Many freelance writers begin their careers wondering if they should start a blog. Others are exploring methods to supplement their writing income. My question, then, is this: Why not kill two birds with one stone?
Whether you blog on your writer website or start a completely new blog to write about what you love, there’s potential to make money and wow clients. Here are a few ways you can use your blog to boost your freelance writing income.
Attract Clients with Your Blog
First and foremost, a blog can help you grow your freelance writing business in the same way any other organization uses blogging as a content marketing tool. The perk is that as a writer, you get to show off your services and skills at the same time.
Blog posts drive traffic. It’s as simple as that. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the stats. A HubSpot study showed that companies who blog receive:
- 55 percent more traffic to their site
- 97 percent more inbound links
- 434 percent more indexed pages
That means you have a better chance of being seen on social media sites and on search engines, so you’ll reach more eyeballs!
Chances are, several of these “eyeballs” will be people looking to hire a freelance writer. After they read through your content, they’ll already have a good idea of your talent, and when they see that they can hire you, they won’t have a tough time clicking the “hire me” button. Not only that, but you can use your blog to build your credentials and authority—such as if your blog becomes an award-winning site.
The key to this is to write content that appeals to your ideal client. Freelance writers whose primary goal is to attract clients shouldn’t be writing about whatever they please in hopes that clients will take notice of their writing skills. You have to get prospects on your site first, and that starts with topics they’re interested in.
For example, if you offer copywriting services, you could write on copywriting and marketing topics since prospects are likely looking for this type of advice—only when they realize they don’t have the skills, they’ll hire you!
Otherwise, you can blog about the niche you’re interested in specializing in. For instance, if you’d like to write for travel companies, blog about travel. If you want to write lifestyle magazine articles, launch a lifestyle blog.
Make Affiliate Sales
Whether client conversions are slow or you’re just looking for a way to make more money on your blog, another idea is to place affiliate links in your content.
Start by signing up to affiliate programs from companies whose products you love. Then, include the link in your content (with a disclosure). When your readers buy through that link, you’ll earn a cut of the sales.
Keep these tips in mind if you choose to earn money through affiliate sales:
- Join affiliate programs with products related to your niche. You don’t want to be trying to sell web hosting on a beauty blog because your readers won’t care! Instead, beauty bloggers would join affiliate programs from their favorite makeup brands or for hair extension products, for example.
- Don’t ever lie about your affiliation or how much you love a product. Affiliates make money by recommending products and getting their readers to buy that product. Don’t lie about how much you like a product just to make more sales. Not only is that unethical, but your readers will lose trust in you.
- Consider various ways to present affiliate links. For example, you can place them in sidebar banners, in product review posts, or naturally in the text of a typical blog post.
Sell Ad Space
Once you get your blog up and running with a quality web host and a great content management system like WordPress, you’re the proud owner of valuable Internet real estate. With a large enough following, advertisers will be willing to pay you to place their ads on your site. This can be in the form of banner ads on your sidebar or in sponsored posts.
You can also monetize your blog with Google AdSense to easily place ads on your site—and get paid for them—without having to arrange anything with the advertiser.
However, you’ll want to be cautious of ads and their placement. Too many ads can make your site look spammy, as can ads that are irrelevant to your readers. Consider testing your ad styles and placement to see how your visitors best respond.
Sell Digital Products
Once you grow your blog’s following, you can make money by offering digital products for sale. Freelance writer Gina Horkey, for instance, attributed 53 percent of her November, 2015 income to online course sales, in which she sells courses for freelance writers and virtual assistants.
Other ideas include:
- Mobile applications
- Web themes
Again, the key is appealing to your audience. Don’t write an eBook on becoming a travel writer if your blog audience is interested in going on week-long family vacations. Get a feel for what your audience wants—such as by reviewing old blog or social media comments, or by asking them outright—and then create a product based on that feedback. That way, they’ll be dying for your product before it even launches.
Of course, you can always sell physical products from your blog as well, such as books or hand-made items. Classes, coaching, and special events are other ideas that can help you boost your income.
As a freelance writer, making money with a blog can be a smart move since it doubles as both a client magnet and an alternative money-making platform. With your audience in mind, the opportunities are practically endless.
Have you thought about starting a blog as a freelance writer? How will you use it to grow your freelance writing income?
Mike Wallagher is the creator of StartBloggingOnline.com where he offers information on just that. Check him out.