My goal is helping you find business opportunities using existing skills.
It’s why the tagline is “Business Beyond Blogging”.
I believe anyone with skills in blogging can turn that into a career given time, resources, and hard work.
One of these opportunities is turning your blogging into freelance writing.
Or, freelance blogging if that’s what you prefer.
How I Found Myself Blogging, Then Becoming a Freelance Writer
I relaunched Murlu.com in 2018.
It dates to about 2010-ish if I’m remembering correctly.
Before that, I had worked on developing websites, graphic design, and video production. These skills naturally lead me to explore blogging to document my journey. Things took off, Murlu.com became somewhat successful, but life got in the way.
More importantly: Work got in the way.
I found myself landing freelance blogging clients.
The pay wasn’t crazy, but it gave just enough motivation to push it. A year later and I was making enough income to leave my 9-to-5. Since then, I’ve worked with many clients writing articles, eBooks, producing video, and more – a full-stack content creator (if you will).
It’s not always fun.
There were issues with feeling confined and going stir crazy. Issues with my personal life and relationships. But, through it all, I kept writing and refining my skills.
Today, I know I can do better (that’s the drive with freelancing), but I’m happy with what I’m doing. I set my hours, do some work, explore personal projects, and spend time doing things I love.
I can’t say everything ahead will land you full-time freelance writing work.
I think those of you willing to take the plunge, put in the work, will at least earn a few extra bucks writing – enough to create some found time to further explore your love for content creation.
Turning a Blog into a Freelance Writing Opportunity: Follow This Guide
The parts break down like so:
- Build a platform and learn everything you can about content creation
- Create awesome connections with anyone and everyone like-minded
- Get active with prospecting clients and driving leads to your services
- Landing your first freelance writing gig and blowing their socks off
- Scaling the freelance blogging and content creation into something real
I’d also like to share a few tips and tricks that should help you command better rates. And, create a referral funnel so there’s always new clients in the pipeline.
Sound good? Let’s start.
Part 1: Build the Platform, Learn Everything
Your blog is your base of operations.
This is where you’ll:
- Share your expertise
- Drive traffic and engagement
- Test ideas and tools
I assume you know how to blog (otherwise why are you reading this?).
Think about the skills you’re likely taking for granted:
- Keyword research
- Setting up sites
- Creating media
- Sales & marketing
All these are services businesses want & need – they’re also services you’ll use to land clients.
Don’t think of your blogging as blogging… see it as running a business.
And, like any good online business you’ll need:
- A website
- A social presence
The site/blog is a given, but you’ll want to do a few tweaks. Mainly, including more call-to-actions pointing visitors to services pages.
- Swap ads for service graphics
- Ditch conclusion questions for contact CTAs
- Create content targeted at your ideal customer
All-the-while, you need to see every action going into the blog as a learning experience.
Find ways to test your skills with search engine optimization. Or, try using a neat online tool to improve your outreach and influence. These are things business owners want – the goal of their content, too!
If it helps: Take a few courses in online marketing, sales, and operations.
You need to shift your mindset from “blogger” to “business owner”.
Part 2: Creating Valuable Connections
Look… I’m an introvert.
I get anxious talking to people all the time.
It’s just something you’ve got to do if you want to turn blogging into a freelance business.
This means getting out of your comfort zone and:
- Sending cold emails to like-minded people in your niche
- Attending conferences and meetups to mingle with professionals
- Talking about your blogging with friends, family, neighbors, and anyone (really)
How can you begin building these freelance business connections?
- Content – Create content targeting business-types touching those interests, pain points, and emotional triggers getting them to inquire about your services. Then, giving them something valuable — creating an instant connection.
- Referrals – The longer you’re in online business and tech, the more you’ll meet neat people. Be open to chatting with randoms. This creates a constant learning environment while building a powerful business network when you need advice, services, and resources.
- Guest Posting – Getting your work out there and on the radar of people that matter. A great guest post – with great traffic and conversions – can earn them money. You can bet they’ll remember you. Plus, it gives you a perfect way to create a rapport (having stuff in common).
- Facebook Groups – Check into any freelance writing groups on Facebook to connect with like-minded writers offering tips and suggestions.
- Reddit – Go to their r/forhire where you’ll find lots of people posting services and jobs. This is really great to gauge how you stack against other freelance bloggers and writers. You could follow r/freelancwriting, too.
…and LinkedIn, duh.
You shouldn’t be opposed to reconnecting with prior bosses, either, especially if they’re small business owners. You may have left on bad terms, but business is business. You’ve matured and now’s the time to truly connect and understand the industry and challenges.
