Starting as a freelance blogger isn’t always a walk in the park. While there are stories of beginner writers accidentally stumbling into a big-time project within a week of deciding to jump onto the writing career bandwagon, that’s not often the case for the rest of us.
Turning your passion into a paycheck is 100% doable. But if you want to write for money, it isn’t going to be as straightforward as merely being a good writer.
There’s a lot more that goes into this.
Now, that isn’t to say beginner writers without professional experience can’t compete in the industry. You can if you have the right strategy. With that said, I’m going to tell you how to make your first $1,000 as a freelance blogger.
How to Make Your First $1,000 as a Freelance Blogger When You Have No Experience
1. Pick a Freelance Writing Niche
A freelance writing niche is a market you want to specialize in. It’s something that you’re knowledgeable about and interested in. It’s a subject that you would actually enjoy writing about.
Why Pick a Writing Niche?
This is a question many new freelance bloggers ask. “Isn’t it more of an advantage for me if I can write about various topics rather than only focusing on one?”
It’s totally understandable.
Here’s the thing, though. While being a generalist may seem like an advantage at the start, it’s not the path to take if you want to land high-paying clients.
Many clients prefer to hire writers who specialize in the industry that their business belongs to. Why? Because they want high-quality content that only writers who have a clear understanding of their business specifics can provide.
They want writers who know exactly what they’re writing about.
For instance, if your business is selling computer hardware and you want to hire a freelance blogger to create relevant content and drive more traffic to your website, who would you rather ask help from:
a.) A freelance blogger who can write about anything under the sun?
b.) A freelance blogger who specializes in writing about computer hardware?
If you want your blog to contain articles that are filled with concrete information about the products that you’re offering, then chances are you’ll pick the freelance blogger who knows what your product is all about. Thus, you’ll go with option B.
A generalist might be able to market their services to a variety of industries, but a specialist has more authority when it comes to their area of expertise. This gives them a huge advantage in landing clients belonging to their field. And since they’re considered experts, they can charge more for their services.
How to Pick a Profitable Freelance Writing Niche
We choose a writing niche for three reasons:
- To make sure you’re writing about something that you actually like writing about, making the job more fun to do.
- Additionally, to be able to efficiently and easily sell your services since you already have a clear target market.
- To ensure that you’re able to generate the income that you want from working as a writer.
Once you pick a niche, you’re going to spend a lot of time and some resources to become the best at it. You don’t want to waste all your effort into becoming an authority in the field for nothing. You have to get something out of it, and that’s receiving just compensation.
So here comes the next important factor you have to consider before deciding on a writing niche: the niche’s potential for profit.
I recommend listing down the possible niches you could get yourself fully absorbed into and do market research.
Getting back to our previous “writer specializing in computer hardware” example, here are some of the steps you can do to find out if that niche can generate enough profit for you to live off comfortably as a freelance blogger.
See if Blogging is Something They Care About
Our friend, Google, can help us with this. Search for “computer hardware” or “computer hardware stores” or whatever you want your niche to be on Google and then check the results.
If a majority of those websites have blogs, then blogging is most likely a huge part of that industry. If you don’t see a lot of blogs, then that’s probably not a good place to start. I’m not saying it’s not worth a try, but chances are they wouldn’t be investing resources on it.
See if Blogging is Something They’re Willing to Invest In
There are business owners who still don’t know the importance of blogging, or maybe they just don’t see its advantages yet. If that’s the case, then it can be difficult to convince them to allocate some of their resources for your services.
So here’s the next step in finding a profitable niche: checking if blogging is a part of their marketing plan and if it’s something that they’re willing to invest in.
You have to find a business that can pay for your services and is willing to invest in you. This is not something you can see while navigating their website. You have to be able to communicate with them to find out.
This is where my second tip comes in.
2. Skip Job Boards and Bidding Sites and Go Straight for Cold Emailing
Job boards and bidding sites are okay if you need a little extra cash, want to gain experience, want to create sample articles you can show your prospects, and want some client testimonials to support your resume. However, they’re not exactly a good source of sustainable income or a long-term way to find freelance writing jobs.
Why? Because with the tough competition in these types of platforms, writers, oftentimes, will have to price their work incredibly low to stand a chance of getting picked.
We want to get paid good money for the quality work we provide, and job boards and bidding sites often don’t give freelance bloggers that option.
This is the reason why I highly recommend cold emailing.
What is Cold Emailing?
Cold emailing is like cold calling but in email form. So, you’re contacting people you don’t know and who don’t know you to offer your writing services.
