So you think you’re a good writer and you’ve read Skellie’s 10 tips for freelance blogging income, in which she says that you shouldn’t accept less than $50 for a 400-word post – even when you’re starting out. I agree that good bloggers deserve this (though whether they’ll get it is questionable). But are you a good blogger? What skills do you have that warrant getting $50/post?
Here are at least some of the “skills” (which include knowledge and activities) that I feel you should aim for if you want to be a consummate bloglancer and command the rates that Skellie suggests.
- Conversational writing style. This is a given, of course, but so many new bloggers think this is the only skill they need.
- Topical knowledge. Build a thorough understanding of the topic you’re writing about, else you’ll just be regurgitating. (Regurgitation can be purchased for far far less than $50/post.) If you’re still learning a topic, then at least start by offering your viewpoint.
- Analytical skills. The reasons for this are many – but one reason is so that you can read X other posts about a topic and produce one solid post from your viewpoint (with appropriate references). Question: can analytical skills be taught, or are they built up over many years?
- Building dialogue. Ability to build and maintain a dialogue – i.e., get visitors to comment, especially on a regular basis. (Though don’t get depressed if this doesn’t happen right away. Most visitors don’t comment, so without lots of traffic, you might not get responses. Ask friends to comment regularly, if you have to. Visitors are more likely to comment when someone already has.)
- Deep linking. An understanding of why deep linking is important to building a successful blog, and actually doing it.
- Building backlinks. Ability to build/ solicit/ induce/ seduce backlinks – especially quality links.
- Traffic building. Ability to build suitable traffic, either by promotion or by writing secondary articles – posted to other sites – that link to the main article.
- Web metrics. An understanding of web/ blog metrics, and the use of a good package, such as Performancing PMetrics or Google Analytics, to analyze visitor behavior and site performance, and to determine the effectiveness of activities #5-7.
- Socializing. Spend time “socializing” online, building up social media friends to help you promote articles. Suggestion: join the Hive.
- Being a watcher. Willingness to stay on top of the trends, by monitoring your niche. This helps you to
- Monitoring your work. How much time are you spending on paid work? Are you achieving your desired average hourly/ weekly/ monthly rate, all while still managing to have a life outside of work?
Do You Deserve A Better Rate?
Now, if you happen to have ALL of these skills (or more), and can successfully apply them, then you deserve more than $50/post. Though if you build only your writing skills, then you don’t. Plain and simple. (However, there are a lot of good bloggers out there. How many of you are actually getting $50/post gigs, let alone are finding them?)
I should point out that I left a comment on Skellie’s post saying that I felt her suggestion of asking for $50/post when you start out was unrealistic for most bloggers. If you’ll recall, I just wrote a post about leveraging your research to make the best of $10 and $20 per post fees. I hadn’t read her post at the time, but I’m not totally in disagreement with her. I strongly disagree with a couple of points, but I also strongly agree with most of the other points.
Can the Market Support Increased Article Rates?
The real issue is whether the online market can support that rate. Only two years ago, $10 was about the top rate. Then I’d heard last year from some people that $25-30 was standard, but only for experienced bloggers. A couple of very popular tech sites pay $100, but those posts are much longer than 400 words and typically require a fair bit of research.
Can the market currently support $50/post as a basis for qualified bloggers? I seriously don’t believe that’s the case. Having once been a struggling print publisher, I know the feeling of wanting to pay writers more (or anything at all), but also the feeling of whether I’ve got enough to pay the bills. I happen to know a lot of “successful” web publishers who’ll admit they really aren’t making all that much. Web publishers don’t have costs such as newsprint and printing, but there are other costs.
Now I don’t want to be all pessimistic. I do believe that the market will change, and that qualified bloggers will be able to make a good living, comparable to what many successful print freelance writers make/ once made. For the present though, you have to make the best of the work that’s out there.