Blogging Jobs: How to Convince Editors to Hire You to Write

Blogging jobs: how to get hired
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In a Facebook group for writers recently, a writer asked, “How do you become a paid regular contributor to a blog? Do you just keep pitching stories? Or somehow finagle a recurring column?”

My blog management company runs a number of blogs, so we’re constantly hiring regular contributors. But we never advertise these openings. Why? Because we pull from writers we already work with, contributors who wrote a great first post for us, then another great post, then another.

When we hire a regular contributor, we want to know we can count on that writer to submit high-quality content on a regular basis. We might take risks when assigning just one post to a writer we’ve never worked with before, but to bring on a regular contributor, especially one we’re planning to pay, we have to be absolutely certain the writer will pan out.

So how do you impress an editor to the point that they want to hire you for a recurring blogging job? Here’s what we look for:

1. High-quality writing

This sound obvious, but it’s surprisingly difficult to find awesome writers. With so many freelance writers looking for blogging work, you’d think editors would be up to our eyebrows in quality contenders. But the truth, every editor I know is on the hunt for people who write well.

If you’re up for a blogging job though, you don’t just have to write well — you have to blog well. I’ve hired writers with excellent reputations and experience… only to find out they don’t know how to blog.

What’s the difference? Blogging requires a certain style, a conversational voice that’s fun and interesting to read. And while we all hate to admit there’s a formula for good writing — because the best writers can deviate from it and still hit the nail on the head — most blog posts do follow certain guidelines. They include an engaging introduction that pulls the reader in, they talk to the reader in the “you” voice, and they’re broken down into sections or bullets that are easy to read and digest online.

If you’re able to deliver well-written blog posts consistently, editors will clamor to hire you!

2. Meet deadlines… every time

For an editor to rely on a writer on a regular basis, she has to be absolutely certain that person will meet deadlines. When writers don’t file posts when they say they will, we find ourselves scrambling for content to fill that spot, and that makes our job stressful.

Guess what editors don’t like? Stress. Guess what we do like? Writers who make our job easier.

This deadline aspect is so important that I’ve declined to work with writers simply because they missed their first deadline. Sure, emergencies happen and things come up, but if you’re working with an editor for the first time, get your work done ahead of your deadline, so you’re not trying to finish it under the wire.

As a bonus, if you complete a piece and file early, that will most certainly put you on that editor’s list of writers he wants to work with again.

3. Turn in your posts ready to publish

Take time to do little things that make the editor’s job easier. For example, look to see how the blog is formatted. Does it use H2s for subheads? Use those to format your post. Does each story include links back to other posts on that blog? Find relevant places to add those links. Is each author bio just two sentences long? Shorten your four-sentence bio before you file, so the editor doesn’t have to ask you to do it later.

Go out of your way to adhere to those little details, because it means less work for the editor. You might not know all the rules the first time you write for a blog, but if you carefully watch all changes the editor makes, you’ll be able to make those same tweaks next time before you file the post. Believe me, your editor will notice!

On several of the blogs my team manages, for example, posts need a two-sentence excerpt that shows on the homepage. First-time contributors don’t typically add this to the top of their posts, but sometimes, when we ask a contributor to write for us again… that writer adds the excerpt without us asking for it. That’s always a sign of a mutually beneficial relationship!

Look for ways to self-edit and deliver the post so it’s completely ready for publishing, and you’ll make your editor very happy.

4. Be open to edits, and note the editor’s preferences

Writing a blog post is only half the job; you also have to be ready to make edits per the editor’s request. Contributors who are easy to work with are open to ideas for making their posts better and don’t take edits personally.

While I don’t expect writers to know my preferences the first time they write for us, I do watch closely to see whether they try to incorporate my changes on subsequent posts before they file. For example, if I use track changes to add subheads to a writer’s post, I watch the next post he files to see if he added them himself. If I ask a writer to trim a post to 500 words, I hope she’ll know to do that with the next post, without me pointing it out.

In other words, I like to work with bloggers who learn quickly and are smart and thoughtful enough to incorporate feedback. This not only shows your ability, it also demonstrates that you respect my time as an editor.

Time to ask for a regular blogging gig?