Why You Should Send Cold Emails
Psst! You can get the exact templates I use to land clients over at Gumroad.
I’ve gotten many long-term, quality clients through cold emailing, so I can tell you straight up: it works! It worked for me and it can surely work for you too.
Sales is a large part of any business – even if you’re a writer. You have to know how to sell your services to people who may or may not know how your expertise can benefit them. You can be the best writer in the world, but if you don’t know how to market yourself, you still won’t be able to land clients and receive the profit that you deserve. Cold emailing is an effective strategy in marketing your services to companies.
Now, there isn’t any one-size-fits-all method when it comes to cold emailing. So it’ll take a bit of experimentation and some trial and error, at least at the beginning. (On that note, check out my blog on cold emailing mistakes to avoid.)
To get you started, I listed down some of the basic things you should keep in mind.
How to Send Cold Emails
While having a good format for your cold email is important, you should also remember to make the necessary revisions every time you send it. As much as possible, make it sound like the email is personally crafted for the individual whom you’re sending the email to.
Address it Right
It starts with your opening greeting. If you’re not sure who you’re addressing the email to, then don’t add it to your email. Settle with a simple “Good morning” and avoid using something like “Dear Ma’am/Sir”, or “To whom it may concern.”
Make it Short and to the Point
A lot of people don’t have much time to spare for reading very long essays containing information about your background and the services that you offer. If you want them to read further down, then make your email short and direct.
More importantly, stress what’s in it for them. These people won’t look at your credentials and technical skills first. They would want to know what you can do for them.
Here’s an example.
Instead of telling them that you can write beautiful and informative articles for their blog, let them know what your beautiful and informative articles can do for them. For instance, will it drive more traffic to their site? Will it reduce their bounce rate?
Have your email answer this question: What’s in it for them?
Add a Call-to-Action
When you’re sending a cold email, always include a call-to-action to guide your prospect to the next step.
Something like, “Would you have availability this week for a quick chat?” would be a good place to start.
The goal of your cold email is to get an appointment with the company’s person-in-charge. This way, you can explain your services better, know what they need, and find out if they can make use of and pay for your services.
Double (and Triple) Check Grammar and Spelling
Writers, this is very important! If you’re marketing your writing services, then you’ll have to sound competent in your emails. Thus, you have to get the basics right. So, don’t forget to double and triple check your grammar and spelling before hitting that send button.
Not everyone is going to reply right away to your pitch. Sometimes it takes two or three emails before you receive a response. And just so you can prepare yourself, not everyone is going to send an email back, and that’s normal.
Still, it pays to follow up a few more times. I recommend sending a follow-up email two or three times more before raising the white flag.
3. Use LinkedIn to Connect With Leads and Also Build Your Own Network
LinkedIn might not have as much going on as, say, other social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, but let me tell you: It’s a very useful tool for writers!
Why You Should Use LinkedIn?
To those who haven’t opened a LinkedIn account yet, you’re missing out on opportunities to market yourself. This is what LinkedIn is: a place for professionals to market their services. It’s the go-to place for building your professional network, generating leads, and for getting a lot of B2B transactions.
As a freelance blogger aiming to write for businesses, LinkedIn is one of the tools you should utilize on a regular basis.
(Psst! I have a free guide on using LinkedIn to land high-paying clients. Get it here.)
How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Account
Fill Out Your Profile
Your profile is your LinkedIn landing page. It’s where you’ll convince your prospective clients that you are worth investing in.
Start with a professional photo. Fill out all the fields and sprinkle relevant keywords all over so people can find you easier. Many use LinkedIn as a search engine, so SEO matters a lot! It’s always good to do your research and learn about SEO for beginners.
(Check out my blog on keyword research tips for more information.)
If you’re not sure how to go about it, you can search for your job title on LinkedIn and check out the top search results. See what keywords they use and how they optimized their pages for reference.
Highlight Your Skills and Achievements
Let people know about what you do and what you’re capable of doing. List your achievements, job experience, and your skills.
Network, Network, Network
Add contacts and accept invitations. LinkedIn is a professional social network, so use it to broaden your professional network.
Post updates regularly. And just as a reminder, LinkedIn isn’t Facebook or Twitter. It’s primarily about work, so avoid posting content that’s not related to your professional life.
As long as you take the time and the effort to build yourself, develop your expertise, and market your services properly, you’ll be able to earn an amazing income from your writing. Work hard, work smart, and never stop learning.