Do you love reading blogs, like this one right here? Who doesn’t love falling down a rabbit hole and enjoying advice from faraway friends that they haven’t met yet. Since you’re on A Way Abroad, I reckon you want a job that will let you work from anywhere. Freelancing writing for blogs could just be the remote job for you.
This type of work isn’t your typical employment. You’re not likely to make all of your income from one company, person or contract (at least in the beginning). But with upwards of 7 million blog posts published per day, there are endless freelance writing jobs waiting for you.
I started freelance blogging in 2017 and made every mistake in the book. I took on clients that were a terrible fit, struggled to find steady work and quit, thinking that blogging wasn’t for me. Then, in 2018, I decided to take another swing and started my own blog, Writing From Nowhere. I now reach thousands of people per month through my blog writing, on both my website and clients’ websites.
There’s no single blueprint to becoming a successful freelance blog writer. There are a thousand different paths, but the tips I’m sharing today will help demystify freelance blogging and offer concrete first steps to get started.
It’s up to you to decide how far you’ll take it! By this time next year, you could be writing full-time. The opportunities are out there.
Let’s start with the basics first to make sure we’re on the same page.
What Does It Mean To Freelance Write For Blogs?
Freelance writing is the act of writing for someone else’s website, business, magazine, etc. A freelance blog writer is someone who specializes in digital content and optimizing for Google search traffic.
It can also be referred to as article writing, content writing or as general “writing services.”
The blog posts that a freelance blogger writes might be published under their own name, published anonymously or published under someone else’s name (also known as ghost writing).
This is different from the opportunity to guest post on a blog. Guest posting is a common type of blogging where someone who runs a website will invite guest authors to publish content for free. We’ll talk in a minute about how to use that opportunity to build your portfolio, but the heart of freelance writing for blogs is being paid for blogging.
On top of turning words into plane tickets (or whatever you’ll spend your money on), as a freelance blog writer, you can open up doors for yourself to freelance visas!
It’s an incredible opportunity that’s literally waiting at your fingertips. Here’s how to make it happen for yourself.
7 Things You Need To Start
If you genuinely want to start freelance writing for blogs but don’t have experience, I have one word for you: yet.
You don’t have the skills yet. No one is born knowing how to optimize a post or pitch a client. These are skills that you can sharpen week by week, and you’ll be a pro in no time.
Promise me the sentence “but I don’t know how to do _____” won’t enter your mind.
Start developing these 7 skills now to launch your freelancing blog writing hustle.
1. Blogging Fundamentals
You do not need to be a good writer to freelance write for blogs. You need to be a good blog writer.
People often correlate perfect grammar with “good” writing. Well, blog writing is not an essay for English class. In fact, trying to write “proper” English won’t do you no good (see what I did there??).
Put your rulebook aside and teach. Connect. Entertain.
Communicate. Communicate WHAT you’re explaining, WHY you’re explaining it, and WHO you are to the reader.
Look at this blog post piece, for example. Now that I’ve pointed those characteristics out, can you see the internal workings of this blog post clear as day?
Blog writing is always information-based. Sharing a digital diary is not something that a client will pay you for.
Paid blogging is all about packaging your information in such a way that people enjoy reading and finish reading it. Your writing needs to be easy to consume and easy to understand.
Multimedia - offer readers more than just words to look at!
Use spoken rather than written language and get rid of “fluff” text. Provide a clear structure to whatever you’re writing so people don’t get lost and click away.
Start working on your blogging skills today by….. *drumroll* actually READING blogs. Don’t just read them as an average viewer; take note of their…
- Writing style
- Use of multimedia
- How their writing makes you feel
- Paragraph length
- Amount of text between points
Look for things that you like AND dislike. If you come across something that you like, study it until you can articulate what’s working in the writing. Do the same for any content you don’t like and this time, try to come up with something that would improve it.
Pro tip: make a Pinterest board called “blogging inspiration” and save posts there so that you can reference back and learn from them!
2. Basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Blogging is a digital medium, and its purpose is to bring readers to a website.
In terms of blogging, that means optimizing blog posts for Google searches.
