Professional Blogger: Before You Start Freelance Staff Writing

Freelance staff writing for blogs can be a good way to make money as a freelance writer. But you need to be aware of the drawbacks.

I love what I do. I enjoy freelance staff writing for a variety of blogs. However, as with all jobs, whether you are self-employed or not, there are drawbacks. Before you decide that staff writing is for you, here are some things to consider:

  • You may not receive a byline: In some cases, the site owner may decide to post some of your work under his or her name, instead of using your byline. If you require a byline, make sure you specifically spell it out in the terms of your agreement. Some freelancers negotiate a higher rate for ghostwriting, since they won’t be able to use pieces without their bylines as portfolio examples.
  • Your work can be edited: Whenever you write for someone else’s site, you are subject to their requirements, and your work will be edited in some cases. Site owners might change your wording, or add entire paragraphs. If you are uncomfortable with these changes, and having the attributed to you, be wary of staff writing for other bloggers.
  • You might have to write for SEO: I am very clear with my clients that I am not an expert at SEO. However, when a client asks me to consider certain keywords, I try to oblige. You might be asked, in some cases, to write for SEO. For some writers, this is a very disheartening and annoying experience.
  • It’s hard to make changes to some posts: Depending on your credentials at a blog, you might not be able to make changes to a post once it’s published. We all mistakes, including typos and awkward phrasing. I’ve noticed mistakes after a post I’ve written is published. Without the right credentials, you have to ask the blog owner to fix the mistake on your behalf.
  • You might need to check comments: Some site owners expect you to check for comments and respond to them. It’s easiest if you are set up as an author, and receive notifications when people leave comments on something you have written. I don’t respond to every single comment on all of the blogs I write for, but I do stop by, if I think a comment is warranted, and make a general response.
Realize, too, that freelance staff writing can result in burnout. When you are trying to write so much for some many blogs, it can become difficult to continue to come up with ideas, and write blog post after blog post in succession.
Freelance staff writing can be a good way to earn money from a regular gig, as well as get your name out there as a freelancer. But before you start, consider some of the drawbacks, and make sure you understand what is expected of you as a staff writer. This can be spelled out in an agreement (and an email counts as an agreement if you both agree to the contents) so that you know your duties.

6 Responses to Professional Blogger: Before You Start Freelance Staff Writing

    • Ghostwriting is surprisingly common. I don’t mind ghostwriting, when my name isn’t on the post. But, like you said, not everyone is happy with that arrangement. You have to find what works for you.

  1. Hi Miranda–the point about making changes was a problem for me on an important post. I had a math error in the beginning of the post, but it carried through the entire post as math calculations tend to do.

    Needless to say the edits (of a live post!) took almost as long as the original post. I try to avoid posts with too many calculations since.

  2. Bulk writing is a surefire way to burn out and make mistakes!

    I prefer to ghostwrite as I currently have a staff position. Most company blogs prefer ghostwriters anyway, and many pay quite well.

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