- What writing platforms to avoid
- How to price your writing services to make money
- How to put together your writing portfolio
- Make money writing for agencies
- Make money writing for small businesses
- Make money writing on Upwork
Writers have long been told that it’s extremely hard to make money in the writing industry—with income averages ranging anywhere from $34k to $50k, according to Payscale.com. If you’re fresh out of college or a newbie in the industry, you can expect to stay on the lower end of that range for at least a few years.
These are quite depressing numbers, especially if you’re looking to make a full-blown career out of writing. Lucky for you, I’ve learned some very unique ways to make quite a nice income writing that I want to share with you. Over the next few months, you’ll learn how to make money writing many different things, including website copy, sales copy, brand messaging, and more, but in this article, I’ll focus on writing blogs specifically.
In this article, you’ll learn how to make a significant income writing blogs, and how to get that money coming in almost immediately. Keep in mind that this article is not about how to make money blogging (i.e. writing blogs for your personal website). You most certainly can make money monetizing your personal blog, but this can take 1 to 2 years to build up to a livable income, so we won’t focus on this quite yet.
Most specifically, I’m going to show you how to land solid blog writing gigs that make you money now and that can pay you anywhere from $40 to $100 per hour. This article does not include some ridiculous get-rich-quick scheme you might see all over the internet. Instead, it includes practical steps toward making money writing—All strategies I have personally implemented and had success with in the past.
Avoid Writing for Content Platforms Like Medium.com
There are so many content platforms that offer to pay for blogs, and they all seem great at first until you write a bunch of content only to realize you only receive pennies as compensation. One great example is Medium.com. Now I have nothing against Medium—they have some pretty great content—but I don’t recommend you focus your writing energies on them because they pay next to nothing for your content.
For example, in an article Medium posted on their very own website, they admitted that only 1 percent of contributors get paid over $5k per month. Even more disappointing is that 91 percent of contributors make less than $100 per month and the rest make pretty close to a whopping $0 per month. Talk about a waste of your writing talent.
Remember that Medium is making a killing off your awesome content, and their payment model is meant to encourage writers to continue contributing, but to also benefit them by not having to pay you for it. Because of this, I highly recommend that you don’t write for these platforms if your goal is to make a living with your writing. If you’re just wanting to have fun, go for it!
Learn What You’re Worth and Price Your Services Correctly
I’ve seen many writers make the mistake of pricing themselves too low or too high. Landing on the right pricing structure for your writing services is imperative if you plan to make money writing long term. Also, keep in mind that different kinds of writing can have different prices and that my recommended pricing model also depends on whether you’re freelancing or working on salary with a company. I’ll talk more about salaried income later, but this article is focused on writing as a 1099 writer.
If you’re just starting or are fresh out of college with limited writing experience, I usually recommend that you charge around $20 per hour for most writing services. After you have 5 to 8 solid writing projects under your belt to fluff out your portfolio, you can consider raising your rate to $40 per hour. From here, it makes sense to keep building your portfolio and cultivating a solid book of positive client reviews and testimonials, which can take around 30 or more writing projects. Believe it or not, after only 8 months to a year of consistent writing projects and reviews, you can usually increase your rates again to $60 or even $100 per hour without your clients even batting an eye.
Put Together An Organized and Full Writing Portfolio
I’ve seen so many writers fail to land writing positions or writing gigs because of a poorly put together writing portfolio. When putting together your writing samples, you should only use pieces that make sense in the marketplace. This means you shouldn’t use poetry, fan fiction, or a letter to your grandma as examples of your writing. Instead, you should use published writing samples such as blogs, marketing emails, website copy, and articles from small local publications.
Your portfolio should include at least 5 to 8 writing samples that hopefully show the flexibility in your writing talent. I also recommend including a one-pager of previous client testimonials or recommendations at the end of your portfolio. The top of your writing portfolio should be your cover letter and resume, and all your experience should only include writing-related work.
If you have limited writing-related work experience, feel free to use writing internships, writing work-study jobs, any freelance writing gigs you might have done, or detail out some of what you learned during writing courses in college. If all else fails, your writing samples and any reviews or testimonials you have will speak for themselves until you’ve built up your portfolio.
Reach Out to Local Marketing Agencies to Offer Writing Services
You’d be surprised how many marketing agencies in your local area don’t have a writing professional on-staff. As someone who has worked in several marketing agency environments, writers are a constant need but extremely hard to find. Don’t pass up this awesome opportunity to tap into the circle of influence local agencies have already cultivated for you.
You can start by sending an introductory email out to agencies in your area and letting them know you’re available to write on an as-needed basis. Include your rate and your portfolio. If you haven’t heard anything back after a week or so, send a second email to see if you can set up a meeting. Don’t be too shy to visit their physical location to hand off a printed copy of your portfolio and a business card. Many marketing agencies would jump at the chance to have a single writing freelancer to whom they can send all their writing work.
Reach Out to Local Small Businesses and Offer Your Writing Services
It’s important that you learn how to position the value of writing content for small businesses and brands. All businesses need blogs to boost their SEO, content for their website pages, sales copy for emails, and so much more. Try reaching out to small businesses with your contact information and portfolio. You can start with emails and then shift into phone calls or personal visits.
Some great businesses to position writing services would be small independent book stores, small retail shops, law offices, chiropractors, and dental offices. These are the kind of companies that can usually see the value of having blog content and other kinds of writing incorporated into their SEO and marketing strategies.
Create a Profile on Upwork to Land Writing Gigs
Upwork is a great place to search for both one-time and ongoing writing gigs. With Upwork, you can protect your private information, collect reviews, build your portfolio, and gain access to writing gigs all over the world. Keep in mind that Upwork does take a percentage of your earnings for using the platform, but it’s a very small price to pay when they manage your client contracts, provide the job board, and ensure that you get paid for your work, even if your clients try to screw you over.
I’ve personally created an account on Upwork and was surprised how quickly I was able to land gigs. I will say that there is a bit of a trick to landing your first few gigs (I’ll write more on this later), but once you gain some credibility on your portfolio, you’ll have people inviting you to jobs practically every single day!
There’s so much more I could share about each of these strategies, and I promise I’ll go into more detail in the coming months. For example, I’ll eventually show you exactly how to manage and grow your Upwork profile as a writer. I’ll also show you in detail how to build and put together a winning writing proposal. In the meantime, I hope you found this article helpful. Please subscribe for more tips and article updates!
Mel Beasley has a bachelor’s in creative writing and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He brings 9+ years of digital marketing and writing experience to the table by writing for publications such as Lumina News and Encore Magazine. He spent 2 years as a college-level writing tutor, and is a certified writing tutor through the CRLA, which is a prestigious cert recognized by the Association for the Coaching & Tutoring Profession. He is a professional SEO blogger with experience writing for brands such as Boardworks Education and The Greater Wilmington Business Journal. One of his latest website and marketing projects has been building the website for the now New York Times Bestselling author, Nina de Gramont.