“Typically, business bloggers are paid an hourly rate, a rate per post, or a monthly fee for a set amount of work,” writes Susan Gunelius in 30-Minute Social Media Marketing. “For example, beginner bloggers might charge as little as $5 per post, while a highly experienced blogger might charge $50 or more per post.”
Professional business bloggers don’t just earn more money per post or per hour, they protect their work and reputation with written guidelines or expectations. These blogging tips are inspired by 30-Minute Social Media Marketing: Step-by-Step Techniques to Spread the Word About Your Business – a fantastic resource for blogging and beyond!
10 Blogging Guidelines to Set Before Getting Paid to Blog
Fellow scribes, I know how exciting it is to get paid to write. But, don’t accept a blogging or web writing job without setting your expectations. Be a professional blogger and writer: know what you’re getting into and what’s expected of you.
Before you take any type of writing job, get a written contract. It doesn’t have to be signed — an email, text message, or even a series of Tweets will do! Just make sure you set and keep referring to these blogging guidelines before you start writing blog posts…
1. Frequency of blog posts. Are you getting paid to blog once a day? Once a month? On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays? Make sure the frequency of your blog posts is specifically stated.
2. Length of blog posts. My “Quips and Tips” blog posts should be 400-600 words long, but they’re often longer. Since I’m blogging for myself, it’s okay to run longer – but if you’re getting paid to blog, don’t t take liberties. Agree on a word count for your posts, and stick to it.
3. “Idea generator” for blog posts. Will your client give you topics to write about, or do you need to find your own ideas for blog posts? Are you promoting specific products and services, or are you getting paid to blog about random topics? Will reader comments or questions help you come up with blog post ideas?
4. Source of images and videos. Be careful with this blogging guideline; it can be extremely time-consuming to find images and videos to upload with your blog posts. But, blog posts are often accompanied by a graphic of some sort. How creative do your images and videos have to be? If it’s your job to provide them, make sure you adhere to digital image copyright laws.
5. Comment moderation. If you’re getting paid to write blog posts, are you also getting paid to moderate and respond to comments? If your job includes comment moderation, how often do you approve and respond to comments?
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6. Author attribution and links. Some professional business bloggers receive a byline on their posts, while others write anonymously (ghostwriting). Some clients pay lower rates, and offer a byline and link to the blogger’s site. How you swing it is up to you – but make sure you get it in writing before you start blogging.
7. Blog promotion, marketing, traffic. It’s probably safe to assume that search engine optimization is part of getting paid to blog – but the point of these blogging guidelines is never to assume anything! As the professional blogger, is it your job to promote your blog posts and drive traffic to the site? If so, how? Be clear and specific.
8. Tone and voice. Traditionally, bloggers write in a casual, informal tone and voice (indeed, that’s the backbone of blogging!). But, some businesses may require a more formal, professional voice for their blog posts. If you’re getting paid to blog, make sure you understand your client’s needs.
9. Links, tags, categories. Another safe assumption for professional bloggers is that they’re responsible for the links, tags, and categories in their posts. However, professionals don’t assume anything – which means that the blogging guidelines should outline who is responsible for the links, tags, and categories.
10. Miscellaneous blogging guidelines. Do you upload and publish blog posts, or do you just send them to your client? Do you use the blog’s plugins or special features? For example, a popular WordPress plugin is the All in One SEO Pack. As a paid blogger, are you expected to use this plugin? If the plugin needs to be updated, will you update it? These may seem like trivial blogging concerns – but these are the details that can make or break your career as a professional business blogger.
Before you get paid to blog, you may be asked to write a sample blog post for your potential client….
“Experienced bloggers can write content for a wide variety of subjects with search engine optimization in mind,” writes Gunelius in 30-Minute Social Media Marketing. “Don’t be afraid to ask a potential blogger to write a sample post for you after you have described what you’re looking for, so you can determine if the writer can create the kind of content you want.”