Once you’ve proven just how great of a writer you are and how easy you are to work with, don’t be afraid to ask whether any regular contributor slots are available. But make sure you’ve strutted your stuff first!

Sometimes I get requests from writers who want to contribute to our blogs on a regular basis — and get paid — before they’ve even written one post. I always expect them to write for us at least three or four times before committing… and 90 percent of the time, that writer does not turn out to be the type of contributor we’re willing to invest in. This post-by-post trial period saves me from spending money on a writer who doesn’t turn in the quality we need, and it also helps me spend less time editing blog posts that aren’t up to par.

Once you’ve proven yourself, let the editor know you’d love to contribute on a more regular basis. Some blogs want regular writers to contribute once a month, while others might look for posts from regulars twice a month or even once or twice a week. This varies according to the blog, so don’t be disappointed if a once-a-month column is all the editor can offer you.

If you’ve written for the editor several times and they still don’t bite when you ask for a regular gig, it’s probably due to one of these factors:

  • Your writing isn’t good enough. Keep practicing!
  • The editor doesn’t have space for another regular contributor.
  • The editor doesn’t have the budget to pay you regularly.

Even if you don’t score a regular blogging job, it isn’t a waste of time to ask. Budgets and blogging teams are always in flux, and if the editor truly likes your work, he’ll keep you in mind the next time an opening comes up.

Good editors have high standards. But if you check all of these boxes, you’ll put yourself in the position to land a blogging gig — or two or three! — as a regular contributor.

Have any questions you’re dying to ask a blog editor? Go for it in the comments!

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Alexis Grant is founder of The Write Life. A digital strategist and entrepreneur, she blogs about alternative careers. Alexis also runs a content marketing company that specializes in managing high-volume blogs.... .

alexisgrant.com | @alexisgrant

Alexis Grant
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Comments

  1. Alexis,

    Thank you for the excellent tips. I hadn’t previously considered blogging for hire, but now that you’ve brought it to mind, I can see how viable it could be.

    I also maintain two blogs and partner for another, so the tips you shared are helpful to me both as a potential contributor and a potential editor.

    Best wishes,

    Carrie

  2. I’ve found that not jumping into a recurring work agreement is good for both the editor and the writer. If it’s my first time writing for a publication, I get to learn a lot of things: how long it takes for me to research and write in the style of the pub; what it’s like to work with the editor; how long it takes to get paid. The first assignment is a great test for both sides, and you can take it piece by piece from there.

    • True — Good point, Lisa! While writers often want publications to commit from the get-go, it does work out for both sides to have a trial period.

  3. I am really glad that this email popped up in my inbox today. Perfect timing. As a fairly new freelance writer, I have been exploring the best avenues to not only find writing jobs, but quality writing jobs. Posts like this one are precisely what I’m looking for. Thanks for a great post!

  4. Thank you so much for the information you posted. I have been a published writer since the 6th grade, too long ago to comment on what year. I am gaining knowledge at a fast pace. I can write on almost anything just with a muse and I’m on my way.

    I have two books started one on its way to being published. A book of short stories about how different it is living in the north in comparison to the many encounters which have taken place in the south. The one which has met with so many reviews is the story about my addictive son who showed signs of addiction early on.

    I would like to start a BLOG about Codependents because addiction is so prevalent in our society.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Diane Farris-Howard

  5. Hi Alexis,

    The distinction you make between writing well and blogging well is an important one: When I started out as a content writer in 2011, I had already been a freelance writer for 13 years, so deep down I thought my new employers should be grateful for my presence. My digital marketing manager put in a pin in that particular bubble pretty swiftly! Having written almost exclusively in a formal, journalistic manner, I had to learn to balance the informative with the conversational in my posts. Four years later, I’m still learning.

    Thanks for some great tips.

    Aoife

    • Hi Aoife — Cool to hear someone else has experienced this, because I often get doubt thrown back at me when I suggest they’re two different styles! Writers (and often editors) assume if they can write in one style, that will automatically translate… but it takes some practice.

  6. Thank you for writing this post! I found it very insightful and helpful. I’ve been blogging for a year now to try and sharpen my writing skills and would love to blog full time and become a contributing writer for other blogs. I love the Write Life site so much, I’m going to feature it in one of my up-coming posts!

