Episode 50: Can You Make a Living Writing Blog Posts?
Can you make a living writing blog posts? The answer is yes. The longer answer is explained in this article where I explain to you how you can quickly and easily earn over $5000 per month writing simple blog posts.
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Episode # Transcript
Note: Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and humans, as such, it may contain errors. Please, double-check the audio file before quoting anything from this page.
00:00 [JT Pledger] Hi kids! For episode 50 I want to return to the copywriting side for a while. As the last few weeks we have covered a lot of personal items for writing, I want to focus more on a specific writing type. Today I will answer the question “Can I make a living writing blog posts?” The answer may surprise you. Hang tight, I’ll be right back.
00:56 [JT] And I am back, did you miss me? Let’s get started. Ghostwriting, and blog or article writing in particular, is like the red-headed step child of the copywriting umbrella. Unlike the copywriters that work on advertorials, marketing, or introducing new products through white papers, blog writers are more or less, left in the ball pit at the burger joint when all the other kids are secured safely in the car to go home.
01:29 What you may not realize, though, is that these writers are in high demand, the entry requirements are low and there is a hell of a lot of money to made out there. If you have command of the English language, basic grammar and are half-way decent at stringing words together, you can earn quite a living writing blog posts.
How do You Start?
01:52 So how is this done? What is the earning potential for blog writers? Where do I go to get a client or a gig? I can hear you, eager and willing. But let’s slow down a bit. Lets’ talk about what you can expect, first.
02:11 If you are new to the industry, or have yet to be paid for your writing, sit down and pay attention. Even if you don’t have a college degree, you can earn over $5000 per month writing articles and blog posts for others. Let me show you how. The first step is understanding. You need to understand what you are getting into, what your expectation level needs to be and you need to understand there is no glory here.
Know What Blog Writing Entails
02:49 What you are getting into is a long day of writing, turning into long weeks of writing, followed by even more time finding writing gigs. It is a job, so get those pipe dreams of opening your laptop for an hour a day while you sip margarita’s at the beach out of your head. If you want to earn the money, you have to do the work. Believe me, there will be enough time for beach front margarita’s later.
03:18 Your expectation levels also need to be lowered. You won’t be writing an article for Time magazine or The Wall Street Journal. Instead, you will be writing a 2000 word article on effective measures to remove bed bug poop from bed sheets. I know. I wrote that article. Believe me, there is no glory or glamour when you are writing a bed bug series of articles. I still got to take my paycheck to the bank though, so I have no regrets. Maybe a few nightmares, but no regrets.
03:58 The point is, if you want to earn the cash, you have to just suck it up and do the work. As far as your expectations go, you need to decide how much time and devotion you have to the craft. If this is a once in a while thing where you want to do an article or two per month between your yoga classes and that trip to the outlet mall, that is fine. However, if you want to work from home, at your computer and not have to worry about name tags, angry bosses and uniforms, then you are going to put in the work.
Let’s see the Process
04:37 I will use a monthly income average of $3000. While the earning potential for blog writers can be much higher, I think setting your goals for $3000 a month is a good place to start. You may find that you surpass this goal quickly. Others may find it takes a bit of time. As with anything else in life, there is an element of luck built in. For example, when I first started, I made a goal of earning $1000 a month, which equaled my then current monthly income from my shitty retail job. I ended up making $1000 my first week. It can happen, I’ve done it.
05:26 I also put in the work. Instead of working 8 hours per day behind a cash register, I was working 10 to 12 hours a day behind my computer. While that may sound like a lot, I also got to take breaks whenever I wanted, go for a walk, or go to the store for more Doritos. I didn’t always wear pants. There are a lot of creature comforts you are afforded when you work from home for yourself. As long as you are diligent.
The Hiring Process
06:00 You need to start by understanding how the process works. So, let me cover that quickly. You find a potential client, usually through a job posting or a hiring board. You don’t get hired on the spot. Usually the client has a lot of applications to go through and is looking for more than one writer. Your entry sits on the pile with the others waiting to be read over. If you make the cut, about a week (sometimes two weeks) later you get a response asking you to write a test piece.
06:40 A test piece is generally an article the client needs written, that is done for a lower fee and expected a quick turn around. So instead of a 2000 word article, you may be asked to write a 500 word piece at half the hiring cost. I will caution you to be wary of clients asking you to write for them for free before you get the job. Always get paid for your work, even during the hiring process. Even if it is half cost, you don’t work for free. There are enough paying jobs out there, you don’t need to waste your time doing things without being compensated.
07:26 That soapbox speech is for another time. Back to getting hired. So you get the offer and write the test piece. You turn it in and you get paid for it. Then, you wait, again. A few days later the client decides that your writing will do and offers you the gig. You accept and off you go.
Writing Blog Posts as a Beginner
07:52 Now, when you first start off, you will most likely be working at a per word pricing structure. Depending on the client, the type of writing you are doing and how much work they have for you, this can range from a few cents per word to a dollar per word. Don’t get your hopes up though. The average price just starting out is about 3 or 4 cents per word. However, even at 3 cents per word, a 2000 word article earns you $60 bucks. This isn’t a lot, but hey, it only took you 4 or 5 hours to do, which translates into about 20 bucks per hour.
08:38 If you don’t want to work in your underwear and earn 20 bucks an hour without the need for a webcam, I don’t know what to tell you. Back to the expectations. The articles you get at this stage will most likely be either informative or comparative. This means you write article with headlines like “How to wash the engine block of your car.” or “Which robot vacuum is the best?”
