How do you start getting paid to write articles?

If you’ve never done something before, it can be tough to know where to start. If I was going to build my own house, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I can teach you a few things about how to start getting paid to write, simply because I have been there. I am also a freelance website designer, and a lot of the same principles apply to that as well. With a little time and effort, you can build a good secondary or even a primary income from freelance writing. If you are starting completely from scratch, it might be tough to start getting paid to write articles, but I’ll give you some pointers. You may not want to hear some of them, but they are the honest truth.

How to Start Getting Paid to Write Articles

It is Very Unlikely You’ll Get paid for your first few writing jobs

I know, I know. You want to learn how to start getting paid. The problem is, no one wants to pay for writing skills that haven’t been proven. You have to have experience, and you need to be knowledgeable about what you are writing about. Take my analogy about building a house. If you are a contractor that is just starting out, you won’t be able to charge as much as one that has 20 years of experience. It’s just common sense. They have been through trials and tribulations in the industry and have the knowledge and the expertise to handle any problems that may arise. The same goes for a writer.

What gives? How can I get experience if no one will hire me?

I know, it sounds like a catch 22 or a snake eating it’s own tail, but trust me, there is a way. You can get experience by hiring yourself. I know it sounds like I’ve lost my mind, but just hear me out. You hire yourself by starting your own blog. here, you will get to hone your writing skills. I know I am about to burst your bubble, but here goes…

You writing probably isn’t that great

There, I said it. The reason I say that is that we all love our work and think everything we do is golden. The problem is that it probably isn’t. Notice that I said probably. The reason is that you don’t have experience. I look back on the articles that I wrote when I first started my blog Creative Beacon, and they aren’t even in the same league as the articles I write now. There are a lot of things that go into writing articles for websites that you need to learn. It isn’t exactly like writing a short story or an editorial. Writing for the web involves knowledge of keywords, seo, knowing how to write for specific audiences. To start getting paid to write articles, you are expected to write a few levels above all of the mediocre bloggers out there.

How will Starting my Own Blog Help Me?

Starting your own blog will help you in several ways:

  • You’ll start developing your own writing style, and you’ll get comfortable with addressing your audience.
  • You’ll have to learn SEO and what it takes to write an article that does well seo-wise.
  • You’ll learn about key words and how to structure your articles better.
  • You’ll learn how to develop a regular writing schedule, so that posts go out on time.
  • You will most likely do research on how to make your blog more successful, which revolves a lot around how you write your articles.
  • You’ll learn how to find good supporting images for your articles.
  • You’ll learn how to research topics for more in-depth articles.
  • You’ll learn how to diversify your articles with a wide variety of subtopics related to your main topic.

People Want to See Examples

Any time that you approach a site wanting to get paid, every editor or person in charge wants to see a list of your best articles. You have to have something to show them. They are looking for the qualities in the list above, and if you hardly have any of those, they most likely won’t be hiring you. Just about the only way they will, is if you have presented a completely unique, highly profitable topic that they are willing to take the time to help you develop.

Look around on writing gig sites

Sites like Problogger.com have a job board, where you can find a huge list of people looking for writing of all skill levels. This can kill 2 birds with one stone, because you get to make a little side money, while building your portfolio. Think of it more as a paid internship.

When Starting Out, Don’t Be Picky

If someone is willing to pay you when you don’t have a lot of experience, you should take whatever they will offer you. The return that you’ll get out of your initial investment will be tenfold. Write a couple of spectacular articles for them. Really try to wow them, because when you send them as a sample to other sites you are interested in writing for, you’ll wow them too, and you’ll be more likely to get hired.

Find some mid-range sites to pitch to

When you start getting paid to write articles, you can start pitching to mid-range clients. Hold off on the big fish for now. You are still learning the ropes and first impressions can make or break you. Find a few good sites that are in your realm of expertise. A lot of times, there are links somewhere on their site that say “write for us” or something to that effect. This is where you need to focus on continuing to build your writing portfolio. Pitch to them, and list your 5 best articles, and 2-3 ideas for articles that you’d like to write for them.

The Devil is in the details

It really is! Follow their instructions to the letter! Read them carefully. Every website online has their own way of doing things, and they want to see if you pay attention enough to follow their instructions. You could be missing out on a great new client, just because you didn’t take an extra few minutes to read their directions. The easier you can make an editor’s job, the more likely they are to use you over and over again.

How do I know this works?

Because I did it! Okay, time for a little back story. Originally, I started my blog Creative Beacon almost 3 years ago, in order to build up a huge amount of traffic and make money from ad sales, etc. I jumped in feet first, with no knowledge of what I was doing, the right way to blog, or any strategy whatsoever. I just wrote a little something each day. After a few months, I gave up due to burnout and to focus on local freelance website design work. I came back to it a second time, with a little more knowledge, but still not enough to get anywhere. I took another hiatus to write for other sites , but then in July of 2012, I decided to give it another chance once again. This time, I researched how to do it right, set goals, and I had a good strategy.

What is funny about this entire situation is that I had no idea a couple of years ago that you could make money writing articles for websites. I didn’t know people got paid for that. It wasn’t until a site stumbled across Creative Beacon, and asked me to write for them and get paid, that I realized you could make money this way. I started with them, and wrote a bi-weekly article for them for some good side money. Then, I decided to start looking for other places to write for, I pitched to them, and ended up with a huge amount of my income coming just from article writing alone.

You just have to know how

I don’t want you to struggle like I had to. Learning how to start getting paid to write articles the hard way is a horrible experience and it’s extremely frustrating. After paying my dues, I now make a decent income from writing articles and from my own design blog. Starting you own blog to build your portfolio will help, you just have to invest a little time. The return on your investment is excellent!

I am sure you have questions, which I am glad to answer. Did you build your own blog to promote your writing skills? Tell us your experience in the comments section below.

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