply faster and more often than your peers. Deb created a great list a while back about where to look for freelance work. Her list and this blog are a great place to start. Some below are on Deb’s list but as someone who spent all last summer looking for new blogging jobs I have some opinions on the hunt myself.
- b5media: I have three blogs with b5media and it’s a great place to work. Pitching a new blog is rarely an ‘in’ at this network. My advice is to check the main b5 blog and Problogger religiously because both list jobs. Then apply faster than other people.
- Know More Media: Another great place to find work and they have openings right now. In fact if you apply tell them I (Jennifer Chait) sent you because one of their perks is that they sometimes reward current bloggers for referring other good bloggers to them. I don’t suggest pitching but rather applying for open positions.
- All Blog Jobs at Indeed.com: This place has random blogging jobs but is worth a look.
- Freelance Blogging Jobs: They can’t decide how they want their template to look but usually have a good mix of jobs.
- Creative Weblogging: I don’t work with them (never seen a topic I like) but I have talked with people who hire there and they seem very nice plus have positions open.
- Performancing jobs: The jobs here used to be few and far between as in one might be posted and then another weeks later. Lately they seem to update more often.
- Blog Her: Lists jobs but they never seem to be updated; that said, I know people who have found awesome work there so if you’re looking it could be worth checking out.
- BloggerJobs.biz: I hate their set-up; seriously, no-one needs that gigantic of blog font. However they do list frequently and let bloggers post profiles if you’re into that sort of thing.
Journalism School: Rare blog jobs but I thought I’d list them because if you need money they tend to list higher paying freelance work. Berkeley
- Authorlink: Not just for authors; you have to register but it’s free and has media work.
- Media Bistro : Few blogging jobs but always well paying when I do see them.
- Craigslist: Deb noted and I agree that Craiglists is a much made fun of but useful resource. In fact all my highest paid blogging gigs have come from them. When I need work — I bookmark the big cities that list a lot of writing jobs, put them all in one folder, and check it twice daily.
Step three: Have blogging friends.
Karen asked, “Is it a case of who you know?” which is not too off the map. Bloggers love to talk and if you know enough bloggers then job openings will come up in the conversation. Why you need blogging friends is a fairly in-depth topic that deserves its own post – jobs are far from the main reason to have blog pals. However, overall, in the job hunt, friends can help you.
Step four: Set yourself apart but always be yourself.
About being yourself. It won’t help anyone if you act during the job hunting process. Blogging is a daily deal so if you put on an act it could be an act you need to stick with for a long time. Personally it’s much more fun and easy to blog as yourself. As far as landing gigs, I’m far from the best writer I know yet I get lots of paid blogging gigs – likely over more skilled writers. Many times I’ve known why I got the job over the other applicants because usually editors tell me and if they don’t I’ll often ask.
Reasons I’ve been told that I’ve gotten the job and someone else didn’t:
I’m somewhat conceited. I have flaws which I readily admit to; but not to someone who might hire me. For every blog position I know that there are dozens of others applying. I make it clear that going with someone else would be a serious mistake because I’m the best ever candidate. I talk in terms of here and now; what I can offer the blog and the blog community. I sell my social skills, my web writing and blogging experience, my ability to follow the necessary news sources religiously, how I’m casual but still provide information, and anything else I think might sell me as a blogger. Don’t let modesty be the reason someone else gets that job.
I’m valuable. I’ve been offered too low of pay for blog gigs before. Twice I sent back an email that said the pay was too low and I had better ways to spend my time (I said it nicely). Both times the boss and I ended up talking back and fourth. And shockingly also both times, I was told that the pay was good because dozens of applicants emailed and offered to work for free. I told both places, “You get what you pay for” and got the job.
If you offer to work for free all you’re doing is making it harder for other bloggers to get a decent wage for hard work – that’s obnoxious. Two, someone willing to work for free does not look as professional as someone who values their own services. In some cases (like above) it might just lose you the job.
I’m persistent: After I apply for a position I always check back in. This is a good rule of thumb for any sort of writing work but I think people forget to check back for blogging positions. I’ve landed more than a few gigs simply because I was the only one who kept checking back in about the position.
I’m unique: Above I said don’t show your flaws but showing your eccentricities are not the same. Don’t be afraid to offer your unique ideas for a blog. Successful blogs are partly about standing out from the crowd so stand out more than the other applicants. For example, if you apply for a pregnancy blog mention that yes, you know tons about conventional pregnancy topics but also discuss your knowledge of homebirth, herbs, or how tattoos can stretch – the offbeat slant may be what the hiring party is looking for.
If you follow the above steps, be yourself, and apply for work consistently you will land that dream blogging position and more will follow.
Do you have a great tip for landing a blogging position? What’s worked for you? Or what hasn’t?