  7. Alexis

    Writing The Perfect Blog Post. I liked the Formula. This has been a great read. I learned some basic terms: SEO and the 6 suggestions. I’m working on my Mothers, and my own Memior. Hers triggers my own memories. An interesting journey.

    These short bits of information have been a wonderful help to keep learning. Learning to write like my boss, and his or her boss was the formula for long-term success in a navy career (E-1 to CWO3).

    Thank you

    Marty

  8. Hey Alexis

    My H-4 visa restrictions will be lifted soon, meaning I can start earning soon, which is both scary and EXCITING!

    Time to get serious about my writing career….

    Thank you for these fabulous insights

    Kitto

  9. Richard Huckle says:

    Being a closet MSP, and a writer that just enjoys banging hell out of the keyboard, this question must surely be asked?
    Are the ladies better at blogging than us guys?

    • Hi Richard! Heck no! I will say there seem to be more women who blog and work in content marketing, but I see some male writers who do amazing work, too.

  10. Murigi Wainaina says:

    Thanks for this information. I started freelancing a few moths ago and I am still trying to find my footing in this field. I have done jobs on iwriter, fiverr and elance. My clients have praised my work and rated it highly but as widely known, the compensation is well… For this reason I have a strong desire to work where my effort will fairly be compensated. Given a chance, I would like to go through the process outlined in the post with the hope of establishing a long-term writing relationship with a company/individual who will appreciate my work through a good pay.

    I am a medical professional who write both fiction and nonfiction. I have three novels available on amazon Kindle and Createspace (print on demand paperback). I recently published a health-related ebook on the same platform. My author page where the books can be found is: amazon.com/author/murigiwainaina.

    Although I can essentially write on any topic, I want to initially work on the health niche incorporating both conventional and alternative medicine including the whole nutraceutical industry. I would be very happy to know how to get into the system and hereby offer myself for trial.

    I am a fast learner reliable and a very easy to work with person.

    • Sounds like you’re on the right track, Murigi! I’d keep doing what you’re doing, continue to build up your portfolio and go after higher paying gigs and clients. You will get there!

  11. Ronn Jerard says:

    Thanks for the informative and valuable points, Alexis. I plan to keep writing, learning and following you on The Write Life. Thanks for being there.

  12. Hi Alexis,

    I loved this post… you were very informative! I had a question for you… if an editor requests a draft of your post but doesn’t specify how they would like the draft… what’s the best format? A pdf? Word? Google Docs? If the post includes pictures (as all my posts do since I blog about home decor) should the pictures be included in the draft or only the text?

    Thanks for the opportunity to pick your brain! I know every editor is different but I thought a few guidelines would help!

    Betsy

    • Hi Betsy,
      Lisa here, pitching in in case Alexis doesn’t get a chance to answer your question.
      If an editor doesn’t give me specific instructions, I usually submit both a Google doc and a Word doc. I wouldn’t recommend a PDF since it’s usually harder to edit those. As for photos, I recommend attaching them all/sharing a Google Drive folder with descriptive file names. Pasting the photos into your draft can make it hard to place the images where they need to go in the final version.
      I hope my experience is helpful!
      Lisa
      TWL Editor

  13. thank for the tips on blogging

  14. Hi Alex:
    I somehow missed this post when it first came out, but I’m very glad to have seen it now. I’ve been a freelance writer since 1999, but only started blogging about six years ago. I now manage (or try to manage) two blogs. I haven’t been as consistent as I should be, so I’m still learning and building my blogs. I am always willing to learn more about blogging, especially becoming a contributor to other blogs.
    I am learning more of the terminology, especially when it comes to making blogs SEO friendly. I was confused by the term H2s for sub-heads. Could you explain that?
    Could you also direct me to read some of your blog posts, or posts written by your contributors so that I can become familiar with your style?
    Knowing what a publication’s style is, and knowing how to make the editor’s job easy definitely makes a huge difference in landing more writing gigs. I try to always do both.
    Thanks for these great tips. I am sharing them with the bloggers in my writing group.
    Cheers,
    Christine Peets
    Napanee, ON, Canada

  15. Composing the perfect blog post. I enjoyed the formula. This has been an extraordinary perused.

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