The WritingThoughts blog quietly turned seven years old last week. There was no cake. No balloons. No fanfare.
Yet for me, this blog started a significant phase of my freelance writing career. For years I had written for businesses in a variety of capacities, but I had not yet blogged for pay.
Since starting WritingThoughts, over 1,000 of my blog posts have appeared on over a dozen sites. Some posts I’ve written include my byline. Others are ghostwritten. It’s more than I ever imagined I’d write when I began accepting paid blogging assignments.
The important point is that I would never have been able to start a paid blogging career had I not experimented with blogging here first.
In this post, I’ll share four vital lessons that I’ve learned about paid blogging over the last seven years.
Lesson #1. Paid Blogging Is Not Easy
The Internet is full of would-be writers and gurus who will tell you that they can write a high-quality post in an hour. Or a half hour. Or 15 minutes.
Don’t believe them.
While a few people can write a handful of quick posts without much research, maintaining a constant blog presence takes research. It also takes hard work.
As a paid blogger, you need to write interesting, informative, and accurate posts time after time–not just once or twice. A handful of posts about your pet peeve topic isn’t going to cut it over the long-run.
The blog posts that are written in 15 minutes usually look like they were written in 15 minutes. They’re either:
- Very short
- Not well-researched
- Full of mistakes
- Or all of the above
Lesson #2. Doublecheck Your Writing
I admit that I edit everything I write. I read and then re-read every draft before I submit it. Not everyone does this, but they should.
Editing helps you:
- Eliminate any obvious mistakes such as typos or misspellings.
- Double-check your facts and sources.
- Make sure that you deliver your message as effectively as possible.
- Format each and every post for the web.
You don’t have to take my word on the importance of editing, however. Shane Arthur has written a really good (and very actionable) post on the importance of editing over at the BoostBlogTraffic blog. Check out his post titled 7 Simple Edits That Make Your Writing 100% More Powerful.
Lesson #3. Interact With Your Readers
Now that your post is published, you’re ready to reach out to your ideal audience.
Inexperienced bloggers often think that their work is done after they’ve written a post and turned it in. However, there is so much being published online that you simply can’t take your blog’s audience for granted.
You have to reach out to your targeted audience . Social media is one way to do that. Forums are another. You can probably think of other ways to reach out to your readers.
To retain readers, you should also respond to any serious comments left on your post. Be part of the conversation. Use the comments to answer questions, respond to affirmations, and even share more information.
Lesson #4. You’re Not Done Yet
If you apply the three lessons above you’ll automatically stand out from other bloggers, but that’s not all you need to do. There are many other tasks that professional bloggers often perform:
- Pitching blog post ideas to an editor.
- Finding stock images to go with each post.
- Providing content advice and direction.
- Mentoring other bloggers for the publication.
If you thought that paid blogging is easy or that blog posts shouldn’t cost much or take too long to write, I hope that now you understand the work that really goes into blogging.
Quality content is more important than ever. The market for 15-minute or 30-minute blog posts is gone.
If you buy blog posts, remember that you get what you pay for. If you’re not willing to pay much for a post, don’t expect much.
Have you written blog posts professionally? Did paid blogging live up to your expectations? Why or why not?