This might sound a little mysterious, so let me give an example: in 2020, I was thinking about moving to Aruba. I Googled “expat life in Aruba” and found… (gasp) A Way Abroad’s blog post on reasons to move to Aruba. I read the article, then about a hundred others on this site, followed on Instagram, became friends with Kat, the rest is history.
Brands will hire you to create the same opportunity for them. They NEED blog posts that will bring in website traffic from Google.
In order to do that, the articles must be optimized for Google search. This means that you must do two important things: 1) pick a good keyword and 2) use it correctly in your blog post.
A keyword is simply the search terms that someone types into Google. In my Aruba example, the keywords were “expat life in Aruba.” I won’t go too in depth here because it can be a little confusing at first.
More importantly, many brands will tell you what keywords to use and save you the step of doing keyword research.
This is the most important bit to know upfront: just start learning how to use keyword research software. If you continue working as a freelance blog writer, you WILL have to grow into this skill so start acquainting yourself, even if you start out getting your keywords assigned to you.
Most bloggers use a very affordable and friendly keyword research tool named Keysearch. It’s only $13.60 per month with the discount code KSDISC.
Basic SEO writing is more straightforward than keyword research, and it’s something you can start working on today.
Once you’re assigned a keyword, you have to know what to do with it. SEO can be an incredibly complex subject, but the basics are really straightforward.
You optimize a blog post by including the words in the right places. Places like…
- Your title
- The first 100 words
- In the metadata
Then sprinkle it and any related keywords through your article.
There is really no way around learning the basics of keyword research and SEO. If you’re serious about blog writing or freelance writing, start teaching yourself the basics now.
You can use my blogging SEO checklist to help yourself practice.
3. Work Samples
Before you start getting paid to write blog posts, you’ll likely need to do some writing for free to build up some work samples.
After all, most business owners won’t hire you to do something that you’ve never done before! You can offer this for free in two easy ways.
The first is to pitch articles directly to brands who are open to guest posts, like, A Way Abroad!
The second is to get leads from Facebook groups. Forget old-school job fairs; finding paid blogging jobs from home is easy with all of the existing groups dedicated to content creation.
Post a message like this:
Hi everyone! I’m a brand new blog writer and I’m looking to write 5 1,500-word blog posts for free in exchange for a testimonial. I’m learning SEO and will optimize it for any keywords you’d like. Does this interest anyone here? 🙂
Here are a few groups where you’ll likely be able to find blog writing jobs for beginners:
- The Content Marketing Cycle for Online Business Owners
- Bucketlist Bombshells Community
- DNW - Making Money From Blogging
- Wildly Successful Travelpreneurs
- Becoming a Blogger
- Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs
Pro tip: try to get testimonials on LinkedIn. Every happy client experience should be turned into a testimonial, and the best place to gather these is on LinkedIn. You can copy/paste the text to other places later, but building up a robust LinkedIn profile lends a lot of credibility.
How To Get Recommendations On LinkedIn
As a best practice, connect with your clients on LinkedIn when you start working with them. Don’t wait until you’re ready to ask for a testimonial. If they don’t have an account, then you know that this option isn’t viable and to just ask for a standard recommendation.
After you’ve connected with your client, scroll to the bottom of your LinkedIn profile to the recommendations section:
Click the plus sign and select “ask for a recommendation.”
Then, enter the details for your client.
Warning: for the section “position at the time,” you must add freelancing as a position on your LinkedIn profile! If you haven’t already added this as a new job, this is your push to do it. Even if it feels scary to officially list yourself a freelance writer, this is an important step. On top of getting recommendations, people who view your profile will see that you’re available for hire.
In the early days of freelancing, it’s important to get happy clients and mine them for recommendations to help you launch this side hustle.
You can also copy and paste those recommendations in other places, like on your own blog.
4. Start Your Own Blog
Anyone can start a simple portfolio website in Canva or create an UpWork account to display their experience, but a step up is to (for real, not for show) start your own blog.
This demonstrates your skills beautifully, gives clients a chance to get to know you, and, when done correctly, will also lead clients to you.
Just be sure to publish intentional blog posts that showcase your skills and avoid common beginner mistakes.
It may seem intimidating to start a blog from scratch, but there are branding courses that lay out the steps to kickstart this process.
