There's been a shift in my professional blogging strategy. I've been moving back toward corporate clients.
When I first started my professional blogging journey in 2005 (yes, this is my 10th year as a blogger), I worked with corporate clients. Blogging was just emerging as a potential way to reach online audiences, and companies were paying very small amounts of money for writers willing to churn out content designed to encourage better Google rankings.
After a few years, though, things started changing. I found myself writing more and more for non-corporate bloggers. In the heyday of financial blogging, from about 2008 to 2012, it seemed like everyone was hiring staff writers. Affiliate programs were providing income to “regular” people and personal finance blogs were so lucrative that big companies were offering seven figures for the top blogs. Not only that, but high authority for some of these sites resulted in the selling of text links, which could also be quite lucrative.
My business model shifted away from low-paying corporate clients to independent bloggers who would pay more because they could.
The Professional Blogging Writing on the Wall
In the personal finance world, things started changing with Google's zoo animal algorithm updates. Additionally, there were rumors that Google was busting linking rings and sites selling text links. PageRank was dropping all over the place, and with it search traffic. I paid attention to my SEO-savvy clients and friends. They were struggling, trying to keep up with the changes.
I had been steadily raising my rates through these years, but I began to worry that some bloggers wouldn't be able to keep up. After all some were asking me to do more in order to look more attractive to Google, but they were reluctant to pay more. Others were willing to pay more for the articles, but cut the number of articles ordered for the month so they wouldn't have to pay me more total.
At this point, in late 2012, I realized that things weren't going to be the same in the world of professional blogging — at least for the personal finance niche. I started shifting back to corporate clients.
Selling Out to Corporate Clients
Since I had built up a reputation in the world of personal finance, and developed a good network, there were a few companies that came calling. Some of them didn't even ask me about my rate; they just told me what they would pay. Often, they offered me four or five times what I was asking from “regular” bloggers — and this was after I'd been raising my rates for several years.
Slowly, I started gravitating more toward the corporate clients. Now, I'm back to writing for mostly corporate clients. I still write for some independent bloggers, but they are mostly long-time friends that I've been writing for years. Here are some of the reasons that professional blogging for corporate clients has been so attractive:
- The pay: When I first started professional blogging, good rates were few and far between, no matter who was offering. However, now that companies see blogging as part of online marketing, the pay is better.
- Ability to pay: It became fairly obvious a couple of years ago that, as long as Google was shifting its focus to favor bigger brands, and as search traffic dropped, fewer bloggers would be able to afford me. Companies don't have that problem for the most part. Corporate clients can afford to pay the rates I currently charge.
- It's in the budget: With a corporate client, the professional blogging is in the online marketing budget. Major companies aren't relying on AdSense and affiliate income to pay me. They know that fresh online content is needed to stay in the game, build community, and attract visitors, and they don't sell ads. I'm part of the annual budget, and I don't usually have to worry about suddenly being cut because search traffic has plummeted or because a credit card dropped my client from the affiliate program.
- Working with editors: I'm working with “real” editors again. With the line between content marketing and journalism rapidly disappearing, more companies are hiring old-school editors to manage their content. This means that many of clients want me to interview expert sources and write in a style that mimics news stories. Thanks to my journalism degree, I can do this. It also means that I work with editors who understand how to edit, help me improve my writing, and value my work (and go to bat with their bosses for decent rates).
I love working with my independent blogger clients. There's a reason I've stuck with them for all these years. However, my professional blogging career seems to be swinging a bit back toward corporate clients, and it's not a bad thing. My pay is higher, so that I've been able to work less while making more.
Do I still miss the heyday of personal finance blogging? Sure I do. But you have to be flexible if you're going to be an online freelancer, and right now, my journey is bringing me back to corporate clients.
0 thoughts on “Professional Blogging Shift: Drifting Back to Corporate Clients”
For someone that wants to write ghost-writing articles, do you recommend writing for small businesses or corporate clients?
Well, you’ll get paid more if you write for corporate clients. But, you also have to be careful because of compliance issues. I find it’s easier to work with small business thought leaders, but they don’t pay as much. It comes down to a trade off, and what you prefer.
Ok, that makes sense. So I am an aspiring freelance content writer and am targeting corporations as clients. Do I just cold-call and say, “hey, do you hire freelance content writers?” Should I target a specific industry? I am not sure exactly how this works.
Hmmm… You can try that. You can also look at writing job boards at places like Media Bistro. Another option is to sign on with a service. I work with The Happy Guy Marketing. I’m in their stable of writers, and when something comes up that revolves around my specialty, they contact me.There are other PR firms and writing services companies that you can sign on with who can help you find clients. You have to share a cut of what you make, but the good ones account for that and make sure you are still compensated. The thing about ghostwriting and working with corporations is that a lot of the time you have to have a reputation built up, or get an in as a working writer somewhere. I like going the niche route because it shows expertise. But you need to have something to show in your expertise.
I want to blog have my own blog and make money with affiliate and advertising, but that could take months, even years to see a return on investment. I figured I would ghost-write blog articles for corporations and/or small business owners in the meantime as a freelancer. I want to be like a beat reporter for a traditional newspaper. You (the corporation or small business owner) give me a beat to cover (any subject matter), I collect payment upfront, I write the article and we call it a day. Maybe we’ll do work again in the future. Maybe not. But I honestly can’t afford to work for free just to gain “expertise” so you’ll hire. I want to make some quick cash freelancing (this is a means to an end) while I build my own personal blog that will generate the real revenue for me. Any suggestions about making the quickest and fastest cash possible would be greatly appreciated.
The fastest way to make cash is to sign up at places like TextBroker, ContentRunner, Demand Media, and WriterAccess. It’s not very high-paying work, but it’s usually available and consistent. You can also get low-paying, but fast pay, work by being on sites like Elance, Guru, and Fiverr. That’s kind of work I did to get by when I first started, just to pay the bills. I divided my work day into crappy work that paid fast and hitting the job boards for better gigs. If I was starting now, I would also spend part of my work day developing my own blog and building it up — which is something I do now, even though I didn’t have my own blog when I first started.