Why Every Freelance Writer Should Have a Blog
In my opinion, one of the best things that you can do for yourself if you are an aspiring freelance writer is to start your own blog. It doesn’t matter what you write about or whether you are based in one place or location independent, the bottom line is that having a blog will give you many advantages in the freelance writing game.
I understand that it can be hard to stay motivated to keep a blog going when you aren’t getting paid for it, especially when you have a lot of paid writing work on as well. Sometimes when I finish writing a huge project for a client, the last thing I want to do is write something for my travel blog as well. However, the blog should be seen as part of your job as a freelance writer as the benefits that it will bring are completely worth the effort.
It Shows Potential Clients Your Writing Talents
These days, whenever I am applying for a new travel writing job I always include a link to Global Goose in my application. Why send in a handful of writing samples, when I could send my potential client to a site with hundreds of different articles that I have written about various topics? They can read through at their leisure and get a much better picture of my writing skills and versatility.
As a freelance writer, put your heart and soul and your best efforts into your blog and it will be the perfect calling card for you whenever you are making a first impression on a new client.
It Establishes You As An Expert in You Niche
Another reason to have a blog is that it creates a certain amount of credibility when you claim to have knowledge and passion for a particular niche. Let’s say that two writers are applying for a position writing a column about hiking for an outdoor life magazine. They have the same education and qualifications, but one of the writers has had a blog for the past two years where they have shared photos and stories of their hiking trips throughout the region. Who do you think is more likely to get the job?
When I apply for travel writing assignments, Global Goose is my way of showing the client that I have actually been to these places and had first-hand experiences. If your blog shows the extent of your knowledge and love for whatever your passion is, it will help you gain the upper hand when applying for jobs related to that passion. (And your blog should be about your passion, because otherwise what is the point?)
It Lets You Hone Your Skills
I truly believe that writing is a little bit about inspiration and raw talent, but it’s also about practice, practice and more practice. I think that you can train your “writing muscles” in the same way that an athlete trains their muscles, to the point where you can tap out three brilliant articles or blog posts with ease in the same time that it used to take you to write one.
Having your own blog is like the prize fighter having their own gym where they train in between fights. With a regular blogging schedule, you can keep your writing muscles in great shape so that they will perform when you need them to.
It Helps to Build Connections
Part of having a blog is the web of social media interaction which comes with it and this can be incredibly helpful for finding work as a freelance writer. I’ve had a few jobs initiated by clients who found my blog through social media and contacted me out of the blue. You can also use tools such as Twitter and Facebook to put yourself out there and network so that companies know you exist and your name springs to mind when they need a freelancer.
Another important part of building connections is what you can learn from the people you interact with via your blog. By reading tweets, comments and other blogs from your niche you will pick up many valuable tips. Also, you can ask other bloggers for tips and advice and you are likely to find someone eager to help you out.
It Lets You Speak Your Mind
When you are a pen for hire, it can be somewhat frustrating when you have to bite your tongue and go along with what the client wants even if you disagree. However, it’s necessary to conform to their requests because at the end of the day they are what pays the bills.
Having your own blog gives you a mouthpiece where you can express opinions and ideas that you couldn’t in your paid work. There are no rules when it comes to blogging, so you can feel free to write something personal, funny, questioning, philosophical, experimental or even controversial. When you put yourself out there in a genuine way on your blog, it just might get read by a client who agrees with you and wants to work with you for your original thoughts. If you don’t put your own ideas out there, you’ll never know who else finds value in them.
It Can Make You Some Extra Cash
If you are writing good quality content and people are interested in what you have to say, there is the potential for your blog to generate a significant amount of traffic. When you get to this point, you might have the opportunity to earn money from your blog as well. You could find yourself getting paid to write sponsored posts, adding advertisements or even receiving free stuff due to the popularity of your blog. This can be a great sideline to your freelance writing career as it allows you to focus on your own creative vision even more.
Sure, blogging is a lot of work but it is plenty of fun too. There is a certain thrill to pushing that “Publish” button and sharing your thoughts with the world and when you get a meaningful comment on a post, it can make your day. Even if you are not making a living as a writer, blogging can be a worthwhile thing to do. If you are a freelancer the benefits that it will bring to your writing career are enormous, so why not get started?
Are you a writer with a blog? Do you think it has helped your career and in what way?
Great article Kelly, I absolutely agree with the bit about writing muscles, I used to write a lot and it would flow relitavly easily after initial effort but now that part of my brain is somewhat withered and would need some extensive physio to get it going again!
What a pleasure to read something well written, with no typos and no grammatical issues.
I’ve been a location independent technical and in-house writer for almost 7 years now (a Canadian living in Ecuador for the last 4 years). After several websites, including one about Cuenca, where we live), I’m toying with the idea of creating a blog, if only to write what I want to write about.
All I need to do is figure out how to package it all into a cohesive topic!
Thanks for the great advice! I’ve been playing around with my blog for a while now, not really taking it seriously. But your tips and reasons here make a lot of sense. A few of my new clients recently asked for samples, and I just sent them my blog address. I received notice of hire in a few minutes. Whether or not it was my content that was the deal breaker I can’t say for sure, but that’s definitely a plus. You also bring out a lot of other great points. I’ll have to come back this and read this one more often.
Great article – I love how you look at so many different positive aspects of blogging and I hadn’t thought of many of them (like speaking your mind and making connections). I’m a travel blogger, but I’ve been thinking of also doing a more general writing blog for my freelance career. Thanks for the inspiration!
Good post Kelly! I know nothing of freelancing but have started my blog with the idea of keeping all options open. It’s only been a few months but already I’ve seen the benefits. Besides expressing your opinions, practicing your skills etc, it also shows a work ethic – because as you say it can sometimes feel like hard work maintaining a blog. People recognize that.
I started my blog to give me a reason to write something on a regular basis before I started writing in a local paper. it was a great way to start and experiment with a new style of writing.
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