Miranda Marquit knows how to earn a living from writing online; after all, she does it herself. She has written about personal finance and investing for a variety of websites and publications, including the U.S. News Money section. Now, in her new e-book, "Confessions of a Professional Blogger," she explains how you can replicate some of her success. Here are seven of her strategies:
1. Consider writing for other people's and companies' blogs, not just your own.
After Marquit, who lives in Logan, Utah, graduated with a journalism degree in the mid-2000s, she started writing for corporate blogs to help them market themselves. That is what introduced Marquit to blogging, and she found that she liked it. Today, almost a decade later, blogging is what allows her to be the primary breadwinner for her family. "Most of my blogging income comes from writing for others, although my blogs do make a small amount of money," she says.
Companies often pay directly for blog posts. "You are more likely to get paid by a company than you are by a major news outlet," she explains.
[See: 11 Money Tips for Women.]
2. Leverage your expertise.
In addition to earning money directly from blogging, Marquit points out that many people also use blogging as a way to drum up business for their other ventures. "Blogging can be a good way to get yourself out there and to establish yourself as an expert ... I know many bloggers who are successful at offering courses, consulting and products."
3. Create different types of content.
Marquit says about 80 percent of her income comes from writing blog content for other blogs and corporate clients, and the rest comes from her books, websites, affiliate earnings, ghostwriting, writing for her local newspaper and writing press releases or other types of Web content.
4. Find repeat customers.
Because Marquit now has a core group of clients that provide regular income, she doesn't have to hustle for new paying gigs quite as much as she used to. "About 70 percent of my blogging clients are regulars who have a standing order of blog posts each month. That provides a stable base of my income," she says, adding that the other 30 percent ebbs and flows with demand for her services.
5. Brush up your skills.
Marquit recommends that aspiring writers take the time to write and develop their basic composition skills to hone their craft. "You don't need a degree in writing, English or journalism, but it doesn't hurt to take a writing course to help you brush on the basics. Look for opportunities to write. And, of course, start your own blog so that you can showcase your writing," she says.
6. Develop a niche.
When you develop a specialty, Marquit says, it can allow you to charge more money for your blogging services. On the other hand, she points out, if you remain a generalist, you might have a wider range of gigs to choose from, but the work might be lower-paying. "It can take longer to build up a reputation in a niche, but it can pay off in the long run, whereas writing about general topics can mean steady work, although it might be low-paying, especially at first," she says.
7. Expect a range of payments. [See: How to Manage Your Money in Your 20s.]
Clients pay anywhere from $10 to $500 for blog posts, Marquit says. "For me, getting the higher-paying gigs has been more about networking and getting to know others. It's also helped to build up a reputation," she explains. She adds that attending conferences and getting to know clients, especially larger corporate ones, has helped her raise her rates. Blogging, she says, can also be a great side business for those who already have full-time jobs. "Even with low-paying gigs, it's possible to earn a few hundred extra dollars a month in your spare time," she says.
That's not bad for something you can do in your pajamas.
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