I often hear from new bloggers (and veterans) that the one thing they didn't expect about blogging is how much work it is.
Blogging can be immensely rewarding, but can easily take over your life.
Maybe you want to start a blog, but are afraid of the commitment. Maybe you've tried blogging and it's too much work for you. Or maybe you love writing, but aren't interested in managing a blog.
I am a contributing writer for IFB, and I recently became a contributor at Already Pretty. While my relationship with my own site is tempestuous at best, I love writing for others. Similar to running my own blog, being a contributor blogger means I'm creating original content for a variety of digital outlets and blogs.
Freelance contributors either pitch their ideas to editors or, occasionally, an editor will reach out to them with an idea. If you're lucky like I am, your editors will trust your content and let you run free. Interested in learning more about the perks of being a contributor blogger? Check them all out below…
You Go Into It Already Knowing Your Topic (And Target Audience)
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 about the blogging industry on my own site, because I can share them on IFB's blog. 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. Therefore, I know who to write for from the get go.
You Build A Sense of Community With Your Fellow Bloggers
Chances are if you are freelance writing for a blog, you're not the only contributor at a site. At IFB I can bounce ideas and get quotes or insight from Cora, Hilary, Julia, and Grechen. It's wonderful to have a group of people who share a similar vision, that you can also 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.
It's Another Way to Reach Out to Potential New Readers
The longer we blog, the easier it becomes to get “stuck” in a pattern: we interact with the same bloggers and communicate with the same readers. Regular content at another sites means you're interacting with a new online audience. You will meet and build relationships with other bloggers.
It Can Help You Pay A Bill or Two
Bloggers are always seeking new ways to diversify their income. 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!) Writing freelance is a great way to pay your internet bill each month, but it can be a difficult way to pay ALL of your bills.
It's An Excellent Way To Build Up Your Writing Portfolio
If you're interested in developing a career as a freelance writer, contributing to other sites can be a great way to beef up your portfolio. It's also an excellent way to write about other areas of interest, challenge yourself and grow as a writer.
It Keeps You Accountable…
I find it hard to maintain accountability, when it comes to writing for myself and my blog. But when I have an editor reviewing my articles, along with a deadline for a post to go up, I manage my time a lot more responsibly. Ninety-five percent of the time my contributor posts are ready to go, fully-edited and illustrated on time. If you're working on adhering to a writing schedule, try completing a few freelance assignments. It's an excellent exercise in hitting writing targets, when you're accountable to an editor and another site's post schedule.
…And Your Writing Standards High
I'll admit it: there are a few posts on my site that I'm not quite happy with. We all hate to think we haven't given 100% to all of our posts, but it occasionally happens. As a contributing blogger, I always give my best ideas and conversations to the sites I work with. I need to meet the level of quality expected by my colleagues and editors.
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? Let us know in the comments below.
Edited: Additional Resources, Ideas, and Suggestions
I'll start with this disclosure: I am not a freelance writer by trade (but I'm slowly learning and working my way there). Over the years, I submitted many guests posts to IFB. These were unpaid and solely because I had something to share with the community. I built a relationship with IFB's editors (and founder Jennine Tamm), and the community responded well to my posts. Likewise with Already Pretty, I had a long relationship with founder Sally McGraw as a reader. I would occasionally email her or we would link to each other's posts in link roundups. I have also guest blogged for Heels.com and ShopManhattanite.com. All of my contributor opportunities came from building genuine relationships with other bloggers.
That being said, there are other ways to jump into contributing. Sites like Jezebel, Galore and Bustle often have posts when they're seeking contributors. Problogger has a forum where they 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. Your best bet is always to network genuinely, figure out what publications where your voice may be a good fit, build a strong writing portfolio, and pitch!
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on March 18th, 2013 and was updated on September 4th, 2017.