09:04 They aren’t glorious articles. The styles are highly structured and for the most part, you don’t get a lot of say in what the article layout, headings and sub headings will be. The client has a niche site where they are trying to sell shit. Your job is to write an article to explain or detail how awesome that particular product or service is. If you do your job well, you will earn $60 bucks in your pocket. Which is about how much your client will make for every visitor that clicks a link on their site. Yeah, you lose, but you can’t think of it like that.
Just Do Your Job
09:47 If you just shut up and do the work you agreed to do and don’t worry about what other people are earning or making off of your work, you will be much better off. Every article you write makes you a better writer. The more words you can put down, the better those words will end up being. Believe me. As a test, the first paid article you do, save it. Download it or print it out and put it away. Come back in a year with the last article you wrote and look at the two. I bet you will want to throw up a little bit after reading the first one again.
10:29 Finally, for your expectations, you need to understand how much you will work to earn that $3000 per month. If you are earning $50 to $60 per article, then you will need to write 50 to 60 articles a month. To break it down for you, that is 100,000 words written, per month. 25,000 words per week. If you plan for a 5-day work week, that is 5,000 words per day.
It Isn’t For Everyone
11:04 It is a lot of work. It takes a lot of time to research the information, get the specs on the products, build your tables and write paragraphs. As you get used to the process, though, you will get faster. Even with my ADD and other issues, I can easily knock out 2000 words in about two hours. If I needed to write 5,000 words per day, 5 days a week, that means I am done by lunch and still earning $3000 a month. It can be done. You just need to be diligent.
11:42 Assuming, though, that you are like me, these articles will get old quickly. A way to make them better? Earn more for them. I would much rather write a 2000 word article explaining how to wash a car when I am getting paid 200 bucks to do so, instead of $60. Wouldn’t you?
12:04 In time, you can. One of the best ways to do this is to make long-term clients. Instead of applying for a job, writing an article or two and then moving to the next job posting, try to find clients with months or years worth of work. They aren’t as rare as you may think. After a couple of months turning in high-quality articles and not missing deadlines (that is important, by the way, always be on time!), then you get to start making demands.
How to Earn More For the Same Amount of Work
12:40 You can ask for a raise, but you aren’t likely to get it. Instead, you want to make the process easier for the client. My go-to answer is to ask to be put on a retainer.
12:58 A retainer? Like a lawyer? Exactly like that. Send an email to your client and explain the situation. Remind them how tedious is it to count the words and do the math to make sure you get paid for the exact penny. Wouldn’t it be much easier to just offer a flat rate per article? Then we can dismiss this silly word counting portion and just move forward?
13:29 In most situations, the client will agree. Anything you can do to make their end easier, the more rewarded you will be. Remember, that for every article you turn in, that client is making 10 times what they paid you for it. It is easy enough for the valuable writer to stay happy and turning in those high-quality articles. If your words are valuable enough, the client will gladly offer you a larger cut of those profits. They know you will continue to earn them 10 times the value (or more) and you get to earn more money, too.
Establish a Flat Rate, Then go for the Jugular
14:11 Once you have a flat rate established, say $150 per article, you essentially asked for a raise from 3 cents per word to 8 cents per word. And if you have been keeping up, that is well above the industry standard for these articles. So, you continue this for another couple of months. Then you send your client another email.
14:38 Look boss, we have a good thing going here. Wouldn’t it be easier on you to send me the article briefs you need written each month all at once? How about we go on retainer. You pay me $3000 on the first of the month, send over 12 articles and I will write them up over the next four weeks and send them back to you. We don’t need to have an email back and forth every other day to submit the articles and wait for a new brief and repeat every day. Your time is valuable, and the less time you spend having to worry about these articles, the easier it is on everyone.
15:22 The first thing the client is going to do is look at how much they currently pay you. Over the course of the last few months you haven’t missed any deadlines, you provide high quality articles and you are already earning about $3000 per month. It sounds like a good deal at that point. Pay you once, which saves them fees, get you out of their hair so they can focus on other things. After a couple of days you will be surprised at the response. I have asked each of my long term clients to be put on retainer after proving my worth. I have never been turned down.
It’s Better if it Seems Like Their Idea
16:06 As long as you make it sound like a convenience thing, it is easier for them, better for them, you are less likely to be turned down. But did you notice what we did? We offered our current monthly rate for 12 articles. When we got hired a few months back we were earning $60 per article working for 3 cents a word. Then we moved to a flat rate of $150 per article, or 8 cents per word. Now, instead of working 5 days a week writing 5000 words per day, we are earning $250 per article for 12 articles. $3000 a month and you now work 12 days a month (assuming you can write an article per day).
17:02 I don’t know about you, but I would much rather work a 3-day work week and earn the same amount of money as I did when I was working 5 or 6 days a week. It’s a no-brainer. And for those wondering about the math, you are now averaging between $45 and $60 per hour, depending on how fast you can finish an article.
17:27 Now you have a couple of options. You are working 3-days per week, earning $3000 a month. That is a livable wage. You also have 2 or 3 days per week for more work. Even with one more client, going through the same process, you can double your income. Go back to working 5 days per week with 2 long-term clients instead of just one, and you are making $4500 to $6000 per month. Every month. For writing a blog post.
18:12 I will end this episode with a question for you. In a year from now, do you want to be wondering where you could be or what you could be doing, or do you want to be ghostwriting articles and earning over $5000 a month? I’m pretty sure I know what you will answer.
18:36 Until next week, kids. Have fun; write words.