I often hear from new bloggers (or veterans) that the one thing they didn't expect about blogging is “how much work it is!” It's so true– blogging can be immensely rewarding, but can easily take over your whole life if you let it.
Maybe you want to start a blog, but are afraid of the commitment…
Maybe you've tried blogging and it is too much work for you...
Maybe love writing, but aren't interested in “managing” a blog…
Maybe you're interested in broadening the scope of your writing…
Or maybe you're burnt out running your own site.
I've been a contributor to IFB for several years now, and I recently became a contributor at Already Pretty. While my relationship with my own site is tempestuous at best, contributing to other sites? I absolutely love it.
Similar to running my own site, being a contributor means I'm creating original content for each site. Sometimes you may get an idea from your editor to explore, or you may pitch your own ideas. If you're lucky like I am, your editors will trust your content and let you run free.
The Perks of Being a Contributor…
- Focus: The great thing about contributing to other sites: the content and subject-matter is already laid out for you. I don't have to share my thoughts on blogging on my own site, because I can share them with IFB. I can write lengthy posts on body image and personal growth at Already Pretty. I know the readers coming to those sites are looking for that information, so my target audience is right in place.
- Community: Chances are, you're not the only contributor at a site. Here at IFB, I can bounce ideas and get quotes or insight from Jennine, Cora, Hilary, Julia, and Grechen. It's wonderful to have a group of people who share a similar vision that you can commiserate with when you receive a nasty comment or vent to when the site crashes. It's a built-in support network, and keeps blogging from being quite the solo sport.
- Outreach: The longer we blog, the easier it becomes to get “stuck” in a pattern: we interact with the same bloggers, we communicate with the same readers. Regular content at another sites means you're interacting with a new online audience: you'll meet and build relationships with other bloggers, you'll have new fans, and maybe a few readers who challenge you.
- Income: Bloggers are always seeking ways to diversify their income, and contributing (or freelance writing) can be an additional way to supplement your income. That being said: not all contributing positions are paid, and the rates can vary wildly (I've seen from $8 to $100 per post!). It's a great way to pay your internet bill each month, but it can be a difficult way to pay ALL of your bills.
- Diversification: If you're interested in pursuing freelance work more, contributing to other sites can be a great way to beef up your portfolio site, write about other areas of interest, and grow yourself as a writer.
- Accountability: I find it hard to maintain accountability to myself. But when I have an editor reviewing my articles and a deadline for posts to go up, I manage my time a lot more responsibly. 95% of the time my posts are ready to go, on time, fully-edited, and illustrated. Why I can't make that commitment to myself is probably another post.
- Quality Assurance: I'll admit, there are a few posts on my site that I'm ashamed of. In the rush of time, or relationships, have thrown together a fluff piece. We all hate to think we haven't given 100% to all of our posts, but it occasionally happens. As a contributor though, I'm always giving my best ideas and conversations to the sites I'm a contributor at. I need to meet the level of quality that my colleagues have and that the site presents.
For those who are looking for a different experience in blogging, or have found their own blogs not quite what they anticipated, then stepping on as a contributor for another site may be a great way to find an alternative path that's just as rewarding and fulfilling.
Are any of you contributors (or freelance writers)? Have any experiences or stories you want to share?
Additional Resources, Ideas, and Suggestions:
(Edited:) Wow! You all have had great questions for me and IFB on Twitter about how to become a contributor and find more freelance work. I'll start with this disclosure: I am not a freelance writer by trade (but I'm slowly learning and working my way there!), and at this time IFB is not seeking contributors.
Over the years, I submitted many guests posts to Jennine for IFB. These were unpaid, and solely because I had something to share with the community. I built a relationship with her, and the community responded well to my posts. Likewise, with Already Pretty, I had a long relationship with Sally first as a reader; then I'd email her, or we'd link to one anothers posts in link roundups. I've blogged for Heels.com, ShopManhattanite.com, and all of my opportunities have come from building genuine relationships with other bloggers.
That being said, there are other ways to jump into contributing! Sites like Jezebel and XOJane often have posts when they're seeking contributors (see post here for example). Problogger has a forum where he posts blogging and writing opportunities. Each website or blog is going to have it's own editorial guidelines and policies for how they seek writers– so naturally, your best bet is to network genuinely, figure out what publications your voice is great for, build a strong writing portfolio, and pitch pitch pitch!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]