I know there are a hundred little steps involved in creating a website, but don’t overthink this step. You can change everything easily (except for the domain name) later. Add a description of your writing services so that people know you’re available for hire, and then share your first blog post! Here are ten easy ideas for your first post.
Running a successful blog and handling clients is a very reasonable workload once you’re making money and have learned all of the skills. While you’re still learning though, manage your time well or you will quickly feel overwhelmed.
5. Time Management Skills
Most of these tips speak to the hard skills of freelance blogging, but there are vital soft skills as well.
I’m not going to try dressing up time management into a sexy, surprising tip. Time management is a dry, boring skill but it will wreck you if you don’t check it.
You know the drill:
- Set SMART goals
- Don’t let to-dos linger (procrastination = stress)
- Get tasks done ahead of time instead of waiting for deadline
The thing is: for freelance writing, these little things become a matter of mental health.
Writing blog posts is a task that can go on, and on, and on, if you let it.
Even though it could take you 3 hours to write a blog post, when you don’t manage your time, it might take you 20.
You’ll need to manage your time well or you’ll start to resent your workload. Even though freelancing blogging can be the key to your location independence, you’ll start to feel smothered by it if it’s taking up too much of your time. It’s one of those little surprises of the digital nomad lifestyle.
I can’t stress this point enough. When you’re done writing, close the book on your post (pun intended).
Find the courage to actually submit the post when it’s done. When you’re starting out, spending lots of time tweaking and perfecting a blog post can be a tempting thing to do, but you’ll be surprised how much time can just disappear into that process!
6. Become A Student Of The Blogging World
There are literally thousands of successful bloggers dying to give you advice in the form of their…
- Blog (of course)
- YouTube channel
- Email list
- Facebook group
While some of these resources (namely memberships and courses) will have a price tag, most of this information is free.
Make education a part of your weekly routine. My favorite way to learn about SEO when I was beginning was to listen to podcasts on my way to work. The accumulative educational effect that this has is MASSIVE.
7. Tell Everyone!
Once you’ve decided to start freelance writing for blogs, don’t keep it to yourself! It’s natural to feel imposter syndrome and not want anyone to know you’ve started freelance blog writing, but resist this feeling.
Instead, share on…
- Social media
- Send an email to anyone who works online
- Reach out to past clients (if you’ve done other freelance work in the past)
You will naturally find more blog writing jobs online this way. Maybe everyone you know isn’t in the blogging world, but they’ll think of you when they see someone else looking for a freelancer to hire.
Before you start shouting from the rooftop about your newfound freelance job, make sure you have your ducks in line. By that I mean, that you've done the background work to accept that first client when they come knocking. While it's not necessary you create a website or landing page to showcase your skills,
- I recommend you at least put together a portfolio to show off your writing skills.
- On top of that, I recommend using Fiverr Workspace to manage clients and send invoices.
- Wise is the best and cheapest way I've found to send/receive money from different currencies if any of your clients are international.
My Experience As A Freelance Writer
Freelance writing was the job that launched my digital nomad lifestyle in 2017.
And, I HATED it.
I hung up my freelance writing career after less than 6 months. Or, so I thought.
Then in 2018, I launched my blog Writing From Nowhere and did it the right way this time. I learned SEO, how to write articles that people like to read and I understood my worth.
And by my “worth,” I mean that I stopped taking every single offer that came my way. Instead of saying yes to every single offer because I felt lucky that anyone wanted to hire me, I started only taking jobs that I knew I could knock out of the park.
I made connections with other writers which ultimately led to better jobs coming my way. Writing blogs has brought me so many wonderful opportunities, relationships and, of course, income.
It’s been a wonderful journey, and I’m grateful every single day that I didn’t quit in 2017. I owe my location independence and income to my determination to keep blogging.
Are you convinced that freelance writing for blogs could be for you?
Huzzah! Welcome to the club!
My biggest piece of advice? Start developing your blogging skills right away. It will take time and it’s something you can learn by doing.
Freelance blog writing is a journey. If you want to make this happen for yourself, commit to the journey. Find out which freelancing writing jobs are right for you and know that every assignment you take is an opportunity to learn SOMETHING.
I’ll see you out there.