Hey everyone! Today I have a post from an awesome fellow blogger. So many of you are interested in staff writing, so I figured this post is PERFECT for you all. Enjoy!
One of the most common questions that Michelle and I both get asked is, “How do you get hired as a staff writer for blogs?” So, today, I’m happy to share some of the techniques I use to not only find the job postings but to make sure I actually get hired too!
I know that there are many stories of people who have secured contracts for $100/post right out of the gate; however, my success story doesn’t sound like that!
Instead, my work as a staff writer began gradually and grew organically as I became more skilled and more respected in my niche.
The first staff writer job I got two years ago was for $10 a post! I was responsible for writing about saving money and beauty tips, and I literally wrote about anything and everything, including an in-depth article they assigned me about how to correctly pop a pimple! (Oh yes. It’s true!)
While I totally cringe at the thought of that topic now, I can’t deny that the job gave me extremely valuable experience. Eventually, I became the beauty editor for the site, and by the time I left to pursue a higher paying writing job, they had published over 115 posts that I wrote for them.
Build A Portfolio
I’m telling you that story to illustrate the importance of building a portfolio. A blog is a great way to do that. If you don’t have one, Michelle has a great tutorial of how to start a blog. Write excellent content on your site, and when you apply to staff writing jobs, send links to your published posts. The more websites you write for, the more links you can send to show how versatile you are as a writer.
If you are interested in starting a blog, I created an easy-to-use tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $3.49 per month (this low price is through my link only) for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free blog domain (a $15 value) through my Bluehost link if you purchase at least 12 months of blog hosting. FYI, you want/need to be self-hosted if your website is used for freelancing purposes or if you want to make money blogging.
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Search Far And Wide
I find most of my staff writing jobs on the ProBlogger jobs board. However, I’m also obsessed with people’s “Hire Me” tabs on their blogs. You see, not all websites advertise that they are looking for staff writers. Instead, they choose people based on frequent commenters or by seeing their posts on other sites. So, the most challenging part of finding jobs is realizing which websites actually hire writers and which just feature guest posters.
By looking at bloggers with “Hire Me” tabs, you can sometimes see the sites they write for, which then tells you which sites pay writers! While this is not a foolproof method, it has helped me find several websites that I didn’t even realize hired writers. Additionally, you can also look at larger sites that have a “Contributors” tab, and if it shows that they have several writers, you can often e-mail them and ask outright for a job. Just be warned that e-mailing blogs out of the blue like that does not always guarantee success. I wrote a post about The Truth About Side Hustling that discusses this method in more detail.
I should mention that you can use Odesk, Freelancer, and Craigslist for finding jobs, but just remember that thousands of other people are using those sites to find jobs too. Sometimes using ninja techniques like the ones I listed above give a greater return.
Treat it Like a Real Job Interview
When applying for staff writing jobs, one mistake a lot of people make is thinking about staff writing as an “extra” job and not a “real” job. So, they might be a little more casual in their approach, which can cost them the gig.
Instead, I encourage you to be extremely professional when applying. Pretend it’s a 6 figure, high-level job, and give it the same amount of respect. Once a website owner knows you take your writing seriously and that you are a professional, they’ll realize that you’re going to be on time and will send good content.
If you just send them an e-mail that says, “Hey I’m so-and-so. Check out my blog so-and-so.com to see my writing, and let me know if you want to hire me” you definitely won’t get the job! However, if you explain who you are, how long you’ve been writing, share links to your past posts, and indicate your availability, you’ve already saved them the time of going back-and-forth communicating with you (which is the exact reason they are hiring you – to save them time!)
Extra tip: Never write a free “sample post” for a site if they tell you that’s part of their interviewing process. That is a sneaky way for sites to take your content. Real, legitimate sites will always pay you a fee to produce work if they want to see a certain type of writing. Most of the time, sending links to past work will suffice.
As you can see from the tips above, starting your career as a writer in the online world takes some time and patience. It’s not a get rich quick scheme, and it takes a considerable amount of time, creativity, and professionalism to be successful.
Although I started out writing $10 posts about pimples (haha!), just a few weeks ago I had the biggest surprise of my career when I got published on the Huffington Post.
Honestly, when the Huff Post blog team sent me an e-mail with a link to my published article, I ran down the street and busted into the library where my husband was studying to tell him. I actually cried because I was so excited. I’ve devoted a lot of time and given up a lot of sleep to pursue my goal of becoming a full-time writer, and I’m happy to say that using the techniques above has helped me to make this come true. I hope the same happens for you.
If you have any questions about anything I mentioned above, please feel free to leave it in a comment, and I’ll be sure to answer it!
Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who is currently based in the Caribbean. When Cat is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, BudgetBlonde.com.
Do you staff write? Have you thought about it? What side hustles do you have?
Related tip: My friend Cat Alford started a course called Get Paid to Write for Blogs that I highly recommend. She has written for many large sites and is extremely successful. Now, she is sharing her amazing tips so that you can become a full-time writer as well. If you want to earn money as a writer, I recommend you check out her course.
Get Paid to Write For Blogs is a comprehensive online course that teaches you everything you need to know about getting hired to write for blogs. With 29 videos within 8 modules, this course covers every single step to start a successful and lucrative writing career online. Use my link here to receive 15% off your course!