Starting a freelance blogging business may seem like a challenging task, but it can be both rewarding and profitable when done right.
The market for content is still hot. Content Marketing Institute estimates that 61% of brands will invest in content creation by the end of 2021. It’s an industry expected to reach $107 billion by 2026.
You don’t want to miss out.
Want to be a freelance blogger? Learn step by step how to start a blogging business online, with expert tips and tricks to get your first clients today.
Table of Contents
- What is a freelance blogger?
- How much do freelance bloggers make?
- How to become a freelance blogger
- Where to find freelance blogging jobs
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What is a freelance blogger?
A freelance blogger is someone who earns a living writing blog posts for clients. They are responsible for researching, outlining, and producing content that client’s review and approve. Some freelance bloggers work part-time, while others make it a full time business venture.
These bloggers typically have a freelance writing niche. This defines the types of clients you’ll work with and the services you’ll offer.
For example, your niche could be a beauty writer– in which case, you write articles for beauty and direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies. You could also specialize in a B2B niche, which means you work with businesses that sell to other businesses.
Freelance bloggers can also offer services such as:
- Content refreshing
- Case studies
- Keyword research
- Content planning
- SEO consulting
…and more. Including these content marketing services in your freelance writing business helps diversify your income stream and earn more.
Elise Dopson, a freelance writer for B2B software companies, earns over $1,500 per post. She also offers content refreshing, white papers, and even consulting services to mark up prices.
Elise earns over six-figures per year writing content online. She also runs Peak Freelance and teaches what she knows to freelance bloggers around the world.
How much do freelance bloggers get paid?
Blogging is big business.
Blogs are among the three primary forms of media used in content strategies today. According to research from SEMRush, organizations find blogging effective for generating leads and getting organic traffic.
That’s why freelance bloggers get paid so much.
Rates vary depending on the study, but our research found the following rates for the average 2K word article:
- $300 for new writers
- $650 for mid-range writers
- $1,200+ for in-demand, experienced writers
The truth is: there is no defined rate. We know content writers who charge $1 per word. If they write a three-thousand word article, they’ll earn $3,000 for the project.
Want to find your freelance blogging rate? Use this rate calculator to discover it. You’ll learn your ideal hourly rate using the calculator. Take that hourly rate and multiply it by how long it takes you to write an article (maybe 6 to 8 hours).
How to become a freelance blogger
Like those rates and want to become a freelance blogger? Here’s how you can start your journey today.
- Decide your niche
- Create a freelancer website
- Build your portfolio
- Get on social media
- Start guest posting
- Pitch for blogging gigs
1. Decide your niche
You’ll want to decide on a niche when you’re new to freelance blogging. A niche is an industry you specialize in–be it B2B SaaS, pet brands, or something entirely different.
It’s important to decide one because it positions you as an expert compared to general freelance bloggers.
But there are hundreds of niches out there. How can you choose yours?
- Reflect on your interests and passions. It’ll be hard to write about topics you don’t care about every day. Think about the things you enjoy. Do you like interior design? Is it a topic you care a lot about? If your answer is yes, that’ll make a good freelance blogging niche for you.
- Consider what problems you want / can solve. Readers interact with blog articles because they need help. They may be looking for inspiration or education. They’ll be looking for expertise. Only choose a niche if you’re confident you can solve readers’ problems and want to become an expert in the field.
- Do market research. Look into if your potential niche is growing. Are companies getting funded in the industry? Does it have a good outlook for the future? You want to work in a niche where clients have bigger digital marketing budgets. You’ll likely get paid more for the blogs you write.
Pick one niche based on the criteria above. A niche will help you demand higher rates and be recognized as an expert.
Test your blogging niche by getting a few clients in that space before you commit to one.
2. Create a freelancer website
Once you decide on a niche, you’ll want to create a freelance blogger website. A website will introduce potential clients to your services and prove why to hire you. It also gives them an easy way to contact you for work.
The best part? A website makes marketing yourself easier. You can point prospects from social media or a job board back to your portfolio. Or, you can optimize your website for search engines so people can find you when searching for freelance bloggers.
Creating a high quality website takes a bit of work. But the investment is well worth your time. You can build a site on WordPress, choose a theme from Studiopress, and get up and running in a few hours.
Learn to create your own website by reading How to Create a Freelance Writer Website That Brings Clients Your Way (with Examples).
3. Build your portfolio
A freelance writing portfolio is a body of work that proves to clients that you know how to write. Think of it like a CV or resume for freelance bloggers. It’s typically a list of links, snippets, and samples of your blog writing work.
Even if you don’t have client samples just yet, you can use your website’s blog to showcase your writing ability.
“Make sure your blog is a shining example of your work. I write for interior design and marketing blogs, and I got my first clients by showing them samples from my own blogs.”Emily Brookes, freelance blogger
Clients want to know that the writers they’re hiring can do a good job. A portfolio has links to pieces you’ve written before–be that guest posts, paid work or something else. It gives your clients an idea on your writing style and proves that you can write.
Take freelance writer Kat Ambrose for example. Her portfolio is a page of links to her articles, nothing fancy. The page is broken down by topic. Prospects can see if she has experience on a topic in minutes.
Don’t have a bunch of blog posts to include in your portfolio? Go out and create some. Whether it’s a guest post for another site, or a writing sample for a fictional client, you want your portfolio to wow potential clients. (Enough to convince them to hire you.)