Don’t see your fellow bloggers as competition.
Sure, they’re in the same space but everyone’s working for the same goal. There are billions of dollars pumped into the freelance writing industry – more than enough to go around.
Part 3: Creating Lead Funnels
A lead funnel is as it sounds – or sales funnel if you’re up for more jargon.
You’re driving people further in until the ones left are qualified leads (potential customers).
Use this to visual it:
You know how to do this because you’re blogging.
- Create targeted content
- Send people to a services page
- Convert interested parties
Hopefully, they send you a few emails or phone calls.
This goes the same with your social media marketing efforts:
- Create your social networking accounts
- Share your best content and engage followers
- Drop-in service promotions or run a campaign
What I really want to focus on this section is where you can place our efforts – mainly: Cold emails.
Where do I recommend as a sales strategy to find leads and client prospects?
- Problogger Job Board
- Blogs paying guest bloggers
And most importantly… emailing local businesses.
Big players probably won’t bother with small towns and cities. This gives you an awesome opportunity to land a few gigs locally because the market’s neglected. It’s a bit of a hard sell when SBO’s aren’t used to these available services – but you’ll land a few bites.
Source them via:
- Google Maps
- Yellow Pages
… and anywhere they’re spending any amount of money.
Local ads aren’t cheap! If they can pay a full-page ad in the local paper or do a flyer campaign, then they have enough money to pay for your freelance writing services.
Part 4: Landing Your First Freelance Writing Client
This one’s a toughie…
…it’s the biggest question most new freelance writers have.
Honestly, I can’t give you anything definitive because it depends on your niche, skills, and motivation.
What I can do is offer a few suggestions (not already covered in the prior section):
- Ditch Content Mills – Yes, Upwork and Fiverr can earn you money, but the pay is shit and your blog posts are better off on your blog or used for guest posting for backlinks. You should be the one benefiting from organic search listings.
- Offer Extras – Everyone with any blogging experience can offer freelance writing services. Pitch something extra like media creation. Or, providing a little outreach. Again, this will help you build skills and understand a process eventually letting you charge for these efforts.
- Work with SEO Companies — Check into SEO companies providing white label services as they’ll pay you appropriately for writing work. You won’t get a byline but will get a steady stream of income.
What I will say is this – check with these individuals:
- Business-types of family, friends, and neighbors
- Old work contacts or extended connections on social
- Local SBO’s attending meetups and get-togethers
- Your connections built through blogging and outreach
Come out swinging and don’t devalue your skills.
You’re not a blogger, remember? Be that full-stack content developer.
You’ll eventually land a client between the job boards, connections, outreach, and meetups…
…and when you do, you better make sure you overdeliver.
Part 5: Scaling the Freelance Business
This is my favorite part.
Blogging already taught you tons of skills.
Making the switch to freelance writing refines them.
Earning money provides tools and resources to grow.
What would I do to scale and embrace this business beyond blogging?
- eBook Creation – Condense your knowledge into an eBook you’ll sell on Amazon or direct through your blog and social media.
- Video Marketing – Get good with producing video content using your content as a script since this is the direction the content industry is going.
- Print Design – Take those design skills and explore print marketing materials like designing business cards, flyers, and brochures for local businesses.
- SEO – Refine those SEO and business blogging skills you could apply to small business websites helping them gain rank and more sales.
- Affiliate Marketing – Explore niche websites and online campaigns promoting affiliated products and services to earn commissions with each sale.
Like I said: Your skills go waaaaay beyond blogging.
You could even team up with a Web developer offering a full suite of services. They could design the site while you’re filling in content and handling the SEO. Now you’re charging double!
Turning Blogging into a Writing Career: Does This Make Sense?
I hope this post provides clarity about turning your blogging hobby into freelance gigs. And, the eventual shift to a full-time career if that’s what you want.
It’s hard summarizing years into one post since sometimes you intersect with luck and opportunity.
If you take anything away from this (and maybe I’m repeating myself) it’s this:
- Value your skills as a blogger because they’re more than writing words
- Learn as much as you can while testing and pushing your business skills
- Get out of your comfort zone to network and create great connections
- Work your ass off developing a lead funnel, cold emailing, and landing clients
It’s way easier finding people willing to pay for online writing than just a few years ago. Businesses know the value of content marketing where before they were scratching their heads.
You still have a challenge… but you’ll get there. I know it.
Shoot me a message on the FB page if you ever need some tips or want to connect.