4 Lessons Learned After 7 Years of Professional Blogging

paid-blogging

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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:

  1. Eliminate any obvious mistakes such as typos or misspellings.
  2. Double-check your facts and sources.
  3. Make sure that you deliver your message as effectively as possible.
  4. 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.

Your Takeaway

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?

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Laura: I am constantly amazed at the postings I see for low-paying blogging work. What amazes me are the businesses posting the work. As successful businesses, you’d think they would understand there is more to writing for a business blog than slapping some words together.

    I have business blogging projects for multiple clients. All are ghostwritten, which adds another layer of work to what you described.

    The bylines include various employees for my clients who have different roles within the organization. I work with them to develop their tone and style for the business blog posts.

    Is there anything more important than how you present yourself to your clients and potential customers? The old adage, You get what you pay for, certainly applies.

    Like you, Laura, I found my personal blogs helped me polish my craft for better results. Professional blogging is one of my favorite services I offer. Continued success, Laura.

    • says

      Thanks Cathy!

      When I look at some of the low rates out there for blogging I do get depressed. Then I read some of those posts and realize that there’s a huge difference between the posts you and I write and the posts some of the cheap bloggers write.

      How you present yourself is extremely important, as you mentioned. I think that those businesses who publish low quality posts on their blogs negate a lot of the benefits of blogging.

      Thanks again for your kind words. :)

  2. says

    Laura, congratulations on keeping this blog going for seven years! It was one of the first I found when I started looking online for sites about freelance writing, and I’ve really appreciated all of the knowledge you share.

  3. says

    Seven years is a very impressive blogging feat. I think it’s akin to a human reaching their century, especially when you see many other blogs barely lasting a few months before they’re abandoned.

    Your advice here is very good and I’ll certainly be browsing through the rest of your website.

    • says

      Thanks Edward!

      I’m not sure of the exact conversion between blog years and human years. ;)

      You’re right. 7 years IS a long time. And to think, in the beginning I considered it an “experiment.” I actually love to write, though. This is sort of my “home” on the web.

      You’re right that a lot of blogs only last a short time. Sadly, I can think of lots of talented bloggers whose posts I used to really enjoy, but who now no longer blog.

  4. says

    Congrats on the milestone, Laura; I think I’ve been reading your blog for most of that time. My path has been similar in blogging on Get Paid to Write Online and moving from there into professional blogging. It’s hard work for all the reasons you outline, but I still enjoy it. Many clients want you to share work on social media too.

    • says

      Hi Sharon,

      I do think our career paths have been parallel. And I read your blog regularly too. :)

      You’re right in pointing out that blogging and social media sharing are interrelated although I know that some writers might disagree.

      You could have the best blog in the world, but if no one knows about it then It’s not doing you much good.

  5. says

    Congratulations on the milestone, Laura. I started blogging just a few months after you did. I’m coming up on seven years in June. Yours was one of the first blogs I interacted with, and I’m pleased to see your success as a paid blogger.

    • says

      Hi Lillie,

      Thanks so much for stopping by to say “hi.” It’s great to know that so many of my contacts from my early days of blogging are still actively blogging themselves. :)

      It’s the relationships that make this all worthwhile.

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