4. Get on social media
Chances are you’re already on social media in some way, shape, or form. When you’re starting a freelance blogging business, it’s not much different. You need to post interesting content and interact with people to get visibility on your platforms.
Social media helps bloggers:
- Find sources for articles
- Meet new people
- Build a network
- Engage with dream clients
- Learn from industry experts
- Share their own content
Plus when prospects go to find you online, where do you think they’ll check? If you said social media, you are correct.
But what are the best social media channels for a blogger? In my experience (and countless other freelancers), the best places are:
- Slack groups
- Facebook groups
Choose one of the platforms above. Start interacting with people and publishing entertaining and interesting content. You’ll soon see the benefits of social media for freelance bloggers.
5. Start guest posting
A guest post is a blog post you write for a publication or marketing website. You typically don’t get paid for them. You just get a byline in return for your article.
Your first thought is probably: why the heck should I write for free? You’re telling me to become a successful blogger, but do free work?
Bear with me.
The benefit of a guest post is huge: you get a byline. All guest posts published have your name attached. Hint: you can include it in your portfolio.
When Elise (founder of Peak Freelance) first chose B2B marketing and SaaS as a niche, she got a guest post on Content Marketing Institute, a popular niche publication. It got a ton of traction and leads, which led to new freelance writing job opportunities.
The best part: Finding guest posting gigs is easy.
Remember that niche you decided on earlier? Google top publications in that niche and see if they are accepting guest pitches.
Type [your niche + guest post] into Google search and see what comes up. You may find round-up posts of blogs accepting guest writers. Or direct listings from the publication.
When you find a good site, make your guest post pitch personalized by pitching the right person with the keyword for their site that they’re missing out on. Follow the guidelines to a T. It proves that you can follow instructions and can help you land that guest post.
Guest posting is free work. There’s no doubt. But it’s great for building a portfolio and impressing future clients.
6. Pitch for blogging gigs
Pitching for gigs is common for all writers online. A pitch is an email or social media message you send to prospects you’d like to work with. The goal is to get hired for writing work.
Say you find a client you would love to become a freelance blogger for. You can send them a pitch staying how you are, what you do, your rates, and why they should work with you.
There are two types of pitches:
- Cold pitch, where the prospect doesn’t know you at all.
- Warm pitch, where the prospect knows you or someone who referred you.
A cold pitch is tough to crack. You want to personalize the pitch if possible. For example, if you know who you are pitching too within a company, do some research and find out more about them.
Here’s a cold pitch I sent to a Craigslist ad in 2017.
The guy gave some basic info about himself, location, and his brand. I also learned that he used foul language and his professional image was casual.
So I wrote a pitch he would find funny, yet professional.
The pitch above earned me:
- Over $50,000 in revenue
- A two year working relationship
- A paid-for trip to Los Angeles (yes, really)
- A business mentor
It all started with learning who Steve was, how he ran his business, and making it easy for him to see my writing samples.
Warm pitches are a bit different. You’ve spoken or interacted with this person through social media or email. Maybe a friend recommended you to them. Either way, your name and face is familiar to them before your pitch arrives in their inbox.
Say, for example, your target client was recently on a podcast. You could listen to the podcast. Then send them an email saying “hey, I listened to your podcast with X person. I liked your perspective on Y.”
If they respond, you can start a conversation with them and start building the relationship. And when the time is right, you can send the following pitch to land a freelance blogging gig with them.
Grab your pitching template from Freelance Writing Essentials 👇
Where to find freelance blogging jobs
Now that you’ve got a website set up and you’re pitching for gigs, let’s look at a few places you can find freelance blogging jobs online:
- Freelance writer directories
- Job boards
- Other freelancers
- Your tool kit
Freelance writer directories
Finding the best freelance writing gigs is about being in the right places. Get found my warm prospects by joining a freelance writer directory.
These are marketplaces where potential clients can search for writers based on their niche and experience. Some are free, some are paid.
Peak Freelance has a directory for members. It features top-notch, vetted writers in one place for prospects.
Clients don’t like searching forever to hire a writer. So they post on job boards and wait for applicants to come to them. It’s an easy way to pitch for new blogging jobs.
Sometimes the best blogging gigs don’t make it to the public. Instead, prospects send job opportunities to people within their network.
One way to get blogging jobs is through other freelancer networks. You start by making friends with other freelancers, be it on Twitter or in private communities.
Then you can:
- Pick up ‘overflow work’, or extra articles another freelancer can’t take out.
- Get subcontracting opportunities, where you ghostwrite for another blogger.
- Get access to exclusive online jobs only posted in communities.
- Get referrals from your new freelance friends.
Making friends with other freelancers is important for getting new gigs. It’s also a fun way to extend your network and connect with like-minded people.
Your tool kit
Connect with their marketing team to see if they have writing gigs. You can find their team on Twitter or LinkedIn. Then send a message saying you use the tool and would love to write for them.
This is a warm-ish way to pitch. Think about what’s more attractive to a content manager:
A blogger with no experience using a brand’s product? Or a writer who uses a brand’s product, and can talk about it with confidence and help readers navigate it?
If you guessed the latter, you are correct.
Becoming a full-time, six-figure blogger
As you can see, becoming a freelance blogger is a great business opportunity. It pays well, you can work from home, and you can start earning money fast.
Be sure to find a community (like Peak Freelance) to support your goals. Peak Freelance members help each other by sharing resources, expert quotes, advice, and more to build your online presence and grow your writing business.
Start your freelancing for clients today, and you’ll soon see the benefits of owning an online writing business.